When it comes to shooting film photography and the process of developing film, there’s a wide range of options out there.
From a cost perspective, most people want to know how to find the cheapest place to develop film, without sacrificing quality?
Other factors include the size of your film roll and whether you need slide film, scans or prints and black and white or color, and more.
In this article, I’ll cover several options for developing film cheaply.
So, whether you mail the film to an online lab, or visit a local drugstore like Walmart, Walgreens or CVS, you’ll discover the best option for your needs.
Table of Contents
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Roll of Film Developed?
Naturally, this depends on what type of film you’re working with, whether that’s slide film or regular film, and where you go.
I’ll touch on a variety of different films, but because 35mm film is one of the most popular film formats when it comes to print, I’ll mainly focus on 35mm film.
Typically, you can expect to pay between US$10-20 to develop film and get your photos.
Keep in mind that the price may vary by exposure length, and of course, the location of the film lab.
Vintage film or black-and-white film may also cost more to develop, as will medium format or large format.
You can see below the prices (at the time of writing) of online film labs around the world to compare – be sure to visit each one to check how much it costs to develop film.
What Is the Cheapest Place for Developing Film in 2023?
If you’re trying to get film developed while maintaining your budget, don’t worry!
There are heaps of places available that produce great results without breaking the bank, so I’ll dive deeper into those options below.
When most people think of Walmart, they think of savings, and this applies to photos too!
Walmart began as a discount retailer and to this day, honors a commitment to everyday low prices, so it’s definitely a budget-friendly spot to consider for film development and print.
And because they offer in-person drop-off, you get peace of mind knowing that you ensured your film made it to the store as opposed to potentially getting lost in the mail.
One of the cheaper options available, getting film developed at Walmart can cost anywhere from $10-14 for a roll of film, which is quite reasonable.
Walmart will also develop disposable cameras – here’s a complete guide to developing film and cameras at Walmart.
Mail-In: Dwayne’s Photo
Another top contender for cheap film photography development is brought to you by Dwayne’s Photo.
Dwayne’s is the answer to the question: where to develop 35mm film?
Mail-in film developing for 35mm film in color costs $6 per roll, while black-and-white starts at $7.
Dwayne’s definitely offers fair prices, but keep in mind that you’ll have to pay a bit for shipping and handling your photos.
Walmart vs. Walgreens vs. CVS for Developing Film
Deciding between three of the leading drug stores for developing film can be hard, so I created a table below to give you the highlights!
Walmart is undoubtedly one of the cheapest options for 35mm color and black-and-white film development.
And with nearly 5,000 stores across the globe, you likely have a local Walmart conveniently near you that’s perfect for film development and print.
Another benefit is that extra prints are only a couple of bucks extra, and you get a free CD and a print of negatives with your purchase for a grand total of $10-$14.
Among the three choices above, Walmart develops a larger variety of film types, including 35mm, 110, 126 and film from disposable cameras.
However, there are reports of low-resolution results, so the resolution of your scans and prints may not be as clear or sharp as you’d like.
And please also be aware that not every Walmart returns negatives, so be sure to verify with the location you choose beforehand.
Another factor to consider is that Walmart tends to have the longest turnaround time among the three choices above, though 3 weeks isn’t terrible.
Walgreens is another contender for one of the best places for getting film developed at the best price.
With nearly 9,000 locations around the world, you can easily find one near you.
Like Walmart, Walgreens also develops a variety of different film types including film from disposable cameras, but for a larger price than Walmart.
And a standard set of colored prints and a CD are included with your purchase for a slightly higher price of $15-$18.
However, you won’t get your negatives returned, so you may want to consider a spot that will return negatives.
The quality of the scans is fair but also tends to be lower in resolution.
And while you can expect a reasonable wait time of up to 10 days for getting 35mm film developed, anything other than that will take longer.
CVS is another runner-up for the best drug stores for film developing, whether you want to a print or scan set.
Nearly 10,000 locations to choose from means there’s likely one up the block or around the corner.
CVS also develops an array of different film types in color and black and white.
And thankfully, you can expect high-quality scans from CVS in just 7-10 days.
However, film that’s not 35mm will take longer and you won’t get your negatives back.
