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4x5 Negs - the heart of a business system

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  #41  
Old 06-01-2002, 12:31 PM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Conway
The objective was not for me to change my business plan just add the digital to it, bring the associate up to speed to take over the business by letting him learn on the job and he would "inherit" several thousand high end accounts in a going concern when he took over.
Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your whole point, but this statement would seem to be at odds with your previous statement regarding educating clients about museum quality prints and sending those who do not require that category to the 1-hour place down the street. It seems as though you feel that digital is inferior and don't want to sully your good business name by association with it. (The difference between McDonald's and Atwaters...?)

I once worked for a man for 3 months. He basically said he wanted me to come in and re-arrange his lab, set up a studio, and get the digital department up to speed. I accepted the job eagerly, looking forward to the challenge of accomplishing all that he had presented to me. However, once I was there, his attitude toward ANY type of change was so limiting that I could not accomplish what he had hired me to do, and so I left.

I am wondering if this could be a similar circumstance to the case with your associate, since what you say you had brought him on for "made my mouth water" at the thought of such an opportunity... I can't imagine leaving such a setup unless my hands were irreperably tied in some way.
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  #42  
Old 06-01-2002, 12:43 PM
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Jim Conway Jim Conway is offline
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I don't usually respond to insults but just to clear the record, he reinlisted in the Navy for a 40 grand bonus.
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  #43  
Old 06-01-2002, 12:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Ron
On a more serious note...
Most often, I believe, photo work is requested for some relative that remains in "living memory".
My own personal experience has been just the opposite. My minimum charge for a repair is $40. I've had people come in with fairly recent photos of persons still living, and after being told the cost of the repair, have decided to just take another picture or abandon the idea. Only when the photo is really very special, or from the childhood of a now grown person, do they usually decide to go ahead with repairs. The majority of my business has been the restoration of irreplaceable photos of people that are no longer living.
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  #44  
Old 06-01-2002, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Conway
I don't usually respond to insults but just to clear the record, he reinlisted in the Navy for a 40 grand bonus.
No insult was intended, Jim... I'm sorry.

Please accept my apologies.

Last edited by Jakaleena; 06-01-2002 at 03:10 PM.
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  #45  
Old 06-01-2002, 01:51 PM
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Yes I'm still following this interesting thread, and I'm trying to make sense out of all that's been said. I think part of the problem is that we might be talking about different things .... original negatives vs. original prints. As Doug pointed out, the original print won't gain any more information than is already contained in it regardless of how it is duplicated. A negative, on the other hand, could easily show a significant difference when scanned on a run of the mill flatbed, or copied on 4 X 5 film. Another thing that might come into play is that Jim is looking at it as a conservator, while the rest of us are looking at it as restoration artists. I'm not qualified to say whether or not very high end digital techniques/equipment are capable of grabbing as much detail as a 4 X 5 neg, but I do think that if it's not, it won't be long in coming. In my personal opinion, I agree with Jim when he said that the traditional copy methods have been proven over time, and digital is too young to have been time tested as yet. So I think there's room for both to live comfortably side by side. Then there's always the other side ... money. There are a lot of people who can't/won't pay extra for having prints or negs made that will last two or three hundred years. There are also people who can't see the difference between very high (museum) quality and moderate quality, and most people refuse to pay for something they can't see. In their mind, if they can't see it, it just doesn't exist. Everyone who posted on this thread had some important points, and they should not be brushed aside just because it's not the way we do (or want to do) things. This is how we learn.

Ed
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  #46  
Old 06-01-2002, 02:00 PM
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Sorry Ron, but I think you're out voted on whether or not people are interested in keeping an image alive for generations. I have a couple of pretty old prints (copies) starting from around the mid 1850's of family members. These, of course, are of people I never knew. But having them is priceless to me. I have several of family members who died before I was born, as well as many who I knew at one time in my younger years. Hopefully, when I'm long gone, someone else will treasure them.

