We've got a Zenit E with a Helios 44-2 lens and took pictures with it for the first time recently. We had it developed last Monday and got it back today and the results were awful! Here are some examples:


We don't have many good quality photo developers in this country anymore so my mother thinks that it's because they developed it poorly as well as the scanning procedure since they were carelessly handling the film without any proper gear, so we assumed the developing process was just as bad.

But what do you guys think? We don't know much about film, but we would really like to know whether it's the camera/lens or the camera shop's fault. Or both? Or even the film we used (Fujicolor C200)?

We'd really appreciate anybody's input on this! Thank you!

Edit: These are scans of negatives.

  • 2
    Please describe what you are seeing in the text of the question, and edit the title to uniquely describe your specific problem. Thanks!
    – mattdm
    Oct 27, 2016 at 11:47
  • 1
    Well - it's clearly not a focus or blurring problem, and the intensity range seems reasonable, so that pretty much rules out camera issues. Either a bad roll of film or some spectacularly bad job of either developing or printing. If you can find a scanner that handles negatives and post those, it may help pinpoint the problem. Oct 27, 2016 at 12:27
  • There are visible scratch marks, is looks as if the film has been mis-handled quite badly. Are these scans of prints or scanned negatives?
    – Mick
    Oct 27, 2016 at 12:38
  • Why are you using film? If you are just learning photography, get a digital camera and leave film until later.
    – Mick
    Oct 27, 2016 at 15:37

3 Answers 3


There are a lot of common scratch lines in every photo, particularly across the middle so I would suggest that it's the equipment they've used. For example the little cartridge they would put your negative film into may have tiny but sharp particles at the mouth of it and it is scraping the negative through processing procedure. There are also lots of marks that are very random on each image so i would hazard a guess at chemical imbalance on the machine they've used. It should be checked every day and mixtures adjusted accordingly. I am no expert by any means but I used to use and run these chemical processors for a few years so speak only from experience.

  • Persistent scratches could possibly be caused by dirt or damage in the camera's feed path or shutter mech. Oct 27, 2016 at 15:03

It is clearly the lab where you have process the film. Is almost impossible to find any quality film developing and processing services these days. That's why I have switched on developing my own film (B&W and colour) is very easy to do it and the results are stunning. If is a public service, nobody cares anymore about your film and gets scratched a lot plus they use very old equipment (scanners). I had exactly similar experience as yours...the camera is fine, the film is fine but is obvious that they don't care about the quality of their services.

If you don't mind waiting for a while you can send me a roll and I will develop and scann it for you (free of charge) and then you will see the difference. It just might take a while to be ready though...

  • 1
    "almost impossible to find quality... services" is a pretty broad statement. You just have to hope there's a photo shop in your town populated with folks who still love film photography. I know of a couple in my area, for example. Oct 27, 2016 at 15:02
  • That depends in which country you live. I'm pretty much convienced that there is no lab that will care for my negatives more than myself. Plus is way much fun to do all the work.
    – Birbal
    Oct 27, 2016 at 15:16
  • I happen to work at one of the few remaining quality film labs in the world. We take great pride in our handling of customer film from around the globe -- because we do, in fact, care. We don't just process & scan film, too. We help film photographers troubleshoot issues they're having, so they can become better at their craft. If anyone's interested in trying us out, look us up at photovisionprints.com
    – digijim
    Oct 27, 2016 at 15:41

From my experience in developing films from both Mini Labs and Commercial Labs like Fuji and Kodak or Technicolor back in the 70's, It looks to me that your film got immersed in some kind of liquid, ie water, coffee, milk, juice and went through the film processor wet. The colors of the bannana leaves are nice and green, meaning it was not some kind of chemical like soap it got immersed into. You can try dublicate this by taking pictures on a film and immersed it in coffee then take it to the photo lab. If they catch it wet they would have to dry it first. If they don't catch it wet it will go thru the film processor wet. I have processed wet film before immersed in suntan lotion and came out similar to your prints.

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