Buying film "on the road"

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by troll, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. The days are over when I used to carry 30 rolls of Kodachrome on an overseas trip (got too old).
    Our last camera store just closed down. When I am at home it will be easy to mail-order Tri-X (or other B&W film), but I wonder how it would be on a trip. Does WalMart usually carry it, or only color film? How about in UK and Europe?
    What does everyone else do (who hasn't switched to digital)?
  2. I used to bulk load...
  3. Here in the UK we still have some chain
    stores that sell film, but the selection is
    limited and very expensive compared to
    online. Where the difference didn't used to be
    much I would say it is now approaching 50%
    more expensive.

    I'm lucky that I have a couple of independent
    camera shops within 8 miles that are staffed
    by knowledgeable, friendly people. I've
    started bulk loading film as the only way to
    afford to keep shooting it, but they are where
    I head when I need something different to
    what I have.
  4. I only see the odd, dusty roll of Kodak Gold when traveling. Therefore, I stock up for my trips and bring a solid bit of everything.
    I am fortunate to have a large and thriving photography store in town. The demand for film processing has increased enough that they are going to resume processing in house. I often wonder how you fellows make do in the wasteland.
    I have it on good authority that Walgreens in the U.S. will begin phasing out their so-called wet labs and plan to be digital only by 2014. The intention is to let their machines fail and then replace them with digital "dry labs".
  5. I order online because that's where the film is at these days. The Walmarts here (Daytona Beach, Fl) carry almost no film, Walgreens has cut way back on film, and now only stocks some Kodak Gold 200. In fact, most of the Walgreens here stopped processing ANY film. You give them your film, they send it somewhere, they develop and scan it, and then they send the files to your store where they're put on a CD or made into prints. You do NOT get your negs back!, so this option is of no use to me anymore.
    On the other hand, I went to a CVS the other day and was shocked to see that they had Tri-X on the shelf! It was $6, but I bought it anyway. If I remember correctly, they even had a roll of Tri-X in 120 format. Someone at the store probably had no idea what to buy, so they ordered a few of everything it appears. Who knows? If people keep buying their Tri-X, maybe they'll keep it in stock. Assuming that Kodak continues, you know, to make it.
  6. I use to carry about 40 rolls of film in lead lined bags, that took up a lot of luggage space. I have since switched over to digital, taking average 5000 pictures each month long trip, with Canon 5DII +Leica lenses and Panasonic superzoom FZ40 , to cover both the wide end and tele range. For casual photography, I use Minox 35ML, Leica IIIc and Rollei 35s(a Kiev 4am is on the way)
    bought film online from Freestyle and Taobao(Lucky ASA100 BW film )
  7. Over here in Germany you will hardly find any b/w film in chain stores. Maybe the "specialised" electronic/photo gear chains have one or two makes but probably no specials.
    In big cities you will sometimes find "professional" photo stores where you can get almost everything that used to be popular in normal photo stores one or two decades ago, including b/w films and chemistry. Usually they do not sell individual rolls of film but packs of five or ten.
    If you happen to land in Frankfurt, there still is GM Foto at Taunusstrasse 47, just a few steps from the central railway station (and this is just a few suburban train stops from the airport).
    In Muenster (Westphalia, in northern Germany) there is Foto-Koester, just opposite the railway station and hard to miss, they have a pro department, too. I know two of their salespersons, one of them is an encyclopedia of Canon SLR gear.
  8. Unless you want the core of your trip to be "searching for film", bring it. While shopping for things in foreign countries can be an interesting experience, I'd rather not be hunting for things that could be very hard to find. It's much easier to find an SD card than it is to find film now.
    Also, with the high VAT rates, and just the high cost of everything, you'll get dizzy at the prices buying film in Europe.
  9. I just had the opportunity to visit one of the german electronic and photo gear chain stores. The film shelf was not easy to find. Actually, there were some rolls of HP5 (surprisingly even in 120 format) and some 35mm rolls of Delta100. You probably won't find much more in other chain stores.
    BTW Germany used to be the "country of slide film". Even in chain drugstores you will find some rolls of color slide film, but this is different in other european countries - it's virtually impossible to find slide film in french shops other than specialised photo gear shops.
  10. On a trip to India earlier this year I brought all my film from home (Canada). Didn't want to take a chance on availability or quality. Normally I load Leitz reuseable cassettes from 100ft bulk rolls, but didn't want to take anything that might confuse airport security. My film was removed from the boxes and carried in clear ziplock bags to assist inspection. I shot both Tri-X and Fuji 400P which had to be ordered ahead of time from a local Canadian camera store. My film got 5 passes through carry on x-ray scanners and doesn't show any sign of fogging compared to a couple control rolls left at home. It isn't just airports who do x-ray inspections, the military were doing scans at Delhi rapid transit stations of passengers bags. As a result I didn't take transit for fear of too many scans. X-rays effects are cumulative so best minimized. I have a lead bag, but didn't use it as security will make you open things up if it looks suspicious. At London on the way home my bag got the swab GC/MassSpectrometer test for explosive residue as well as x-ray.
  11. Glenn, personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force, not the military, are deployed at Delhi's Metro stations. I am almost always asked what my camera bag contains, and a few times have had to open it for inspection. "Why do you need multiple lenses?" a young fellow once challenged.
  12. "You do NOT get your negs back!"

