Thought: Film Prices, Again!

So this is £50?

I’ve read 3 really good posts recently about film prices:

Film $$$ at Fogdog

The surprising cost difference between Kodak and Ilford B/W films at Down the Road

How To Pay As Little As Possible for Fresh Film at Thoughts & Photography of Johnny Martyr

The 3 above have caused me to think over both my own feelings and how I’m going to proceed forward, so I thought I’d share my thoughts here.

First of all, like most film photographers, I have a stash. Last spring I stocked up on colour, before the “first” price increase from Kodak hit the streets. This was also before the summer shortage put prices up even higher, and now there’s this years price increase to contend with. I purchased a 5 pack of Kodak’s Ektar 100 when it was £49:99, cheapest I can find now (before this years increase) is Speedgraphic (UK) at £64 inc postage, while AG Photo (UK) is listing it at £81.03 plus postage! To be fair Ag is out of stock and when they have new stock (post increase) that’s the price it will be I guess, where as Speedgraphic is yet to go up! At £81:03 that’s an increase of 63% in a year, give or take!!!! Luckily my discretionary spend allowed me to pop 3 packs in the fridge before all this.

Sadly the same is true of pretty much all other colour film, when you can find it. The “budget” Kodak Color Plus or Fuji C200, is often much the same price as Kodak Gold, so might as well have the better film, not that there is much choice in reality – when did anyone ever see Color Plus recently? The volume of colour that I normally shoot, I reckon I have about 2 years worth, with the 35mm added in. I’m going to make it last! As I sit here now, will I buy more when it runs out? Probably. Whilst I like black and white more, when it comes to film, a bit of colour now and then is pretty essential!

I realise that having film in the fridge does no one any good, it doesn’t support film manufacturers, who I want to keep making film, including colour. It doesn’t improve the quality by sitting in the fridge, and it doesn’t help the specialist retailers who I want to support either. Trouble is I can’t afford to spend 63% more on my hobby!

When it comes to black and white, there’s more choice, and more availability. Kentmere (Ilford) in both 120 and 35mm seems a good option, for a budget choice, while FP4 remains my favourite. I like to try other films, and support other manufacturers. I’ve used Polaroid, Ferrania, Ilford, Kodak, Foma, Cinestill, and Fuji all within the last 12 months, and I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve never used Kodak’s Tri-X before, (that I can remember) so recently purchased 4 rolls to try soon. I also have a stash of black and white that’s bigger than colour, maybe 4 years worth, so the truth of the matter is that I really don’t need to even think about price rises for a couple of years at least! In fact my motto this year is “use up what I already have!”.

When I do need film next, I’m going to keep in mind Johnny Martyr’s suggestions for ordering. I’ll keep in mind the cost difference between Kodak and Ilford’s pricing, as highlighted by Jim Grey, and I’ll also (for colour) most likely follow John Smith in letting digital take a bit of the strain. I’ll also keep the cassettes and plastic tubs to re-use once for bulk film. That will cut my waste by half and save me money too. The key thing is though, I’ll need more film, sooner or later. It’s my preferred choice and what I enjoy making photo’s with. For a hobby surely that’s the whole point of a hobby? To enjoy it!

5 thoughts on “Thought: Film Prices, Again!

  1. Thanks for the shout-out and also for making this statement:

    “I realise that having film in the fridge does no one any good, it doesn’t support film manufacturers, who I want to keep making film, including colour. It doesn’t improve the quality by sitting in the fridge, and it doesn’t help the specialist retailers who I want to support either.”

    I can sympathize with not being able to afford what you want to buy but I feel like people often don’t qualify their concerns about price with the understanding that film hoarding doesn’t improve the other practical problems facing the film community.

    Glad you have some strategies in place for holding up during these difficult times! The most important thing is not to give up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Johnny, thanks for commenting!

      Back in the day, I belonged to a movie making club, we all shot super 8 film. One by one, we went over to video, I was the last to jump ship. In fact, in a way Kodak gave up on me before I gave up on it, in other words they scrapped Kodachrome! I’m never going to stop shooting film, I have for 50 years give or take, when I physically can’t press the shutter release, then maybe! That’s not to say that I might not scale back a little, or think a bit more “before I press the button” or do a little more digital here and there!

      Thanks again for commenting. I should also acknowledge I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, always a good read and thought provoking! Cheers Andy


  2. I moved almost exclusively to ilford and Foma, have some Bergger and Rollei to finish, but enough is enough – i stopped using Kodak. Don’t forget to check the Kosmofoto Agent Shadow. I exposed a few rolls of this not expensive film just a few weeks ago and loved the results. There are some in my recent posts in my blog and more are on the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Victor, it’s funny – if you’d asked me did I ever shoot much Kodak b/w over the years, I would have replied “no not much” but as I go through my neg files, I find I’ve shot a lot more T-Max than I remembered. That said I have always shot more FP4 than anything else, and that looks set to continue. I’ve never tried Bergger films, I hear they have a particular look. I have a “brick” of 10x FP4 36’s ready to go, I’ll keep the cassettes and tubs, and reload with bulk FP4 next time. I’ve never tried Kosmofoto Agent Shadow either – so much to do!! All best wishes to you – Andy

      Liked by 1 person

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