Trend of film - outside of USA

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by raymondc, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. I am going to shoot some film over Christmas. I admit that I have bought fSLRs after my dSLR but seldom use it.
    Kodachrome's days are numbered. From what I hear and see in NZ, some labs have closed up, more kiosks are installed even in some of the pro labs, some semi pro labs also only accept JPEG or there is a surcharge. Some of the pro and semi pro labs are seeing more business as a result of others closing from what they said.
    We cannot get any color film processing kits now for some years. The country's distributor has given up. We cannot get Lee filters either. Slide film may cost us around $15US and pro neg film around $10US a roll of 35mm. We can get b/w chemicals but a pro shop here have said that a lot of schools now just buy computer photo paper. I have noted that the measuring cylinders and etc were on the bottom shelf and collecting dust. They were not cheap either.
    I think processing of film has decreased, what I saw before with drug store film processing has now been replaced with provide us a CD and we get them printed for you or use the kiosks, return a few days and prints ready for collection.
    For casual shooters, they just love the LCDs. Those little Sony Cybershots. They can take 100s of pictures and not print one. Or they may come home and print them after 6 months and just print 10 pictures. I note that my Doctor even uses a iPhone to take a picture.
    For a country of us that only has 4M population. I see that film may be serious amatuers. Processing is not cheap, neg film in drug chain shops may cost $7US for one set of 6x4 prints. Or $4US develop only at a good lab. Slide film cost $10US at a good lab. I am not even sure who else does slide film development now apart from a chain store discount shop, but their slide procesing was even more than the good labs.
    I would like to get into large format but the cost may be $5US per sheet developed (!). If I am not mistaken.
  2. Well, the first item I'd comment on is that I (we) are seeing a huge uptick in film demand and sales here in the U.S.
    B&H Photo just built a new film counter after having removed that section of their store for years, after questioning the sale people at B&H I've found that film sale are frankly very, very brisk. One of the most promising signs to me was Fuji's reconsideration to halt production of 800z Pro film after announcing that they would halt production.
    Film based cameras are seeing their prices rise, not only at Fleabay but in private markets as well.
    I have to agree with you however on the prints, early this year I had asked my film class how often they print from their digi cameras and cell phone cameras and the response was dang near zero. This worries me because I feel that we are in fact erasing our history.
    But film going away. Not by a long shot.
  3. I work as an photographer, studio/lab owner in Norway, population 4,6 million. As one of the high-tech-loving countrys, Norway went crazy for digital. But in these days its turning against film again. Not among the average person, but among pro's, youth and amateurphotographers with understanding and passion for the expression in their pictures.
    Many pro colleagues write and call me asking for the best place to re-buy development drums and MF cameras. ANd wonder how to sell their expensive digital cameras. Why they do this: - My picture was in better quality with film. My customers want my old quality back. And i dont get the same look of my digital pictures as i did with film, is the normal phrase.
    No doubts that film use is rising. Before i could have a Kodak 5L pack of E6 chemistry for months. Now i use maybe one in a week.
    The big problem is the distrubitors. They earn more money on digital products. The want to sell new cameras so they can sell more accesories to the customer next time he calls an complain about not getting great pictures.
    The magazines in Europe writes almost only about "how great digital is". Why? Guess who is buying the adds in the magazines.
    But in my studio/lab i meet more and more customers who want to have their portraits done in REAL B&W or E6/C-41. Young people in the age 15-20 exploring Holgas and 135 cameras. SInce i do some heavy advertising in my window about developing whole the range in all formats, its safer for them to buy a 135 SLR on Ebay for 100 dollars.
    Other labs in my country who does a great film job exist, but most of the doesnt have a passion for quality, just profit. They want their customer do do the printing themselfes at their kiosks. There are few of us who LOVE TO GET OUR HANDS WET in the darkroom. But we are the elite soldiers of photography SPECIAL FORCES. We will never die, jus fading away for the grey masses of stupid average people who just following the adds from Canon, Nikon, Sony etc.
  4. Ray:
    Those prices you mentioned don't seem too far out of line. That's pretty much what I'd have to pay here in the States.
    As far as shooting LF in NZ: Oh man! If I were there I'd be hauling a 5DII and an 8x10 camera around. I'm imagining NZ countryside on 8x10 Provia!
  5. This isn't the first time I have read recently about some new film counter at B&H. There is no new film counter. I was there yesterday and go there during the year when I'm in Manhattan. The old film counter was closer to the street and a lot larger. The one you see now has been there for quite a while. I bought some Portra 800 and Suoeria X-Tra 400 there. The darkroom area continues to shrink. There was very little stock on the shelves. The gentleman who works in that department explained that when Kodak announced it was discontinuing some products, there was a rush and they were all sold. They did have some Microdol-X left but other places also still have it. As long as Perceptol is still available the loss of Microdol-X shouldn't be a big problem.
