UPDATED: Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, 6:10 p.m. MST
These days you can’t drop your film off for developing just anywhere. Here are the places you can visit in the Denver metro area.
If you’re shooting black and white film, you can develop the negatives at home with relatively little monetary investment (I did mine in the kitchen, as you can see above, for a long time before having a second bathroom to take over). C-41 color negatives can be done at home, but it’s a bit more costly and involved. E-6, from what I hear, is even more prohibitive due to extreme sensitivity to both temperature and timing. Not to mention sheet film — you can do it at home, but different tanks and larger chemical quantities add to the financial outlay. So you might be looking for a professional…
Of course there are lots of labs you can mail your film to, but I really like to support small and local business owners in my area.
Many film photographers these days are using hybrid processes, of course, meaning developing negatives and then scanning them for digital publishing or printing. My guess is that most hybrid-process film photographers these days are more concerned with getting their negatives developed as well as possible (no scratches, streaks, water spots, etc.) for easy scanning, and unless you’re really eager to get your latest frames out on Twitter, you’re probably planning on scanning them yourself.
Without further ado, here is my list of local labs with some handy details, links and vital statistics. They aren’t really in a particular order. I’ll add my own notes initially, and will update with any notes sent my way by readers.
Denver Digital Imaging Center/The Slide Printer
Services: C-41 and E-6; 135, 120/220, and 4×5; push/pull (extra charge); scans; prints.
Pricing: $7.50-8.95 Full pricing
Notes: All film is done in a dip-and-dunk machine that is stringently cleaned and maintained. Never had any streaks or scratches; minimal water spots on negatives.
Services: C-41; 135 or 120/220; scans; prints.
Pricing: $4.49-7.99 Full pricing
Notes: Card-feed machine that is regularly cleaned and maintained. Occasional minor scuffs and water spots. Scans are on the high side, price-wise, but are much better than the basic scans at drug stores/Costco or Mike’s Camera.
Reed Art & Imaging
According to website, uses dip-and-dunk for all developing. I have not used this lab. As of Feb. 26, 2016, Reed no longer processes film, according to their website. It may be telling that their list of recommended alternative labs includes no labs in Colorado.
Denver Pro Photo
Services: C-41 and E-6; 110, 135, 120/220, 4×5; push/pull (extra charge); scans; prints.
Pricing: $7.95-19.95 Full pricing
Notes: Uncertain of process/equipment. I have used this lab for E-6 4×5 only (and have been satisfied).
Services: C-41 and E-6; 135, 120, 4×5, APS; push/pull (extra charge); scans; prints.
Pricing: $6.50-12.99 Full pricing
Notes: C-41 processed on-site in card-feed machines; all else sent to Boulder, Colo., store for processing. E-6 is dip-and-dunk according to website. “Smile Club” discount program.
I have not used this lab. UPDATE: I have used this lab once for C-41 35mm film. It was … okay.
If I’ve left any labs out, or you have more, better or newer information on a lab’s pricing or services, or notes to add, leave them in the comments below.
Note: This is not a list of local drug stores where some pizza-faced kid will put his greasy teenage hands all over your film and make inappropriate gestures while feeding it to a mysterious machine, covered with printed-out instruction and warning sheets from Corporate, that carelessly spits out prints and a CD in under an hour and hasn’t been cleaned since a Bush was in office. This is meant to be a list of professional labs.