Labs and photo equipment stores in Praha (Prague), Czech Republic

NOVEMBER 2010

JANUARY 2007. Year 2007 brought a lot of changes into photographic community here in Prague. I dont say they are good or bad, I only point out the hammer of market economy hit hard this time. Some of the reliable stores are being closed and small photo boutiques here and there I dont count as a viable substitution. Photography is becoming commodity and quality stores slightly fade away. I start to plan my switch into digital seems there will be no place where to process C-41 or E6 soon. Cozy specialized photo-stores are being rolled by the hell of super, hyper, mega and everything stores, where poorly paid and outsourced shop assistants from Ukraine hardly provide us advice we were used to. Its a pity, but its life.

JANUARY 2005 This web page is designed for those people who live in Praha or are planning to visit this town. Based on my experiences, I have realized that it is quite difficult to find out a decent photo lab, where one can let develop his films and slides without being worried of its quality. It is also difficult to find out a reliable store, where photo equipment is not overpriced and where the staff has good knowledge of what they are selling. After years of shopping around I have come to the following conclusion:

Centrum FotoSkoda
down-town location, Vodickova street, open hours - weekdays 9-20, Saturdays 9-16, Sundays closed*, credit cards accepted

It is probably the largest specialized photo store in the town and in the country, too. Alongside a wide assortment of both digital and analog photo equipment of most brands, services, bazaar of used equipment and other accessories (frames, albums, small stuff) are offered. A small gallery is placed at the premises; there are held the exhibitions of unknown authors. The exhibitions changes almost every Monday and it worth visiting the place only for this reason only. I enjoy visiting this place occasionally just to watch pieces of equipment, which Id like to own once. Most of the staff is either photographers or keen amateurs and are capable to advise any request.

I do my shoping here, when I need anything quickly. For more expensive purchases, I prefer Internet stores, since those are cheaper.

As for developing facilities, there are several labs at the premises. I use this place only in case of emergency as film developing is expensive and quality may vary.

 

CTK
down-town location, Opletalova street passage

This is the victim of changes. Once famous business is closed down now. 

Ultralab&Syn
more locations:
down-town - Vladislavova street 2, open hours - weekdays 9-19, Saturdays 9-14
Eliasova street 10, open hours - weekdays 8-20, Saturdays 9-15, Sundays 14-20.

I have used this lab quite often, because of convenient location in Eliasova Street. They process C-41 and E6 (Eliasova only). They sell films too, but this place is very expensive comparing with others and it makes sense to shop around for better options. Staff in Vodickova seems to be fine. I have difficulties to deal with staff in Eliasova, partly due to people itself, partly due to shop design. I have heard the similar complains from other photographers, too.

I have never been developing C-41 here due to price. Price of E6 processing had increased during last few months significantly, while the quality falls. As amount of scratches has no longer been acceptable and also a plenty of dirt appeared I am not any longer going there to process my slides.

I used to developing my prints here. I was delivering data on CD and the results were fine. I use large formats only. Recently the price of prints of my favorite formats had increased, almost doubled. Thats the reason why I stopped to go there and saved money for color printer, which is becoming more economical solution. The lab for color prints is 300dpi (Frontier). The print formats in pixels and the color table for the lab machine are available at the web site. My experience with these information is not very good because often lab overrides my setting. It is caused partly because of the incorrect machine settings, but I also think the staff is not that careful while prints processing, too.



Thalia Picta
business is moved. out off city center location (10 min. walk off Metro C - Chodov (red line)), Kloknerova 24, open hours - weekdays 9-12 and 12:30 - 16, Saturday and Sunday closed. It is building of CeWe/Fotolab, the biggest lab in the country. Credit cards are NOT accepted here. 

This lab advertises professional services and offers really a large portfolio of lab services. They are a little bit more expensive. The lab seats in the basement of a large villa. It does not have any large advertisement to be seen from the street and you have to ring the bell to be entered in. Staff is quite friendly; I have never experienced any unfriendliness.

I have moved my E6 processing here. They are damn good. After few rolls already developed there they are still damn good! It is possible to develop slides without scratching. I have seen it here!

 

Creative Lab
out off city center location (Metro B Hurka),Seydlerova street 13, open hours - mon-wed 9-17, thu 9-19, fri 9-17*

JULY 2006. I have tested this lab recently and have choosen it as my preffered lab for my C-41 processing. In spite of higher price I have received films unscratched and with good coverage, which indicates fresh chemicals in the process. I always let my films developed with Contacts. It is A4 size indexprint, which is good enough to watch pictures as they are bigger than that at normal size indexprint. It is also  possible to ask for FIX COMPENSATION. With this service operator turns off auto compensations and you get exactly what is on the film - color cast and all under and over exposures are immediatelly visible in the same way as they would be using slides. Now there is not a big difference between use of slides or film when such service is available. However, the lab has Contact service calibrated for few number of film types only so check before you purchase the large stock. It is Fuji Sensia 200, Kodak ProFoto 100, Fuji PRO 160C, Fuji PRO 160S and Fuji Neopan 400CN

MAY 2005. This is a newly opened lab, which advertises that its staffs understand the creative approach to the photography. They say they use only PRO papers (wide selection) and calibrated monitors on machines should be a standard. They are significantly more expensive and they do not have E6. I do not have any personal experience with this lab yet. Because of advertisement and other rumors, there is a reason to mention this lab here. If the quality of work will be proved, I believe it may become a very good lab for the photographers in the town.

Foma - Foto
I have got bad news for all B&W afficionados. Foma shop has been closed. 

You can visit their web site here. However, marketing department is doing poor job and even online shop is not available to send shipments abroad.

Other labs
Significant decline of number of labs.



Online photo equipment stores
NOVEMBER 2010 .
With so many shops fading away my page will be shortened in the near future. Photo industry became comodity, sales of equipment moves from specialized stores to ordinary super-, hyper-, mega markets. Film and especially B&W has almost gone. With digital frames we almost do not need any lab anymore. 

JANUARY 2007. Paladix photo online store has been closed. Its a big loss. Maybe they were not cheapest, but prices were reasonable at bottom end of the scale. What made it legendary it was its fast responce, intuitive navigating and excellent system for tracking and monitoring of orders and deliveries. There is currently no good alternative on the market. 

If you plan to visit Praha and to purchase some equipment over here, you may find online stores useful for price comparison. Instead of legendary Paladix, where I have got most of my equipment I suggest now Oehling. It works - I have tried - but it is a branch of German chain. Bad is, they often offer grey import and one have to rely on them in term of guarantee. Good is, some items are really good bargain. Another store is Centrum FotoSkoda eObchod. Note that this one charges online prices at approximately 95% of the price level of the shelve price in their brick-and-mortar store. Prices are in Czech coronas (Kc or CZK). Actual currency rate may be found at web site of any bank, for instance here.

* please, take opening hours for information purposes only as I am not monitoring recent changes

 

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