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View Poll Results: What percentage price increase would it take to stop you shooting film?
25% 3 2.42%
50% 10 8.06%
75% 4 3.23%
100% 28 22.58%
200% 12 9.68%
I don't care ... I'll pay whatever it costs. 67 54.03%
Voters: 124. You may not vote on this poll

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What percentage price increase would it take before you reconsider using film?
Old 06-12-2011   #1
Keith
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What percentage price increase would it take before you reconsider using film?

We surmise about this quite a lot when discussing the future of film and generally seem to agree that when the big players eventually get sick of making it (Fuji and Kodak) it will inevitably become a little more of a niche product and will likely cost more ... but should continue to be available into the foreseeable future hopefully.

So the question is ... how far are you personally prepared to go up my hypothetical price scale before you opt out?
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Old 06-12-2011   #2
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I really have not found a digital camera which I can afford to use which I like. The ones I have used have driven me nuts. I guess if there was an alternative for me I would feel differently.
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Old 06-12-2011   #3
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I meant to add ... when making your decision try making it on the assumption that the specials like Arista Premium and Legacy Pro that we've been celebrating for the last few years probably won't exist in the film shooter's future ... this is surely excess production being cleared by the big two and can't be assumed to be permanent.

Tri-X will be Tri-X and Neopan will be Neopan ... and priced accordingly.
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Old 06-12-2011   #4
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I would not expect I'd stop, just use less, as price climbs.
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Old 06-12-2011   #5
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If it goes up 200% today, I might consider stopping but if it is in 10 years time........
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Old 06-12-2011   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
I meant to add ... when making your decision try making it on the assumption that the specials like Arista Premium and Legacy Pro that we've been celebrating for the last few years probably won't exist in the film shooter's future ... this is surely excess production being cleared by the big two and can't be assumed to be permanent.

Tri-X will be Tri-X and Neopan will be Neopan ... and priced accordingly.
I guess I could state my opinion differently by saying my threshold would be lower if there was something else to use that I liked.
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Old 06-12-2011   #7
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A 100% price increase (Japan price level) for films like Tri-X, HP5+ would be acceptable for me. However, I hesitate to buy the wooden-box Rollei film-sets sold for greatly > US$120 (per 10 rolls 135-36) here in Japan...

Just recently I have for the first time bought the re-badged films from Freestyle and like it a lot.
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Old 06-12-2011   #8
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I shoot film because it's my idea of what photography was, and should be, about. Give me a nice sharp B&W print that's been enlarged to 16" or more, with all of those beautiful tones, and I'm happy. Digital offers zero attraction, so I would pay whatever it would cost to use film, but I don't expect any supply or price issues within my lifetime. If I did, I would buy up a bunch now and not worry about it anymore.

This goes against popular wisdom, but I think in the future there will be a more varied supply of excellent films. People always complain about all the films they don't make anymore, and they have a point, but they forget that some of them were pretty lousy. I feel that the selection we have even today is still more than adequate. If you can't do it w/ today's films, it's not the film that's the problem.
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Old 06-12-2011   #9
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I'd pay pretty much whatever, but would use it correspondingly more sparingly. Kind of like how 8x10 and larger format photographers do now.
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Old 06-12-2011   #10
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With my current income, I'd probably stop buying it if it went up 200-300%, but after finishing college, I'd keep buying it no matter what it costs.
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Old 06-12-2011   #11
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Film is basically at the level of unaffordability for me. It's not the film price so much as the scanning costs.
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Old 06-12-2011   #12
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I voted for whatever it costs, but I think that the film manufacturers will make this decision for us. When they deem it no longer practical to manufacture and distribute film it will disappear even if there are some people still willing to pay. Jim
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Old 06-12-2011   #13
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One thing that could make a difference for me would be if the US and Australian economies went through a reversal of fortunes.

If the Oz dollar got back to fifty something US cents where it slumped to some time ago, it could be tricky ... because I ain't about to pay the local price of $9 - $10 per roll for Tri-X or similar!
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Old 06-12-2011   #14
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I shoot pretty sparingly now. I constantly tell myself I need to shoot more. I will contuinue to pay whatever film cost. I expect it to increase since the cost of silver has gone up.
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Old 06-12-2011   #15
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I would guess that if costs increased 200 percent, young folks would stop feeding it through toy cameras, setting up a rapid death spiral for film in general and commercial processing in particular.
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Old 06-12-2011   #16
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I have so much money invested in film cameras that I will not give up buying film easily. I will pay a lot and If I have to buy a big number of 100 ft rolls and freeze it I will. I think there will be a point where other equipment or chemicals are no longer carried by retailers. I think there will be a time when it will collapse fairly quickly over a year or so. Film prices may be a moot point. I am hoping that time doesn't come along for another 10 years. Jim
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Old 06-12-2011   #17
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would not stop, just use less.

