Which is best digital or old chemical booths?

Some people just love the old chemical booths, almost to the point of being fanatical about them.  Maybe this adoration is due to the fact that so few of them are around.  WWW.photobooth.net has a list of all of the old chemical photobooths around the USA and there are very few of them.  I traveled out to California over Christmas and got to use one of these booths for the very first time at the age of 33 I’d never even seen one before.  Well suffice it to say I wasn’t really impressed and after using one I have no idea why anyone would want to rent one versus a digital booth. 

The two main disadvanages of renting chemical photobooths is that they take forever to develop the prints and the prints themselves have to dry. If you handle them while they are wet they are easily scratched.  Worst of all if you let guests put them in a scrapbook with pages that face one another the prints will stick together and when you try to seperate the pages the emulsion will get torn off the images. I’ve spoken to several photobooth businesses who used to own chemical booths and have torn out the guts and replaced them with digital machines.  The chemicals used in the booth also smell nasty. The smell disappears once the prints have throughly dried, but the smell of acidic acid (vinegar) used in the development process isn’t exactly my cup of tea. 

 So why do people love these old photo booth machines?  I’m not exactly sure.  I had one artist from Los Angelas email me a plea for helping her find a photobooth for her art project. She complained about being a starving artist and how expensive the booths were. I offered her the use of my booth for free even, and she didn’t even bother replying back because she was a “purist” and didn’t want a digital booth.  I’m sure most people like the way the strips come out of the machine, long and narrow in a 2″ x8″ long strip.  Most digital photobooths use the popular 4×6″ paper size and thus cannot make long photobooth strips.  www.rentphotobooths.com is the only photobooth company in the nation at this time that produces strips identical to the old fashion booths using archival dye sublimation printers. A couple competitors use inkjet printers, but inkjet prints have the same drying issue as old chemical photo booth prints and unless the company uses pigment inks the images can quickly fade within years if not stored correctly.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.