6 Best Places for Film Developing in San Diego

Cover Photo: flowers and swinger by Joe Valtierra, ( CC BY-ND 2.0 ), Taken on Kodak Portra 160 on a Leica M6


No matter how technologically advanced digital cameras become, we firmly believe that film photography can never be replaced. There is just something about shooting photos on film that can never and will never be replicated by taking photos on a digital camera or smartphone. 

This is not to say that film photographers have it necessarily easy, though; there are a lot more steps to take and hurdles to jump before finally viewing your photos. The biggest hurdle of them all? Where to get your film developed.

Across the country, photo labs are becoming harder and harder to find as the heyday of film photography is long-gone. If you’re in San Diego, you’re in luck; there are still plenty of great options. Read on for our favorite places for film developing in San Diego, and a map of their locations.

Film photo of vintage cars parked in San Diego
Huntress by Richard Barry, ( CC BY 2.0 ), Taken on Kodak Tri-X 400 on a Yashica D TLR camera


Our Favorite Places to Develop Film in San Diego

Film photo of the beach in San Diego
San Diego 08 by zemistor, ( CC BY-ND 2.0 ), Taken on a Minolta Freedom DL in 1992

Safelight Labs

Location: 1357 Seventh Ave Suite B, San Diego, CA 92101

A full-service haven for film photographers, Safelight Labs is one of the best places for film developing in San Diego. Not only do they develop all of the most common film formats, but they have a handful of additional services that may be of interest.

You’ll be able to get your film developed whether it’s C-41 color, black and white, or slide film, and that goes for 35mm, 120, as well as large format film. For the perfectionist who wants to be involved in every step of their photographs, Safelight also offers darkroom rentals for DIY processing. 

You can rent their studio space if you need a facility for your next photoshoot, or check out a photography exhibit at their gallery space.

For more information on everything they have to offer, check out Safelight Labs.



Nelson Photo Supplies

Location: 3625 Midway Dr J, San Diego, CA 92110

Nelson Photo Supplies is a one-stop-shop for any of your photographic needs. Film developing is just one of the many things you can expect from this photoshop.

You can drop off your film to be developed here; both 35mm or 120, color, black and white, or E-6. While C-41 color is the only type of film processed in house, Nelson Photo sends all other formats to another lab, saving you a trip if you shoot a variety of film types.

Aside from getting your film developed, you’ll be able to shop for any camera equipment you may need, get your gear repaired, or even take a class to level up your photography skills. 

You can learn more at Nelson Photo Supplies.


George’s Camera

Location: 3837 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104

If you ever find yourself shooting an odd film size that most labs may not be able to develop, we’d recommend checking out George’s Camera. Established in 1965, they’ve been frequently voted the number one camera store in San Diego!

While they are capable of processing most film formats that you can find, they also do a great job developing more common sizes. 35mm, 120, and large format film are all processed in house, whether you like to shoot color, black and white, or even color-reversal slide film. 

You can also shop for whatever photo-related gear you may need at George’s, making it a fantastic option for anyone that needs film developing in San Diego.

Feel free to check out their website and see more at George’s Camera.


Film photo of a bench overlooking the ocean in San Diego
Two Hundred and Forty Seven by Evan Mitchell, ( CC BY 2.0 ), Taken on Holga 400 B&W film on a Mamiya RB67

Camera Exposure

Location: 2703 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116

If you’re anything like us, your collection of film cameras seems to keep growing, with some of them collecting dust as you tend to reach for a few favorites when you go out to shoot. 

Whether that sounds like you, or even if you’re in the opposite boat – on the hunt for new cameras to add to your arsenal – Camera Exposure is worth a visit. They buy and sell all sorts of photo equipment, so you can surely find a great new camera, or get a few extra bucks for that dust collector on the back of your shelf.

Not only can you shop their excellent selection of film stocks, but you’ll also be able to get your film developed here; color or black and white, 35mm or 120. 

Camera Exposure also offers repair services, which every film photographer will certainly need at some point or another. 

You can learn more about their services at Camera Exposure



Rollov Film Center

Location: 2711 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116

Rollov Film Center is more geared towards advanced shooters who want to develop their own film. Their darkroom can be rented by those who have the knowledge to process their C-41 color or black and white film.

Even if you don’t fit into that description but want to get your hands dirty, you’re able to take classes on film developing and darkroom printing; you’ll be an expert in no time! 

For those die-hard black and white enthusiasts, Rollov also offers custom B&W darkroom printing; if you’re devoted to the medium, then as you probably know, nothing beats a darkroom print of a black and white photo.


Total Photo

Location: 118 S Solana Hills Dr, Solana Beach, CA 92075

While located a little bit outside of San Diego, there are still plenty of people in the area who may be interested in checking out Total Photo.

You’ll be able to get your C-41 color or black and white film developed, whether you shoot 35mm or 120. Total Photo offers a relatively quick turnaround time with next day service for color and 2-3 days for black and white. 

One of the most unique and alluring aspects of this photo lab is their loyalty program, where your 10th roll of film is developed for free! This is one of the best deals we’ve seen, as very few darkrooms offer any sort of discount on their services.

For more information, visit Total Photo.

Map of the Best Places to Develop Film



Did We Miss Anywhere?

Film photo of a San Diego freeway at night
UFO by Mike Towber, ( CC BY-SA 2.0 ), Taken on an Olympus XA2

Do you know of any other places for film developing in San Diego that we missed? If so, let us know in the comments.

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