Cost From Negative to Print

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Tom Taylor, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

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    A posting on another thread in the forum got me to calculate the cost per liter of 2% stop using Kodak Glacial Acetic Acid: 15 cents. So out of curiosity I computed the cost of developing and printing a single frame of 35mm Ektar. The results are 83 cents using 8x10 CA and 99 Cents using Kodak Supra. The total includes the cost of the film - 12 cents. The developers, fix, blix, stabilizer, and stop were calculated as "one shot" and the C-41 bleach was calculated reusing it once.

    Although bracketing and test prints are not figured in, the cost of making an 8x10 print from negative to paper isn't that bad :D

    Note: All chemistry was Kodak in the volumns typically purchased by home users. The higher costs of Kodak's 2.7 Liter C-41 Bleach ($38.95) is included.
     
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  2. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    It's been a while since I did the math but I've found the same thing.

    The cost of consumables are the least of my worries.
     
  3. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I play these games too. It can be fun and informative. As for what you have figured, I say that it is definitely a good deal more expensive than that to print. You should include test prints/attempts, IMO. They are most of the cost of printing. Also, what about film processing cost? Additionally, how many shots per roll are you actually printing, on average? IMO, the cost of shooting and processing the shots that are not printed must be added to the shots that are. In other words, if you shoot a $5 roll of 36 frames, spend $8 to have it processed, and print five frames from the roll, you are paying $2.65 per print before you have even started making the prints. If you do your own processing, and use your developer to full capacity a roll of 35mm costs under a dollar to process, however. Also, the more print-worthy shots you have per roll, the lower the cost per print becomes.
     
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  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Absolutely, the all-in cost should be figured. The actual cost of the materials used for a single print is nearly irrelevant, it is only in aggregate that it becomes meaningful.

    When I toss in all the travel costs, time, depreciation, "GAS' attacks, workshops I go to, and all the other blah, blah, blah I buy for photography, I'd bet that the real total cost of any finished print I put on my own wall is well into the $100's for most and probably well over a $1000 for some.

    Similarly for fine art stuff, getting to the first final print ain't cheap.

    I doubt that I'm that different for most avid amateurs/semi-pros.
     
  5. Tom Taylor

    Tom Taylor Member

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    Actually I computed the cost for the film and the chemistry per frame for me to develope and print one frame of 35mm Ektar (35 frames per roll) at home. The breakdown was:

    C-41 Part
    .12 Film
    .01 Developer
    .01 Fix
    .07 Bleach

    RA-4 Part
    .13 Developer
    .13 Blix
    .01 Stop
    .01 Stablizer

    Paper
    .34 Fuji CA 8x10
    .50 Kodak Supra 8x10

    As you can see from the above, the paper is the most expensive part and I did not factor in the cost of test prints which could be as little as a strip off a sheet to several depending on the complexity of the image nor the number of images printed on the roll which would be variable. Likewise the travel expenses in acquiring the shot which can be substantial - running into the thousands even - were not taken into consideration.

    Just for fun, multiply each of the above for 35 and you get

    Film and Development: $7.35 Roll of 35 exposures
    RA-4 Chemistry: $9.80 Roll of 35 exposures
    Paper: $11.90 For 35 CA 8x10 or $17.50 for Kodak.

    So if all of your shots were winners, then the total raw cost would be $34.65 using Kodak paper and you doing all the work. That's a buck per 8x10 glossy. Not bad!

    Thomas
     
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  6. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

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    The telling information is printing larger. I print 35mm to 16x20. Inkjets are hungry machines, and inkjets which run 16x20s are beasts. The 16x20 paper costs $1.60 a sheet and I get 4-10 prints per liter of chemistry, which costs $5. That works out to $2.60 for a 16x20, which is pretty damn cheap.

    I also don't print bad images. Someday I might be able to sell them and I would be making money by making prints. Imagine that...real money.