In this fancy modern digital world we live it, it can be hard to believe that there are places out there that actually develop 35mm film. But exist they do, and if you don’t want to develop your film on your own, you’re going to have to seek one out.
If price doesn’t matter, you’ll always get the best results by either going to a boutique development house or by mailing off your film to one. Also, if you’re getting anything other than 35mm color negative C41 process film developed, you’re going to have to go to one of these places. Personally, I send my medium format and black and white 35mm to Phoenix Imaging and the Lomography store in Chicago. Back when I lived in Muncie, I sent it to Jack’s Camera Shop. With a little research and a more luck, you might be able to find a great place near you. Otherwise, mailers are going to be your new best friend, and a home development studio might be in your future.
Film development at these kind of places often is rather expensive and can be a bit slow. Amazingly, some stores still offer 1 hour photo development as if the nineties never ended. The person working behind the counter may have no idea how to use it, but many places like older Walgreens locations still have their 35mm development machines up and running. For many years I used Walgreens, but recently I’ve found Costco to be an amazingly reliable and affordable option. For two bucks a roll, Costco is a small fraction of the price of just about everybody else out there. Also, the people who work there actually know how to use the development machines, something that isn’t always the case at Walgreens.
Ultimately, I’d love to develop my own film in my own darkroom, but until that glorious day, I still have to depend on others to process my film for me. Luckily there are quite a few good options left.
What about film scanning you ask? I do that myself with my trusty ol’ Nikon Coolscan V.
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