  6. I agree with that because those prices are about what we are paying in the midwest USA (granted most of the items are purchased from the large retailers on the east coast).My local lab said E6 is holding steady and if anything has picked back up some.Processing runs between $8 - $12 US for 36 mounted slides). I've noticed a lot more film in stock than I've seen in a long time at our local processors.Some of this may be the result of after a few years of digital shooting many folks realize they don't need 10,000 images of their kids playing soccer and have no clue on how to deal with all those digital files.It does become crazy after a while compared to the old days of shooting a few rolls a month then storing them in the family album.Another factor may be the cost of high quality printer ink these days for instant results.Maybe the novelty is starting to wear off and people are learning to adjust to a digital world where film still has a meaningful purpose.
  7. Sorry, studmuffin, the counter is in fact NEW.(several months old) and no where near the corner that took over the stores years ago.
    Prior to this counter that space was ALL for Battery and Studio Light Packs. I know the store very well.
    Before the counter we would have to go to the Chemical and Paper area to place our order for film.
    What I did is took advantage of the digital kool-aid and purchased an awesome, used 3 times, Jobo 2300 processor for $300 used at a crime lab.
    This greatly reduces my expense with C41 and E6 process (B/W too), gives me much more control, and its' fun too!
  8. I have to agree about B&H in particular seeing brisk sales of film - every time I order mf film from them, the expiration date is well into the future - the last rolls I got this week are well into 2011. Now, compare that against my local photo shop (not 30 miles from B&H), where the film is literally collecting dust on the shelves... my wife got me a few rolls for my birthday last week, and didn't notice that it was all already expired! (June / Oct 2009). So to me, that seems to imply that these mom & pop shops are feeling the pinch, and are having a real tough time fighting the trend toward everyone just buying online.
    People need to vote with their wallets if they want to see the local stores survive - otherwise, while it may seem like film is on the resurgence, what will inevitably happen is there will be less choice on where to buy, and the big distributors who are left will dictate to the masses what is and is not available for purchase. (i.e., B&H not even offering an option to ship C41 or E6 chems).
  9. I still don't understand why B&H won't ship these chems ground. Even Rodinal. Everyone else does and it's generally west coast so much more expensive for me. I just pick it up but how many of us have that option?
    Now, I do feel for the mom and pop shops but not the least bit about my NJ Pro shop, le camera, he asks crazy prices for the used equipment there. And I man crazy. I was about to purchase a Contax 645 from him and when they went to ring it up he says "opps, that's just the body, the back and finder AND the insert are seperate" They wanted $1900 for a Contax body, no lens. That's just a small example of what he does. He is a Leica Dealer as well as Nikon and Canon so that is keeping him a float, but for his vintage stuff, he is just so way off. I shopped elsewhere and got a great Contax body for $675.
    However, I would love to have a pro shop local that had reasonable prices, I would buy my camera equipment and film there.
  10. Ray,

    I'm in Canada and those prices seem similar to what we have here. I used to be a big slide film shooter, but since my favorite film (Provia 400X) cost around $15 a roll, I only now shoot it when I travel (and even then, sparingly). When I want to get slides developed, I have to go to Vancouver (a 4-hour drive) to get that done. I don't shoot colour neg -- I've since moved over to the monochrome side, and mostly shoot in black and white -- develop and print myself. I'm the only person I know that still shoots film -- even my parents, techno dinosaurs that they are, have a digital camera.
    I've lived in three different countries in the past five years, and other than Japan, I've always had to order my film (and later paper and chemicals) online since I've never lived in a big enough city that has a store that carries those goods. It's a fact of life for me, and doesn't bother me at all. I have a fridge full of film and a freezer full of paper and that works well enough for me. I think that that's just the reality of being film-based in a digital world. That being said, I think a lot of people still shoot film, or are turning to film, but the days when you could go down to the store and get what you wanted are long gone. It's all online ordering now. I guess the bottom line is whether or not people are willing to go through the effort of doing it.
  11. I confess that I am more into mechanical things than chemical things. If someone would actually make a digital back that would fit into the film compartment of my old 35mm cameras, I might never shoot film again.
    That being said, and I'm not trolling, just stating my personal interests, there is something about the smell of D76, the thrill of finally getting the film onto the tank spool right, and the stains in my sink....
    I recently got a new batch of film from India-- there's also going to be the thrill of finding out if it escaped massive X-raying. :|
  12. Cheers guys. Um... our E6 processing is about $10US - sleeved for 36 135mm format. If they are mounted that might come to $20US.
    C41 pro lab prints, one set of 36 135mm format, might cost $15US. C41 dev only is around $4US.
    A roll of Velvia $15US, that's why I import film from B&H, thou cannot do the color processing thou, they just have litres and litres in sizes for labs, so a amateur like myelf is a no can do. Might not be bad to collect up and send to A&I in the USA for processing. I am actually going to send 2 rolls of Kodachrome to the states, I imported the film only to find that there are no labs to proces here in NZ.
