Film Photography - The Real Cost?
Old 05-29-2018   #1
dave lackey
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Film Photography - The Real Cost?

Has anyone here actually determined the real cost of film photography for one's own situation?

Yes, I know, it is a passion, a calling, an art, self-expression, therapy, and for some, maybe even bordering on a religious experience. I can relate to all of those reasons in one way or another.

However, there is a cost associated with everything in life. Sad but true.

I read a very old article yesterday by KR in his review of the Nikon F80, the inexpensive plastic fantastic camera that I still find fascinating to use. He mentioned that he was not sure of the actual tested shutter life but estimated it to be around 30,000 activations. Then he posed a question based on economics from a decade ago.

He asked if an owner of an F80 would run a thousand rolls of film through the camera and estimated that it would cost approximately $15,000. It appears he was using an average of $15/roll of film, including all costs associated with obtaining the final images. Did that include cost of scanning? Or computer-related costs? Or any of the other many costs related to shooting a roll of 135 film?

The only reason I ask this, is because it is helpful as we get older to know our limits. Passions cost too. How much money will be left at the end of each month after we have captured parts of our lives on film?

Perhaps, just as important, should we be happy with less than the best quality of the limited numbers of our endeavors? I for one, feel that maybe slide film better suits my situation for a myriad of reasons. Yikes, what is the true cost of slide film in 135 or 120 formats? How many rolls of film can I really afford to shoot?
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Old 05-29-2018   #2
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If you set up a nice retirement don't worry much!

Film photography is my indulgence, together with the occasional trip. I'm age wise, in another end of the spectrum. It is a bit dear.


It comes to mind whenever I am on the move. Consider that a trip around Europe on a shoestring (weekend getaway with a LCC fight) can cost $300. 10 rolls of C41 can be $180 to Dev, process and scan (yes, optimistic figures). Quite a hefty ratio of expense!
My last batch of C41 were 10 rolls and was $120 to Develop, covering 200 days of shooting with some care. It used to be worse back a few years ago as a student because $20 IS a lot of money and that's what roughly a roll could cost.
With film it is about care and embracing its aesthetic. I tend to have blocking with the 6x9 because I plug the thoughts about cost and end up "saving" frames, so opportunities are lost.

Gear wise somehow I've gotten quite a bit of diverse and OK workhorses, so GAS isn't much of an issue. Had a F80 for my salt spray duties around town and sadly died, replaced by a F90. Well, gas is an issue considering film is the gas for these vehicles. Should note that 40 rolls could get me a new m43 body with marginal shooting costs et al.




I'm going for a year for a grad programme so the good 'ole days of broke are coming again. I expect to finally do B&W beginning fall and the DIY approach of it makes it more affordable.


Growing up in the recession sort of implemented a "wartime budget" philosophy in me. Actually I do have an OK budget and even my relatives point out how hardcore thrifty I can be.
BTW Dave, the other day in another thread you mentioned those rumors of a recession in 2019-20 and you owe me some sleep. Actually been hearing them for a while so I guess one should be alert, and as Warren Buffet says b"e greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy".



Also I'd like to paraphrase some words from Cal, who said that photographs have a high potential in the future -- maybe not $ per se but things dissapear, morph and change...



The idealistic lifestyle would break the time-money (& age?) equation. You know, got money but no time; Got time but no money!
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Old 05-29-2018   #3
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Film costs what it costs. Plug it in your budget. I don't think you need to factor in camera actuations. You wouldn't factor in refrigerator depreciation in your monthly food budget. That's covered in the rainy day fund.
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Old 05-29-2018   #4
leicapixie
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I shoot digital, I love film.
You can't really put a price on happiness!
Film is difficult, the cameras so part of me.
Cost? There are many ways to do effectively.
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Old 05-29-2018   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prest_400 View Post
If you set up a nice retirement don't worry much!

Film photography is my indulgence, together with the occasional trip. I'm age wise, in another end of the spectrum. It is a bit dear.


It comes to mind whenever I am on the move. Consider that a trip around Europe on a shoestring (weekend getaway with a LCC fight) can cost $300. 10 rolls of C41 can be $180 to Dev, process and scan (yes, optimistic figures). Quite a hefty ratio of expense!
My last batch of C41 were 10 rolls and was $120 to Develop, covering 200 days of shooting with some care. It used to be worse back a few years ago as a student because $20 IS a lot of money and that's what roughly a roll could cost.
With film it is about care and embracing its aesthetic. I tend to have blocking with the 6x9 because I plug the thoughts about cost and end up "saving" frames, so opportunities are lost.

