Film An article on rising costs of film and decline of film photography - opinions?

Just saw this - was wondering what people here think of some of the points the author discusses:

 
Location
S. Oregon Coast
Real Name
Andrew L
Well, first off, Fstoppers is a garbage website, so it's likely to have sub-par articles. Still, the writer does identify objectively expensive film prices. But if you're serious about film, I think you find bulk rolls, or settle on a cheaper stock that you find an affinity for (*coughFOMAPANcough*). The author names off a list of what have more or less always been the expensive film stocks, and is surprised at how expensive they are. But it's not quite that simple. They name Ektar as a "budget" film, but what's the cheapest real world price that Ektar 100 has gone for? I guess it was $7.99 a roll years ago when Gold 200 and Superia were super cheap. If you want cheap Kodak, find Gold 200. It looks better than Ektar anyway.

Everything is more expensive now, and yes, I do think things will get cheaper but the film business is nothing if not conservative (it's film, after all), and they're not going to increase production by leaps and bounds right away, till they're sure the market will sustain it. Film expires after all. And I say increase production because film's cost to manufacture is very dependent on volume. Given the chemicals and the way film is made, your profit margin is highly dependent on how big of batches you can make and sell.
 


Interesting points. I have rarely bought 'expensive' film so I can't say I know much about that market. I have mostly used Kodak Max 400 only which I can buy relatively cheaply at the equivalent of Kmart here.
But it is a good point that shooting film can get very expensive very quickly, I've found - buying the film itself, getting it developed, getting it scanned.

I thought that he made a good point - that there are no significant numbers of film cameras being manufactured today (other than cheap disposable point-n-shoots as far as I can see). Surely that's good point. Current prices of vintage film cameras are being driven up in price as a consequence. My film camera keeps rocketing in value. I'm kinda surprised that, clearly there is a market for film photography but the major camera companies have zero interest in it. Surely it is a niche demographic but a relatively strong one nonetheless.
 
Location
S. Oregon Coast
Real Name
Andrew L
I think the film camera market would easily support some new full-featured film cameras that aren't expensive Leicas. Film processing labs are opening up in new places where they haven't been for years, and interest is the highest it's been for a long time. Shortages of even common films like Fuji 200 and Kodak Gold (they're almost always backordered on the big sites like B&H, Adorama etc.) makes it pretty clear that there's more profit to be made by making more of the stuff. Like I said before, manufacturers are very conservative by nature; if they weren't they probably wouldn't still be in the business. Eventually they'll figure out that it's worth investing in making more inexpensive film.
 

theoldsmithy

Hall of Famer
Location
Cheshire, England
Real Name
Martin Connolly
I have been put off shooting film recently by the cost of film itself, and of developing/scanning. I find scanning negs myself to be a tedious and usually unsatisfactory business, certainly for colour film. Getting a decent scan back from the lab is a whole lot easier, but at about £12 a roll the cost soon gets too high for me. I do have a few rolls of film in storage, maybe I'll put them on eBay and make a profit 😉
 
I feel like film has steered away from being an accessible medium. The photography courses at my university still use and teach film as a medium (in conjunction with digital of course), however it feels like film is more of a niche artist's medium now, rather than one for the masses.
 

JensM

Veteran
Ran a roll through the Yashica T5 last year to make sure it worked, before selling it for a bundle. May do the same with the Yashica T3, even if the bundle is less. Am pondering getting the rest of the film cameras CLAed, but I really cant see myself running them much, which also goes for the Polaroid SX70.

I do have most of a 35mm darkroom set-up laying about in a couple or three boxes, including an enlarger, so could probably make a go of it.

The question is somewhat why?

Especially if one goes through the process of digitialising them anyway...

Personally, the answer to that is most likely medium format. Something I never had the money for whilst film was on its peak.
 
You can go to the local Walgreens and buy film, was not that expensive.

Freestyle is still around, and you can buy bulk film.

SX70 and 600 film is $20 a pack from Polaroid, an ultra-niche market. When it was new, was still $5 a pack. That was over 40 years ago. In today's cost, that is now $25.
 

Richard

All-Pro
Location
Marlow, UK
Every so often I think it might be fun to resurrect one of my old cameras and to shoot film again. I'm sure it would make me think a lot more carefully before I press the shutter and do wonders for my keep rate. I might even look cool and interesting carrying a film camera around - like David Hemmings in Blow-Up perhaps.

But then I remember all the reasons why I stopped using film in the first place. Not looking remotely like David Hemmings in Blow-Up was only one of them.

-R
 
Ran a roll through the Yashica T5 last year to make sure it worked, before selling it for a bundle. May do the same with the Yashica T3, even if the bundle is less. Am pondering getting the rest of the film cameras CLAed, but I really cant see myself running them much, which also goes for the Polaroid SX70.

I do have most of a 35mm darkroom set-up laying about in a couple or three boxes, including an enlarger, so could probably make a go of it.

The question is somewhat why?

Especially if one goes through the process of digitialising them anyway...

Personally, the answer to that is most likely medium format. Something I never had the money for whilst film was on its peak.

I just looked up the Yashica you mentioned and found this article:

"One London camera shop owner told me that in about 2005 he had about 20 T5s that he could not sell for even the lowest price – he couldn’t even give them away. They ended up being chucked out. Each one of those cameras, still working, would fetch up to £400 now."

 
You can go to the local Walgreens and buy film, was not that expensive.

Freestyle is still around, and you can buy bulk film.

SX70 and 600 film is $20 a pack from Polaroid, an ultra-niche market. When it was new, was still $5 a pack. That was over 40 years ago. In today's cost, that is now $25.

We don't have Walgreens in Australia but at the (I assume) equivalent store here we can still kinda of find 3 rolls of Kodak 400 max for under AID$25.
 
Every so often I think it might be fun to resurrect one of my old cameras and to shoot film again. I'm sure it would make me think a lot more carefully before I press the shutter and do wonders for my keep rate. I might even look cool and interesting carrying a film camera around - like David Hemmings in Blow-Up perhaps.

But then I remember all the reasons why I stopped using film in the first place. Not looking remotely like David Hemmings in Blow-Up was only one of them.

-R

You gotta look beyond that and see photography as its own medium, rather than one whose standard is determined by a movie. I do understand what you're getting at though.

I see that ridiculous old comment in photography forums where people say: "..you never ask a chef what stove he used, why would you ask a photographer what camera he/she used". I would legitimately ask a photographer what camera he/she used if I see certain qualities that stand out, for eg. depth of field, clarity in detail, low light performance, etc. I'd be genuinely curious what camera they used that handled handled low light that well, or handled noise that well, or handled depth of field the way it does, and so on.
 

JensM

Veteran
I just looked up the Yashica you mentioned and found this article:

"One London camera shop owner told me that in about 2005 he had about 20 T5s that he could not sell for even the lowest price – he couldn’t even give them away. They ended up being chucked out. Each one of those cameras, still working, would fetch up to £400 now."
Indeed, it did.

Funneled it back into a second hand GX9 bundle with some meagre additional funding, I split up the package and sold off the surplus, ending up with cash to spare and the GX9 plus 12-32 for keeps. Overall a most desired outcome. :2thumbs:
 
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