Where to Develop Film in 2022


The digitized, Internet-connected world has actually made film photography easier. As one-hour photo labs began to disappear and many camera stores ditched the darkroom, mail-in photo labs have filled the void.

Today’s film labs have websites that offer all the info you need regarding services, prices, timeframes, and more. Some even have printable forms and mailers. No matter where you live, including internationally, film processing is still possible. Digital scans of negatives are the most common output, but some film labs also make darkroom prints of various sizes.

It’s important to consider a few things when choosing a film lab for processing your negatives. Do they even process your type of film? Will they push/pull? What resolution are the scans? How do you get your digital files? Do they offer custom color correction? Do they make contact sheets? What print sizes are available and on what kind of paper?

Unlike chain pharmacies that still develop and print film, professional film labs will actually send your negatives back to you, but it’s still a good idea to verify this before sending in your film. Find the lab that fits your needs and you’ll have a partner for life.

Photo Lab Index

The Darkroom

  • 35mm Roll Price: $12 (with scan)
  • Products Offered: Development, digitization, printing, DVD/USB
  • Film Returned: Yes
  • Website: thedarkroom.com

The Darkroom has deep roots in photo developing. Founded in 1976 in Southern California, their photo lab is now one of the nation’s most established. They’ll develop, scan and print a wide gamut of film types: 35mm, 110, 120, C-41 Color Negative, E-6 Slide, and true black and white. There’s a dedicated app for iOS and Android that allows photographers to view photos as soon as they’re scanned. Competitive pricing and quick turn-around times make The Darkroom a popular go-to for locals and for the entire country thanks to their mail-in process.

Citizens Photo

  • 35mm Roll Price: $5
  • Products Offered: development, digitization, printing
  • Film Returned: Yes
  • Website: citizensphoto.com

Citizens Photo is based in Portland, Oregon, and has developed film since 1946. Their services can be trusted, and they accept both domestic and international mail-in orders. Setting themselves apart from the pack, they can print in a variety of sizes, including up to 44 inches wide. Citizens Photo works with just about all film types besides Kodachrome film, E4 slide films, and C22 color negative films. Great pricing and quick results are on offer here, plus they sell film and used equipment.

New Jersey Film Lab

  • 35mm Roll Price: $6
  • Products Offered: Development, digitization, printing, CD
  • Film Returned: Yes
  • Website: njfilmlab.com

After half a century in the film processing business, New Jersey Film Lab now offers mail-in processing services. Proud to make film development available to all, New Jersey Film Lab will process a roll of film starting at six dollars. Scans and prints (4-by-6 or 4-by-4) are available. They won’t scan or print from negatives that have already been developed, but they will process odd film types like 127, 828, and 126. Here’s a good option for those on the East Coast.

Blue Moon Camera

  • 35mm Roll Price: $6.50
  • Products Offered: development, digitization, printing
  • Film Returned: Yes
  • Website: bluemooncamera.com

Dedicated to preserving the art of processing and printing from film, Blue Moon Camera offers a full-service catalog of options. They can develop most film formats (with usual exceptions like Kodachrome), scan them, and print them in the darkroom. Mail-in orders, including international, are happily accepted here. Blue Moon also sells film, film cameras, and, yes, old-school typewriters. Check their International Camera Museum for a glimpse at the past, and proof of Blue Moon’s commitment to analog photography.

The Find Lab

  • 35mm Roll Price: $10
  • Products Offered: development, digitization
  • Film Returned: Yes
  • Website: thefindlab.ecwid.com

The Find Lab specializes in processing and scanning. While The Find Lab doesn’t do prints, they offer high-quality scans at attractive prices. Send in your film for development, scanning, and even post-processing. Premium color scans will be color corrected based on your color preferences. While you’re at it, browse their film and film camera offerings.

Tuttle Camera

  • 35mm Roll Price: $8.25
  • Products Offered: development, digitization, printing
  • Film Returned: Yes
  • Website: tuttlecameras.com

Tuttle Camera opened business in 1946, and today they continue to process film and sell all sorts of camera equipment, both digital and analog. While other labs offer more specialized services, Tuttle Camera makes the mail-in film developing process simple. Knowing that some photographers care not about digitizing their negatives, Tuttle Camera leaves scans as an option. Prints are another option here, but without all of the potentially confusing details. Sometimes the simple approach makes the most sense.