  13. Being a film shooter here in the USA (as well as living in a big city), from what I read every week, it sounds extremely difficult to be a film shooter in other parts of the globe - you have my sympathy. Kodak feels under pressure from the digital/electronic industry/interests to "conform". Also, what hasn't been discussed much here on Photo.Net, is how "Green Initiatives" might be thwarting film photography - from Coppenhagen all the way down to us.
  14. Mr. Hattrem...
    I like the tone of your post!
    How refreshing to hear a photography merchant with a passion for quality. I hope the increase in film-centered sales and service will help you continue to stay in business. I'm sure your obvious love of photography infects some of your customers, inoculating them against mediocrity and the current trend to "dumb down." It's getting harder for quality businesses to find customers who recognize and/or appreciate good work.
    20 years ago there were several camera shops in my small town that were owned and operated by photography-centered people who cared about and delivered quality goods and service. Today there is but one shop left that may (or may not) make it through the Christmas season. Their quality has suffered badly and the spirit is gone, along with their best employees/technicians.
    I wished I lived in your town so that I would not have to ship my exposed film 1500 miles to get good developing and printing.

    Tom Burke
  15. It seems that I am living in paradise. Mail-ordered E-6 slide film from German dealers costs some 4 to 9 euros per roll (in a brick of ten), where Provia 400X is most expensive, and I can buy Elite Chrome 100 at 2,70 Euros per roll as drugstore-labeled film. E-6 processing costs 2,35 Euros at a German-based drug store (sending the film to a lab in Germany, with 1 Euro more for framing), with a good and constant quality (no green Sensia), or 4 Euros at an Austrian Kodak contractor lab. C-41 processing costs at least 4 Euros. (I would rate the purchasing power ratio of the Euro to the US $ as 1:1.)
  16. Ray,
    Not sure where you are, but here in Wellington things seem a lot more positive film wise. WPS still stocks a wide range of film, some quite reasonably priced - although I typically get mine along with a friend from the US (or Europe, depending on exchange rates).
    For developing, Imagelab's prices for E6 aren't too bad, though they have gone up recently. Quality is usually good, and they're quite happy to talk to you. I get my C41 120 film done in WPS's minilab for the same price as 35mm colour neg.
    For B+W, WPS and Camera Warehouse have the chemicals, though I make my own B+W developer. It took a little searching to get the components, but now I know where to get them, it should be easy enough. I do know at least one person here who does his own colour processing, both C41 and E6.
    Now, colour sheet film work does start to add up quickly, but if you batch your sheets up for developing, you can usually get a bit of a discount. That's why I usually stick to B+W for LF!
  17. Around Toronto at least, cheap C41 processing+printing has become scarce after places like Costco and major supermarkets pulled processors out of their stores late this year. While this seems to be trending behind the US market, what was surprising was the speed and scope of the retreat. Likewise, consumer film became pricier as discounters stopped carrying film altogether apart from single-use cameras. Pro films are still available, albeit at slightly higher prices. Quality processing at pro labs is still available at reasonable prices. Remaining labs and film retailers aren't complaining about business. All considered, the situation in late 2009 is certainly different but not dire.
  18. People need to vote with their wallets if they want to see the local stores survive.​
    I'm sorry, but if my local photo shop (in a suburb of NYC) charges $10 for a roll of Provia, and only offers film in 35mm format, let them close. I refuse to pay huge markups for whatever reason and if they only have 35mm film, they are of no use to me.
    The big distributors who are left will dictate to the masses what is and is not available for purchase. (i.e., B&H not even offering an option to ship C41 or E6 chems).​
    You point is well taken, but B&H not offering to ship C41 or E6 chemicals has nothing to do with it. After 9/11, there are restrictions the transport of liquids. That is why you can't fly with more than 3 oz of cologne or send a liter of PMK Pyro through the mail.
  19. JDM, I am curious as to why you would order film from India. IIRC, India does not have the image of a film manufacturing country. But perhaps things have changed.
  20. Up here in Montreal, I used to have a excellent service from a guy in a drug store for C-41 processing and scanning. He was careful with his machine, scanned base-16 jpegs and folllowed all instruction I left (no adjustments, leave uncut, etc.). I could get a film processed and scanned to a CD for $8 or so. And then have selected prints at quite a reasonable price.
    But all the outlets of that store have stopped processing film all together several weeks ago, except one in downtown. It costs $2.99 (+ tax) for C-41 processing and a CD with jpeg scans (1544x1024, not 3Kx2.4K), but the quality is not as good as the other guy. Actually, the other guy was exceptional, the usual operators are just regular employees doing the robotic chores on the machine and knowing nothing about development and printing.
    There are other camera shops in downtown where one can have good quality processing and scanning in the range of $10~$14 (along with a CD with 3K x 2.4K image size).
    Slide film and processing has been discontinued even by these more pro store which are still doing C-41. IIRC, there is only one place in Montreal downtown that does slides at all (Borealis (sp?)).
    Unfortunately, so far the trend here appears to be declining film sales and will probably turn in to costlier film processing.

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