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Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Mike Kennedy, Apr 5, 2008.
Would it be Henry's or Visteck? Others?
I'm not sure how much film you are ordering, and exactly what formats you shoot.....but the cheapest place for me to order film in Canada, is California, USA.
I ordered 180 bucks in film and paper, that was 600 sheets of graded 5x7, two 100 foot rolls of 35mm, and a dozen rolls of 120 and some trays and bags and a few other things...
34 dollars shipping.
It's not always wise to order thoughtlessly though.
I ordered a bunch of stuff that came to about 130 bucks a while back, and paid something like 80 bucks in shipping.
When it arrived I figured out why. I had orderd 25 sheets of 16x20 kentmere paper. It came alone in a box that was about 30 by 30 inches, and 8 or more inches deep. One box of 16x20 paper, probably doubled the shipping.
If I had it do over again, and I do, every time I order I now make certain to order things that are similar in size and in sufficient quantity to mnimize the cost of shipping per sheet of paper.
Also; with some films I check the cost of items from adorama, or B&H first. Strangely, sometimes things are cheaper from adorama if you buy through Amazon.com.
The only things I've found that are more economical to order in Canada are chemicals from my local, or bulk chemicals from JDphotochem out of quebec, and patterson developing tanks from Henrys in Winnepeg.
If you find any more good deals....let me know. In the meantime I'll support freestyle mostly, and local companies when they go back to supporting me, instead of gouging me and refusing to supply me with the stuff I need.
I have had very good results from Don's Photo in Winnipeg. They have a 1-800 number, and try their website www.donsphoto.com .
Having said that, I usually buy from Freestyle and have the stuff shipped to US address, then drive there to pick it up. I guess it's one of the benefits of living 50km from the Can-USA border.
If you buy from the US, be careful how they ship. Some of the shipping companies charge ridiculous brokerage fees. There are a few threads on this site about this.
Last time I bought some film from Don's, Ilford fp4 in unboxed 120 was priced competitively with USA prices.
Try www.thecamerastore.com in Calgary.
Great links guys.
It depends on the film and the day. Henry's sometimes has free shipping or no GST. Vistek once had Tri-X 120 on special which was a good deal by the brick - usually it is not the cheapest place. Don's often has the best deal on-line. I have also had good luck with The Camera Store - flat rate $10.00 shipping. I made one order with Photoco (Pointe Claire). Never received the goods, they never charged to my card, and never got a response to my emails - so I gave up. Others have had good luck. So, in short, I don't believe there is an answer to your question. You have to check each time - if you want to get the best final price to your door.
Now for what you didn't ask - I think Freestyle is great and shipping by USPS is not that expensive. About 25% of the time Canada Border Services Agency (customs) does not bother with the 5% GST (for you the higher HST -IIRC) and $5.00 handling fee - $8.00 for Global Priority. Freestyle has a minimum of $25.00 which is rather small considering the other costs of shipping a small order. B&H has competitive prices and shipping, even by UPS (don't use ground). There are no brokerage fees on expedited, but they will charge duty - sometimes real sometimes imaginary. I recently received some Ilfochrome paper from B&H and UPS charged duty (it is made in the EU). However, the total bill was no more than the cost by post office if the customs handling fee is included. I have never been charged duty on items coming by mail from the US. Even endmills, collets, X-Y tables etc. which were made in China and clearly indicated as such on the export documents. Freestyle includes detailed country of origin documents as well.
Depends what exactly you're looking for - Don's is local to me, and I've found they have average prices (but poor service, locally at least - but that's another topic). There's another local store, Photo Central, who has similar pricing - but usually better selection in B&W, and great service - can't order via their website, though.
My preference is to shop locally, but based solely on price, I'd also have to say Freestyle is likely the cheapest, especially with the CDN$ hovering around par. As an added advantage, they regularly have "unique" films/papers like FOMA (and its rebranded "Arista.EDU Ultra" - quite possibly the most inexpensive B&W film on the market right now), ADOX/Efke, Berrger, Slavich, etc.
Henry's and Vistek aren't usually the cheapest, but may be worth monitoring for short- or out-dated film deals.
As an ex-Winnipegger, I have to agree with your comments about Don's and Photo Central. In fact, I pretty much ignored Don's on-line because of my experience in-store. They have been good on-line though. Photo Central is great, and one can always buy their partner a diamond downstairs as a distraction, while purchasing photo supplies - but that is another thread.
Film prices in Canada are high relative to the USA, unfortunately. The cheapest prices I have seen are through Photoco, already mentioned above -- I have bought some film from them, but you have to make an effort (they don't seem to respond to e-mails or web orders -- but they do answer the phone). Ordering from Freestyle may make sense. There should be no duties on film (possibly on paper) coming from the USA, but you will pay PST and GST. They ship via the post office, so the brokerage charge, if any, will be small (a few $). (Where you have to watch out for the $40+ brokerage charges is with UPS and FedEx ground services.)
Incidentally, I've had excellent service from Freestyle generally - their customer service manager, Marv, has personally answered a couple of product questions as well as what I thought was an issue with an order (which as it turns out I just misread the product description - but I got a free small part in the mail a few days later anyway).
Hey jordan, you know you don't legally have to pay the brokerage fees eh?
Refuse delivery when they show up to your door.
You'll need to get the waybill from the courier company.
Once you get the waybill, head to customs to pay any duty or taxes that are owing.
Make sure you also have an invoice or something to prove the value of your delivery.
After that, it's back to the courier company to pick up your package.
I heartily agree, Bobby; it's Freestyle for me, too.
A few years ago, I tried to order an entire case of paper: 1000-sheets of 8x10 RC VC. The person at the supplier's head office special order department (who shall remain nameless) refused; I telephoned the importer of the product, and complained, and within 30 minutes I had a call from the local store manager, who took the particulars and got me what I wanted.
These people now get zero business from me; I telephone Freestyle, and within ten days to two weeks, the product is at my door.
I think that Photo Central in Winnipeg is developing a web site you can order through. It would be worth looking into.( 1-204-774-4343) I'll check into this when I am there this week.
Rob Skeoch in Burlington has only Ilford materials, but he is competitive and easy to deal with. He is also a serious photoghrapher which helps. A lot of shops will get things for you if you twist their arm but they really wish you would either just go away or talk to them about digital. I wish there was something like Freestyle in Canada.
The price of LF colour film in Canada was outrageous the last time I looked, so I also order from B&H. Excellent service and no-hassle shipping.
I was at Rob's - big camera workshops- on the weekend, and he had a collection of 120 and 35mm film that was slow moving for him, so he was offering it at 20% off of listed prices. I have a full freezer, and therfore resisted the deal.
Rob Skeoch is great to deal with - I bought my Berlebach tripod off of him and got prompt, polite service.
I also use Photo Central a lot, because they are local and have a commitment to traditional photography.
That is the main point -- SUPPORT stores that support you! PC's prices were competitive, they're local (for me) and they were very good to deal with.
Keep in mind, too, that if you have a written quote from someone, you can always approach your local dealer and ask them to match. It's worth a try, although I would be willing to pay a few dollars more if it means I'm supporting a local retailer.
Seems to be a lot more constructive than watching stores close due to lack of support, and then bitching about how hard it is to find film in online chat forums!
I have ordered from Photoco in the past and not had any issues even during the Christmas Rush.
I've ordered from Rob Skeoch in the past.Fast and professional!
Beau Photo in Vancouver does mail orders too. I was in there about a month ago and they have a decent stock of film, paper and chemistry eg: foma, adox and oriental ... alas they don't have an internet store.
I have not used Rob Skeoch yet, because I had stocked up just before he got rolling. I will certainly consider him in future. I had forgotten about Beau Photo. I don't know if they are competitively priced, but they got me a lot of Art Contact 2 some time ago when one else would even do the research to find if there was any left.
I've had good luck ordering from Photoco. As an added bonus, I don't pay Provincial sales tax.
Maybe my experiences were aberrations. The couple of times I ordered from Photoco, I got no confirmation e-mail and no film after ~2 weeks. My film arrived a couple of days (by express post) after leaving messages on their answering machine. The price is right, though.
Photo Central in Winnipeg is developing an internet shopping site, it is not up and running yet.Hopefully not too long.
Are temperature/x-ray scanners a problem with ordering online?
Would you guys recommend Freestyle or BH? I live in Ontario so I am thinking BH would be cheaper but I am not sure..
One needs to watch for that, it's called volumetric weights. Essentially a box that is 12"x12"x12" is considered about 10lbs, even if it weighs less then that. This is because vehicles used for shipping have a specific capacity, and a large container takes up more of that space.
So 30x30x8 is 7,200 cubic inches or 4.2 cubic feet so it would be considered the equivalent of 42lbs, if they shipped that air, you got a very good deal for $80. What I find for products from the US is that customs and brokerage are often the killers.
Having said that, some US companies use logistics to make shipping to Canada much cheaper. Essentially what happens is that the logistics carrier puts a whole bunch of packages in a trailer or container, they then include a list or manifest, and the whole trailer or container goes through customs as a single item, with a single brokerage fee. This means $50 for the whole trailer, which can contain hundreds of items.
Once in Canada the trailer is tendered to a courier for delivery. Most of the major couriers operating in Canada, FedEx, Purolator, UPS at least are involved in doing this. Some companies arrange with a Canadian payment processor to deal with payments, and produce a Canadian ordering site with Canadian prices. Because of volume, the delivery charges are quite reasonable. I wish that Freestyle would do this.