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Our lab, Alfa Color Lab in Gardena, CA, charges around $20 for an excellent machine-type print. The price goes up from there, with custom features like retouching, print retouching, airbrushing, custom hand enlargement (burning, dodging), etc, adding sometimes significant amounts. Obviously they make a profit on the machine print because the costs of their materials are fairly low, given the volume of each (paper and chemistry) that they use on a daily basis, and their efficiency in getting a good print. Same goes for their labor -- they've invested in some fairly sophisticated video analyzers that make the likelihood of getting a good print first time out of the box a lot higher, and the processing machines run a lot of paper very quickly. That makes for more efficient use of their labor force. The situation and cost would change a lot if were were talking about someone doing tray or drum-based color processing with only an enlarger, color head, and a basic color-meter-based color analyzer. You'll have a higher per-sheet cost for paper and chemistry, and a larger waste factor, as well as a much higher labor cost per print, since only a single print would be processed at a time. The latter situation would be more analogous to someone making a few prints on a small Epson. Materials costs (paper and ink) are going to be higher not only because of the far smaller volume being used, but also because of the higher levels of wastage due to proofing. The labor factor will also be disproportionately high compared to what an efficient color lab can do. On the other hand, I think that you'd find that a large service bureau running a lot of paper and ink on a daily basis, with a thoroughy dialed-in color management system and some big, fast, efficient printers, will be able to offer 16 x 20 prints a LOT cheaper and still make a profit. david Karen Ernest wrote: > Just curious, what does a 16x20 print at a custom lab go for these days? > > Karen > > Peter Stewart wrote: > > > > Jerry, > > I'm in your camp; these papers are far and away too expensive. Doing > > 16x20 photographic prints, I have to make proof prints to examine > > problems in detail before delivering a final product. At $5-6 per sheet > > of paper, plus ink costs, it's flat unaffordable; you can't sell prints > > to customers at high enough prices to justify this. > > > > Peter Stewart > - Please do not include an entire message in your response. Delete the excess. http://www.leben.com/lists for list instructions.
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