Cheapest Place To Get My Disposable Camera Developed and How Much Does It Cost?

Recently, disposable (or single-use) film cameras have become more in style because of the unique quality to their images, their ruggedness compared to digital cameras, their lightweight and small size, that their is waterproof options are available, their lack of rechargeable battery, and their low cost compared to other cameras. Once a disposable cameras is purchased and used for the first time it usually leads to the questions where is the cheapest place to get my disposable cameras developed and how much does it cost?

Walmart is the cheapest option to develop your disposable camera for $10.96, which comes with a set of 4 x 6 inch glossy color prints and CD of digitally scanned negatives but they don’t return your film negatives and the scans are low resolution. DwaynesPhoto.com will develop your disposable camera for $14 and includes better quality scans (or $11 without scans) and they will return your negatives.

When getting your disposable film camera developed you have two options: either locally at a drugstore or sending it off in the mail to a film developing lab. With either option there are a few things to consider when choosing the best option. Keep reading to learn more!

Option 1. Developing Disposable Camera At Walmart

Walmart Photo Website
Walmart Photo Website

Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart are retail and drugstores that can develop disposable film cameras and are most likely located near you. These stores will develop disposable cameras in both color and black & white and includes a set of 4×6 inch color prints with digital scans on a CD for decent price, with Walmart being the cheapest of the three.

However, usually the scans you receive from these stores (Walmart, Walgreens, and CVS) are generally low-resolution, and you won’t get your negatives back to fix bad scans or create a higher-resolution scan for larger prints. These stores also price development as a range of how many exposures your film roll holds (with 27 exposures being the most common).

How much does Walmart charge to develop disposable cameras?

Walmart charges around $10.96 to develop a disposable camera with 27 exposures (the most common exposure count for disposable film cameras) for a free CD of digitally scanned negatives, single prints of 4×6 inch prints, which makes Walmart one of the cheaper drugstore options. See below for a full list of prices:

Number of Exposures
Single Set of Prints (4×6 in.)
Double Set of Prints (4×6 in.)
12 Exposures
$7.96
$9.96
24 Exposures
$9.96
$12.96
27 Exposures
$10.96
$14.96
36 Exposures
$13.96
$18.96
Price of developing a single-use or disposable color film camera at Walmart

How do I get my disposable camera pictures developed at Walmart?

Back of the Film development form from Wal-Mart
Back of the Film development form from Walmart
Front of the Film development form from Wal-Mart
Front of the Film development form from Walmart

The process to order development of a disposable film camera at Walmart is relevantly straight forward. Follow the steps below:

  1. First, go to the photo department at a physical location and ask for a film development envelope
  2. Fill out the order form / envelope
  3. Place your disposable film camera inside the order form and seal it but be aware that you should only put one camera in an envelope at a time.
  4. Drop your film in the collection box.

The store will notify you once your order has been processed and ready to be picked up.

How Long Does It Take To Develop A Disposable Camera at Walmart?

The turnaround time at Walmart to process your disposable camera is about 2 – 3 weeks. Both CVS and Walgreens have a shorter turnaround times at around 7-10 days but this is for a disposable film camera loaded with color 35mm film only. Note that the length of time is extended to 3 weeks for a disposable film camera loaded with black & white 35mm film.

Walmart Compared to Walgreens and CVS When Developing A Disposable Camera

While Walmart is the least expensive local drugstore to develop a disposable film camera, the next expensive place to develop a disposable camera is CVS which costs about $14.42 for a camera with 27 exposures (the most common for disposable cameras). Walgreens is the most expensive of the three at about $15.86 for 27 exposures. CVS and Walgreens have a slightly faster turnaround time but still produces low-quality, low-resolution scans and don’t return the negatives.

Location
Price (27 exposures)
Turnaround?
Return Film?
Prints & Scans Included?
Walgreens
$15.86
7 – 10 days
No
Yes
CVS
$14.99
7 – 10 days
No
Yes
Walmart
$10.96
2 – 3 weeks
No
Yes

Pros and Cons for Developing A Disposable Camera At Walmart

Pros:

  • Convenient since you likely live near one of these stores
  • No shipping cost
  • Price is inexpensive of the three major drugstores
  • Can do both color and black & white disposable / single-use film cameras
  • Many locations available so it is likely near you
  • CD of scanned negatives and prints included with development cost
  • Will call you when your order is ready
  • Good option if you are using expired film and not sure how the negatives will turn out since it is so inexpensive

Cons:

  • Long wait time of up to 2 – 3 weeks depending on the film type
  • Low resolution scans and prints
  • Low quality scans
  • Don’t get your negatives back (Biggest Con for me)
  • Very little, if any, customer service – drop film in a paper envelope in the store at a kiosk
  • No online film development ordering available (must go to location)
  • No bulk pricing available
  • Will not give a discount on scanning if the roll is blank (like online labs)

You can find more details and comparisons developing your film at Walmart, CVS, or Walgreens by visiting this guide.

