I've recently gotten into film photography and I've been developing my own black and white negatives. I don't have access to a darkroom for optical printing, so I want to get my negatives scanned and in some cases printed.

I've been shopping around and noticed that getting pre-developed negatives scanned is often just as expensive as getting them developed and scanned! For example, today I took 36 negatives (cut and sleeved), to get scanned and printed, and the quote was $30AUD for prints only, but only $29AUD for develop+print. This honestly just doesn't make sense to me, as at the same place black and white develop only is $17AUD and I was wondering if there is a reason why? Another example is this place here: http://hillvale.com.au/pricelist where develop+scan and scan only both cost $10AUD for c-41. Thanks!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Are you sure these labs do their own developing? We've got a couple of labs here, both outsource e-6 and one outsources c-41 too. The outsourcing has driven the cost down, so they really only charge for what they need to do (labor). \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Feb 10, 2018 at 16:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Am I right in assuming you already have a DSLR camera? If so, perhaps you could consider using an adapter to allow you to take a photo of your negatives and "scan" them yourself. I have used the Nikon ES-1 adapter for slides, the the new ES-2 version also does negatives. I described this in more detail [here][1]. [1]: photo.stackexchange.com/a/99752/76311 \$\endgroup\$
    – Jim Leask
    Aug 16, 2018 at 14:08

1 Answer 1


When a commercial lab develops and scans film, they feed the entire strip of film through an automated scanner before cutting and sleeving the negatives.

When scanning negatives that have already been cut and sleeved, the labor needed to remove each segment from the sleeves and feed them through a commercial scanner 4 at a time instead of threading an entire roll through before it is cut is almost certainly what makes the cost the same as developing + scanning.

Try asking a scan service what the price would be if you provided the whole negative strip before cutting and sleeving them.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your answer! Thats actually what the second website I linked was doing. It was $10 for scans of an uncut roll, $10 for develop+scan, and $15 for scanning a cut and sleeved roll, so still the same price for develop and develop+scan if the roll is left uncut, and even more if its cut. \$\endgroup\$
    – CoffeeCrow
    Feb 10, 2018 at 9:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Summary: Labour, of course! Good answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – osullic
    Feb 10, 2018 at 11:03

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