Cameras, Photography

Where can you still get film developed?

Freshly updated 20 August 2016!

The question burns: Where can you still get film developed?

BurnedCVS

Not long ago, the answer was everywhere. Costco, Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, et al., processed 35mm color film in an hour right in the store. The quality could be dodgy, but it was convenient and cheap: as little as four bucks for processing and scans. But one by one, these stores have gotten out of the one-hour photo business.

If your city has a camera store, perhaps they still process film, too. The one in my city does good work at a good price, but their hours and location are too limiting. I also considered buying equipment to process my own. I’m charmed by the idea, but I can’t imagine where I’d find the time right now.

So I mail my film to professional processors. I was already using them to process the films the local labs couldn’t: black-and-white and slide films, and other film sizes, such as medium format (120) and archaic formats like 127 and 110.

Plenty of pro processors are available. Some cater to photographers with exacting needs. They deliver top-shelf quality and enormous scans, offer expert advice, and remember your processing and scanning preferences. But their white-glove service comes at a premium price.

Fortunately, several processors target hobbyist film shooters, offering reasonable service at a better price. Here are the ones I use, including their total price for processing a roll of 35mm color film, scanning the negatives, and shipping. All of these labs charge a little more for other film sizes and for b/w film and slide film. They will also print your images for a fee, and offer other services I’m not mentioning here.

My favorite labs

Old School Photo Lab, oldschoolphotolab.com: I use this lab the most now. They process 35mm, 120, 110, 126, 127, 828, APS, single-use cameras, and 4×5 sheet films. They handle color and b/w negative and color slide films.

They offer online ordering and payment. Processing a roll of 35mm color negative film and getting their standard scans costs $16 and they pay shipping both ways. Prices for other formats vary.

Their standard scans are a generous 3072×2048 pixels. That’s big enough for any enlargement short of mega-poster size. Uprgraded scans of 6774×4492 pixels cost $7 more. When your scans are ready, they email you a link to where you can download them. If you want a CD of the scans, it’s 3 bucks extra.

These guys are fast, sometimes scary fast. Once I mailed them a roll of 35mm color film on Saturday and got an email on Wednesday that my scans were ready for download. Awesome! And the one time I had a problem with their service, they handled it with aplomb.

Dwayne’s Photo, dwaynesphoto.comI’ve sent a ton of film to Dwayne’s in Parsons, KS. They process and scan 35mm, 120, 220, 620, 127, 110, 126, Disc, and APS. They handle color and b/w negative and color slide films.

Ordering from Dwayne’s is a little complicated, with different printable order forms for their various services. Prices vary widely, but processing and scanning a roll of 35mm color film costs $14 including shipping back to you. You pay to ship your film to them.

Their scans are 2740×1830 pixels. This is the only scan size they offer. And hallelujah: Dwayne’s now offers downloadable scans! No more waiting for a CD to arrive in the mail. You can have either downloads or a CD (but not both) for the same price.

I’ve had great experience with Dwayne’s customer service. They really goofed once, processing a roll of color film as black and white. I got a handwritten apology and a roll of replacement film with my negatives and scans.

Willow Photo Lab: This is the oddest lab in the bunch, because they operate entirely through eBay. For now, anyway; last time I ordered from them, they said they were working on a traditional Web site. Anyway, go here to see their eBay store.

Willow is far and away the price leader. You get better prices the more rolls you send them. I normally buy their two-roll deal: $14 for processing and scans or prints, including return shipping. You have to pay to ship them your film. Their best deal is 10 rolls processed with scans or prints for $42.75 shipped to you.

The downsides: They process only 35mm and APS color negative film. Scans are skinty at 1524×1024, sent to you on a CD. They offer no option for larger scans or for downloading scans.

And ordering is quirky. The listings are verbose and hard to parse. The deal you used last time might not exist this time. If the listing says prints but doesn’t mention scans, I’ve learned that if you send a note with your film asking for scans instead of prints, they’ll cheerfully do scans. It’s all kind of a hassle, but these are the best prices I’ve found anywhere and their work is good. And if there’s a problem, the owner himself handles it, swiftly and kindly.

Worth a mention

The Darkroom, thedarkroom.com: I used to use this lab in San Clemente, CA, all the time. They process 35mm, 120, 126, 110, APS, single-use cameras — and 4×5, 5×7, and 8×10 sheet film. They handle color and b/w negative and color slide films.

They offer online ordering and payment, and online downloading of your scans. The scans are usually ready about 7 days after I drop the film into the mail. It takes up to a week longer to get your negatives and a CD of your scans back. Processing, standard scans, the scan CD, and shipping both ways for a roll of 35mm color film costs about $17. Prices for other formats vary.