The Cheapest Places to Develop Film in Canada
While the drugstores listed above are available outside the U.S., let’s discuss some of the best Canada-specific options for getting film developed.
Note that because prices change frequently, you’ll want to check out our detailed article on where to develop film.
As opposed to supporting bigger brands, why not try a small business when it comes to film developing?
Owned and operated by a Toronto local, you’ll experience personalized service and a warm bedside manner at Downtown Camera.
Besides selling a variety of cameras, accessories and lenses, Downtown Camera has an on-site lab that provides processing for 35mm, 110, 120, 220 film in color.
They also develop black and white photos with high resolution.
Additionally, APS film can be processed in color for ultra-high-quality photos.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try developing yourself at home since they sell a wide range of equipment for at-home development.
And thanks to a partnership with another local photographer, you can now get E-6 film developed as well.
Prices range from $8-$16 depending on the service, so Downtown Camera definitely has some of the best prices.
Pond’s Foto Source
Another great option for getting film developed in Canada is Pond’s Foto Source.
Getting started with film developing is as easy as navigating to their website and placing your order with an intuitive online order form.
Then you simply package your roll of 35 mm, 110 or 120 film and mail it out.
Here, you can process film in color or black and white in prints, scans and more beginning at $16.
And for this reasonable price, you’ll receive photos with exceptional quality.
Accordinbg to reviews, the staff at Pond’s is often praised for being helpful and informative to first-time visitors and seasoned developers alike.
If you prefer in-person drop-off, they have that option too with stores available all over Canada.
Another top-rated spot for developing films in Canada is Annex Photo.
Located in Toronto, you can easily download the mail-in order form to get your film development underway or make an appointment to visit in person via their website.
While some labs pride themselves on the traditional drop-off and pick-up method in person, Annex Photo emails you a digital copy of your scans for effortless previewing and downloading right to your computer.
35mm scans start at just $13 for color and $14 for black and white, with the option to add a set of digital prints for $4.
A roll of 120 film can be processed for $23 in color and $24 for black and white.
While this may seem a bit more expensive, Annex Photo’s scan and print quality is unmatched, as well as the level of service and expertise.
Once payment is received, Annex Photo returns negatives of your digital scans via email in as quickly as 5 days.
The Cheapest Places to Develop Film in the UK
We’ve covered Canada, so let’s jump across the pond to discuss some of the best places to develop film and get photos in the UK!
Again, because prices constantly change, be sure to check out our article on the best places to get film developed.
If you need a place that specializes in developing disposable camera film, look no further than ASDA.
Getting started is easy because ASDA sends you a prepaid envelope for mailing in your disposable camera when you fill out the online form.
Starting at only £6.75, you can get a roll of 35mm and APS film developed for up to 27 images in DVD form. You can also elect to only receive negatives for £5.75.
Turnaround times are typically within a reasonable timeframe of 5-7 days for color film with high resolution, or up to 10 days for black-and-white development.
The USB-only option costs almost double the price but gives you compact convenience without the hassle of downloading any software.
While some users noted delays in turnaround times and missing images, others praised the staff and image quality.
Take It Easy Lab
Take It Easy Lab is another prime pick for sending film off for print in the UK.
Proudly exuding a local indie vibe, professional film photographers and beginners alike will feel welcome at this family-run establishment in Leeds.
Take It Easy offers the whole spectrum of film development from medium format film, large format film, disposable film, prints and scans to C-type hand printing and E-6 slides.
With both mail-in and drop-off choices available, you can get your film developed in an easy process that works with your schedule.
Black-and-white disposable film development starts at only £7, while color is just £5
With a crazy fast turnaround time of just 2-3 days for color film and 5-7 days for black-and-white film, you not only get efficiency, but excellent quality.
Staff members are also known for being exceptionally communicative and keeping customers up to date on orders, which is something we all can appreciate!
And if you’re still not convinced how amazing Take It Easy is, just glance at one of their nearly 700 five-star reviews.
Another spot to consider for film development in the UK is Bristol Cameras.
Offering mail-order film development beginning at just £7.99, Bristol Cameras brings comprehensive film development and printing services.
However, they also have a storefront on High Street for those who prefer face-to-face drop-off and pickup.
