How Much Does It Cost To Get 35mm Film Developed – This guide should help you understand whether film photography is expensive, how you can save or splurge on it, and whether it’s worth the price compared to digital. Read on to compare the costs of 35mm, instant, and large format photographic film media.
Once popular in the 20th century, the film reached its peak in 2003, then declined soon after. Photographers rapidly abandoned their film cameras in the 2010s. Many of us had long forgotten the art, science, and cost of chemical photography.
How Much Does It Cost To Get 35mm Film Developed
Be sure the movie is still ready. In fact, film photography is gaining interest once again. Today it can be developed and scanned in any part of the world. And we’re going to find out how much it will cost.
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Finding the true value of a product or service is not as simple as listening to the salesperson’s advice. There are hidden costs, maintenance costs and obsolescence costs. To make it even more difficult, there are hundreds of use cases for film and digital cameras.
For the purposes of this guide, we will assume that the final image is a projected or printed photograph. With that in mind, we’ll examine 35mm, medium format, instant film, and large format photography. Each medium will be dissected into different shooting styles; Development, storage and printing methods and projection devices.
I’ll add my perspective when it comes to cost of living from my experience living in two very different places: Chiang Mai (Thailand) and Vancouver (Canada) over the past five years. In addition, I acknowledge the help of veteran film photographer Scott Hayes and Angela S. of Derpinsel.
If you only want to try shooting 35mm film once, it shouldn’t cost much. Even taking the safe route, buying only new equipment from Lomography, Japan Camera Hunter, Ilford, or Fuji, a disposable camera (film included) will cost less than $20. A point-and-shoot at a charity shop only cost you $2 – luck allowed.
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An avid photographer or someone who doesn’t mind taking a chance with a little research can find a fantastic film camera for under $200. The Yashica Electro 35 is my recommended manual focus, aperture priority range finder for such a person. The Yashica MG-1 is a similar device with a lower price tag and a slightly softer lens. Both will offer a nice mix of the new and the familiar for the digital shooter.
Whether electro or plastic disposable, both use 35mm film, which is in some ways the equivalent of a full-frame digital sensor. The amount of visual data preserved on film is about 20 megapixels if processed by a good scanner.
The average cost of 35mm film is $12, while the cheapest fresh roll will cost around $5.
Betty is adjusting her camera to take a shot with her half-frame Ricoh Caddy that takes 72+ images on one roll of 35mm film. Taken with a $300 Vitessa L3 on $4 Agfa Vista 200 film (back in 2017), developed and scanned in Vancouver for $12.
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A lot will depend on where you are and what you want to do with your pictures. Most photographers I know develop and scan film at a local lab. The digital images they receive are ready to edit, share or print.
In Vancouver, where this guide is being written, a develop and scan service is about $17 for basic resolution (enough to share online, not suitable for printing). In Thailand, where I spent a few years shooting film, the lab charged roughly half the price: 250฿+ or $8+.
If you don’t have a lab where you live, you can mail yours. You will have to pay postage for this. Mail-in order prices vary and so will the cost of your package. In my most recent case, it was $13USD at Lago Vista Film Lab, plus about $7 for shipping.
“Cheapest possible” is a charity shop purchase with a low-resolution scan, giving you 36 photos. A “good” package at the top end is like Yashika
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(body only) will be around $4000, plus the lens. The sky is the limit when it comes to historic or collectible cameras. But the average movie costs the same:
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It is very easy to find the price of an instant film. This is the price of the camera and the packaged film frame. The images these cameras produce are the final product and do not require any additional processing.
Perhaps that’s why the Fujifilm Instax is such a popular format. Their (or compatible) cameras sell for between $50 and $390 worldwide. or used for around $20+. Leica sells really nice for around $500.
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Instax film comes in three sizes: mini, square and wide. A pack of 10 exposures costs between $8 and $17. You can get a better price if you buy in bulk or on sale, although it may take time to find the right seller. Some shops sell Fuji film in bulk for the same price per pack as if bought single elsewhere — just keep that in mind.
The Polaroid Square format is still in production. Depending on the type of camera you use, it can be purchased for $17-$19. or $180 for a pro-grade 8×10. Regular film comes with 8 exposures; Pro-10.
An old Polaroid camera can be had for $20+. Polaroid sells their new model for $100-$140. MiNT sells modified Polaroid SX-70 film cameras for up to $780.
. Scott has been shooting film for over four decades; His work speaks of his talent and experience.
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Scott: I think the initial cost of a movie, like anything else, is the biggest cost. With larger formats, a 4×5 can run you $300 – $2000. The cameras themselves are pretty standard. Some have more bells and whistles, but for starters, any of them will fit the bill.
Very rarely will you attach a 4×5 lens. Now: You can find some models with fixed lenses and they are perfect to start with. However, a decent lens for 4×5 will usually start at around $300 and go up from there.
After you buy a camera, you have two options to develop. You can send your negatives to a lab or develop them at home. To produce a sheet of black and white film or even color in a lab, you can look at about $4-$6 per negative. You will usually have the option to scan it or just return the negative.
However, developing your own black and white negatives at home is not that expensive a process. The chemicals needed to develop, say, four black-and-white negatives will cost less than $2. I never found out the exact amount, but it’s not that expensive. The color would be a bit more, but I’m not processing mine at the moment.
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Before you start developing your own negatives, you will buy a large amount of chemicals. For one bottle, each developer, stop bath, and fixer, you may have an additional purchase of about $50 +/-. Depending on the chemicals you use, you can get over 100 black and white negatives developed for that price. You then have to decide if you are going to develop in a tank or tray. Again, this is a personal choice, but you can pay as little as $30 for a set of new trays up to $100 for a tank style.
Taken on $1⁶⁰ sheet of 4×5 Ilford FP4 Plus with $325 Intrepid (in 2018). Also lenses, equipment and chemicals.
To begin with, there’s no real reason to go with a top-of-the-line movie. That being said, you can get a box of 25 large format negatives for as little as $35. High-quality film can cost as much as $50+ for a box of 25 negatives. Sticking with cheaper film gives you the sense of being able to experiment without “wasting” huge amounts of film and dollars.
Shop around as film prices really vary. Sometimes more “local” shops (online or brick and mortar) can be more expensive, but you’re still helping “one of us” keep the business alive. Don’t worry too much about experimenting with all kinds of films. This will increase your expenses. Get comfortable with the process first, then try to find some movies that suit your style.
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Other things you’ll need include a cable release, a light meter, a solid tripod, and film cassettes. Cable release is not that expensive. You can find one for around $7. The film cassette is real
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