Unfortunately, The Darkroom’s standard scans are puny, 1536×1024 pixels, or 1.6 megapixels. You won’t want to enlarge them beyond about 5×7. You can order larger scans — 3072×2048 and a whopping 6774×4492 pixels — but you’ll pay an extra $4 or $9 per roll, respectively.

Fulltone Photo, fulltonephoto.com: I haven’t used this La Grange, KY, lab in a while, but they always did great work for me. They process 35mm, 110, 126 and 120 films, negative and slide.

They don’t offer online ordering, but they’re so close to my Indianapolis home that mailing time is cut way down for me. I usually get a CD of scans back from them in about seven days.

Processing a roll of 35mm color film with standard scans is a bargain at $11.50, including shipping both ways. Prices vary for other formats.

Their standard scans are on the small side, 1818×1228 pixels, which won’t print well much beyond 5×7. Enhanced scans cost $5 more, and are generous at 4535×3035 pixels. For a buck a roll, they’ll upload your images for you to download. If you spend at least $15 with them, shipping is free, which lops $4.50 off the bill.

Film Rescue International, filmrescue.com: If you ever find long expired film in a camera, these are the best guys to process it. They process any film, no matter how old, period, and use creative techniques to coax images out of even the most fragile old films. For a couple particular old color films, they can only return black-and-white images — but that you get images back at all makes it worth it. They processed a roll of Verichrome Pan I found in my Kodak Brownie Hawkeye, returning eight good scans of a family’s late-1960s vacation to Niagara Falls. See those photos here. Cost depends on a number of factors and is not cheap, starting at $37 (including return shipping) and going up steeply from there. But if they can’t get images off your film, you pay nothing.


It’s never been less expensive to shoot film. Read why.

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78 thoughts on “Where can you still get film developed?

  1. bodegabayf2 says:

    Besides my local camera shop, which happens to be about five minutes away and does reasonable C-41 work, everything else I shoot goes to Richard Photo Lab in Hollywood. Good prices, very personalized service and they upload scans to an FTP site. I also have a developing tank sitting on the shelf which I glance at every now and then with good intention to use.

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  2. I just had some C-41 processed at CostCo for $1.69, including tax; but I’m finding it almost impossible to find black and white silver processing (non C-41) locally — so far I’ve only found one place and they want $10.45 per 35mm roll. I think I’m going to have to go the mail order route for my monochrome work.

    Good to know about Dwayne’s; I had been just looking at them and Fromex (http://trueblackandwhiteprints.com/) last night. any other mail order processing places you can comment about?

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    • Coscto is removing its one-hour labs when they break down, so enjoy yours while it lasts. I’ve used a few other mail-order processors but really like the ones I listed above best.

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      • Whoa, didn’t know that! Thanks for the tip. I have three Costco locations within driving distance and all of them have photo centers, so I *should* be good for awhile with the C-41 processing.

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      • Now there is just one place to process C-41, which is 18 miles one-way — and the best place locally (if you can still call it local) is 32 miles, but over an hour by car one-way.

        Dwayne’s must have had the FNG develop my monochrome film because it touched itself on the film spool during processing; not everything was ruined, but enough frames that I’ll never use them again.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The one camera store left still does 35mm C41 but it’s way Downtown, they keep 9-5 hours, and I work out in the ‘burbs. They might as well be an hour away. BTW, thanks for exploring the blog archives; they get so lonely.

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    • Do you know how much it costs at costco to get 35mm developed + a cd? I don’t have a scanner yet and I have about 30 old, undeveloped rolls I am curious about!

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      • 30?! Wow, you have a lot to process! If you can find a chain drug store that still has a film processor, that’s probably your cheapest bet — probably $6 a roll. If you use the mail-order places I list in the post, you’ll pay that or a little more, but you’ll also pay shipping both ways.

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      • Uh, what he said. All the Costco locations in my region have shuttered their film processing since I posted my comment here last summer. I’ve had to find alternative sources and they are all much more expensive.

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  3. Christopher Smith says:

    I have 2 local camera shops who do processing all formats about 10 min away. They have been there for years and for the foreseeable future mainly because of the local Arts University who runs photographic courses and students needs supplies and film developed (they still teach analog photography as part of their
    courses). I do all of my own B&W developing and then scan the negatives. I can get my chemicals from my local shops. They do 1 hr processing or next day. I have a hankering to try some colour developing.

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  4. In NYC there are plenty of places still open that will develop C41 and scan for you.

    I only have them develop and sleeve and then I scan it myself. Shooting film is expensive, so I try and cut corners whenever I can find them. Scanning/developing yourself is one thing that saves a lot of $$.

    I think this is another reason I almost solely shoot Medium Format. I just shoot less images than I would with 35mm. This means I scan less, and save more time. Also, 35mm doesn’t scan as well as MF. I have a flatbed scanner and 35mm negs are so curved that it’s almost worthless.

