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View Full Version : Fotoimpex or Macodirect??


Jamie123
07-22-2010, 10:10
I'm going on a trip to the US soon and want to stock up on film before I go. I'm a resident of Switzerland and the exchange rate with the Euro is so good right now that I thought I'll order some film from Germany.

So my question now is what's the better online store, Fotoimpex or Macodirect? Delivery times?

fotomeow
07-22-2010, 10:20
In the first place, if the exchange rate is so good, why would you buy it there instead of the US? It would be cheaper in the US. Any major city in US has film available.
Besides, you order from Germany, then it gets mailed to you and it will have to go thru at least one scanner.
Then you pack it up for your flight and it has to go at least 1-2 more scanners before you even get to the US.
Then, if you don't develop the film in the US, you have to fly it back home and put it thru more scanners, deteriorating the film even more. One or two scans will not deteriorate film, but multiple scans will, its an additive effect.
Dont understand.

tom.w.bn
07-22-2010, 10:21
I'm going on a trip to the US soon and want to stock up on film before I go. I'm a resident of Switzerland and the exchange rate with the Euro is so good right now that I thought I'll order some film from Germany.

So my question now is what's the better online store, Fotoimpex or Macodirect? Delivery times?

I orderd at fotoimpex shop a few weeks ago. Ordered sunday evening with direct payment. Monday at 11:00 the mail came that they shipped my stuff. Got it wednesday. Everything was alright. To destinations outside Germany it will take of course longer. To Destinations outside Europe (Regarding that switzerland is outside Europe :rolleyes: ) you have to consider customs I think.

Borghesia
07-22-2010, 10:48
I always order from Macodirect to receive in The Netherlands. I just choose a company who is the cheapest, and Macodirect has great prices, stock and actions.
When they notice your order they deliver almost instantly.

Edward C. Zimmermann
07-22-2010, 11:08
So my question now is what's the better online store, Fotoimpex or Macodirect?
Why the two? Down to a diet of potted pork? Even on cheap film.. there is still Agfa APX-100.. A good exporter is, I'd suggest, someone like Nordfoto (http://www.nordfoto.de). They have a good selection, reasonable prices and routinely export. APX-100/36, for example, is 1.89 EURO each to CH. If you are a professional photographer there are a number of other companies I can recommend with even better condition on cases of film.

Jamie123
07-22-2010, 11:44
In the first place, if the exchange rate is so good, why would you buy it there instead of the US? It would be cheaper in the US. Any major city in US has film available.
Besides, you order from Germany, then it gets mailed to you and it will have to go thru at least one scanner.
Then you pack it up for your flight and it has to go at least 1-2 more scanners before you even get to the US.
Then, if you don't develop the film in the US, you have to fly it back home and put it thru more scanners, deteriorating the film even more. One or two scans will not deteriorate film, but multiple scans will, its an additive effect.
Dont understand.

I don't get your reasoning? I'm saying the Euro->Swiss Franc exchange rate is good because the Euro is very weak right now. Nothing to do with the US dollar.

The price of the film ordered from Germany is marginally less than the price I'd pay in the US but with shipping and customs it comes in at a bit more. I don't have to pay the EU VAT, though, so it's still quite cheap.

I originally planned on loading up on film at freestyle in L.A.. The problem is I probably won't get the chance to buy film until four days into the trip so I'd have to stock up on some film before I go anyways. I don't want to buy locally as it's terribly expensive and if I order from Germany I might aswell order a lot to make the shipping worthwile.

The problem of X-ray scans has crossed my mind but I'll try to ask for hand checks and take my chances. Processing will probably be done in New York but I could have some of it processed in San Francisco if you can tell me a good lab near Union Square with decent prices.

(FYI, I'll be travelling to L.A., drive up to SF and then fly to New York.)

Jamie123
07-22-2010, 11:49
Why the two? Down to a diet of potted pork? Even on cheap film.. there is still Agfa APX-100.. A good exporter is, I'd suggest, someone like Nordfoto (http://www.nordfoto.de). They have a good selection, reasonable prices and routinely export. APX-100/36, for example, is 1.89 EURO each to CH. If you are a professional photographer there are a number of other companies I can recommend with even better condition on cases of film.

