Quality of film developing at supermarket/pharmacy vs. dedicated "photo lab"

More film questions for pulykamell and other film photographers. Local lab (Cord Camera) where I get negative scans charges around 6 dollars for developing a role of film (in house.) Other than the recent screwup, they give decent scans at a fair price.

Could I just get my films developed cheaply at CVS or Target and then bring the negs to Cord to be scanned? Is the quality of minilabs at both places comparable or is there a huge vast gulf of difference? Thanks.

You need to do a test.

Your personal photos are probably the most subjective thing in the world. Less cyan in a photo might bug your neighbor, but you think it gives a “warm” tone, or don’t notice it at all.

So take a batch of pics to Target or Walgreen’s (heck, get some prints made there, too). Then try some prints at Cord’s from the Target negatives, and see what you think.

We just got some graduation announcements printed at Target (uploaded jpegs to their website, got 100 cards with 4 photos/card). They turned out great… and I’m picky.

(disclaimer: Old School Photog here) (who never thought digital would approach analog film…)

I wish I could give you a definitive answer.

My experience is that, as long as the labs get reasonable throughput, the developing is pretty comparable. About the only problem I’ve ever had was problems with negs getting scratched up (which is, admittedly, a big problem.) I’ve given up on Walgreens, personally, but Costco and CVS seem to be reasonable with the way they treat my negs.

Scans and prints, though? Completely different story. Pro lab all the way for that or do it yourself. I’ve never had an acceptable scan from any photo finishing place. Scanning a neg well takes time and is a bit of an art.

I have several clients who are professional photographers, and they used CostCo for developing. As others have pointed out, they process a LOT of film.

These days, one of the most important things, by far, is simply the volume of film that they process. Again, ask them about their control strips.