Gear wise somehow I've gotten quite a bit of diverse and OK workhorses, so GAS isn't much of an issue. Had a F80 for my salt spray duties around town and sadly died, replaced by a F90. Well, gas is an issue considering film is the gas for these vehicles. Should note that 40 rolls could get me a new m43 body with marginal shooting costs et al.




I'm going for a year for a grad programme so the good 'ole days of broke are coming again. I expect to finally do B&W beginning fall and the DIY approach of it makes it more affordable.


Growing up in the recession sort of implemented a "wartime budget" philosophy in me. Actually I do have an OK budget and even my relatives point out how hardcore thrifty I can be.
BTW Dave, the other day in another thread you mentioned those rumors of a recession in 2019-20 and you owe me some sleep. Actually been hearing them for a while so I guess one should be alert, and as Warren Buffet says b"e greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy".



Also I'd like to paraphrase some words from Cal, who said that photographs have a high potential in the future -- maybe not $ per se but things dissapear, morph and change...



The idealistic lifestyle would break the time-money (& age?) equation. You know, got money but no time; Got time but no money!
Sleep... oh what a dear treasure that I do miss. Sorry about that, I guess I do owe you some.

Congratulations on the grad program, it is one of the better things you can do for yourself. If not monetarily, it will enhance "you". The inner self... and you will be a better person for all of the time, energy and money required of you. Wishing you well and please do enjoy the experience!

My grad students, in a former life, probably taught me more than I taught them. Never stop learning!
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Old 05-29-2018   #6
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Not really! The price of film varies immensely, depending on type and where you buy it.

I budget around 10€ per film, covering the film, chemicals and distilled water. However, I shoot Ilford, and here shooting more exotic options from Kodak or Fuji add from 2€ to 10€ per film. For a typical project I shoot 50 to 100 films, so the cost differences are meaningfully.

But by far the biggest “cost” is the time needed to do the developing and scanning. A batch of four films run together takes me about three to five hours of active work, from camera to finished image in the computer. Fortunately I do not invoice myself...
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Old 05-29-2018   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leicapixie View Post
You can't really put a price on happiness!

Cost? There are many ways to do effectively.
This.

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Old 05-29-2018   #8
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While I agree and understand the importance of film photography, the cost be damned, it is the purpose of this thread to come to grips with the actual reality of the costs associated with film photography. It is all important because, like most here, all I would like to go is shoot and enjoy the experience one image at a time and always being excited about the next image.

But my reality is cost is all important. I will be making serious decisions soon and I am curious if anyone here has done a detailed cost analysis. Yes, a lot of people do not think about it. I get that because I used to be that way. But given the reality of permanent unemployment, and extreme medical and care costs associated with caring for my wife 24/7, we live on a razor thin existence. Photography has to be planned for...

The question for me (and maybe others) is:

If I am going to shoot 100 rolls of film in a year, what is the total cost I need to budget for using 135 film as an example.

I guess somewhere between $20 - $50/ roll. I may be only able to afford 10-20 rolls per year!
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Old 05-29-2018   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave lackey View Post
If I am going to shoot 100 rolls of film in a year, what is the total cost I need to budget for using 135 film as an example. I guess somewhere between $20 - $50/ roll. I may be only able to afford 10-20 rolls per year!
How much are you paying for processing each roll now? Use that, and if you are doing a multi-year budget, factor in some inflation. This really shouldn't be as difficult as you are making it out to be.
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Old 05-29-2018   #10
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The real cost of film is quite low compared to digital, if we are thinking in broader historical terms. How many of your digital photographs will still be around in 50 years? The silver negative, on the other hand, has an estimated lifespan of 500 years.

When it really matters, silver is still the standard.

The historical preservation programs of the U.S. Department of the Interior still use large format film (and employ LF photographers) to document landscapes, buildings, etc. for the National Archives. Why? Because over the long run film is less expensive, less susceptible to obsolescence, and ultimately more accessible than digital options.