Option 2: Online Mail-In Film Processing

Another option for inexpensively developing a disposable film camera is to have it mailed to an online lab for processing. Online labs generally all develop disposable cameras in both color and black & white (among many other formats and types) and cost the same to develop not matter the exposure count.

You will find a wide range of prices from these stores because most of them process disposable film cameras in bulk so they don’t have to charge as much as other types of stores. Online labs generally won’t include prints in the overall price of processing (like Walgreens, Walmart, or CVS) but with most labs you have the option to only get your disposable camera developed without scans so you can save money and scan them yourself. Online labs also give you the option to upgrade to higher resolution scans as well as return your film negatives, which no drugstore does. See this article for tips on how to safely and securely mail film to Dwayne’s Photo.

How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Disposable Camera by Mail?

The cheapest option for online lab development of a disposable camera is Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, KS. Dwayne’s Photo charges around $14 to develop a disposable camera loaded with color film ($9 + $5 and +$.50 for additional rolls of film for return shipping of the film negatives). A disposable camera loaded with black & white film costs $15 ($1 more than color film) to process and for an additional $3 you can get high-resolution scans of your negatives delivered to your email. Note that prices are the time of writing.

Dwayne's Photo Website
Dwayne’s Photo Website

Without Scans

Dwayne’s Photo can also develop a disposable camera loaded with color film (c-41) without scans for $11 ($6 + $5 and +$.50 for additional rolls of film for return shipping of the film negatives) and $12 ($7 + $5 and +$.50 for additional rolls of film for return shipping of the film negatives).

Upgraded Scans

Dwayne’s Photo also offers a higher resolution scanning of negatives in place of the standard $3 scan for only $8 and as well as 4×6 inch color prints for $3 more or 5 x 7 inch prints for $6.

Lab
Price (with Scans)
Without Scans
Turnaround Once Received?
Return Shipping?
Free shipping?
Overall Cost
Dwayne’s Photo
$9 color, $10 b&w
$6 color, $7 b&w
7 – 10 days
$5 + $.50 per add. camera
No
$14 color, $15 b&w
How Much It Costs To Get A Disposable Camera Developed At An Online Lab

NOTE: Something to consider when using mail-in film processing labs is the price of shipping film to and back from the store, which will add to the overall price. Dwayne’s Photo only charges $5 (+ $.50 per additional roll) for return shipping but doesn’t provide free shipping to the store like other online film processing labs.

See this article for more details about the services offered at Dwayne’s Photo.

How To Develop A Disposable Camera at Dwayne’s Photo?

The process to develop a disposable camera at Dwayne’s Photo is very easy. You have two options: using an online form or using the printable ordering form.

To use the online form:

  1. Go the services web page of Dwayne’s Photo website
  2. Choose the type of film you want to process from the different categories
  3. Use the dropdown menu to choose scanning options, if you want prints and your print options, if you want to pull or push your film
  4. Click “Add to Cart” button to add your selection to the cart
  5. Change the number of rolls you wish to develop of that type or click the “Continue Shopping” button to add more film formats to process
  6. Click “Proceed to Checkout” when you are ready to complete your order by following the steps
  7. Attach shipping label to a padded mailing envelope or box (don’t use a paper envelope)
  8. Insert this form, payment, film and tape it closed before dropping it off at a mailbox

To use the printable order form:

  1. Download the film processing order form by going to the link
  2. Click the correct film processing order form to download it
  3. Fill out the form as necessary and print the ordering form
  4. Attach shipping label to a padded mailing envelope or box (don’t use a paper envelope)
  5. Insert the ordering form, payment, film and tape it closed before dropping it off at a mailbox

Once your order is received and processed, you will also receive the digital scans in your email if you chose that option with your order. Dwayne’s Photo will send you an email notifying your order has been shipped.

How Long Does It Take To Develop A Disposable Camera at Dwayne’s Photo?

The turnaround time at Dwayne’s Photo can be up to 2 weeks (or 14 days) but is usually faster than this. You will receive your negatives about a week after your negatives have been sent.

With online labs you will get your scans faster than you will receive your negatives and/or prints. If your film is taking longer than expected, you can contact them and they will check on your order.

Dwayne’s Photo Compared to Other Online Labs That Develop Disposable Cameras

Dwayne’s Photo is one of the cheaper online options to get your disposable film camera developed online at $14 for a disposable film camera loaded with color film ($15 for a camera loaded with black & white film) and only $3 more for high-quality scans. Below you can see a chart that lists out several other options for processing a disposable or single-use film camera with information about if they offer development without scans, their prices, turnaround time, and if they offer free shipping to and from the facility. Prices are at the time of writing the article.

