Should You Develop Film & Disposable Cameras at Walmart?
Walmart has great prices for developing film and disposable cameras, but it's not always the best option. Take a look and see if it's the right choice for you.
Are you considering Walmart to develop disposable cameras and 35mm film? Then, this article can be of help.
I’ll explain how Walmart film developing works and how much it costs. Of course, I’ll include a list of pros and cons to help you decide if it’s the best choice.
I’ll also answer some of the most common questions, such as “Does Walmart develop expired film?” and “Does Walmart develop disposable cameras?”.
Spoiler alert! The answer to both those questions is yes – Walmart still develops film and disposable cameras. But it’s not the only place that does it. I’ll give you some alternatives too.
So, keep on reading to learn all you need to know before sending in your 35mm rolls or disposable cameras for film developing at Walmart.
- See also: What is the best disposable camera?
Pros and Cons of Developing Film at Walmart
Many convenient locations. Walmart stores are present in most of the US territory. This makes it very comfortable to find a Walmart that develops film close to where you live.
They have a physical photo center. Many people don’t like online services. Physical photo centers inside the local Walmart store are a plus for many users.
One-stop shop. Since Walmart is a retail store, you can use the trip for developing film and also do your grocery shopping and other chores. Not just that, the photo center offers many services you can use since you’re there. It does everything from photo gifts to passport pictures.
Affordable prices. Regarding photo labs with a physical location, the Walmart Photo Centers are one of the most affordable. So, choosing Walmart to save money is a good idea.
They develop expired film. Many people need to develop film because they find it in an old camera. Most of the time, this old film is expired. If this is your case, don’t worry – Walmart does develop expired film.
They don’t return the film roll. Most people who shoot film in an era of digital photos are interested in keeping the negatives. The fact that the Walmart photo lab doesn’t return the film after developing is a big con.
Low-quality scans. After getting your photos developed, Walmart offers to scan them and deliver them to you on a CD. This service is included in the price, which makes it quite appealing.
Unfortunately, they don’t scan them in high resolution. Also, many complain about the quality of the scan, but this may be different according to the location.
Since they don’t return negatives, this means that you won’t be able to get a better scan or high-quality prints of your photos.
Long turnaround time. Walmart advertises a one-week turnaround. However, many customers have posted reviews complaining about much longer times. Some have waited up to three weeks to get the finished prints.
They don’t develop many film types. While you can get a disposable camera developed as well as 35mm film, you can’t develop medium format film. Also, unlike Walgreens or CVS, Walmart doesn’t offer film processing for APS, 110, or slide film.
Print size. The printing services included in film developing are only for 4 “x6” photos. It’s impossible to ask for a different size in the same order as the photo development.
If you want a bigger size, you need to wait for the film developing order to be ready, then go back to the store and order an enlargement.
Also, many customers complain about the print quality. However, this may be different at each Walmart, depending on which lab they use for the development and photo printing services.
How Much Does it Cost to Develop Film at Walmart?
I already mentioned that one of the pros of the Walmart Photo Center was the affordable prices.
So, you might be wondering how much it costs to develop a disposable camera or a 35mm film at a local Walmart.
According to the Walmart film developing price chart, the cost depends on the number of exposures.
There’s also the possibility of asking for double prints instead of single prints for an extra charge.
- 12 exposures – $7.96 Singles – $9.96 Doubles.
- 24 exposures – $9.96 Singles – $12.96 Doubles.
- 27 exposures – $10.96 Singles – $14.96 Doubles.
- 36 exposures – $13.96 Singles – $18.96 Doubles.
The cost to develop 35mm film includes the 4″ colour prints and the digital photos on a CD. The price is the same if you develop disposable cameras.
How to Get Your Film Developed at Walmart
First of all, you need to find a Walmart Photo Center. You may use Google Maps or the Store Finder on their website.
This is because not all Walmart stores have a photo center. It may be that the nearby Walmart won’t offer this service. However, Walmart has many locations – it’s possible you can find one close to you.
Unfortunately, the Walmart film developing service isn’t available online or by mailing your film rolls.
While the Walmart Photo Center is a physical location inside your local Walmart, you don’t have direct contact with a person to get your film developed.
Instead, you need to put your film or disposable camera inside a developing envelope available at the Photo Centers.
You should also fill in the film development order form. Here you put your personal information and select if you want single or double prints. There’s also space for special instructions. It’s not guaranteed that they can fulfil any special requests, though.
Seal it using the self-sticking adhesive and drop it at the “Film Development and Print” dropbox. Walmart Photo Center accepts credit cards, debit cards, PayPal, and other payment methods – except for Affirm.
Walmart Photo Center offers a one-week turnover. However, since they don’t have in-house film development services, the process might take up to three weeks. The delays may come from the courier or the third-party photo lab.
