Film camera help

I have been toying with playing with film again. But it’s been decades since I had a film camera so I have questions for those who still shoot with it:

  1. How hard is it to get film, and get the film developed?

  2. Is there any particular one you’d recommend getting? General nature/animals - and maybe some cave photography playing around (so weathersealing?)

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i haven’t shot on film in a long time and even then only casually, but i did do some marketing research for a photographic film company long ago. so i was curious about the market nowadays. just based on a cursory review, it looks like it’s still possible to get film developed relatively easily, though it takes more time and money than i remember back in the day. it looks like you can drop off your film at most Walgreen’s, CVS, and Walmart stores and they will send it off to a central location to get processed within a few weeks. looks like maybe $20-$30 to develop a roll, depending on print size, with scans included. depending on your location, there might be a local shop that will develop film more quickly / cheaply. there also seems to be at least one option to develop by mail. seems like equipment + supplies to develop yourself are also readily available online, if you’re willing to go that route.

looks like film is still relatively easy to get online (maybe not in physical stores), although it doesn’t seem like 35mm color film is available above ISO 800 these days, and the best stuff isn’t always very cheap. some examples:

  • Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400, 36 exposures ($23 for 3-pack)
  • Kodak Portra 800, 36 exposures ($19 on backorder, $27 available today)
  • Cinestill 800T, 36 exposures ($22)
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Maybe i should trawl my local thriftstores…i bet expired film can be super interesting!

Sad most about processing cost more than film itself. I remember when film was a couple bucks and it was $4.99 for 4x6 photos with dups. I would drop it off at the kodak booth at the front of the grocery store.

Then again i also remember 99 cents a gallon for gas.

And Im a millennial!

I know our local photog store stopped developing film a few years back so we don’t have that option.

I’ve used thedarkroom before and had good experiences. Expired film varies from washed out to weird. Sometimes it definitely produces cool effects, but a lot of the time it just makes poor quality photos. It was more fun to play with when it was cheap to develop and you could then make a couple decent prints of the few cool ones you got. It is also fun to try double exposures and the like with.

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I probably wont make a darkroom. I enjoy developing things - Western blots were so much much fun! - but I don’t see the red safe light. I work by feel alone to develop and as much fun as the process was I would enjoy it more with photography if I could see what I was developing. For Westerns I just got the timing down well as I could see the flourescing and could gauge the exposure time very well and then keep developer and fixer to times events.

not sure if this clarification is needed here, but the earlier reference to “thedarkroom” probably is talking about the mail-based developing service.


i came across this business based in Montgomery, AL, that develops film: although not quite local, i believe they are at least in your same state, and, of course, they accept film from anywhere if you mail it to them. i don’t think they print photos, but they’re supposed to be really good for processing and scanning.

it looks they also occasionally buy film in bulk and sell it wholesale to photographers who are interested. so you might be able to get good deals on film that way.


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