From a historical, macro perspective, digital photography, because of its transience, is much more costly and wasteful than film.
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Old 05-29-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dave lackey View Post
My grad students, in a former life, probably taught me more than I taught them. Never stop learning!
Today I'm learning things about some people I have interacted for long! In a blurry memory I may recall you mentioned somewhere being a professor but don't seem to know you were.



Quote:
Originally Posted by dave lackey View Post

But my reality is cost is all important. I will be making serious decisions soon and I am curious if anyone here has done a detailed cost analysis. Yes, a lot of people do not think about it. I get that because I used to be that way. But given the reality of permanent unemployment, and extreme medical and care costs associated with caring for my wife 24/7, we live on a razor thin existence. Photography has to be planned for...
Sorry to hear about the difficulties. Also the un/underemployment as BTDT and I know it can eat your sanity.


As I wrote before, more or less seems that $25 would be a good starting point for C41 lab developed and scanned.



I'll do a bit of an excercise too:
  1. 10x P400 35mm (B&H): $75
  2. Lab dev & scan 10x (FINDlab): $190
  3. Shipping to and fro lab: $25
Total = $290 --> Say $30 counting some other overhead like shipping or higher retailer margins with smaller amounts. Lab scanning adds quite a bit.


B&W could be much cheaper with DIY workflow, affordable paper (Foma/Kentmere?) and a one shot diluted developer like HC110 or Rodinal. A home scanner can facilitate a lot, or heck, use a digital macro rig to act as one.
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Old 05-29-2018   #12
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Dave, shooting film can be expensive! The film, the process etc...we all know it.

And time. Yes it cost money and / or time. At my age I really feel how much my (left) time is precious ...

So what to do if the budget is limited? In my opinion there is only one solution: privilege quality over quantity. We have millions of images around us, do we really need "that" shot?

Yes and no. No if done just for the pleasure to shoot. Yes if it gives us something important. If it's part of a project, even if maybe only very few friends will see it. And if part of a project we should really evaluate what to shoot, and how.

I shoot digital, film (not so much lately) and Polaroid. Polaroid films are very expensive therefore I'm very careful when using it. In a recent trip I had a fixed number of Polaroid pack available. I knew how many I could shoot at average daily. A few didn't come out as expected. So I had to think and try to work out my idea with a fixed number of shots and accept eventually some imperfections. It worked well for me at the end.

Please do not misunderstand me: when I say quality I do not intend photo qualities (like sharpness etc...) but the weight a shot, a picture can have inside a project, a story. Is it really essential? Do we remember that "less is more"? Can we leave space for imagination between on frame and the next one? How many pictures do we need to tell a story?

This is how I see it, not easy to explain in a foreign language
And yes, I think a lot about these cost, where I live unfortunately the future is very uncertain

robert

PS: by the way this morning I wanted to buy a few film to shoot with my M7 and was surprised by the prices...Kodak Portra 400 iso/ 36 exp = 9.72 EUR...but Kodak Color Plus 200 iso/36exp 3.60...
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Old 05-29-2018   #13
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Hmm...

If I average a roll of film to be £5, and a Tetenal kit costing £35 will do me 20 rolls, that's £135. That would probably do me 3 months, so that's £540 per year.

There's the costs for heating the water for development and electricity for scanning but I doubt it's worth factoring in.

I'm not overly shocked at the total for film and dev. Sounds reasonable to me for a year's worth of film photos.

As for gear acquisition, I try to sell when I buy to keep costs at zero and stop myself amassing crap. Doesn't always work out like that...
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Old 05-29-2018   #14
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I'm 67 and in semi-retirement, and have lived all of my life on a moderate income. Yet, because of "moderation in all things" I feel as if I am a rich man. I can afford a couple of nice old Leicas because these days they are almost cheap Then film & processing.... yes it can be expensive. Because of moderation, I can shoot as little or as much as I want, depending on the money in my pocket at the time. It is only an enjoyable hobby, nothing more.
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Old 05-29-2018   #15
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Dave, I'd decide which output I want (e.g. wet print, inkjet print, web gallery, book etc) and then which pathway (film or digital) will get me there while meeting my standards for output quality and volume. Then just live within one's budget.

For me, aesthetic and emotion are more important than cost. I like the look of film images more than digital. I'm prepared to compromise on volume in order to keep on shooting film.

