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Where to develop 35mm films?

Benhai Zhang , Apr 19, 2013; 01:57 p.m.

I just grabbed a mint condition Nikon N90S very cheap. I like it and would like to shoot some films to enjoy it but to my surprise there is no available film processing centers can do cheaply for 35mm films. I am looking for something in $3-$5 per 24 roll. Where can I go? Maybe this is the year for the end of film?

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Jose Angel , Apr 19, 2013; 02:04 p.m.

Use b&w film and develop it by yourself at home. It`s so easy.
Put it in a developing tank, three solutions (developer, stop bath and fixer), water and let it dry. That`s all, in one hour the work is done.
Beware, it`s addictive; you may stop using your digital cameras... ;D

Benhai Zhang , Apr 19, 2013; 02:13 p.m.

That's for black & white. I used to do it 20 years ago. I prefer color films but I can go back to do the black & white bathroom operations ^_^.

Craig Shearman , Apr 19, 2013; 02:13 p.m.

Not sure where you are located but in the U.S. just look in the Yellow Pages under Photo Finishing. You can't get it developed on every corner any more, but plenty of drug stores, big box stores and most camera stores still develop film or can at least send it out. Also google online and if there isn't a place close to home there are many, many places you can mail the film. As for prcie, the going rate is around $12 for a 24-exposure roll developed with one set of 4x6 prints. You might find it for as little as $7-8 and can pay close to $25 at a professional lab.

JDM von Weinberg , Apr 19, 2013; 02:20 p.m.

There are still some drugstores (my local Walgreens, for one) that still offer C41 (color/negative films) development and even scans from the film. There are some "chromogenic" B&W films that are very nice, and are processed in C41 chemistry. If you still have a camera store locally, many of them, especially in college towns, also offer at least C41 processing - prices for a roll of C41, usually regardless of length, with processing only (you do your own scanning), are in the range of $3-4 US.
There are mail order houses like Dwayne's that do various kinds of processing, but for traditional B&W films you are best to do as Jose suggests, DIY.
Buy a "changing bag", a daylight developing tank, and some chemicals, and the answer to your question as to "where?" is your own bathroom.

As I often say, there is nothing like the smell of fixer at midnight -- it smells like, like, photography.

Walter Degroot , Apr 19, 2013; 02:22 p.m.

that is what I usually do.
but the problem is finding real B&W film,
( not the 400 cn)
easiest film to purchase ( here in the usa)
is color print film. take it to a drugstore that offers send out service.,
the big box stores either do not return negatives or do not offer the service at all.
It will cost about $10-12 for a 24 exp roll. with prints.
some will just develop film and let you scan them yourself,

It used to be that many stores sold everything you will need.
This is true in large cities only.

Benhai Zhang , Apr 19, 2013; 02:29 p.m.

Thanks for all of the good suggestions. I'll check the local Walgreen and Walmart and see if it is economical to let them do it. Otherwise I'd need to setup a darkroom and suffering the ugly face from my wife again ^_^. I may need to find a good 35mm film scanner.

JDM von Weinberg , Apr 19, 2013; 02:48 p.m.

I may need to find a good 35mm film scanner.

On the lines of "if you want it done right...", that is a good idea. The problem is that it is getting hard to find a really good new scanner. Some of the best ones are no longer made and connecting them to modern computers is also a problem.
I do find that my Canoscan 9000F is OK, but it is not so good as an older non-flatbed scanner. It is surely good enough for web postings (see my comparison at http://photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/00b9l6 with the various responses to it).

As for scanner software, the old software typically will not run on newer OSs. Try VueScan. My Canoscan 9000F software does run, but I also use VueScan even there.

Patrick S , Apr 19, 2013; 03:00 p.m.

The days of casual film use may be vanishing. Film use is now more of a dedication, a devotion, and probably, partial insanity. Right now you can get film and get it processed cheaply as long as you don't want prints. That's always been the case. My local lab will do a roll for $2.50 but if you want prints it ends up costing over ten bucks a roll. Prints were how the lab made money; still is with digital, obviously, as there are no film processing costs.

I can't see anything that will meet your price other than home developing and scanning. A scanner will run you a hundred bucks minimum. If you don't intend to shoot lots of film, maybe something like thedarkroom.com will fit your needs better. For fifteen dollars total, including postage, you get your film developed, posted online, scanned to CD, and CD and negatives returned to you. That works out to $5 per 12 exposures, so it's about twice what you want to spend but you get a lot. They'll even send you postage-paid mailers to send your film in. I've used them and their work is top notch.

Walter Degroot , Apr 19, 2013; 05:05 p.m.

walmart USES to be the " go to" place.D
BUT they will NOT return negatives.
all you can get is scans and prints.
that is unless something has changed.
so use a drug store or camera store and pay more.
and risk crappy work. or find a good mail-order place for c-41
color negative film
real B&W is easy to do at home but more expensive to send out.
again UNLESS you LIKE getting angry
do mot use walmart.
I hope they eventually " see the light"
and will return negatives.


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