Where to Develop Film in 2024: Finding the Perfect Lab for Your Film Photography Needs

CEO Tam DT
The digitized, Internet-connected world has revolutionized film photography, making it easier and more accessible than ever before. While one-hour photo labs have become scarce and many camera stores have abandoned their darkrooms, mail-in photo labs...

Where to Develop Film in 2024

The digitized, Internet-connected world has revolutionized film photography, making it easier and more accessible than ever before. While one-hour photo labs have become scarce and many camera stores have abandoned their darkrooms, mail-in photo labs have stepped up to fill the void. These modern film labs now have user-friendly websites that provide all the information you need about their services, prices, and turnaround times. Some even offer printable forms and mailers, making the process seamless. Whether you're based locally or internationally, film processing is still within reach. While digital scans of negatives are the most common output, many labs also offer traditional darkroom prints of various sizes.

Choosing the Right Film Lab

Before entrusting your precious film to a lab, there are a few factors to consider. First, make sure that the lab you choose processes the specific type of film you are using. Additionally, find out if they offer push/pull processing and what resolution their scans are. It's also important to know how you'll receive your digital files and whether they provide custom color correction. Contact sheets and various print sizes on quality paper are additional considerations. While chain pharmacies may still develop and print film, professional film labs are more likely to return your negatives, providing you with peace of mind. However, it's always a good idea to verify this before sending in your film. Finding the lab that meets your specific needs will ensure a long-lasting partnership.

Top Film Labs in 2024

The Darkroom

The Darkroom 35mm Roll Price: $12

The Darkroom has established itself as one of the nation's leading photo labs since its founding in 1976. They specialize in developing, scanning, and printing a wide range of film types. Their user-friendly website and competitive pricing make them a go-to option, whether you're a local or mailing your film from afar.

Citizens Photo

Citizens Photo 35mm Roll Price: $5

Based in Portland, Oregon, Citizens Photo has been developing film since 1946. They offer trusted services and accept both domestic and international mail-in orders. What sets them apart is their ability to print in a variety of sizes, including prints up to 44 inches wide. They also sell film and used equipment.

New Jersey Film Lab

New Jersey Film Lab 35mm Roll Price: $6

With over half a century of experience, New Jersey Film Lab now offers convenient mail-in processing services. They process a roll of film starting at just six dollars and provide scans and prints in various sizes. While they won't scan or print from previously developed negatives, they specialize in processing odd film types.

Blue Moon Camera

Blue Moon Camera 35mm Roll Price: $6.50

Dedicated to preserving the art of film processing and printing, Blue Moon Camera is a full-service lab that caters to various film formats. They accept mail-in orders, including international ones, and also sell film and film cameras. Their commitment to analog photography is evident through their International Camera Museum.

The Find Lab

The Find Lab 35mm Roll Price: $10

Specializing in processing and scanning, The Find Lab offers high-quality scans at attractive prices. They provide development, scanning, and post-processing for your film. Their premium color scans are color-corrected based on your preferences. Be sure to check out their film and camera offerings while you're there.

Tuttle Camera

Tuttle Camera 35mm Roll Price: $8.25

Tuttle Camera, in business since 1946, offers simple and straightforward mail-in film development. While other labs may offer more specialized services, Tuttle Camera keeps it easy and hassle-free. They offer scans as an option, but their main focus is on film processing. Sometimes, simplicity is the best approach.

Picture House + The Small Darkroom

Picture House + The Small Darkroom 35mm Roll Price: $8

For the highest quality processing and scans in New York City, Picture House + The Small Darkroom is the go-to choice for professionals. While they don't accept mail-in orders, their gallery showcases their powerful lab capabilities. They process a wide range of film types and offer state-of-the-art scanning and post-processing services. Fine art prints on various paper types are also available.

Reformed Film Lab

Reformed Film Lab 35mm Roll Price: $12

Reformed Film Lab takes a modern approach to mail-in film developing. They offer processing, scans, and small prints. Their convenient app helps you place and track orders, and they even sell films, film cameras, and "Film Life" merchandise. This lab proves that film can thrive in the digital era.

Miller's Lab

Miller's Lab 35mm Roll Price: $8

Miller's Lab is the ultimate all-in-one lab for professional photographers. Since 1964, they have been developing film of various types. Their skilled technicians individually color-correct each frame, ensuring exceptional quality. Digital files of scans range from 12-20MB, and with a quick 48-hour turnaround time, you can count on them for professional-grade results.

Mpix

Mpix 35mm Roll Price: $12

As the consumer-oriented branch of Miller's Lab, Mpix specializes in processing 35mm and medium format color film. They offer convenient digital download of scans and mail back the negatives to the customer. Scans come in two resolutions, and prints can be purchased separately. Their connection to Miller's Lab ensures top-notch quality.

Process One

Process One 35mm Roll Price: $5

Founded in 1984, Process One has decades of experience in film processing and printing. They accept mail-in orders for various film formats and process them using top-quality Fujifilm chemistry. Their scan resolution is 2400x3600, and they always return negatives in archival sleeves. With their commitment to quality, Process One is a reliable option.

Nice Film Club

Nice Film Club 35mm Roll Price: $15+ for non-members, $10 for members

Based in Brooklyn, New York, Nice Film Club caters to film photographers seeking high-quality lab services with a modern web experience. They use state-of-the-art Noritsu HS-1800 film scanners, ensuring exceptional quality scans. With a turnaround time of 2-3 days and discounted rates for members, Nice Film Club is a fantastic option for film enthusiasts.

CVS

CVS offers the convenience of dropping off your film at your neighborhood chain pharmacy for processing and printing. They develop standard color negative 35mm film and disposable cameras, providing you with 4x6 prints in about 7-10 days. They also accept APS, black and white, 110, and slide film, though the turnaround time for these may be longer. It's important to note that CVS does not return negatives.

Walgreens

Similar to CVS, Walgreens continues to offer film processing services at select locations with photo labs. They process standard color negative 35mm film, as well as APS, 110, 127, and disposable cameras at certain labs. Customers receive prints and a free CD of digital images within 3-5 business days. However, like CVS, Walgreens does not return negatives.

Finding a Film Lab Near You

If you prefer dropping off your film in person, there may be reputable labs located near you. To find a lab in your area, a simple search on Google or Yelp is recommended.

  • Google: Visit Google Maps and search for "film development" to see a map with pins indicating businesses that offer film processing in your vicinity.

  • Yelp: Use the Yelp search function to look for "film development" in your location. Customer reviews will provide insights into the quality of work and customer service offered by each lab.

In Conclusion

Despite the digital era, film photography continues to retain its magic. Thanks to the convenience of mail-in processing, photographers have more options than ever before. With various labs offering scans, post-processing, and prints, shooting film has never been more convenient. If you have any recommendations for film labs that should be added to this list, please let us know in the comments. And if you come across any outdated information that requires updating, we appreciate your feedback.

Image credits: Photos from Depositphotos

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