Whenever your film prints are ready, you can pick them up with the CD where they scanned your pictures.
- See also: What is the best 35mm film SLR camera?
Do Film Negatives Matter?
The short answer is yes; film negatives matter – they’re your originals.
This is especially important if you use photography for professional or creative reasons. The negatives are the proof of authorship which would be handy in a copyright dispute or to participate in a photo contest.
Another advantage of keeping the negatives is the possibility of scanning with different qualities and settings in the future. It’s also a lifesaver if your hard drive crashes or your files get corrupted.
If you’re not a professional photographer, these arguments might not be relevant to you. Maybe you simply develop photos from family gatherings or an old film you found in the attic.
Then, you might not be interested in keeping the negatives. If this is your case, then I advise you to scan them in high resolution before throwing them away. This way, if your prints fade, get lost, or something, you’ll have a file to print new copies.
Where Else Can I Get Film and Disposable Cameras Developed?
Visit other shops with a photo center
Walmart isn’t the only retail shop with film developing services and photo printing services.
Walgreens and CVS are some of the most popular ones you can find throughout the US. However, they are a bit more expensive than Walmart.
Generally speaking, to develop film at Walmart or any of these retail shops has the same pros and cons. It’s especially important to point out that – like Walmart – they won’t return negatives.
Develop your own film
You might think that film development is difficult and you need expensive equipment like the machines you see at photo labs.
Actually, you can easily develop film at home. You can develop colour or black and white film. I should say that colour film processing is a bit more difficult to do at home. This is simply because you need to keep the liquids at a specific temperature.
In any case, developing film at home has many advantages. You can control the outcome completely. It’s also less expensive, and you can even experiment with cross-processing and other techniques.
Let’s not forget that it’s also fun and rewarding. If you’re interested in trying it, I recommend starting with a black-and-white film. Check out our guide to learn how to develop film.
It’s also possible to do it with a disposable camera. You can even reload some models to get more uses out of them. You can find a complete guide here.
Use online photo services
Online services are one of the best choices if you want to develop disposable cameras or you’re looking for places that develop film.
Most of them have a mailing service available for the entire US territory. They usually develop all film types, not just 35mm.
Also, they are often more affordable than retail stores and offer better quality. Most importantly, after they send the negatives back, even when developing disposable cameras.
These are some of the most popular online services for developing film and disposable cameras:
- The Darkroom Lab.
- State Film Lab.
- Richard Film Lab.
- Negative Lab.
- Reformed Film Lab.
- Indie Film Lab.
- NorthEast Photographic.
Go to a local photo lab
I know that this isn’t an option available for everyone. Unfortunately, it’s not as popular to develop film to make it profitable for labs. So, there aren’t as many as they used to be.
However, you can do a quick search in your area to see if you can find one. You can try reaching out to professional photographers near you and ask them if they can recommend any.
This will be one of the best choices you can have. Professional photo labs have quality standards. Plus, you’ll save shipping costs and delivery time, plus you’ll have good customer service.
FAQs on Walmart Film Developing
Does Walmart Still Develop Film and Disposable Cameras?
You can get your film and disposable cameras developed at Walmart. However, they send it to a third-party photo lab to get it done.
How Long Does It Take to Get Film Developed at Walmart?
The turnaround time for film and disposable camera development varies from 7 days to three weeks. This is because Walmart photo center doesn’t offer in-house film development services anymore. So, you need to consider shipping times.
What Film Formats Can Walmart Develop?
Walmart develops film in various formats. This may be 110, 126, and 35mm film. They also offer disposable camera development.
Does Walmart Develop Negatives to Photos?
Yes, the Walmart photo center develops negative film and can deliver printed photos or scan them and deliver your photos on a CD.
They rely on third-party photo labs to do so. They stopped developing film in-house in 2022. This has extended the turnaround time.
Why Doesn’t Walmart Return Film?
I was unable to find an explanation as to why Walmart doesn’t return the photographic film sent for developing. I found reviews from users who have successfully recovered their film roll by instructing in the drop-off form that they wanted it. However, it’s not guaranteed that they will comply with your request as they clearly state that they don’t send back the negatives.
Walmart Photo Center is very convenient and great for many photographic services. You can do your passport photos, one-hour prints in multiple formats, and order many photo gifts.
This is if you work with a digital camera or already have your film rolls developed and scanned. Unfortunately, film developing services have more cons than pros.
If you don’t care about the negatives or doing high-quality photo printing, then Walmart can be a good choice. They have many locations, and the prices are pretty affordable.
However, if you’re a professional photographer, you might need another photo lab. The most significant problem is that they don’t return the negatives.
If they did, then maybe the scan and print quality wouldn’t be so important. You could always do that elsewhere. Since they don’t, you won’t have any negatives or a good digital version of them. That’s a definite no-no, in my opinion.
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