Be aware also of the often substantial indirect costs associated with digital. Software needs updating, computers and peripherals need updating, standards become obsolete, it's a cycle that's hard (and sometimes impossible) to avoid.
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Old 05-29-2018   #16
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When one has more time than money, develop the C41 at home. This assumes you already have space to develop B&W film.

A C-41 chemical kit from Amazon does 8, 36 exposure rolls for $38 (including shipping). The only differences between B&W film developing are temperature, timing and safety. There are other start up costs for funnels, storage bottles and graduated cylinders. If you already do B&W, some of your developing kit can be used for C41.

The least expensive way to solve the temperature issue is to use an aquarium heater and an old aquarium.

There are four development timing sequences that should be followed as accurately as possible. There are lab timer smart phone apps for this or you can just use an analog timer.

Personal safety can involve a simple dust mask and gloves. Unfortunately some individuals may be more sensitive to the C41 chemicals than others. The dust when mixing the solutions is typically more of an issue than vapors. Using a space with decent ventilation is preferred.

Disposal of spent solutions is another issue. This will vary from location to location. The most common option in the US is to make occasional trips to a municipal hazardous waste site. Often there is no cost for small amounts. Storing spent solutions in a safe place using proper plastic containers is not inherently dangerous. So trips to waste processing facilities can be minimized.
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Old 05-29-2018   #17
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The bottom line is there are cheap ways to do film and cheap ways to do digital. Digital is cheaper if you already have the equipment because you do not have to buy film. BUT if you need to buy a computer and software, film would be cheaper. Quality printing is not cheap with either...
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Old 05-29-2018   #18
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I don't shoot film because it is cheaper (or not) than digital.
I shoot film because it gives me the results that I want. So cost compared to digital is not relevant.
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Old 05-29-2018   #19
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To keep monetary costs down processing yourself is the way to go. Initial investment in equipment and chemicals can be amortized by using more film!


Hidden costs are time, water, space, disposing of chemicals, and if someone is vegetarian/ vegan, then the whole silver gelatin world might be best avoided!


If you get an enlarger then space and time can become a big "cost". A printing session can last many hours and use up a lot of paper. Uses a lot of water! Enlargers are heavy and it, along with everything else, takes up a lot of space.



Great fun, though.
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Old 05-29-2018   #20
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I appreciate all of the comments, some good info there! And yet the question has only been somewhat addressed by one person...($30/roll of 135 film).

So, what does it really cost per roll to buy film, shoot it, process it, scan it, store it/roll based on format and type of film?

There should be more than one answer depending on film, format, out-source processing and scanning, etc.

Has anyone actually done such a detailed analysis? Or even a rule of thumb evaluation?

This is almost, it seems, as big a secret as trying to find what professional photographers charge for services here in Atlanta... LOL..

The $30/roll figure mentioned above may be in the ballpark for 135 film., being outsourced. How about 120 film? How about slides? When a purchase of $2k is required to buy a 120 scanner is contemplated, that is not a problem for cost/image but it is a huge problem for purchasing when no funds are available.

This is not a digital comparison discussion, it is merely an attempt to nail down cost analysis of using film in my photography. It is no different than any other business decision but it seems that no one has done a current cost analysis for whatever reason... But, if there is a good one, please do share.
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Old 05-29-2018   #21
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My wife see the cost on bank statements and she pissed off.
This is the real cost of film photography in my situation.
And here is no average cost of film in real world.
So, I'll give you some real scenarios and numbers I have done and paid for:

Any working camera for free or next to nothing cost. I have SLRs as gifts, I gave some of them back as gifts or sold for very low price.

Buying and using prestige Leica M and lenses will bring your hardware cost to the level of regular digital rig cost, plus CLA if you are regular user.

Film:

You could by C-41 film for 5$ and use just dozen over one year.
50$ for film and another 150$ for lab developing. Or twice less for DBY.
Scanner, new and good is around 300$.
This is how much I paid for new from BH latest Plustek with i recently.

You could get bulk of bw film. In my heaviest years I needed four per year.
So, it is 200$.
Chemicals even for heavy film use are under 100$.

You could get ECN-2 film in 400-800 ft bulks for under 100$ (if you search and wait)
And this film is OK for BW and lomography like colors.
Another 100$ for chemicals over one year.

Larger, smaller you go, more you'll pay for film.

