A minilab is a small photographic developing and printing system, as opposed to large centralized photo developing labs. Many retail stores use minilabs (or digital minilabs) to provide on-site photo finishing services.
With the increase in popularity of digital photography, the demand for film development has decreased. This means that the larger labs capable of processing 30 or 40 thousand films a day are going out of business, and more retailers are installing minilabs.
In Kodak and Agfa minilabs films are processed using C41b chemistry and the paper is processed using RA-4. Using these chemical processes films can be ready for collection in as little as 20 minutes, depending on the machine capabilities and the operator.
A typical minilab consists of two machines, a film processor and a paper printer/processor. In some installations, these two components are integrated into a single machine. In addition, some digital minilabs are also equipped with photo ordering kiosks.