Thanks for the suggestion! I don't shoot much b&w but they have pretty good prices on 20packs of Kodak Portra 400NC in 120 which is what I mostly use. Do you have any more suggestions for good online stores???

Edit: Actually, I just checked the fine print. Nordfoto has a flat fee for shipping to Switzerland of €30. That's insane! Fotoimpex has a flat fee of €10, Macodirect is a bit more but not a lot.

Do you have any other suggestions? As I said, I mostly need Kodak Portra film in 120 and maybe also some 35mm color neg and slide film.

skibeerr
07-22-2010, 11:54
I have always had the best experiences with both companies, so just compare prices.

Have a nice trip,

Wim

Edward C. Zimmermann
07-22-2010, 12:04
In the first place, if the exchange rate is so good,
The advantage right now is SFr against EURO.
why would you buy it there instead of the US? Cheaper, better selection.

It would be cheaper in the US.No. Not even "Made in USA" Kodak is cheaper in the US than in Europe. AT B&H, for example, Elite Chrome 100 slide film is $4.69 + Sales Tax. This is about as cheap as you will find it anywhere in the US. Most local photo shops in the US will charge as much as double that. Nordfoto charges 3.69 EURO + VAT (which is currently much lower in CH than sales tax in NYC). In Germany I can get this film labeled as "Paradise" at any DM (a popular chain of drugstores) for under 3 EURO including 19% VAT.

Any major city in US has film available.The selection these days in the US, save NYC and LA, is increasingly poor or expensive. The market has switched over to mailorder.

Besides, you order from Germany, then it gets mailed to you and it will have to go thru at least one scanner.Does Homeland Security now scan packages going from Germany to Switzerland?

Then you pack it up for your flight and it has to go at least 1-2 more scanners before you even get to the US. I'd not worry. Who knows where the mail order film delivered to your motel from NYC has been? And film purchased from that little photo shop? Sure about how its been stored?

Then, if you don't develop the film in the US, you have to fly it back home and put it thru more scanners, deteriorating the film even more.I'd not worry. Just avoid high speed film. And if one does still worry.. Then have it developed in the US.. For single B&W rolls something like the Agfa Rondinax is perfect for developing on the road.. And C-41.. While mini-labs have become less common in the US there are still a few around.. And there are even still a few professional labs around.. "in most major cities"..

One or two scans will not deteriorate film, but multiple scans will, its an additive effect.Its not really an additive effect. Its a bit more complicated..

fotomeow
07-22-2010, 12:11
I don't get your reasoning? I'm saying the Euro->Swiss Franc exchange rate is good because the Euro is very weak right now. Nothing to do with the US dollar.

The price of the film ordered from Germany is marginally less than the price I'd pay in the US but with shipping and customs it comes in at a bit more. I don't have to pay the EU VAT, though, so it's still quite cheap.

I originally planned on loading up on film at freestyle in L.A.. The problem is I probably won't get the chance to buy film until four days into the trip so I'd have to stock up on some film before I go anyways. I don't want to buy locally as it's terribly expensive and if I order from Germany I might aswell order a lot to make the shipping worthwile.

The problem of X-ray scans has crossed my mind but I'll try to ask for hand checks and take my chances. Processing will probably be done in New York but I could have some of it processed in San Francisco if you can tell me a good lab near Union Square with decent prices.

(FYI, I'll be travelling to L.A., drive up to SF and then fly to New York.)

There are 3 reliable labs for processing near union square, they are all about 1.5 -2 miles away: Lightwaves, Gamma Photo, and Photoworks. Photoworks is probably most accessible from union square since there are several trolleys/buses that go straight down Market St from Union square to Photowork;

the trouble will be quick turn around time for processing if you are only here for a few days: you could ask for express processing and they could do it in a day. There are more 1 hour color labs around the city, but of course BW is more difficult.
Gamma photo is the best, they do more pro work, but they are slower and more costly.
Lightwaves does more prosumer/student processing than the other two, and have a great selection of film.
Photoworks does more volume than the other two b/c they do consumer grade on up to pro. All three have websites, just Google search them for info/processing/prices/turn around.
Good luck

Edward C. Zimmermann
07-22-2010, 12:15
Do you have any more suggestions for good online stores???
Calumet, Dinkel, Isarfoto, GM-Foto...

