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Unlike most services thesedays a good photographic service is surprisingly difficult to find. I have tried countless developers including all the most common names like Boots and Supasnaps and have never really been completely happy with my pictures, that was until earlier this year when I used Jessops for the first time.
Jessops were formed in the 1930's on a small scale and back then were very much a specialist company with few customers but have grown gradually through the decades. Today they have over 200 shops nationwide one of the largest companies of it's kind, are continuing to grow and are beginning to corner the niche in the photographic high street industry. Jessops has been voted best photographic retailer by readers of 'Practical Photography Magazine' three years in a row.
The key element to it's business of course is photo developing and even with the current move towards digital cameras, most people still get their films developed the old fashioned way even though this is likely to change over the next few years. I myself still have my trusty old 35mm camera as do countless hourdes of others and Jessops are well aware of this. In the past my pictures have been poorly developed or have been poor quality countless times but the three times I have used Jessops now, my pictures have been top quality. As an amateur photographer that is all I am looking for really - consistently good quality snaps time after time and Jessops in my experience are the only service out there up to the job. They process the standard 35mm and APS films as well as offering a digital imaging service which is where pictures can be stored on a disc and used in conjunction with dedicated software via your PC. Although as I'm an amateur I could be easily pleased, my Auntie who is a professional photographer also chooses to use Jessops over their competitors for various services they offer.
Pricing on standard developing differs depending on size and type of film you have used and is on a par with Boots although you will be expected to pay a bit more if you use the one hour processing service or need enlargements. Every time you pick up a set of prints you will recieve a free Jessops film or alternatively you can pay a little more for an upgrade to a better film if you so require. With regards to the digital pricing only a few shops to date offer the digital imaging service although they hope to roll the service out across their whole network within a year. If your in an area that doesn't offer the service, you can still visit their website which offers the software for you to be able to print your snaps over the net at 29p per print.
Now of course photography is an industry which is changing rapidly what with the emergence of Digital cameras and no-one has embraced this new technology more than Jessops. When they first came out Jessops stocked only a small range of Digital cameras but if you visit a store thesedays you will be confronted by a very large range starting from as little as thirty quid for a mini version to the professional deluxe versions which will set you back over a grand! As well as Digital cameras they also stock a large range of bog standard cameras, camcorders, webcams, scanners, printers and binoculars. They stock all the well known names in the photographic business as well as some lesser names.
Jessops are also very well respected for their consumables, their film and batteries offer excellent quality at a reasonable cost and other accessories easily available are things such as lights, stands, brollies, photo albums, frames, print cartridges, paper and connection leads, in-fact anything you can think of. Even if you can't find what you want Jessops offer a mail catalogue scheme which apparently has over 20, 000 items in it - an item can be ordered in-store from their central warehouse and will be ready to collect a few days later depending on availability.
On top of this most stores have many second hand items for sale, these are usually articles that have been traded in, I asked my Auntie about this and she advised that although not expensive you could probably find the same things cheaper at an independent specialist but these are becoming more and more hard to find because they are being forced out of business by the likes of Jessops.
Another scheme worth pointing out is that they offer a price match scheme which claims to reimburse you within seven days if you can find the same product you purchased for a smaller amount within the local vicinity. I don't know what they claim to be local but It's fair to say it would be a five mile radius give or take a bit. All equipment sold in-store including the second hand items come complete with a two year guarantee.
Now onto the customer service, I have been served by a wide array of people ranging from spotty geek to polished professional. Jessops claim that most of their staff are keen photographers themselves and although doubtful about this claim, the two stores I have used have been most competent and friendly. I think the best advice if you do require assistance in-store is to pick your sales assistant carefully! Another thing I have noticed about Jessops is that they don't approach you and give you the hard-sell in-store which I find quite refreshing thesedays. I have been looking around for a digital camera lately and like to make my own decision and only want advice if I seek it, so three cheers for Jessops on that one. Jessops do have demonstration facilities in-store which I think is an excellent idea because theres nothing worse than buying something and spending the next month working out how to operate it.
All in all I would highly recommend Jessops for your photographic needs, they are far superior to any other high street photographic retailer I have used. If you are lucky enough to have an independent specialist who offers a better service - you're very lucky , if not you could do a lot worse than Jessops.
Many thanks for you taking the time to read this opinion.