First and Last

NOT a post moaning about film prices!

I just brought another roll of Fuji’s Superia X-tra 400. The last surviving of the Superia range that once had a full line up of both 100 and 200 asa emulsions. I came across it for £12:99. By modern standards a bargain! Look at Amazon…

.. but as I said at the top, this is not a post moaning about prices, it got me thinking. Everything these days has a market price and shortages in raw materials, manufacture costs, transportation costs, customs duties, individual countries own tax, retailers profit margin, all add to our buying price.

With that said I’m glad that both Fuji and Kodak still make colour film. Not only in 2022 do I have a choice of makers but therefore emulsions to use. In global markets, it can’t be a great money spinner, and I suspect by now, many board members of such companies never grew up with film. Not long ago I had to explain to a 20 year old, that a vinyl record has to be turned over! Obvious if you grew up with them, it would make you smile. If you’ve never used one – who would know the pleasure!

Film is a bit like that, if you’ve only clicked on a phone, or digital compact camera, how would you know about handling film, processing, developers, printing et al. I guess you wouldn’t, and of course many aren’t interested and are quite happy with their phone. It is my experience that much of today’s popularity of using film however is indeed driven by the younger age groups, perhaps they have started to tire of just pressing a button and looking at a screen. Perhaps digital is now too perfect/easy?

I have started to help out where I can, I’ve passed on some good working cameras that I would not have used, a few have appeared on this blog. The Pentax 140, for example is now in the hands of a 20 – something who wanted to try film. I shall continue on that route.

I’m my case I grew up with film, there was no digital. I have, and use digital, and at one point I’d got down to my last film camera. At some point though I decided that I just didn’t enjoy it that much. I liked film. I liked the craft associated with it, and I suspect that is what attracts, younger, creative, people too.

When I was young I used to calculate my meagre earnings from a paper-round and work out how to spend my gains! One roll of Black and White, one roll of Kodacrhome? It was a bad month if the developer had run out, even worse if I needed paper, and it wasn’t near my birthday! Ohh how I made those 36 exposures last and those 25 sheets of 5×7 count!

And that, dear reader is really the point of this rambling post. In a time when we must all be greener, consume less, if the buying price “helps” us along that path, encouraging us not to waste film, developer, paper, or anything else, then it’s not all bad. This might well be the last roll of this film I buy, OR it might turn out to be the first I think of in a different way. Perhaps I’ll go back to making every shot count, thinking more before I press the button. Perhaps I will appreciate it more, if I can afford less?

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