Posted by: travelrat | May 16, 2008

No more film?

Since I moved here twelve years ago, I’ve been taking my films to the Fuji minilab in Amesbury for processing. I used to take my slide film there, too. They didn’t do them on the spot, though, but would send them to a lab in Reading by daily courier.

Two years ago, the lady in the lab said they were no longer providing that service. If I needed slide film processed, I’d need to take it into Salisbury, or send it off myself. But, I was doing less and less slide work, anyway. Prints were accepted by more and more publications, and only a few magazines were insisting ‘slides only’ … making me think of the old guy who, as late as 1985, was still insisting 35mm. cameras were for women and novices.

The other day, I passed by to see the place deserted, and a notice saying they had processed their last film and were ceasing operations. I suppose, with the advent, the increase in popularity and the ever-improving quality of the pictures of the digital camera, it had to come, but I wasn’t expecting it quite so soon. But then, it seems like only yesterday, a colleague said they’d never produce an affordable colour printer in his lifetime.

I’ve got to admit, though, there’s still a half-used roll of film in my F55 dating from last December. I shan’t dispose of it yet, though … I still have to decide whether film or digital is best for wildlife photography. ‘Long Tom’, my favourite telephoto lens for this purpose, won’t fit on my D40x anyway. So, I suppose I’ve got it until I can afford a digital telephoto.

Meanwhile, the minilab stands forlorn. What are they going to do with it? Install digital processing equipment? Or, let it be absorbed back into the chemist’s shop it stood in the corner of?

And, what am I going to do with the pile of free films? They used to give me one every time I had a film processed, even though I only used Fujicolor or Kodak Elite.

I suppose, just stack them in the cupboard with the floppy discs!


I looked in today, and already, they’re installing the new equipment, and are scheduled to re-open in the middle of next week. As expected, the new kit will only deal with digital pictures, but they will still accept film, although they’ll need to send it away. Turnaround time will be about three working days … possibly, an example of a step forward and a retrograde one at the same time?


  1. I wasn’t expecting it to happen quite so soon either. It’s digital all the way these days.

  2. I think it was 1993 that someone showed me a digital camera for the first time … it was about the size and weight of a house brick, carried a power pack like a car battery and took bloody awful pictures.

    And, I think I said something like ‘It’ll never catch on’

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