Analog Week Just because ‘there’s an app for that’ doesn’t mean you have to use it. This week we’re going analog, reminding ourselves that we can live-and live _well_ -without smartphones, and seeing what’s worth preserving from the time before we were all plugged in 24/7.
I remember the first digital camera I ever used. It was the size of a salad bowl and stored images on a 3.5″ disk. Yes, the same size we used to shove into our computers. Each image-a disk could hold about 20 photos-was 0.3 megapixels. (It was a Sony Mavica, OK nerds?)
It was fun to play around with, but I didn’t imagine at the time that digital photography would ever surpass film. Everyone had a little point-and-shoot camera to take to parties or on trips, and at some point, sometime between the minute the roll was full and years later, we’d mosey over to the one-hour photo shop and get it developed for $5 or $6. Maybe a little more, if you got doubles to share with your friends.
Those days are long gone. And though film photography still has plenty of enthusiasts, it’s harder to get film processed in all your tried and true spots like drugstores. One-hour processing is a distant memory, even for dedicated photography shops.
If you’ve ever wondered where to get film developed and don’t have a specialty store near you, here’s a rundown of where you can go to have those rolls processed and printed.
CVS offers 4×6 prints from 35mm film or disposable cameras. It takes 7-10 business days to get them back after you drop off. Prints cost $0.36 each, according to a location near me.
Walgreens/Duane Reade/Rite Aid
The Walgreens family charges $14.99 for a 24-roll of 35mm film, ready for pickup in 3-5 business days. You won’t get negatives back, but you will get a CD containing digital copies. Some stores with photo labs can also accept 110 film, 127 film, negatives, or single-use cameras and will send them out for processing.
Walmart will still send your film out for processing, but it’s unclear, even among staffers I spoke to, how long it takes or how much it costs.
That’s the end of the list! Target and Sam’s Club stopped processing film in 2013, and Costco has been phasing out its photo departments for a few years.
Beyond your local camera shop, there are a bunch of businesses that accept film from all over the country to be developed. Here are a handful to get you started.
Based in California, The Darkroom develops your 35mm film starting at $12 per roll. It also says it can process “almost anything,” including 120/220, 110/126/Advantix, disposable cameras and E-6 slide film. You’ll get access to a web gallery 3-4 days after your film is processed, and you can choose to download your photos or order prints. Negatives are returned cut and in sleeves, and you get a DVD of your images. Shipping your film to The Darkroom is free with a printable shipping label.
This photo shop based in Kansas offers processing for oodles of film, from color and black and white options to slides. Process One doesn’t offer free shipping, but you can choose to have your photos uploaded to Dropbox instead of getting a physical CD mailed. For most formats, you pay a developing fee per roll ($3.99 for color 35mm, $4.99 for 120 color developing, and so on), plus a per-print fee. Negatives are always returned. Processing usually takes a day, but your delivery time will depend on the shipping option you choose. Worth noting: Process One offers a film developing sale each February.
Mpix will send you a mailer for your 35mm rolls or single-use camera. They’ll will develop it within 24 hours of receipt, then upload your photos online and send back your negatives from its Kansas facility. Then, you can order prints a la carte from the website. You pay 19 cents per exposure and prints start at 19 cents each. If you want a DVD of high-res images, you can add one starting at $10. Shipping is free for orders above $35; otherwise shipping starts at $3.95.
Old School Photo Lab
Up in New Hampshire, Old School Photo Lab offers 35mm film processing starting at $12 plus $11 for prints. Only want digital memories? For $5, they’ll upload your scans to a personal gallery after processing. Negatives get returned to you, and shipping is free both ways. Old School also processes 120, 220, 110, 126 and 127 film, and offers processing for C-22 “old film.” Color processing takes 3-7 business days, with turnaround times of up to 14 business days for other varieties.
Guess where Meridian Pro is based? Kansas! Pricing starts at $10 to develop and scan your 35mm or 120 film, and it’s free to download your files (get a CD for just a dollar more). Your negatives get mailed back; Add a set of 4×6 prints for $4. Service time is typically three days from when Meridian Pro receives your film.