Using a disposable camera is one of those things that brings the joy back into photography in an otherwise largely digital age.
You put hours into perfecting composition, framing and exposure, never really sure if your shots have paid off until you get them developed.
But where to get disposable cameras developed?
You don’t want to send your precious camera off, only to have poor quality prints or scans returned without negatives, so you can’t reprint them even if you want to, and you also don’t want to spend a fortune or have your camera go ‘missing’.
Luckily, there are a number of great options available for where to develop disposable cameras, which will be covered in this article in terms of:
- Print Quality and Number – do the prints look good, can you order a variety of sizes, and can you order more once receiving your first batch.
- Scan Quality – does the lab provide scans instead of / in addition to prints, and if so, what is their resolution and quality?
- Negatives – are the negatives returned to you, which is not common with disposable cameras.
- Turnaround Time – How long will you be waiting for your film to be developed?
- Price – Is the service value for money?
There are both good options to send your disposable camera to be developed with online services, plus a number of brick and mortar stores that will develop disposable cameras near you, so if you want to know, “where can I get disposable cameras developed?”, this article will cover all of the best options.
Note: all of the places that develop disposable cameras also develop film, so this article is also applicable if you only want to know, “Where to get film developed?”
Where to Develop Disposable Cameras Near Me?
If you don’t want to send your camera off, for whatever reason (they are fragile or inconvenient), don’t worry! There are a number of stores where you can take your disposable cameras near you and get them developed.
The good news is that it doesn’t matter if the store uses online photo printing services, physical prints or their own photo lab – they should all be able to develop your film.
The advantage of going in-store is that you can the opportunity to ask questions and hopefully speak to someone knowledgeable about the development process, which could be particularly useful if you are developing an out-of-date disposable camera for example, but more often than not these in-store booths are unmanned.
Most stores offer standard 35mm color film (C-41), or slide film (E-6) development.
Here are just a few stores that will develop disposable cameras near me:
- CVS Pharmacy
Note that these stores do not develop film in-house, but send them off to a centralized service, such as those by Fujifilm, meaning that there is little advantage in using a store service. They also tend to have fairly poor recent reviews when you really delve into them, meaning that you might be better off thinking about a local or online service for film developing.
If you don’t have these stores nearby or you would prefer not to use them, check out Facebook or your local photo store for other potential options.
In-Store Comparison for Developing Disposable Cameras
If you go into a store to have your disposable cameras developed, there is no major cost difference between using online lab services and having the film processed in-store, but there are differences in price and the services offered, with online services generally coming out on top.
|Where Can I Get Film Developed Near Me?||Cost (24 Exp.)||Includes Scans?||Includes Prints?||Negatives Returned?||Turnaround Time||Website|
|$14.99||Yes – on CD||No||No||3 – 5 Business Days||https://photo.walgreens.com/store/film-processing|
|$9.96||Yes – on CD||Yes – 4″ Prints||No||2 – 3 Weeks||https://photos3.walmart.com/|
|$14.99||Yes – on CD||Yes – 4″ Prints||No||3 Weeks||https://www.cvs.com/photo/film-processing|
Where Can I Send My Disposable Camera to Get Developed?
If you want a more personal touch, ironically you are better to send your camera to an online service, who are much more responsive than the big store brands.
The great news is that these online photo lab services will develop your film in the same way as a store would, but they also offer better quality prints and digital scans.
They upload your images to their website and you can select the types of prints you want: wallet size (2x3inch), 3.5x4inch, 4x6inch or larger, plus there are often discounts for buying in bulk or for new customers.
If you don’t want prints, some services will scan your images to a disc which you can have sent via snail mail, or you can just download the scanned images from the private gallery that they have created for you.
The main difference between using an online lab service and having your disposable camera developed in-store is the ease of use, with price very similar across all services.
The other difference is that with most store photo lab services you can’t order high quality prints or digital scans, whereas these online lab services offer a variety of print sizes and/or scans starting from 300dpi.
But perhaps the most important part of the online film developers is that they return your negative. This is a huge deal, as it allows you to order new prints in the future, in a variety of sizes, and helps protect the legacy of your work.