For printer under enlarger the main cost is darkoom paper. Very little choice left and most available Ilford darkroom paper is grossly overpriced now.
This is where main cost of film photography for me is.
Over 100 for 100 of RC 8x10 and well over 100 for same of FB.
And larger sizes are just insane in price now..
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Old 05-29-2018   #22
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Buying and using prestige Leica M and lenses will bring your hardware cost to the level of regular digital rig cost, plus CLA if you are regular user.

Or a $25 Pentax K1000 from the thrift store....
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Old 05-29-2018   #23
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Hahaha, Lol..

Ko Fe, that first paragraph cracks me up! Thanks!
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Old 05-29-2018   #24
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When you are not living in North America or in Western Europe, the issue is not primarily about cost. Instead, it's about logistics. Cost is a secondary issue.
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Old 05-29-2018   #25
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Early on in the Navy when I was learning to shoot their way, we had a saying: "film is free, time is priceless."
Since then I've shot with that attitude. I budgeted for cameras, enlargers, lenses, trips, camera repair, fuel, tires, whatnot, but never put film into a budget because it felt too constrained. Sometimes I shot almost 20 rolls a day, sometimes I shot a roll in two months. In the end, I came to the conclusion that for me, just having a few rolls of film available was enough. Having the precious time with family or out in nature was what I needed to work on making.

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Old 05-29-2018   #26
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Like some others wrote before I think the relevant costs for film photography are not the money for film or developing.
I could afford that still just from a small budget.

It is the effort of time and logistics what prevents me from shooting film.
Just three to five pictures per photowalk and the choice of three cameras brings a lot of
organisation and planning to film photography that is not necessary when shooting digital.
This are my subjective, personal circumstances and I have no problem to get the pictures I like from digital equipment.

A roll of 135 slide film, developing in one of our big drugstore-laborations and a few gimmicks like scanning will be around
EUR 15,- or so all in all here in germany.
Around 50 cents for a processed and scanned picture.
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Old 05-29-2018   #27
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I am planning to use again film this summer along with digital.
I will take with me a couple film cameras (one rangefinder and one srl) with various lenses each
I left film about ten years ago
What moves me?
No artistic or technical consideration! I am even afraid I lost my film skills.
It is NOSTALGIA, almost 100% Nostalgia.
The price of nostalgia? For now I bought some rolls of Provia 135 at 20 euros each including shipping.
I still don't know whom to send the film for processing and the final price for each roll
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Old 05-29-2018   #28
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Cheap or expensive are relative terms. Folks play golf and spend a bundle they don't even blink at. Ditto for skiing, sailing, attending concerts or sporting events...even bowling or drinking at your favorite pub. Priced out a craft beer lately? If your avocation doesn't bring in $'s, then there are costs associated it, but these can be controlled as much by your expectations, your level of activity, and all the rest. In short, too many variables to be definitive.

If your expectations are high, expect to spend some $'s the same way a golfer would spend in greens fees (I know a guy who just paid $600 to play at famed Pebble Beach). "The best" isn't just the enemy of the good, it is also the enemy (or can be) of your bank account. This makes $10 a roll look cheap. Ditto for $3,000 for a new digital whatever. If you can be happy with the gear you have or expect to have without much expense, either film or digital will be do-able. If not, then either you quit or it's about to get more expensive. Dissatisfaction is the best source of rising incomes for other people and falling bank accounts for the dissatisfied. Pushing the envelope will cost until you reach the plane you want to be on. This is even true if alll you do with your non-photography time is go to the gym... 'casue gym fees aren't going down either.

Atlanta is a great place for film lovers! and digital shooters, too.
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Old 05-29-2018   #29
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Dave,

Photography can be cheap or expensive. Worse case is to shoot both analog and digital. Currently this is what I do and the costs add up.

In regards to film and B&W in particular, I chose to only make negatives and to minimize costs as much as possible. I learned to love Diafine and make it work for me because I don't pour my developer down the drain as a one shot anymore, Diafine gets reused and has long storage life. The cost of processing for me is a few pennies of fixer, and the Ilford Rapid Fixer I use I buy in bulk.

I use to buy Arista Premium and Aristo Pro which was rebranded Tri-X and Acros for $2.89 and $1.89 (short dated) a roll. Today I can buy Rollie 400S in 70mm bulk and get my cost down to under $3.00 per 120 equiv like in the old days. Nothing wrong with limited film selection to maintain low film cost. Pretty much B&W photography for me is the cost of the film and like I said a few pennies worth of fxer.

So I made an archive, and I am proud to say at one point I was shooting 150 rolls of film a month on average for nearly one complete shooting season pre-digital shooting.

Negatives store easily, and time is the best editor. Now I have a body of work that is of historical interest. I always had the intent of wet printing these negatives at a later date when I have the time, money and space.

Also certain cameras are currently selling for "no money" if you avoid Pentax 67's and Rollieflex. I'm finding that I plan on shooting more 120 and sheet films over 135 films. Use to be the other way around, so if you want to go for quality over quantity join in.

Figure the cost of a roll of 120 with less exposures is about the same for 36 exposures in 135. Just curb your shots accordingly.

Cal
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Old 05-29-2018   #30
GarageBoy
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Provia 400x retailing at $17 a roll and costing $7 to develop only really hurt, especially since I loved it's color palette. I reserve film for "special occasions", but those have become rare, and I'm worried about color shifts as my discontinued provia and ektachrome stash ages...

B&w is cheap enough that I shoot away

Now to find that perfect camera and lens combo for blowing away film
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Old 05-29-2018   #31
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Probably most of us don't WANT to know how much it costs. You seem like a good guy, but were not going to do your homework for you - especially since the first thing you going to say is "but that's not how I would do it." :>)

But ha ha - here's an example. For fun, sometimes I shoot cheap Fuji C41 for which I pay $3.99 per 36 exp. Local processing and scanning is $12.00 - with medium-resolution files delivered on CD. This is a very rudimentary, not-time-intensive process that gives me just decent enough files to post on the web (with a little post). The color is goofy, but this is the age of Instagram filters. $0.44 per image. The cameras don't figure much in the cost because I've had at least one of them for 40 years, many of them for 20 - by the way - I think that was the point KR was making... the cost of the camera is minimal compared to the cost of materials and time. In the digital world - the camera IS the "expendable materials" and time in the darkroom becomes time in front of the computer...

Ok - now you can say it. "But that's not how I would do it" or "that wouldn't work for me." See? It's cool.

I would gently suggest this is something you need to do for yourself. There are many differences in the ways people practice photography that make massive differences in the costs. You haven't really said anything about what you do and how you do it (other than maybe "I like E6" - which is a huge factor). So sit down with a piece of paper and maybe a calculator, document your process, add up the numbers and let us know what you come up with. It will be fun!

I think you will find it's not an expensive hobby - at least compared to some like "vintage car racing" or "hardcore drug addiction" ... that's a joke.

Bonus: People may actually make good suggestions to lower costs - once they know what you are doing and how...
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Old 05-29-2018   #32
Gerry M
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Dave,
To keep my cost down for using film, I shoot b&w only in 135 & 120. I have accumulated 200+ rolls of b&w that are refrigerated or frozen. I also use bulk to load 12 exposure rolls. I develop & scan at home. For color, I use digital and not the latest hi tech whiz banger.
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Old 05-29-2018   #33
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Dave,

Another way to shoot for no money: Shoot 5222 bought in bulk (about $4.00 a roll) at 400 ISO and develop in Diafine (almost free).

Shoot with a total disregard to scanning or printing.

BTW 5222 and Diafine ISO 400 looks wonderful.

Cal
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Old 05-29-2018   #34
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I look on it as amount of budget set aside for hobby/fun/recreation. I'm retired and my monthly income probably puts me in the bottom 20% or retirees. Therefore I must budget carefully. Thus the use of photo paper substituted for film in 4X5 in both lensed and pinhole and 5X7 in pinhole. For 35mm and 120 I just don't shoot much, still there are many negs that will never be printed.


I also have cameras for two subminiature formats, Minolta 16mm and Minox 8X11 format. I'll get on a tear and use them for a bit, slitting bulk and loading carts, all very cheap, less than $1 per roll for raw film cost. But they also sit for many months without being used at all.


I really want to build a 8X10 sliding box camera and use a plus diopter close up lens as an objective and paper as negatives. I've been held back by the huge cost of 8X10 holders. Used prices average $80 to $100 each and I would want 3 holders. So that project is on the back burner for now.
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Old 05-29-2018   #35
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For now I'm with Kentmere. It is 2-2.5$ per roll if from the bulk. And IMO it is better than this odd Kodak motion film.
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Old 05-29-2018   #36
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At the risk of wandering off thread for a bit....
I've often thought that the complexity (and cost) of digital photography you are holding in your hand, quite incredible the progress made in the last decade. But that with film, the complexity happens remote from your camera.

Making 35mm or 120 film is not a garage project. If a company wanted to start from scratch I wonder how much it would cost to design the equipment to make and coat, and cut and package film. I doubt you could buy equipment 'off the shelf' as it were, but machines would have to be designed and built, even for a basic ISO 100 B&W film.


My guess is about $20 million, give or take, for a factory that could supply 10K 35mm 36exp rolls per month of B&W film.


My estimate could be total fiction, way too low, but I doubt too high. I have a feeling that all the film being made today is produced on machines that are 20~50 years old. When pieces wear out they probably have to make replacement parts themselves. No wonder prices are pushing $6 a roll for some B&W emulsions.
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Old 05-29-2018   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
My wife see the cost on bank statements and she pissed off.
I know that feeling, when I was a teen film costs seemed disproportionate. I masked the film budgets for that reason.


If my plans to go B&W come to fruition and I do the whole thing including printing, might add to the "paper is expensive" club. +1 vote on bulk rolling for 135.

On online circles, John Sypal of Tokyocamerastyle showcased his totally darkroom based workflow but IG won't make that easy to find.



Quote:
Originally Posted by dave lackey View Post

The $30/roll figure mentioned above may be in the ballpark for 135 film., being outsourced. How about 120 film? How about slides? When a purchase of $2k is required to buy a 120 scanner is contemplated, that is not a problem for cost/image but it is a huge problem for purchasing when no funds are available.
Roughly yes, 120 seems quite similar to 135 except limited to 8-16 exposures depending on the format. The implicit mention of not doing LF sheet... Well yes I took a look and it is quite expensive!


Slides cost more to purchase and develop but you can be a happy camper staring at them backlit, specially on medium format; Or of course projecting.



Scanner wise a V550-600 can be gotten refurbished for $100 (I envied those in US who had this option) or new towards $200-250. However sometimes it feels as if you throw out resolution (MF) and is a bit of a PITA.



I've got a film friend who says no to spending what a good scanner costs nowadays and is doing it instead with a Sony A7R+Macro lens and software. It seems quite interesting. There's a thread in the forum as well.



This discussion might make me think more and do some extra cost calculation, as in EU I saw EM5 mkII (HiRes mode) for 700€ refurbished. In the medium term I may replicate that with a legacy macro lens and a m43 system.


I'm a business grad and have been a bank teller; as much as I didn't want to I think too much about money.
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Old 05-29-2018   #38
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Here is my estimate for b&w film photography (which definitely does not cost $30/roll).

Imagine instead of buying a $7,000 digital M (body), you get an M2/3/4 and a CLA for $1,000. That leaves you with $6,000. Subtract another $1,000 for lab equipment and a scanner, and you have $5,000 to shoot film to break even. If a roll of film is $5, then you can shoot 1,000 rolls of film. That should last you around 4-5 year, I guess, which is the typical life cycle of a digital camera. In other words, digital and film cost about the same.

135 or 120, no difference. A roll of 120 Ilford FP-4 is actually cheaper than a roll of 135, I use the same development spools, tanks, and chemicals. My flat-bed scanner for 120 cost a few hundred $$, about the same as a dedicated 135 scanner.
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Old 05-29-2018   #39
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A LOT, even for a non-pro
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Old 05-29-2018   #40
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Cost not much. Investment is a better definition for me.

All my equipment lasts a long time. They’re like the Duracell battery commercial. Still have a working Canon 20D I bought in 2004 and it still works just fine but has been relegated to a backup in case my full frame Canon hickups. Hasn’t yet though. I exercised, over the weekend, a Rolleiflex Automat. It’s about a 1953 vintage. I used it to make some photographs all with black and white film, TMax 100 and Acros. I’m developing them now using ID-11.

I’ve invested a fair amount into education as I consider that more important for me than gear. And what is your or my time worth?

I find I made a very good investment into a large waste paper basket I sometimes use in my darkroom! Trouble is RC paper isn’t recycled here.
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