For a while I stopped developing my film. Mostly because I thought the only way to do so was expensive. I had problems in the past with 1-hour offerings and so I shied away from them and when the itch struck would just give in and pay a large amount at a professional lab.
This week I remembered my love for film again, outside of the frustration of cost. I went back to the professional place and by chance/coincidence/fate I only managed to bring one of the three rolls I had wanted developed. I had grabbed two unused rolls in unmarked canisters, something I didn't notice until I was gathering my things outside of the lab.
It worked out well though. I decided I would try some different options. I would get the roll on hand developed at the professional place and then I would experiment with the other two.
The first roll developed was the one most recently completed, so I had a better idea of what I want going to see, the other two were a mystery. I figured if the other places screwed up the processing it wouldn't be that big of a loss.
I did my research, looked for places to send film into and then ran across a blog post by a person who gets hers done at walmart. She drops of her 120 film to them, writes on the package and it comes back developed well, and only for a few bucks! I'm not a fan of Walmart, but Costco has a similar system, and I had heard good things about them through a photographer I recently started following, so I decided to test my fate with the regular 35mm film.
Today I walked into Costco with my mystery rolls and asked that they be developed and keep the film uncut. I had thought about it on my journey and realized that getting them printed would be harder, because the machine might not recognize the black space, but if I just had them put onto a cd it wouldn't matter. The developing would be the same either way and if something messed up in the transfer to the computer I could always go back and get more specific about the area that I wanted as my picture.
It worked. I came home with my two cds and my pictures look just as good as the ones done by the professional photo lab. Because I don't get mine printed at the moment I didn't need the colors to be as vibrant, something I'm not sure Costco would be able to handle as I think their machines automatically color correct.
Now, here's the real doozy... cost:
Professional Photo Lab: $16 and change for one roll of film to CD
Costco: $9 and change for two rolls to CD
A couple closing thoughts.
- Going to costco will not work for when I want to develop through the sprocket holes, luckily I found a place that will do that, but it has to be sent out. They are the cheapest I've seen for send out thus far, but the charge for developing into the sprocket holes adds a good $10 to your order. Ouch. Good thing I don't do that often, nor do I really want to. That will be a special project.
- I didn't ask if Costco sends out for 120 film. They do all of their 35mm processing in the store still unlike the Walmart that the blog post talks about. Places like CVS, Target and Walgreens have been closing down their film processing and are relying on their digital kiosks now so that might be an issue. I may have to find myself in a Walmart...
For now I'm just excited that I can take and develop my 35mm film on the inexpensive side. I missed the excitement of seeing what came out.