Head-scratcher: 220 Portra vs 120 Portra... big price differential

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by DanielStone, Dec 14, 2013.

  1. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    I know this is a re-hash of re-hash'd topics mostly likely started lotsa times before, but why not ask again!

    Just for giggles I just looked up the cost of 120 Portra 400 in 120 and 220 sizes...
    WOW:

    120:
    singe roll: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/742779-USA/Kodak_120_Professional_Portra_400.html
    pro-pack: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/742299-USA/Kodak_8331506_120_Professional_Portra_400.html

    220:
    single roll: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/742780-USA/Kodak_220_Professional_Portra_400.html
    pro pack: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/742304-USA/Kodak_8374290_220_Professional_Portra_400.html

    $5.85 vs $15.19

    I can understand "double" price, because you're getting 2x the amount of film in length. But charging well over double? I mean, is it THAT much of a convenience factor, even for trigger-happy wedding shooters who don't understand the meaning of "a bottom line" and should probably be shooting 35mm instead :wink:?



    I don't shoot much color neg film, but the price difference astounds me. Seemed not that long ago that 220 was just over 2x the cost of 120...
    Any ideas? I know it's a different base(it's thinner, duh!). I know there's no paper backing(just on the edges).
    So what do you think gives the rather large price differential?

    -Dan
     
  2. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    There are other inexplicable and to-remain-unexplained by the price setter examples of pricing. The answer lies in the first rule of pricing which is: there are no rules except what the seller judges the market will bear.

    Ask yourself what has changed in the demand/supply of 220 film in recent months and I suspect you might get close to the reason.

    pentaxuser
     
  3. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    I can understand that 220 film doesn't get as many SERIOUS users as it used to(pre-digital days when film was THE capture medium), but TBH, a massive markup over 2x120 rolls? I mean, a few pro-packs of 120 and some extra cash and you've paid for a really clean extra back(or backs, depending on your system) to use pre-loaded for when the going gets heavy :wink:!

    If 220 E-6 were still available new, I'd be buying it. I shoot enough of it to have it not sit around. I like the convenience of not changing film backs that often. But I'll suck it up and shoot 120 if the cost savings are worth it, and right now they are.

    -Dan
     
  4. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

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    I certainly can see an advantage on using 220. For example in travel, having film occupy less space. I've long been looking and thinking into the 6x9 Fujis and for a long trip and a not too big backpack it seems quite useful. However, as you say, NOT cheap! Perhaps it's better to ship some forward to the places one is going to.

    Wasn't 220 just the same 120 film base but without the backing paper except leader and trail? I think part of this markup is due to the specifity of these components. One of the arguments that work against 220 for Ilford is that the backing paper was quite special. Another was that due the small market, the minimum they could order would last them about 2-3 decades at their estimated sales rate. Ilford did their math and it was quite more than 2x120, that's why it's not an endeavor they are getting into. IIRC they still have the broken machine. This is what I've gathered reading around here.

    If PE or Simon pop in they will have a closer knowledge.
     
  5. Chrismat

    Chrismat Subscriber

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    I helped shoot a wedding of a daughter of friends of mine last week, and I remember thinking the same when I ordered film for the wedding and saw the prices of 220 Portra. I ended up only purchasing 2 rolls for my Yashicamat, and I used a couple of other tlrs with 120 in them so I wouldn't have to change film so much. I've never been a trigger happy shooter but I really like 220, it's just so much more convenient especially at an event like a wedding. My friends paid for the film, of course, and there was an other photographer shooting digital, so they'll have the best of both worlds.
     
  6. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    Funny enough, in Japan 220 Portras are slightly cheaper per photo than 120. I'm always surprised when I look at the 220 B&H prices.
     
  7. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    Why is Portra more expensive than Ektar?
     
  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Take that plus the lack of film types on 220 ... I just said screw it and walked away from 220 with hoards of others. If you go back to when 220 first became available every 220 film manufacturer bent over backwards to make 220 unappealing with the goal of making 220 a failure.

    I just have multiple backs for 120 and never think about 220.
     
  9. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Because Portras are professional film which has tighter controls so that professional photographers will have consistency and repeatability. Also Portra has more accurate skin colors which again is part of being a professional film.
     
  10. Wayne

    Wayne Subscriber

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    Ektar is a professional film
     
  11. ww12345

    ww12345 Member

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    EKTAR is in the Kodak Professional lineup as well...
     
  12. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    I certainly do not pay three times the price for it. I watch for sales and then stockpile it. I know it is possible to carry extra backs loaded with 120 but that is even more bulky. And you have to reload those backs sometime. Portra 400 and Portra 160 are my go to color films and I use a lot of it. I know that 220 will eventually go the way of the dinosaur, but while it is here I just keep on shooting it.
     
  13. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I don't get it either. I have some 220 because I got it in a box of supposedly frozen film I bought off the 'bay, and the film all works perfectly, so I bought a 220 insert for my 645 for $15. For that price it was worth it for the occasional roll I might run into - works fine in the same backs, plus I can shoot it in my Yashicamat 124.

    If B&W films I liked were available in 220 for no more than twice the price of 120 I'd use it - some. But to my mind one of the advantages of medium format anyway is that I'm not stuck with 30+ shots on a roll and take five or ten of some subject then have a roll of film totally unsuited to the light/subject/intent still in the camera with 2/3s of it to go next time I go out photographing. The 12 shots from my Yashicamat are about perfect. Sometimes the 15 from my Mamiya are already too many. This applies mainly to film slower than, say, 400. If I could get Tri-X or HP5+ or Delta 400 or TMY in 220 I'd probably shoot that in the Yaschiamat because I use it 90%+ for black and white anyway.

    But pay way more per shot? No way. They might as well just dig the hole and push 220 the rest of the way in before I'll do that.
     
  14. trythis

    trythis Subscriber

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    I find this frustrating as well, mainly because it costs no more to develop 220 over 120 at my lab. When I have 220 in a camera, I feel less concerned about taking a shot that isnt perfect. 30 shots in 645 is very freeing. Mistakes dont bother me as much, and I will take extras just to make sure I got a decent shot.
    12 shots is OK, but 24...again, limits that preciousness of each frame.
     
  15. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I'll bet you that B & H buys way more 120 film than it buys 220.

    As do Adorama and Freestyle.

    And they may be buying it from different sources as well, as Kodak no longer distributes film directly to retailers.

    So they get better prices on the volume buying. And their customers get better prices from them.

    If Holgas took 220, the prices would probably come down.
     
  16. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    I'd go for the Lomo suggestion but they wouldn't be able to use their little red windows anymore. :smile: