Importing film into Australia

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by ras351, Apr 6, 2005.

  1. ras351

    ras351 Member

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    Hi All,

    I'm currently investigating the possibility of importing one or two boxes of 4x5 sheet film (Fuji RVP) into Australia. There doesn't seem to be an equivalent 50 sheet box here which means I'm talking about 5 or 10 boxes from a local supplier at $50-$60 per box. B&H list the 50 sheet boxes at around US$87 plus US$27 for postage which given the current exchange rate is about one half to one third of the local price. Does anyone have any recent stories on importing film into Australia from the US specifically with regards to x-ray fogging and the like? Do B&H usually give you a decent expiry date for sheet film in particular? I do my best to support my local camera store but I'm getting a bit weary of lining the pockets of the Australian distributors especially since the last two boxes I bought had a magenta tint and a short expiry date.

    Thanks,
    Roger.
     
  2. roteague

    roteague Member

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    My understanding is that FedEx doesn't X-Ray their shipments, so I would use them. I can't speak for B&H on film quality, as I generally use Calumet (they are also an APUG sponsor). I've never had any short dated film from Calumet, just great service and response.

    Also, I see you are from Tassie. I wonder if you know Geoff Murray? I've been familiar with his work for sometime, almost visited there last year.
     
  3. claytume

    claytume Member

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    Roger

    I can't tell you about importing film into Oz but I do buy film from B&H and have had no problems, although I did get a some 220 propacks that had less than 6 months left to expiry date. I tend to buy from them because they usually have whatever I need sitting on their shelves unlike local suppliers.

    Clayton
     
  4. ras351

    ras351 Member

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    Hi Robert,

    Thanks for the response. I just checked the FedEx shipping cost from B&H and it's US$75 which is more than the box of film. :sad: Also checked Calumet and they're US$104 per box plus US$57 for shipping via UPS (no FedEx or USPS option). It's still cheaper than the local supplier but not if I use the 10 sheet boxes. :smile: I know of Geoff and have looked at his website but have never personally met him. Must be something to do with the reclusive nature of LF photography. :smile:

    Hi Clayton,

    I'm guessing things would be similar to New Zealand - I live on the Western Island after all. :smile: Six months is about what I get from the local supplier as well and like you they have to order it in specially for me. For all I know the packages get x-rayed just as much as when shipping from the US. Which shipping option do use normally use?

    Regards,
    Roger.
     
  5. David

    David Member

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    I import often from the good 'ol USuvA (I'm from there originally). I always request that the sender prominently write 'unexposed photographic film -- DO NOT X RAY'. I've never had film affected by apparent X ray banding damage. Just don't import more than $400.00 AU$ at a time (including postage) because if you do you'll attract customs, duty and GST.
     
  6. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I don't believe the US post office X-Rays packages either, and is much cheaper than FedEx. Global Priority is the way to go with them. Check this link for more information on shipping to Australia: http://pe.usps.gov/text/imm/immicl/immiclab_012.html

    FWIW, I will be in Victoria (actually Bright) in October.
     
  7. mark

    mark Member

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    COuld someone here make the purchase for you and send it to you?
     
  8. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Hi Roger,

    I purchased a fair amount of sheet film from the US and had it delivered promptly, and apparantly without any problems. I would shop around though, B&H are not the cheapest (or give the best service).

    Best, John.
     
  9. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

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    Who do you recommend for Velvia John?
     
  10. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Tried Badger Graphics? Calumet seem to have slightly better list prices, but their delivery charges were over the moon, and (in my experience) didn't seem concerned about bringing them in line with their opposition.
     
  11. roteague

    roteague Member

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    You might try Calumet. They are a bit more expensive than B&H, but I have found them to be very fast and more reliable.
     
  12. OldBikerPete

    OldBikerPete Subscriber

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    I, too am planning to import film soon. Because of the Australian customs rules and the dreaded GST impost, I am going to limit myself to 3x boxes of 50 sheets color neg. Unfortunately those customs rules and GST probably negate any adavantage of scale we might get if we were to group together.
     
  13. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Two days ago I received a shipment of three x 30m rolls of Fuji Neopan 400 from Megaperls in Japan.

    As I understand it, this place doesn't keep much stock, small business on the side I believe. They just fill stock using the Japanese, "Just In Time," method.

    One of the good things about this site is that they now cater for the Australian and NZ market. Not sure about NZ currency, but you can click on Australian dollars and know exactly in Ozzie dollars, what it's going to cost.

    They have a couple of methods of shipping of which the slowest is SAL. I chose this, the package took three weeks.

    Mick.

    http://www.unicircuits.com/shop/shop_news.php
     
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  15. John McCallum

    John McCallum Member

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    Hi Mick, I've looked at Unicircuits prices before, but they seem to be extremely expensive by comparison with other sources. Could I suggest trying Badger Graphics (http://www.badgergraphic.com/) who I have been using for years. Shipping costs notwithstanding, Velvia 4x5 sheets are approx 30% cheaper for example. I haven't compared 35mm materials though.

    Best, John.
     
  16. ras351

    ras351 Member

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    The customs rules changed late last year to align the courier and postal formal entry limit to $1000 (previously $250 and $1000 respectively). This means you should not require formal entry clearance and hence incur subsequent charges if you are under that value (there are a few exceptions but photographic film isn't one of them). As far as I can ascertain this is also the GST limit whereas it was previously $500. I recently had a lens shipped via EMS mail from the US which totalled around AU$900 and it was allowed through without any charges. One catch with the new system is that multiple packages from the same supplier arriving into Australia at similar times will be combined. Exactly what the time frame for 'similar times' is I haven't yet determined - and is something I'm trying to avoid. The bad news of course is that X-Ray use has increased. Also FWIW the lens I recently ordered from Badger Graphic was shipped Global Express Mail at cost for US$14 whereas the website quoted ~US$60 so it would appear they adjust the shipping charge after the shipping cost is known - I can recommend them.

