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Do you remember?


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Here's a blast from the past that some may recognise.

Do you remember....

When photo shops sold packets of flash cubes - or the flashbar?

When 110 and 126 were almost as popular as 135?

When disc first came out and we wondered whether it would ever take off?

When a 'mini lab' was actually a separate printer, paper processor, dip and dunk film processor and paper cutter?

When we proudly had the machines in the window (and had to cover up the odd roll coming off the other end!)

When you'd work all night in the days after the August bank holiday weekend?

OK, that's a few memories from us - now it's your turn...

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ha ha.. Fantastic topic  :)

When E4 changed to E6

When EP2 chemicals went and we had RA4 (no longer able to skive at the lab)

When we used to have queues of customers on a Monday morning

Those montly <incentives> for selling 1,500 + 35mm films a month from Kodak

The days of reps visiting and doing deal

Long nights and happy times at Photokina

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When we had to dead heat our Copal every day

When we crimped film to the hope processor leader cards

When all customers got a free film with their D&P

When 26 rolls of paper were delivered every two weeks

When customers came in asking if we could remove the film from their cameras

When we processed a control strip every morning and plotted the results on graphs

When everyone wanted the film processed in an hour

The old saying a clean lab is a happy lab !!

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Ahhh, memories.

When we only opened six days a week - but Sunday we spent preparing for Mondays

Calibrating the unders and overs on each channel

Mixing 100 litres of chemistry at a time

Over promising and under delivering on service time

12 minutes dry to dry on the paper processor

21 minutes through the film processor

Photokina at the Agfa Casino (remember the fireworks)

Reps with gifts


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Nothing wrong with a bit of nostalgia Mark. We all realise those days won't come again - but they were good while they lasted. I'm sure there are quite a few of the early minilab owners now living the good life somewhere permanently warm (those that sold at the right time that is!)

They were good days - but you certainly put the hours in. The rewards were amazing but I don't think I've ever worked as hard in my life.

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I understand, yes I have sat through many a nostalgic, beer sodden conversations about the days of Labs, etc at photo agencies. Long since gone now. All the japes, and toil. I admit some of the magic and esprit de corps has evaporated.

One of the saddest days I had at an agency was seeing the entire contents of a C41 processor sitting in a skip as scrap.  A twisted mass of Dexion racking, cogs and chains. :'(

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Dip and dunking 8 hours a day

Polishing the glazing drum, Carborundum paste on a Monday then every day with silvo

C22 chemicals that took your breath away, and took hours to dissolve

An Ilford B&W Dip and Dunk machine that daily tried to kill me in the dark

Diving into the backing papers just before it threw rods of soggy film at me

Finding that you had processed the backing paper and not the old fashioned paper neg

When every batch change on Kodak took all day

When Konica paper was called Secura? and every batch was the same

D&P £3 for B&W £5 for colour

£5 a week wages

£5 for every wedding I shot on a Saturday (3 of us did 13 one day, I was going to retire)

3 rolls of tri-x 30 good ones for the album or else

Then there was light

Been down hill ever since

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The Durst printers

A test strip for each image then a calculated guess

Printing a roll of 24 then cutting and putting through the paper processor (or 2 hour service!)

Enlargements on Thursdays only

- and then those fancy 1 hour machines appeared but...

The first Noritsu's had round corner cutters

A dial to change the paper advance sizes

The pricing unit next to the printer

Those confounded fifo racks to hold your hundreds of films waiting to be printed

... and the constant worry another would open nearby..

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  • 4 weeks later...
I remember when Phil Gresham   http://www.fotofast.com.au/   Was my AGFA Rep!

I am trying to forget that I was an Agfa rep, who was Agfa... Mixing D72, D76 from raw chemicals, dissolving hypo or trying to on cold winter days. Loading C22 dip & dunks, joining leader belts on paper processors. When 3 days was a really fast d&p service, now they complain when your instant prints are not instant, like when was an instant pudding really instant!?

I remember that I still need to go into work today and open the store at 7.30am!

I remember when I was a semi-regular contributor on this forum but gave up when all I got was doom and gloom from the UK. Visiting  the UK last month it reminded me of the 90's and mid 2000's at best looking at some stores, the ones that were still open that was. Visiting the new Westfield at Stratford, Jessops stiil don't wont to talk to you if you are in the lab services area, no one at Boot's in the photo area, all instant HP kiosks. I know there are standouts in the UK just never seen one. Asked the marketing director of a large chain of photo stores before visiting the UK, what stores should I look at and was told none that I would learn from!! Go to Google maps put in Fotofast 101 Adelaide Street Brisbane you will see photos of what we are doing so you wont think that I am totally full of crap :-)

Remember Paul? from Cirencester visting him in the late 90's he was really switched on, so switched on he got out of the business in the early 2000's!!

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Ouuuuch! That hurt! Sorry that you didn't find any good photo shops here Phil. If you had let us know we could definitely have pointed you in the right direction as the best ones are not in the tourist spots. The regions have lots of nicely presented shops - you just need to know where to look  ;)

What about the chains like Snappy Snaps and Max? Boots are not really that interested in photo any more - which is OK by us  :)

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