Jamie123
07-22-2010, 12:21
There are 3 reliable labs for processing near union square, they are all about 1.5 -2 miles away: Lightwaves, Gamma Photo, and Photoworks. Photoworks is probably most accessible from union square since there are several trolleys/buses that go straight down Market St from Union square to Photowork;

the trouble will be quick turn around time for processing if you are only here for a few days: you could ask for express processing and they could do it in a day. There are more 1 hour color labs around the city, but of course BW is more difficult.
Gamma photo is the best, they do more pro work, but they are slower and more costly.
Lightwaves does more prosumer/student processing than the other two, and have a great selection of film.
Photoworks does more volume than the other two b/c they do consumer grade on up to pro. All three have websites, just Google search them for info/processing/prices/turn around.
Good luck

I'm only there for 1 1/2 day so that's probably not an option. Also, I was thinking of something in short walking distance from Union Square. 1-2 miles is too far away as it would take up too much time. I'm travelling with my girlfriend and I'd rather not force her to waste time with long excursions to photo labs :)

Anyways, I don't think it'll be a big problem. I already know a few good pro labs in NYC that will surely take great care of my film.

Jamie123
07-22-2010, 12:42
Dammit, this film thing is starting to get expensive! If I buy all the film I want, shoot it and have it all processed it will run me close to $500. F**k!

Edward C. Zimmermann
07-22-2010, 13:11
Dammit, this film thing is starting to get expensive!
Film is not about price these days--- even if its in many cases still cheaper than digital if one considers depreciation (camera, workstation, software etc.) and especially if one factors in the cost of archiving.
If I buy all the film I want, shoot it and have it all processed it will run me close to $500. F**k!That's either a lot of film or some expensive professional processing--- an alternative is a table top processing machine and mini-lab chemicals.

Edward C. Zimmermann
07-22-2010, 13:22
I originally planned on loading up on film at freestyle in L.A..
Freestyle is not really the best place to go for professional film. Its a place for cheaper B&W, exotic films from places like North Korea (not really, but China, Russia, Croatia and Czech Republic), short-dated and expired materials. Back when I lived in LA the pros went to Sammy's or, when they opened, Calumet.. and the kids (me included) went to Freestyle..

Jamie123
07-22-2010, 13:37
Film is not about price these days--- even if its in many cases still cheaper than digital if one considers depreciation (camera, workstation, software etc.) and especially if one factors in the cost of archiving.
That's either a lot of film or some expensive professional processing--- an alternative is a table top processing machine and mini-lab chemicals.

I actually do have a Canon 5DII but I'm leaving it at home because I don't want to have to charge batteries all the time and take a computer with me to unload pictures. I'll be travelling reasonably light with my Bessa III and a couple of P&S cameras.

So far I have the following items in my shopping cart:
- 20 pack of Portra 400NC (120 format)
- 5 pack of Portra 800 (120 format)
- 5 pack of Portra 400NC (35mm format)
- 5 pack of Kodak Ektar 100 (35mm format)
- 5 pack of Fuji Provia 100 (35mm format)

That's 40 rolls of film but I probably won't use all the 35mm. But if I only shoot 30 rolls (120 and 35mm) and process it at LTI in NYC @ $8/roll it'll still be $240 just for processing.

I don't even want to begin to think about the time it'll take me to scan all that stuff! :)

tom.w.bn
07-22-2010, 22:27
I actually do have a Canon 5DII but I'm leaving it at home because I don't want to have to charge batteries all the time and take a computer with me to unload pictures. I'll be travelling reasonably light with my Bessa III and a couple of P&S cameras.

