Seattle Filmworks

Back in the 1990’s, Seattle Filmworks offered a great deal. Free film as long as you let them handle the processing and printing. And, being a cutting edge company, they send you digital scans of your photos on disk as part of their processing. Great deal, no!?

What Seattle Filmworks (now Photoworks) didn’t tell their customers was that they were selling the tail ends of expired movie film. Only special processing equipment could handle the film, which frequently had significant problems with color and density. In addition, the digital images were extremely degraded.

Do you see the image above? It would take two floppy discs just to hold the picture of the disc. In order to squeeze a roll of film (~20 photos) onto one disc, they had to lower the resolution immensely. Even when Seattle Filmworks started sending CD’s with photos on them, the digital images remained degraded so that customers were forced to come back for prints.

Nic and Marti at Thanksgiving, 1997. Rescued from a Seattle Filmworks disc.

I tried over the weekend to rescue Mom’s 508 images from Thanksgiving 1997 to her 50th Anniversary in August 1999.

Playing croquet in Santa Barbara, February 1998. Image rescued from Seattle Filmworks.

The images I got are viewable, but not great. One cool thing is that I have every photo taken for almost three years.

3 Responses to “Seattle Filmworks”

  1. Mike says:

    Just to update:

    Double Exposure Ltd., Laboratory handles this film, still provides slides, scans, and uses the latest, greatest, most high-tech film currently made: Eastman Color Negative II ( ECN-2 ).

    This film is NOT problematic but for the rem-jet backing that must be removed before the developer.

    Rumors about it being subject to premature fading, color and density problems, simply aren’t true.

    Those have to do with old expired film, bad film, flashed film, and poor storage by both Seattle Filmworks, their suppliers, and their customers.

    It’s true that ECN-2 film is contrastier than, say, Kodak Gold or Fuji Superia consumer films, but compared to consumer lines, Fuji PRO C-41 and Kodak Portra, ECN-2 has very similar contrast and printing characteristics.

    It has finer grain than Portra or Superia, a high-speed tungsten film that is great for stage photography and under any strong tungsten illumination, and a super-fine grained 50-speed Vision2 film that is the sharpest, finest-grained negative film made, finer than Ektar 100,

    We happily support Seattle Filmworks negatives, still make the contact positives or mounted slides, offer optical printing and digital printing/scanning.

    It’s a shame that a lot of customers only saved floppies. Those photographic negatives, even if processed poorly by Seattle Filmworks, Dale Labs, Red Tag, or another of these respooler companies, held 12+ megapixels of information when shot through good glass.

    Our contact email:

    United States of America (440)238-1148 telephone

    We’d be happy to help you process, print, scan your film or digital files to any format, size, resolution or need 🙂

  2. Walt lowery says:

    I have SFW negatives from 1997 and would like to have prints by June 15 there are 18 shots is this possible and approx cost?

  3. Jim W. says:

    FYI – I sent a roll of Seattle film works film to the Double Exposure Lab in October 2011 with a check. The check was cashed and the excuses began. As of June 2012 I have not received anything from “Mike” and company. They mostly do not answer their phone or email. The phone is seldom answered, often just busy, sometimes a machine. Call the number now and see for yourself. There’s one BBB complaint against them and it was left unresolved by XXLab. (same type of problem as mine but in Nov 2011) I have seen other complaints on the web – if you have this film, do not send it to this “service” unless you do not care about your money or your film. I will gladly rescind this comment if I ever get my pictures… Not holding my breath.

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