Lab
Price (Includes Scans)
Without Scans
Turnaround Time?
Return Shipping?
Free shipping?
Overall Cost
The Darkroom
$15 color and b&w
$11
2 weeks
$5.95
Yes, to facility
$20.95
Richard Photo Lab
$12 color and b&w
$8
2 weeks
$6.85
No
18.85
Dwayne’s Photo
$9 color, $10 b&w
$6 color, $10 b&w
2 weeks
$5 + $.50 per add. camera
No
$14 color, $15 b&w
MPIX.com
$11.95 (only color)
N/A
2 weeks
flat $7.95 for there & return shipping
Included in Shipping Price
$19.90
Old School Photo Lab
$19 for color, $21 for b&w
$13 for color, $14.25 for b&w
2 weeks
Free there and return shipping
Yes
$19 color / $21 b&w
Process One
$12.28 for color and b&w
$4.99
2 weeks
Averages $5.99
No
$18.97
How Much It Costs To Get A Disposable Camera Developed At An Online Lab

NOTE: One of the biggest factors of price for online labs is the shipping cost. It is interesting to note that some places provide free shipping to the facility (like The Darkroom) while others provide free shipping to the store and return shipping in the overall price (like Old School Photo Lab). Others have a flat fee for shipping like (MPIX.com) which would be best for developing several disposable cameras at once.

For tips on how to mail your film safely and most inexpensively to an online lab, see this guide.

MPIX is the best option at $11.95 (only does color film but includes scans) if you have a lot of disposable film cameras to develop since they charge a flat shipping rate of $7.95 to and from their facility no matter how many disposable cameras you have to process.

Processing Other Film Types

Like Dwayne’s Photos, the online labs list above offer more than just disposable camera development and offer prints. Most of these labs listed (except for MPIX) can develop other film formats like Medium Format, sheet film, APS (advantix), slide film, 110mm, 126, disc film, movie film, etc. Some of the major benefits to using an online film lab is the options for processing that are available, most of these labs are small enough that you can talk to an employee to get a bulk discount on development, and quality customer service.

Development-Only Option To Save Money

Another thing to note about these labs is many of them listed (except for MPIX.com) give you the option to only develop your disposable camera and not scan your negatives, which will lower the price. This is great if you know you are going to scan your film yourself and want to save money.

Read this article for more detailed information about the online labs lists above as well as other online labs available.

Pros and Cons for Developing Film By An Online Lab Like Dwayne’s Photo

Pros:

  • Generally faster turnaround time than Walmart
  • Receive your scans faster that drug stores like Walmart, Walgreens, and Walmart
  • Competitive pricing
  • Can do both color and black & white disposable film cameras plus other film formats
  • Easy mail-in process that can be completed online or with a printable order form
  • High-quality scans of your negatives and higher resolution scans available
  • Will return your negatives (also with low cost shipping)
  • Friendly and knowledgeable customer service
  • Bulk pricing available at most stores
  • Same cost to develop film rolls with 24 exposures or 36 exposures (unlike Walmart, Walgreens, or CVS)
  • Can be more convenient than local drugstores because you don’t have to travel to a physical location
  • Most places will give a discount on scanning if the roll is blank

Cons:

  • Can be slightly more expensive than drug stores like Walmart, Walgreens, or CVS because of shipping cost but worth getting your negatives back and getting higher-quality scans

Develop Your Disposable Film Camera At Home To Save Money Long-Term

If you plan on shooting a lot of disposable cameras, then another option worth looking into is learning how to develop your disposable film camera at home to save money. The cost of getting all the necessary chemicals and equipment together is definitely more than getting one disposable film camera developed at a drugstore like Walmart or mailing your film to an online film lab like Dwayne’s Photo for processing. However, since the chemicals can be reused several times and you can also reuse the necessary supplies, it pays off in the long run. Also, disposable film cameras are loaded with normal 35mm color or black & white film so it develops like normal film because it is.

For example, once you purchase what you need to develop black & white film at home (around $146), you can develop 84 rolls of film before you need to replenish the chemicals which works out to be about $2 per film roll.

For more specific information about what you need to and how to developing disposable film cameras at home read this article I wrote on how to develop black & white film at home or this article I wrote about how to develop color film at home.

Final Thoughts

Where you develop your disposable camera all depends on what you value. If you want your single use film camera developed for the cheapest price but don’t care about getting your negatives back or the long turnaround time, then go to your local Walmart.

On the other hand, professional online labs like Dwayne’s Photo make up for their shipping and processing time by their high-quality, and good resolution scans and development. Unlike Walmart, with Dwayne’s Photo you will receive your the scans within a few days before you receive your the negatives and prints, if you chose that option.

Overall, Walmart is the cheapest place to get your disposable camera developed around $10.96 and includes 4×6 inch prints on glossy paper but Walmart produces low quality images, low-resolution scans, and does not return your film negatives. However, online labs like Dwayne’s Photo produce high-quality and high-resolution scans and always return your negatives for around $14.

Lee

My name is Lee and I love photography and learning. I received a Master of Fine Arts in Photography in 2010 and have worked as a university professor for the last 10 years in addition to being a working photographer. I started this website to learn more about digital and film-based photography and to provide a resource for all of my students.

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