So far I have the following items in my shopping cart:
- 20 pack of Portra 400NC (120 format)
- 5 pack of Portra 800 (120 format)
- 5 pack of Portra 400NC (35mm format)
- 5 pack of Kodak Ektar 100 (35mm format)
- 5 pack of Fuji Provia 100 (35mm format)

That's 40 rolls of film but I probably won't use all the 35mm. But if I only shoot 30 rolls (120 and 35mm) and process it at LTI in NYC @ $8/roll it'll still be $240 just for processing.

I don't even want to begin to think about the time it'll take me to scan all that stuff! :)

I don't want to argument why you take film. That's perfectly ok. But I question your reasons to leave the 5DII at home. If my quick calculation is right then you have film for 840 exposures with you. 2 full 5D-batteries should last that long. And to go without a computer you only needed 4 8GB cards. That's a lot cheaper than those 500$ you mentioned.

Jamie123
07-23-2010, 09:54
I don't want to argument why you take film. That's perfectly ok. But I question your reasons to leave the 5DII at home. If my quick calculation is right then you have film for 840 exposures with you. 2 full 5D-batteries should last that long. And to go without a computer you only needed 4 8GB cards. That's a lot cheaper than those 500$ you mentioned.

I'm still really unsure about it all. I have the 5DII with 24-105 lens, a couple of batteries and a 16GB card. I could add another 16GB card which would surely cover the trip.
There are numerous reasons why I want to leave the digital at home. One is that I made a conscious decision a while ago to shoot personal stuff on film.
The other is that I'd like to keep it light. It'll be a trip with my girlfriend not a photo trip so I really want to take it easy on her and not walk around as the guy with a big DSLR. I'm taking my Bessa III for medium format, a Nikon 35Ti for slide film and a Yashica T4 and Olympus Mju II for snapshots. It's already starting to get a bit excessive on the P&S side but they're so small that it doesn't really matter.
If I took the digital with me it would really be too much. Besides, unless I force myself to shoot film I will just grab the more convenient option.

Jamie123
07-29-2010, 12:16
Ok, so I just placed my order from Macodirect. €180 worth of film. I swear I felt a shiver go down my spine when I clicked that final ''order'' button. The real shock will be when I get that hefty bill from customs. It's usually not the actual VAT that kills me but their ''processing fee''.

I decided to follow tom's advice and also take the DSLR with me. Not necessarily because I want to save on film but because I need a good backup in case my medium format camera gives up on me.

ohoyer
07-30-2010, 09:43
hmmkay- could have buying some handfull rolls in CH and subsequently stocking up in USA not have saved you some big bucks, considering customs fee?

Also Pro film: IIRC freestyle sells rebranded Tri-X as Arista Premium as well as some rebranded Fuji...

To add my 0.02 EUR Cent to that: I personally ordered here in germany from both macodirekt and fotoimpex, both are ok. Decision should be made of what you need, there are some items that each of them carries exclusively.

Jamie123
07-30-2010, 10:20
hmmkay- could have buying some handfull rolls in CH and subsequently stocking up in USA not have saved you some big bucks, considering customs fee?

Also Pro film: IIRC freestyle sells rebranded Tri-X as Arista Premium as well as some rebranded Fuji...

To add my 0.02 EUR Cent to that: I personally ordered here in germany from both macodirekt and fotoimpex, both are ok. Decision should be made of what you need, there are some items that each of them carries exclusively.

That's what I thought, too, but then I remembered how much film costs here and realized that even if I only buy the bare minimum it would cost quite a lot of money. To put this in perspective, a 5-pack of Portra 400nc 35mm film is about CHF 52.- ...an that's with a student discount.
Also, turns out that the film is cheaper in Germany than in the US right now and that's not even considering that California (where I'm going) has a very high sales tax.

All in all I think I picked the best option. The customs processing fee is about CHF 35.-(25) and VAT is 7.6% so as long as I order a large enough amount the price per roll is pretty decent. Probably even cheaper than buying locally in Germany with the VAT of 19%.

I decided to go with Macodirect because they sell Portra 400NC 120 film in 20-packs and I had to order some Fuji Instax film for my girlfriend which is not available from Fotoimpex.