The Darkroom film developing review

by Kaylah Stroup
where to get film developed in 2020

Film and I have an on and off relationship. It’s been this way for years. I obsessively shoot film for months and then completely forget about it for an even longer period of time.

We’re back on now, as you probably gathered from my recent review of Psych Blue film but in the time that we were off my local film developing hook up went under. By ‘hook up’ I mean Discount Drug Mart. They were never all that knowledgeable to begin with and taking film to someone who really doesn’t know what they’re doing and doesn’t get too much practice is risky. They finally started shipping film off to be developed elsewhere instead of developing on-site and that was my cue to look for something better.

I researched for hours. Where in the world is there to get film developed these days? I had a hard time choosing which mail-in service to use. It seemed like every site had at least a handful of negative reviews. People unhappy with price, scan quality, timing, etc. I finally committed to The Darkroom.

film developing in 2020
the darkroom film developing review

The Darkroom has a couple of different routes you can go. They offer the option to pay online or by mail and you can request a mailer if you don’t already have something to ship in on hand. They even give you a label to print out to slap on your package so you never have to step foot in a post office.

I chose to pay online because it seemed like it’d be the fastest route. I paid for my six rolls, printed the receipt & shipping label and sent it off the next morning.

My timeline looked like this –

  • December 16th – checkout & pay for developing online
  • December 17th – shipped my film
  • December 19th – received an email stating my film had arrived
  • December 21st – film was developed, scanned & uploaded for me to view in albums
  • December 24th – received my negatives & a disk with the images on it in the mail

BAM! So speedy!

The only two negatives I can think of are price and scan quality.

So, price… what are you gonna do you about it? The Darkroom has competitive pricing. Their prices are basically the going price for mail in film developing services. Film, whether standard or instant, isn’t cheap. Its always going to be more expensive than digital.

As for scan quality, they offer three different options. I chose ‘standard scans’. I hate to gripe about it because I honestly don’t have a need for high-quality scans. The ones included are good enough for social media and the blog but if I were planning on getting prints made at a larger size, I’d definitely want a better resolution.

If you need better scans, you definitely have options though. You can pay for one of their two better options or you can scan them yourself. The Darkroom offers a ‘developing only’ option at a cheaper price for those wanting to scan themselves.

I would absolutely use The Darkroom again. The ease of use and speedy turnaround time has thrown me into a full on film obsession. The update emails throughout the process (when the film was received, scan, shipped) made me feel like my precious photos were safe and in good hands. I can’t recommend them enough!

Photos taken with a variety of different cameras & films. Some way out of date single-use cameras found at the thrift store, as well as shot on Fuji Superia X-TRA 400 with the Pentax K1000.

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