    You also don’t need to scan everything. Just find the ones you think will be good and scan those.

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    • Ah, NYC, where if 1/2 of 1 percent of people do something, there’s enough market to support several stores to supply it. Such is not the case here in flyover country!

      I like to scan, but I struggle to make time. And I always want ALL of the images scanned! I enjoy shooting MF and agree that it (1) causes you to think through the shots more and (2) takes a third or less time to scan a roll. I need to buy a scanner that can do MF! Mine handles only 35mm.

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  5. I still have a Walgreen’s here in Reno that will develop film. They don’t do the greatest job but if you aren’t sure it’s worth sending out or you are in a hurry, they get it done. My local camera shop does some film but sends B/W out, they do an excellent job but are very expensive and a little rude. My total favorite for the best quality, value and customer service is The Darkroom. They rule.

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  6. Around here Walgreens still has one-hour photo. I am not sure about anywhere else. I have been developing b&w so long that I wouldn’t think of doing it any other way. It is interesting to me to use different developers and methods. I do send color film in though. It still is to me at least too much trouble to do it myself.

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    • I think all of the drug and big box stores that still have one hour photo will follow Costco’s lead, and not repair the machines when they break down. One day I will invest in black-and-white processing equipment, and do my own here.

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  7. Neil says:

    I have way too many rolls of 110 film from years ago when we took lots of photos of kids but never had the money to develop what we took. It’s great to have these extra resources for developing so hopefully we can still catch up bit by bit.

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  8. Dan says:

    Jim Grey —

    really appreciate your thorough and concise coverage of this film developing topic.

    I spent hours hunting for these answers, but found mostly outdated, inaccurate, or contradictory commentary on a half dozen other photo websites before I came across yours.

    It’s sure nice to find the research already done and clearly written up.

    Thanks!
    (Bookmarked now).

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  10. Janice Anderson says:

    Thanks for all the good info. I, too, looked and looked before I came across yours — very appreciative of your sharing this info.

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  11. Reagan says:

    Just curious why you haven’t tired out Roberts Camera in downtown Indy? I’ve got a bunch of 35mm to get done and they said they would do it for $7.50 a roll. Not too bad, definitely cheaper then the Walgreens in town that said it would be 11.99-13.99 per roll!

    Glad that you shared this info though! Since I read your article it clicked in my head to call there, so thank you! :)

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    • When I wrote this, Roberts was still in its old location, which was not convenient. I never had any reason to go to that part of town. Their new location is more convenient – I have other reasons to go to that part of town. So thanks for reminding me of Roberts. I will try them here soon.

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  12. James says:

    Hi,
    I’m wondering if you know of other photography businesses that can transfer negatives from
    a Kodak disc pac to a CD. Darkroom doesn’t do it and Film Rescue is too expensive.
    I will check back to see if you reply.
    Thanks!

    Like

    • James, I’m so sorry, but I don’t know who can transfer Disc negatives to CD. This is a tough format to scan, and I’d be surprised if many shops will do it.

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  13. Erika Monjaras says:

    I went on vacation and decided to get a waterproof 35mm at the Island I was at. When I got back to Orange County I had a difficult time finding a place that still developed film. I decided to go to CVS Pharmacy and although they don’t do it there they ship it off somewhere to have it developed. DO NOT GO TO CVS FOR PHOTO DEVELOPING. I personally have never been big on photography I just wanted simple photo’s. They told me it would take 7 days to develop the film. At the 15th day I continue to call and nothing I even attempted calling the company. I never got anything in return. Not to mention rude and unhelpful employees. They also charge about $15-20 for a single set of colored and cd. It simply isn’t worth the hassle.

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  14. Chris Kartsonis-Woltkamp says:

    I discovered there are still some high schools that teach photography using film, darkrooms, etc. I’m sure you may not want a student developing your film but you might be able to work a deal with the teacher and have him/her do it. In exchange, you could offer to make some sort of donation to the department.

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  16. Anna Danielle says:

    Do you still get your film developed at Dwayne’s? I was reading Yelp reviews and some people have had bad experiences when they send their film to them in the mail: stories about film getting lost, Dwayne’s having bad customer service, etc. Have you had any bad experiences recently? Because I’m trying to figure out which place i should send my film to get developed. Thanks!

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    • I really need to update this post! I’ve never had a roll of film lost in the mail. Once, Dwayne’s processed a roll of color film wrong and I got b/w images back, for which they apologized and also sent me a replacement roll of the same film. Mistakes do happen occasionally. But this year I’ve grown dissatisfied with Dwayne’s b/w scans. So I tried Old School Photo Lab, http://www.oldschoolphotolab.com, for b/w and got better results. They’re a little more expensive than Dwayne’s, but they are faster. They also let you download your photos from their site, rather than sending you a CD. So you get your scans faster. I don’t miss the CD. I sent them a roll of color film recently and got an email within four days telling me my scans were ready. Awesome! And if you tweet at them they usuallly reply. So all kinds of goodness there.