Picture House + The Small Darkroom

  • 35mm Roll Price: $8
  • Products Offered: development, digitization, contact sheet
  • Film Returned: Yes
  • Website: picturehousenyc.com

Anyone looking for the highest quality processing and scans in New York City can take advantage of Picture House + The Small Darkroom. This is where the pros go, so prices aren’t cheap, and mail-in orders are not accepted, but a look at their gallery shows how powerful this lab is. Besides processing a wide range of film types, Picture House + The Small Darkroom uses state-of-the-art drum scanners and they offer post-processing of photos. They also make fine art prints on a variety of paper types.

Reformed Film Lab

  • 35mm Roll Price: $12
  • Products Offered: development, digitization, printing
  • Film Returned: Yes
  • Website: reformedfilmlab.com

Reformed Film Lab takes a modern approach to mail-in film developing. Like many photo labs these days, they offer processing, scans, and small prints. But to add 21st-century convenience, they have an app that will help you place and keep track of orders. Reformed Film Lab also sells a variety of film, film cameras, and even “Film Life” merchandise. This proves how film can remain relevant in the digital era.

Miller’s Lab

  • 35mm Roll Price: $8
  • Products Offered: development, digitization, proofing
  • Film Returned: Yes
  • Website: millerslab.com

Miller’s Lab bills itself as “the ultimate all-in-one lab for professional photographers.” It has been developing film since 1964. Unlike other labs on this list, however, Miller’s offers services only for professional photographers. If you do earn your livelihood through photography, the business offers high-quality services for all color 35mm, medium format, and 4×5 sheet film. Each frame is individually color corrected by a skilled technician, and the digital files of scans range from 12-20MB in size. Turnaround time is just 48 hours.

Mpix

  • 35mm Roll Price: $12
  • Products Offered: development, digitization, printing
  • Film Returned: Yes
  • Website: mpix.com

Mpix, the consumer-oriented arm of Miller’s Lab, processes 35mm and medium format color film and scans them for customers, making the digital results available for download through the photo lab’s website and mailing back the negatives to the customer. Scans are available in 4.5MB and 18MB resolutions and prints are sold separately.

Process One

  • 35mm Roll Price: $5
  • Products Offered: Development, digitization, printing, USB
  • Film Returned: Yes
  • Website: processonephoto.com

Founded in 1984 and based in Overland Park, Kansas, Process One has had decades of experience in processing, printing, and scanning. Customers can mail in 35mm, APS, 120, and 220 film with an order form and have it processed using Fujifilm chemistry and printed on Fuji Crystal Archive paper. Negatives are always returned in archival sleeves, and scan resolution is 2400×3600.

CVS

  • 35mm Roll Price: $15
  • Products Offered: development, printing
  • Film Returned: No
  • Website: cvs.com

If you’re interested in walking into your neighborhood chain pharmacy to get film developed and printed, CVS remains a top option for that. Drop off 35mm film or a disposable camera and you will get 4×6 prints back in about 7-10 days. You can also drop off APS, B&W, 110, and slide film, but the turnaround time for those increases to about 3 weeks. Note that you will not receive your film back after it is processed and printed. Click here to find a store near you.

Walgreens

  • 35mm Roll Price: $15
  • Products Offered: Development, printing, CD
  • Film Returned: No
  • Website: walgreens.com

Walgreens is another chain pharmacy that continues to offer film processing. Any location with a photo lab can process standard color negative 35mm film, and certain labs can also process APS, 110, 127, negatives, and disposable cameras. Customers receive prints and a free CD of digital images with a turnaround of 3-5 business days. Like CVS, Walgreens does not return negatives. Click here to find a location nearest to you (and you should call to double-check whether they offer the service you need).

Conclusion

Film photography retains all of its magic even if you can’t smell the chemicals of the darkroom. Some photographers can still drop off their film at a local lab, including those places listed above. But all film photographers can now have their film developed at a lab using good old-fashioned snail mail. Scans, post-processing, and prints are often available, too, and many labs form part of camera shops that sell film and equipment. Some might say that shooting film has never been more convenient.


Have a recommendation for a film lab that was omitted from this list? Leave a comment below and it may be added in a future update!



Image credits: Photos from Depositphotos



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