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Category: New Questions

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Photography Question 
Lin Schlabach

member since: 5/28/2003

Wal-Mart Film Developing & Prints

I developed a roll of film recently and, looking at the negatives, I noticed there is a substantial amount of cropping in the picture when compared to the negative. Is that normal? Should I start leaving extra space at the edges when I take the picture? Or should I develop somewhere else?

6/6/2004 7:46:14 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  Is that normal? - Yes. Should I start leaving extra space at the edges when I take the picture? - Maybe. Or should I develop somewhere else? - Maybe.

This is common for all high-volume processors. It takes too much manual intervention to precisely match the full frame to a borderless print. Plus, there are minute differences in the spacing between the frames on the negative strip from one camera to the next. The machines are set for an average spacing and slightly greater than 4x6 enlargement so that there are not blank spaces on the print. A true full-frame print is a custom job that is going to cost more.

Most consumer-level SLRs have a viewfinder that shows only 90-95% of the image, so unless the operator has really messed up, these cropped prints should match what was seen in the viewfinder.

6/7/2004 7:01:11 AM

Jon Close
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 5/18/2000
  P.S. I forgot one thing: If you are getting 4x6-inch prints, that format matches the proportions of the 24mm x 36mm film frame. If you are selecting 5x7-inch prints, then this different proportioned format necessarily crops at least 1/2 inch from the long side (exact match to the film frame would be 5 x 7.5 inches).

6/7/2004 7:05:47 AM

Marvin Swetzer

member since: 12/25/2003
  I take a lot of pictures and have to have them developed and printed at places like Wal-Mart to save money. If that is the reason that you go to Wal-Mart you might be better off going to Sam's Club. If you aren't a member now, you will make up for the money you spend to join in no time.

6/8/2004 3:50:19 AM

Scott Pedersen

member since: 11/18/2001
  I gave up on Walmart years ago. Kept getting black spots like dirt specks on the prints. Not some of the time, but all of the time. Sometimes they would come back a little on the dark side too. There are a few online developers that are cheaper and better, they will put your prints online so you can download them too. That gets you out of messing with the scanner. York photo is one you can check out.

6/8/2004 4:47:46 AM

Sandra C. Pharr

member since: 2/11/2001
  Shold leave estra room yes, not much.maybe a 1/4 inch. The first Question I would ask is if you did them one hour or if you used the regular service. If you did one hour then I would ask them to redo the picture and check it again. If it comes out the same, then I would ask them to look at the neg. and see what they think can be done to give you the picture you want. If they say it is to close then you need to leave more space. If your camera is not set on the right space setting on the neg, and you are using a point and shoot camera this maybe the problem. If nothing is wrong with the neg. and they say it should print just fine and doesn't then ask if they have had a Fuji tech. in to check the focus of the machine latley. To me it is better to leave extra space and then crop the picture the way I want it.

6/8/2004 5:00:37 AM

Daniel Dimitroff

member since: 9/12/2001
  Wal-Mart has more than once lost a roll of film. But so has Wal-greens.

My wife sends her point&shoot there. If it gets lost, it's her own fault.

Our local Target's 1-hour has always done a good job for me, but I hardly shoot print film anymore.

6/8/2004 8:36:53 AM

Fax Sinclair
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/3/2004
  Please consider not shopping at Wal-Mart. (Since someone said those words.)

They have depressed wages in China and other nations from the equivalent of a dollar a day to 32 cents.

They have many lawsuits against them for labor discrimination (firing those about to retire, hiring and paying women less, etc.)

They do not support their work-force OR THE COMMUNITIES where they are.

Think about what you are loosing by paying 50 cents for that widgit instead of 75. RESIST THE BIG BOX!

6/8/2004 10:20:01 AM

Lin Schlabach

member since: 5/28/2003
  Thank you all for responding.
I think I will start to leave a little extra room in my pictures.
I had developed my film in regular service at walmart but I want several reprints anyway so I'll ask them if they can improve any on the cropping part.
I will also check Sam's Club out because part of my family are already members. I have used Mystic Colar Lab & Snapfish & like it except for shipping:(

6/9/2004 6:31:28 AM

Anthony A. Hampton

member since: 7/14/2004
  I hate to post anything negative, but the response by Fax Sinclair is inapropriate for this website. I, and I assume everyone else, comes to this website to learn and share ideas about photography. Political theories and opinions(regardless of merit) should be posted on another site.

7/16/2004 10:28:44 AM

Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 11/11/2003
  Try this version-" I used to take film to wal mart, but decided to stop after I found out about them lowering wages in China from a dollar to 37 cents. Can't bring myself to shop there anymore, hope no one else will either"

7/16/2004 1:34:33 PM

Fax Sinclair
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/3/2004

Thanks Anthony and Gregory for your responses.

I usually would not put a political comment on a site like this, but felt compelled.

and the thread goes on . . .

7/16/2004 2:55:08 PM

Marvin Swetzer

member since: 12/25/2003
  Wal-Mart as a company is no better or worse than any other company. They are all out to make money and will do it any way they can. Haven't you noticed that just about everything that you buy is made in China. Reason.....Cheap labor.

7/16/2004 4:22:03 PM

Fax Sinclair
BetterPhoto Member

member since: 1/3/2004
  Yes, Wal-mart is worse.

Use your search engine or go to and read some articles.

But you are right that most corporations do not act as responsible world citizens.

Nuff said.

7/17/2004 9:17:20 AM


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