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  17. mel says:

    I am also in the indy area and extremely frustrated with this situation. What are my options in the area? I have a few rolls I found from 2006 of my girls I need done a.s.a.p.

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  18. Have 12 rolls from my Italy trip. Just found out yesterday both Sam`s Club and Costco, have both stopped developing 35mm, this year. They were the best deal I knew of in the Harrisburg, PA area.

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    • Sheri says:

      DANF, There is a lab in Reading, PA that still processes film in house. It’s not that far from Harrisburg. I would guess that you could mail your film to them if it’s too far of a drive. Check out MotoPhoto in Reading, PA.

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  19. Kimberly Gaffney says:

    Thank you soooo much for this! I found a huge BAG full of 35mm and 110’s that I think are 20 years old! The film may not even be good anymore. I need someone that can give me a discount on “volume” developing. If they scan for me I can always go print the ones I like at a local store. I am wondering, do they charge you for the fuzzies or non legible photos? What would YOU do in my situation? I am missing hundreds of pics of my 2nd child who is now 25…. I am sure they are HIS baby pics! shame on me! Thank you for getting back to me if you can!

    Like

    • Hi Kimberly — What I’d do is email Old School Photo Lab and tell them your situation and ask for a price break on volume. But even then, brace yourself, this is probably not going to be cheap.

      If I found a bunch of old 35mm rolls I’d take them to the photo lab downtown in my city; their rates are lower and the volume would make it worth the trip. But pretty much only the mail order labs can handle 110.

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  20. I really appreciate the detailed info here. Thanks for sharing this! I find it annoying that many stores are still selling film (albeit minimally and often in “disposable” cameras) while offering nothing for processing that very same product.

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  21. I get my 35mm developed on eBay, sounds funny but works quite well. You do have to send the film there on your dime but the return shipping is included. The best deal is 10 rolls dev only for $19.90 (as of Jan 2016). I have also paid for scanning once but I found that I could do better with either my Epson flatbed or Minolta film scanner(s). Hope this helps anyone with a large cache of undeveloped film of unknown provenance!

    http://stores.ebay.com/Black-River-Power-Store

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  22. Thanks for creating this! It’s just what I was looking forI just came into possession of a Minolta sr-T 201 and I’ve never taken classic photographs with film before. I wondered if I could even get the film developed. Now I know. I’m going to be trying out Old School Photo Lab! They sound pretty amazing and affordable.
    Thanks for the info and reviews!

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  23. Rashida Crowder says:

    Wow Thank you Jim Grey for starting this post. I found my daughter camera form her 2 year old bd party I rented a clown costume and I was the clown the party was really big shorty after that my mother fell really ill I got so caught up with her I never gotten a chance to get them develop today she is 15 I want her to have those memories I think her seeing them will have more value to her than her father r myself telling her about them.
    Again really I thank you for this post you gave me a lot good leads on how to get them develop😃

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  24. Terry says:

    I’ve used photoplaceonline.com of Youngstown, Ohio. They are a little more expensive than some of the labs you list here but they have done good work for me and I trust them.

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  26. Kevin Thomas says:

    Here in Austin we have three places that develop film. Two, Precision Camera and Austin Camera, do C-41 developing, and there is also Holland Photo which develops C-41 and B&W, and may do other things as well. Precision and Austin Camera both send any B&W to Holland for processing. I know Precision will process 120 color in house. Develop and medium res scan (1544×1024) costs about 12$ a roll.

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  27. Dean says:

    I “hate being forced” into newer technology. My wife and I have some “great 35mm cameras” and now you have almost nowhere to get film developed. Now, some on liners won’t even give you back the negatives,,,really,,how slack! Anyway, glad I found this site. Maybe there is still hope for us. I am the guy that still spins real records, reel to reel tape, VHS, and even 8 tracks! Yep that’s right. Analog bliss!

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  28. Dean says:

    Hint,,,,the reason music back in the day sounded so good on records was because it was recorded on on “two inch tape” and then mixed and then sent to vinyl records. Excellent analog transition. Film is the same way in my mind.

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  29. Misty Menarcheck says:

    Went to Old School Photo Lab per your recommendation…$22 for scans and processing of 110 film!! I don’t even know what is on these as they were in my dad’s house in a box…can you recommended and affordable option?

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    • Unfortunately, I’m not aware of a less expensive option for 110. My understanding is that it’s got that special combination of being nonstandard for scanners and very low volume, which drives the cost of processing and scanning up.

      You might consider having them developed and printed, and then scan the prints yourself. I’ve done that and my memory is that it’s a little less expensive than paying for negative scans.

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