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Old 06-12-2011   #18
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While I'm completely wed to my M9 and the digital workflow, if I didn't need to use it for deadlines, I'd not use digital at all and would shoot my M4 and IIIf with Plus-X 125, Tri-X and Delta 3200.
The way it stands these days, I don't have the time or space to do all the developing myself, even though I'd love to. I own a Nikon scanner, so that's taken care of. I guess the biggest issue is the landlord, his cat (hair everywhere) and the lack of space for development/hanging negs.

Hell, I love the M9 and the instant gratification I get with it, but I love that M4 more. It's just the different processes and the time/space issue that keeps me from exposing the amount of film I want to.

Regardless, I do get out a bit and shoot film but have to send it to a lab. Once the price of film plus developing goes up over 200% of the current cost here in Philly, I'm done.

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Old 06-12-2011   #19
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well, I'm pretty glad that Legacy Pro does exist.

if not, bulk loading (or digital) it is.
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Old 06-12-2011   #20
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So what the (numerous) people who ticked the last couple of boxes are saying is that if Tri-X reached $15.00 per roll or higher they'd still be using it!

Brave words, I admire your stoicism!
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Old 06-12-2011   #21
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Depends! Right now I only buy Arista and Legacy film because they are so cheap, even with shipping! Locally, Tri-X in 35mm is $6 and in 120 it is $3.75- which is quite competitive. If the price went to $10 a roll I would shoot a lot less. When I go London to visit my parents I often stock up on Ilford because at Silverprint it is 30% off if you buy 10 or more rolls. Even with the discount it is still more than Freestlye's generic brands. I dislike Fomapan 400 so much I would go digital if that were the last film on Earth- unless they improve their quality control.
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Old 06-12-2011   #22
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If film continues to go up as it has I will just use less. Thank God for places that still charge reasonable prices for film and developing and scanning.
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Old 06-12-2011   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett Wilson View Post
I would guess that if costs increased 200 percent, young folks would stop feeding it through toy cameras, setting up a rapid death spiral for film in general and commercial processing in particular.
You'd be surprised. The cost of film and processing is akin to daylight robbery here in Australia yet the lomo craze is massive.
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How much a *click* is it?
Old 06-12-2011   #24
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How much a *click* is it?

That's how it was put to me back in 1969, when I was buying film (inevitably Kodak in Upstate New York) for my first SLR. Somewhere I actually have copies of Popular Photography from 1968-1970 (high school for me). One of my mentors said "buy bulk it's cheaper. How much a *click* do you pay now? you might as well be shooting Kodachrome all the time!" For B&W add in chemicals, if you're picky.

At US$15 a roll (36 exp) that's, mmmm, $5 a dozen. That's a bit above 120 B&W now, at least Kodak. That's in the 40-50 cents a *click* range.

Medium format is to 35mm film as 35mm film is to digital: Makes you slow down and pick your pix, then compose & expose carefully. This afternoon I was snapping swallows & flycatchers working the surface of the Patuxent River in Maryland - WHEEE! what a rush...just keep cranking the advance on the M4 and hope you caught the little guys before they banked sideways and turned invisible. What will I get, beyond the geek-thrill of running the machine? maybe a "keeper" or two out of my $6+ roll of Plus-X. As Lou Jacobi once said "it's only a 'obby!"

Last edited by alfredian : 06-12-2011 at 19:33. Reason: spelling
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Old 06-12-2011   #25
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Since I shoot a combination of film and digital, the question for me is a little different. I find myself thinking, "How expensive would gasoline have to be before I stop driving?" the more expensive film gets, the less I will use but I think I would continue to shoot some film even when it becomes expensive - I really do not know how to quantify what my threshold for what excessively expensive would be.
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Old 06-12-2011   #26
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Interesting question Keith. Like JSU I now have my darkroom in good order, and I'm learning more about exposure, developing and printing every week. I know the end (of the way I currently practice photography) will come, and probably within the next 15 to 20 years, but I expect to be able to enjoy it affordably for at least the next ten years or so.

The availability of paper for printing will likely be the first big hurdle, as paper doesn't keep in cold storage as well as film, and stockpiling probably isn't practical. Alternative processes exist of course (even glass negs if it comes to that), but for practical photography.