But, where to get disposable cameras developed online?
Here’s a comparison of some of the most popular online developing services:
|Online Photo Development||Cost (24 Exp.)||Includes Scans?||Includes Prints?||Negatives Returned?||Turnaround Time||Extras||Website|
|$15||Yes – online gallery included||Optional – 4″ for $8; 5″ for $20||Yes||3 – 7 Business Days||Optinal USB or DVD, plus prints||https://thedarkroom.com/product/disposable-cameras/|
|$13.75||Optional – $6 for standard emailed scans||Optional – $6 for 4″ Prints without scans, or $11 for prints and scans||Yes||7 – 10 Business Days||Optional increased scan quality, different print sizes and lots of combinations||https://oldschoolphotolab.com/products/disposable-camera-processing|
|$4.99||Optional – $4.99 – $7.99||Optional – $0.39 for each 4″ print||Yes||10 – 14 Days||Scans can be uploaded to Dropbox, and variety of print options||https://processonephoto.com/disposable-camera-developing.htm|
|$19.50||Yes – emailed scans suitable for 8×12 print||Optional – $0.49 for each 4″ print||Yes||3 – 5 Days||Enhaced scans suitable for 12×18 prints for an extra $5||https://northcoastphoto.com/disposable-cameras/|
Make sure to contact the lab services above directly before sending off any disposable cameras – they may have specific guidelines so read through their FAQs/order process carefully.
One final point to consider when choosing where to get your disposable camera developed is whether you want your negatives back or not. I would consider having the negatives to be a very important part of photography, so I would only recommend going with an online lab that will return these to you (sometimes for a small extra fee, although it is inlcuded for all of the above).
Note that none of the in-store processors will return your film, making the online services much more appealing.
Most of the online lab services listed above will also put your scans on a private online gallery on their website, without giving you any physical copies of your images (although most offer additional printing as standard).
The Dark Room
The Dark Room are without a doubt one of the top places to get disposable cameras developed. Thre price includes a free digital web gallery, with the option of purchasing your scans on DVD or USB stick, plus print options of glossy / matte, borderless / white border and 4-inch / 5-inch sizes.
They offer three types of scan, from the standard scan included in the price, and enhanced scans for an extra $3 that are suitable for prints up to 11×14, then super scans for $8 extra which are suitable for the largest prints.
They also return your negatives and recycle your disposable camera.
Old School Photo Lab
Old School Photo Lab offer a good range of options when developing your film. They can only develop your film if you wish, sending back the negatives for you to scan, or have various combinations of scan only, prints only, or scans plus various sizes of prints.
The scans can also be standard scans, upgrade scans, or upgraded scans delivered in TIFF format, making them essentially the highest quality scans that you can get.
Of course they always return your negatives regardless of the option selected.
Process One offer probably the cheapest rates for developing disposable cameras that you will find, starting from $4.99 when bought in combination with prints and scanning.
Print costs start at $0.39 per print for the first set of 4×6 prints, but drop to $0.20 for the second set, with scanning possible on its own on performed alongside print production.
Scans come in 2400×3600 jpegs, and negatives are always returned, plus your camera is recycled. Process One is a good choice if you only want to pick and choose the development, prints and scans.
North Coast Photographic Services
NCPS offer a full one-package service, developing, scanning and emailing you your photos, although their print services are a little more expensive that their competitor’s. They are an excellent choice if you only care about really high quality scanning, with the standard scan at 2048×3072, and their ‘Ken Rockwell’ scan at 3390×5035 pixels.
The higher quality scan costs an extra $5 for disposable cameras, but is definitely worth it. Negatives are returned to you.
Where to Get Film Developed – Final Thoughts
For my money, online services are much better than those offered by the big stores, as you always get your negatives back, but there’s a good chance that there is a local camera store to you that will also process film. These are often not online though, so you might have to ask around in your local area or on social media.
The key to having your disposable camera developed successfully is doing sufficient research before sending off your film. Make sure you ask the lab service exactly what they will do with your images and how much it’ll cost, plus check out their online reviews/Facebook page to get an idea of what other customers think of them.
Then shop around and see what suits you best!
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