    Roger.
     
  17. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Does anyone know what the customs regulations are for tourists? I was thinking about having my film shipped directly to my hotel from the US, on my next visit - I shoot primarily Velvia QuickLoads. The airlines are getting quite restrictive on the amount of carry- on luggage allowed, and I would prefer to just carry cameras/lenses.
     
  18. Graeme Hird

    Graeme Hird Member

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    I would expect the regulations are exactly the same for both tourists and Aussies - it would be too much effort to make sure any given package is intended for an Aussie citizen.

    Cheers,
    Graeme
     
  19. katcall

    katcall Member

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    Hi Roger (and other APUGers)

    I live in Melbourne and have also purchased film from overseas, mainly J&C. The Australian Customs Website (www.customs.gov.au) has a really detailed explanation on importing goods from the internet. There is a difference between using postal services and courier services as couriers can charge their own fees. Customs also include the postage as part of the overall costs in calculating import costs. I haven't had any problems with film I have received to date. I also purchased camera equipment from Canada which came to over Aus $1200 (I had the shipment boxed into two lots as I didn't know about the split packaging rules at that time) and somehow managed to avoid customs duties so I think it is also a bit of hit and miss. I would think though they might be a bit more vigilant at the moment with the Commonwealth Games coming up so may be a bit more thorough with their checking, or maybe too busy to care.

    I have to agree on the expiry date of films here. If I purchase from Vanbar they are pretty good, but if I use my local I have actually purchased film and found it is already at it's due date or only a couple of months off. At least Vanbar give a discount on film at it's due date.

    I have been trying J&C's film and have also purchased some Efke, neither of which you can purchase here. The cost of those films is amazingly inexpensive even with postage included. If I was only purchasing Kodak, Fuji or Ilford I don't think I would be saving much by getting them from overseas depending on the postage costs, but with some films such as J&C and Efke it seems to be a much cheaper alternative. J&C also stamp on their parcels "Photographic Film, Do Not Xray". I'm not sure if they stock supplies that you need but for black and white film they certainly have some good alternative choices.

    I might also have to take a look at some of the other sites mentioned in this post. I agree it would be great to get it from local suppliers but unfortunately the choice of product isn't always available.

    Regards


    Kathy
     
  20. manjo

    manjo Member

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    If you freeze your film it should stay past its expiry date. Something you migt want to consider. I do that for the MF and 35mm film, dont know if it works the same for LF (I would assume so).
     
  21. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    John, it appears that you are right regarding the Velvia costs. That said, currently the Japanese site appears to have updated to the new Fuji price increases from Feb the 1st. Badger would be running from existing stock, so a true cost comparison may take a little time

    With the B&W Neopan 400 that I purchase, it's costs are about 10% cheaper than Badger with their Tri-x converted to the AUD.

    As Neopan 400 isn't available in this country as a bulk load item, this is the cheapest way for me to use this film. Adding the freight costs as one should, meant that in total, I save 51% over the standard single roll price.

    Kathy's post about J&C, has made me think about looking closely at their offerings.

    This internet shopping thing, is truly wonderful!

    Mick.
     
  22. kunihiko

    kunihiko Member

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    mick,
    Megaperls offers Neopan400 in 100ft for 4368yen a roll, Yodobashi camera - a popular shop in Tokyo - is selling it for 3360yen(it was 2709yen before the price raise) with 13% kick back.
    I thought Dirk of Megaperls isn't a retail dealer. That's why his price is high.
    Fuji's list price of RVP 4x5 50 sheets box is 17829yen(about 150USD, including consumption tax). Yodobashi is offering 13849yen(about 117USD) with 13% kick back for now. I don't think Megaperls's 18004yen + shipping is reasonable.
    Since Neopan 100ft rolls aren't available world wide Megaperls is a good source I think, but RVP must have different stories.
     
  23. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    not sure my wife would agree with you :smile:

    Hopefully J&C will do there 'free postage' deal again some time... that's the time to jump on their supplies wagon. I bought a truck load of their 4x5 (at the rate I'm going.. a lifetimes supply unfortunately!) and some 120 to try out. The 120 ended up about AUD $2.20 a roll. I haven't shot enough of it to form a solid opinion yet, but so far it seems ok (other than how curly it drys!)
     
  24. roteague

    roteague Member

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    Calumet is offering RVP 4x5 50 sheet box for $109. However, it is my understanding that the last bach of RVP 50 was run in December, so when the stock is gone, it is gone.
     
  25. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    Kunihoko, it seems that Megaperls isn't that cheap, compared to local Japanese stores, especially given that you also appear to get a kickback (discount?) of 13%.

    That said, the only way I can get Neopan 400 cheaply is via them, I haven't seen Neopan offered anywhere else in bulk lengths. If anyone out there is able to prove me wrong, I'll gladly look elsewhere.

    Mick.
     
  26. kunihiko

    kunihiko Member

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    Mick,
    I've checked out some japanese webshops who's offering Neopan bulk rolls. Far as I've found none of them ships internationally except Megaperls. I'll inform when I found the others.
    I believe that Megaperls is a good source of the products which limited to japan, such as Neopan bulk rolls, Fuji papers, new high speed color films, Across sheet films, etc. I hope his business grows so that he could offer lower price. There are some good film related products in Japan which not available world widely.