I have several years worth of 35mm film in cold storage, and keep buying enough to cover current usage as I can. At some point I'll hit the resistence point and start consuming my long-term stocks instead. But I can't say right now at what price point I'll reach that decision.
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Old 06-12-2011   #27
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I would definitely have said I'd pare down, if I hadn't started developing my own B&W film. Much cheaper that way (develop and scan), and I like some of the cheapest films at Freestyle, so prices would have to rise a lot.
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Old 06-12-2011   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pickett Wilson View Post
I would guess that if costs increased 200 percent, young folks would stop feeding it through toy cameras, setting up a rapid death spiral for film in general and commercial processing in particular.
I doubt that much film is really being shot by hipsters with Lomos. Most is shot by artists and students in college/art school photo programs. Commercial processing is already dead, has been for years. The last decent lab in Indiana closed 5 yrs ago. I'm surprised so many companies still make film, especially Kodak and Fuji. They're big companies that make a lot of other things; film is no longer a big part of business for them the way it is for small companies like Ilford and Foma. Few people still paint with oil paint, yet about 30 companies still manufacture it. Fewer still use egg tempera, yet there is still at least one manufacturer of it. A small number of users can support one or two small manufacturers.
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Old 06-12-2011   #29
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Quote:
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I doubt that much film is really being shot by hipsters with Lomos. Most is shot by artists and students in college/art school photo programs. Commercial processing is already dead, has been for years. The last decent lab in Indiana closed 5 yrs ago. I'm surprised so many companies still make film, especially Kodak and Fuji. They're big companies that make a lot of other things; film is no longer a big part of business for them the way it is for small companies like Ilford and Foma. Few people still paint with oil paint, yet about 30 companies still manufacture it. Fewer still use egg tempera, yet there is still at least one manufacturer of it. A small number of users can support one or two small manufacturers.
Roberts in Indy was still doing E-6 the last time I was still there.
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Old 06-12-2011   #30
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Roberts in Indy was still doing E-6 the last time I was still there.
They still do, I'd forgotten about them. We used to have three pro labs here in Ft Wayne that did same-day E-6 and C-41. All gone
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Old 06-12-2011   #31
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With the current value of money, I probably would not change behavior as long as the price per roll 120 BW film stays below 1000 Yen (that’s probably around 12 US$) - and that is 3 times the current price of Tri-X in Japan.
I consider myself a film photographer, but the vast majority of my photos are digital snaps. As I put a lot of consideration in each film photo, it does not amount to very many rolls, and considering all the other costs involved in maintaining photo equipment etc. the relative cost of film is negligible.

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Old 06-12-2011   #32
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For the last couple of years I've been buying APX100 for €1,50 per roll from Germany. That stock is drying up fast and I will face a reality of €3,50 or more per roll very soon. That's more than 100% price increase for me. But I'm not whining.
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Old 06-12-2011   #33
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Unless you use a camera like a mini-gun, film is still very cheap compared to a new digital body every couple of years (or however long it takes for "digital rot" and marketing to make you go and buy the latest version).
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Old 06-12-2011   #34
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I haven't paid that much attention. How expensive is it now?
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Old 06-12-2011   #35
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I haven't paid that much attention. How expensive is it now?
CHEAP, if you shoot black and white. $2 a roll Tri-X from Freestyle (Arista Premium 400; I have 90 rolls of it on my worktable!). Chemicals are so cheap on a per-roll basis that they're near free. Less than $1 a roll for developer, fixer, and photo-flo.

Even color is no more expensive than it was when I was a teenager. E-6 film is about $11 a roll (it was 9 or 10 for pro films when I was a kid) and $10 to process (was about $7 when i was young, so thats increased a little bit).
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Old 06-12-2011   #36
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Second part of the question: how much lower an M9 should cost for you to ....

right now, in my book (read shooting arista and home processing/scanning), film is much cheaper than digital
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Old 06-12-2011   #37
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Tri-X is $8.00 a roll in NZ more in some towns and it's the cheapest available.

Some of the Ilford offerings are twice that price

Buying in from the USA is about half that cost ... for many Kiwis i would say the line has already been crossed.

I'm sticking with film and the OM-2
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Old 06-12-2011   #38
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I think to say commercial processing is dead is probably accurate or inaccurate depending on where you live. Here in London, I can walk to several processors, at least one is a pro-lab doing E6 etc.

But back to the question, I'd probably handle a 100% increase, but not much more. I'm more concerned about the range of films available. If Velvia disappeared, then for me that would be a big deal, as I tend to think film excels for colour, not B&W (that too though).
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Old 06-12-2011   #39
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Since I like T-max I am trying Acros now. At 5$ a roll from Fuji UK.

I will be happy to move to Melbourne late september; there I can order from the US without the 27% customs and handling fee we pay in Belgium.

When the price increases enormously I think I will stick with the 6x9 MF format and shoot much slower/deliberate and use digital for anything else.
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Old 06-12-2011   #40
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None of the above.

I stocked up on RolleiRetro 100 at EUR 1,43 a piece from macodirect.de and have enough film to last me a decade. 100ft Retro400 was cheap as well.
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