Ed
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  #47  
Old 06-01-2002, 02:49 PM
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G. Couch G. Couch is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Conway
Vikki - After numerous interviews, I brought in a "photoshop expert" as an "associate" to set up the digital end of the business with no intent on my part to learn any more than I already know. - I gave him the money to get what was needed (a business transaction not really a gift, the workstation was suppose to pay) and I ended up with what I have......

....Everybody is telling me what I need to "change" or how I can do better with more expensive digital equipment. Do "what" better I guess is my question?

This thread was started because I was requested to give some info on MY use of 4x5 negatives .... not an inquiry for me to learn how to make them some other way.
I think your explanation of how 4x5 negs are the "heart" of your business is a good one. It sounds like you have a successful business and the traditional approach not only works for you as far as being profitable, but it gives you the quality and high standard your customers expect.

As Doug and Tom have pointed out, there are advantages and disadvantages to both traditional and digital. One of the disadvantages to digital is cost. In order to get "museum quality" you have to invest a great deal of money in the proper equipment. If your business is large enough, it makes sense, because an all digital workflow is fast, efficient and can be of VERY high quality.

You obviously have very high standards for your work and seem to be very disappointed in the results you have achieved with a $10k investment in digital methods. My only reaction is, what made you think $10k would get you the quality you desire? When the lab I worked for switched over to digital they made an investment of close to $500,000. That included a Light Jet printer, digital back camera, Eversmart Pro scanner, etc... The quality level of the resulting work often surpassed more traditional methods. Now, most people can not afford an investment like that and have no real need to. I noticed you mentioned you use Epson scanners... I love my Epson but I would not in a million years expect an Epson scanner to give me museum quality results.

I guess my point is, 4x5 negs work for your business and you have no real need to "go digital". Like Vikki, I sense a certain amount of negativity in a lot of your posts toward digital, probably due to the less than satisfactory results you have been able to attain...but just because you have not had the greatest experience, does not mean digital is not very capable of high quality. It just does not fit your business.

P.S. Hope you catch lots of fish!
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  #48  
Old 06-01-2002, 03:04 PM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by G. Couch


You obviously have very high standards for your work and seem to be very disappointed in the results you have achieved with a $10k investment in digital methods. My only reaction is, what made you think $10k would get you the quality you desire? When the lab I worked for switched over to digital they made an investment of close to $500,000. That included a Light Jet printer, digital back camera, Eversmart Pro scanner, etc...
The last place I worked that actually installed a digital department where there was none previously spent approximately the same amount on equipment. The scanner alone had a price tag of about $20k (an Imacon Drum Scanner).
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  #49  
Old 06-03-2002, 10:23 AM
Gerry Monaghan Gerry Monaghan is offline
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4x5 Negs

Aren't we in business to offer services and goods?
Photo Restoration is anything we can do to move an image into the future.
If that means selling good RC prints and CDs then so be it.
The more services we offer the more we bill.
The more products we offer, the more we bill.
Not every image is worthy of a neg.
I can't see any room for my mark-up on film output.
I am offering film output in my pricelist and brochure, but my clients are much more pedestrian.
Film is an important part of photo preservation.

Mr. Conway, could you help us understand, are you doing state archive work? Or something of that level where your clients are, to use a word you have used, industrial?
Gerry
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  #50  
Old 06-03-2002, 02:33 PM
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Unhappy

Ed_L

You’re absolutely right! There is a growing desire to get in touch with and preserve our roots.

My sad attempt to poke fun at serious professionals was tasteless and inappropriate and I apologize to all the members.

I just felt that very few members would have the resources to get into $10,000.00 plus systems. I know many of you are dedicated hard working professionals and a higher level of capital investment is required. However, I suspect that most (like me) find buying Photoshop a major investment.
This is a great site. I love the personal interaction, the wealth of information and interesting challenges. Someday (with practice) maybe I could make this a paying proposition myself, but if it wasn't for digital I'd never get the opportunity.
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