Additionally, they also provide image recovery services and sell secondhand equipment, making them a one-stop shop for photographers in the area.
Turnaround times are typically a week for a 35mm roll of color and 2 weeks for black and white.
Please note that some photographers experienced longer turnaround times and found it difficult to get in touch with staff for updates.
AG Photolab is another top competitor for film development services in the UK.
Located in Birmingham, AG Photolab is one of the best full-service labs to offer processing in everything from C41, E6 and black-and-white film processing all the way to printing and purchasing.
Prices start at just £4.99 and vary depending on black and white vs. color as well as the kind of film formats you need, push/pull development and film sleeve choice.
And while APS film can be developed, this film lab no longer scans or prints it.
Known for delivering quick turnaround times with sacrificing quality, you can expect excellent results in just 7-10 days.
Emailed updates let you know when processing has begun and dispatch can be expected, so you’re constantly in the loop when it comes to your film for a process made effortless.
And nearly 200 five-star reviews will give you the peace of mind you need when choosing one of the best film labs in existence.
The Cheapest Places to Develop Film in Australia
We’ve covered the US, UK and Canada, so now we need to discuss the best places in Australia for film development.
Please note that because prices always fluctuate, you’ll want to check the aforementioned article prior to making your decision.
Do Film! Lab
A top contender for film development in Australia is Do Film! Lab in Darlinghurst.
Committed to delivering the best customer service and top-quality film development, this film lab is open every day of the week from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Do Film! Lab brings the whole package for film development for a variety of formats in both black and white and color.
Development starts at just $9.50 per roll, while solid-quality scans are just $12 per roll.
Development and scans for a single roll are just $15, or you can get the whole trifecta of development, prints and scans for just $27, which is quite reasonable!
The staff is also known for being super friendly and informative, which is always a plus.
And with turnaround times of just 3 days, you’ll get the high-quality images you want.
Rewind Photo Lab
You’ll get the best mix of price and quality at Rewind Photo Lab in Alexandria.
Catering to a variety of different brands and formats in both color and black and white, you’ll enjoy full film services.
Prices for rolls of color film start at $9.50 and scan add-ons are available for just $7.50 each.
The turnaround times for this film lab are extremely fast, with some digital scans available within just four hours.
Rewind Photo Lab even boasts 1-day delivery to those in the Metro area for a process that’s hassle-free.
Customer service here is also exceptional, and if, for whatever reason, you’re dissatisfied with results, you can expect a prompt email from the owner reassuring you that he’ll develop your digital photos himself.
And while some users noted oversaturation in their prints, most are happy with the quality of film development — as demonstrated in several of more than 250 five-star reviews.
Is it Cheaper to Develop Film At Home?
While lab development is often a pricy part of getting film developed, particularly black-and-white film, you have to keep in mind that it also saves you time and a hassle.
However, DIY-ing your own film can definitely help your budget and it’s a process most photographers have already considered.
While it may seem intimidating if you’re a novice, it’s fairly easy to do.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t even need a darkroom or any kind of reformed film lab to get the job done at home.
Is it cheaper to develop film at Walgreens or CVS?
Typically, it’s cheaper at CVS, but this will depend on your specific needs.
Where is the cheapest place to develop a disposable camera?
Walmart is definitely one of the cheaper options, but CVS and Target are other stores worth considering as well.
Does Walmart still develop film?
Yes, but Walmart no longer develops film in house, which has produced extended turnaround times.
Is CVS a good place to develop film?
Yes, although they don’t develop disposable cameras. CVS is known for delivering high-quality results and even producing slide film within a reasonable timeframe of 7-10 days, so I recommend you head to your local CVS to send your film off to print today!
How much does it cost to get film developed?
Depending on where you live and the type of film stock, number of exposures and the size of the prints, printing film can cost anywhere between $15~30.
Getting film developed is easier than ever in today’s world.
And if you’re looking for the cheapest options around, I hope this article helped you.
With the option to drop off in-store or mail in your film, you have no shortage of options in what you get developed and how.
Just make sure to try a few of these photo labs and their various film processing options for developing your film rolls this year and leave us a comment below with your experiences.
Now, dust off those film cameras and get snapping!