    Same with Shutterfly. Crazy!
  13. Always buy and take film with you. Some countries like Mexico limit the number of rolls you can bring into the country (10
    per camera) but I have never had anyone challenge me on it. The TSA in the US will manually inspect film and not x-ray
    it but outside of the US it gets x-rayed. I shoot 100 ISO and never higher than 400 ISO and had never had fogging
    problems from the x-rays. Of course loading camera film in public in a foreign tourist spot causes people to look at you
    like you are from another planet. I was shooting part of the remains of the Berlin Wall and had this Russian guy giving me
    a hard time mocking my medium format film camera insisting his point and shoot was far superior. I know who got the
    better 16x20's that night...
  14. Last month a young couple, half from the US and half from France, lectured me on seeing my film camera. "The world has moved ahead," they said, all but calling me an old codger from two centuries back. For them, of course, the whole of India was a foreign tourist spot: but young Indians are no different. Anyone who comes to India and wants any film other than Kodacolor 400 or Fujicolor 200 will be disappointed.
  15. E6 and C41 processing and film are available in a few camera stores in my home city in Canada, and one of the stores carries a full variety of B&W and color films as well as a limited supply of darkroom chemicals and papers (mostly Harman Ilford chemicals and papers with some Kodak chemicals), with ordering availability for the darkroom products not carried in the store. I mostly use film in 35mm and 120 size for photography in North America and use digital when travelling to Europe, mainly to save space and the airport hassle. Although the future is questionable, the supply of film, processing and chemicals is still available in my home city. France appears to be mainly digital, but there are some well equipped photo stores in different cities that distribute film, processing and darkroom supplies. Chain stores are another case. Our local Walmart no longer carries film, but that is fine, as it sends purchasers to the few camera stores where that business might help to assure their future attachment to the silver based medium. We have to keep buying and using the stuff if we want to see it around in the future.
  16. I buy as little as possible while in Europe. The taxes on stuff there is just stunning! You will find film in the photo shops in bigger cities (Glasgow, Edinbourgh, London,) but you will spend time looking for the stores and getting to them. (My strategy in those cities was to take a taxi or train and not even CONSIDER driving there.) Don't put any unprocessed film in your luggage, BTW.
    Walmarts do still carry about three different speeds of Fuji print film. They also carry a few Kodak disposable cameras up by the checkout aisles. You could unload those in a dark room and use them. (Make sure you're in a dark room.) I think the filk is Kodak Gold 800 in those.
    Kent in SD
  17. Dan--
    When shooting film on a foreign trip, I am using something like a 1940s Lecia or 1930s Voigtlander Bessa or Rolleiflex. I get a lot of looks too, but the people are actually in awe and pretty impressed!
    Kent in SD
  18. Bill, if you plan to travel in the UK you might wish to consider ordering from Ag Photographic in Birmingham: . They have a good selection of film, prices are reasonable, and they'll ship overnight to your hotel in the UK (their web site says destinations in the Highlands, Islands and N. ireland may take longer). I've found them very responsive.
  19. For now, you will not have issue buying film and getting your film process in Malaysia and Singapore as analogue
    revival has hit our shores.

    However, film processing at professional level are expensive.

    Most hobbyists stick to minilabs by Fujifilm, Kodak or Noritsu.

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