For photo shops, the increasing use of digital cameras among consumers means fewer people dropping off rolls of film to be developed and printed.

But in a bid to snatch back patrons who have defected to digital cameras and home printing devices, processing shops are making rapid moves to digitize their operations. Kitamura Co., which runs a chain of processing shops, is one of the first to install digital mini-laboratory machines, offering film-quality print services for digital camera users.

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