Is the Ebay market hurting new film sales?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by B&Wpositive, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    I'll admit it: I'm guilty of buying film off of ebay because I could not afford certain types any other way.

    I wonder how much of a negative impact ebay sales of expired stock have on sales of fresh stock (contributing to decreased sales).

    I see most of the cheap, expired film on ebay with bids on it when I look. So people are buying it. Honestly, the fact that there is so much on ebay expired, tells me that there is more being manufactured than can be sold before it expires. In the early 2000s, it was more due to people switching to digital, but surely by now, most who were going to switch to digital, have switched and have either used up or already sold off their film.
     
  2. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    My guess is that it would in a way. If you arn't buying it from a dealer, that dealer is not re-stocking their supply, therefore they are not buying from the film company so there is no new films sales. When I buy a roll of film it depletes the stock of Freestyle. When Freestyle sells all of the film they turn to Kodak for example. Kodak sees film is selling they cut some up and roll it. Film stays alive.....in theory.
     
  3. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I'm guilty. I've sold 30 rolls of EPP 120 on eBay for $56. I don't have any data, but here's what I think. A lot of folks are going digital including pros. As most pros, they have a stock of film. As soon as they go digital, they don't have a need for film. This causes a drop in sales of film a couple of ways...first is that pros that go digital won't be buying any more film and the left over stock goes on eBay. I'm sure the scenero is the same for hobbyist and artist. I sold my EPP because it's hard to find a place to process E-6. That's my 2 cents worth.
     
  4. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    The only films I've really bought off of ebay were not really obtainable through normal means, like Lucky SHD or something. I don't shoot enough (100ish rolls a year) to really have to worry about the cost of my film too much.
     
  5. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I've seen some of the film prices. Unless I feel like getting bent over a box of P/N 55 because there's nowhere else to get it, a moron would be paying some of those prices (read: the pricing comparable to a reputable dealer). There are some deals to be had but not enough to make a diff. IMHO. Kinda like my company fearing Food Lion selling starting fluid or the local 7-11 selling 10W30. They're not compitetion for me, just catching drive thru's in dire and immediate need.
     
  6. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    "Guilt" should not be a part of this discussion, it you understand how markets work. Sale of expired film is a perfectly normal market adaptation to imbalances between supply and demand in the fresh-film market. Sellers would always rather sell the higher-priced fresh stuff, but production and consumption will never be perfectly calibrated, so surplus production eventually finds its way to the expired market or is destroyed.

    Buy what suits your needs and wallet from wherever you can get the best price, and let Kodak / Ilford / Fuji / Adox worry about the rest. This is precisely the beauty of a market economy; individuals make millions of disconnected decisions which, in the aggregate, signal what the manufacturers should supply, and at what price. We users don't have to fret about the Big Picture; supply and demand take care of that. And no, as an individual out of millions, You Are Not That Important. However, side by side with millions of similar individuals making choices, you are the driver of the whole economy. So elegantly simple.

    Orders placed filter up the distribution chain to, say, Kodak, signaling how much product it should make. If retailers aren't selling much "fresh" film because the world's momentarily awash in cheap expired film that everyone's buying, that's a signal to Kodak that either their price is too high for the fresh stuff relative to their customers' other choices (expired, or another maker's cheaper product); or their production is too large relative to demand. Kodak'll slow production of their "fresh" films until the market absorbs the surplus, or until the rate of production of "fresh" film mates up with the rate of consumption of fresh and expired film. That's an equilibrium of sorts, and is probably where things are most of the time.

    Once expired film stocks get low, their prices would tend to rise and some buyers would return to fresh film as their first choice. The resultant uptick in demand signals Kodak to raise prices and make more fresh stuff at a higher price. Naturally, they want to sell all they can at a higher price. But larger production means more supply; and higher prices would drive more users to Ilford or Adox, meaning more of this production spurt ends up in the expired-film pool, and demand for fresh stuff falls once again. Because a perfect coupling of supply and demand, signalled by price, is impossible, these market oscillations are continuous, with greater or lesser amplitude, at all times.

    Cool, isn't it? A self-regulating decentralized system, when left alone to work.
     
  7. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    I see a lot of film offered on eBay (Australia) but after the cost of film and postage, and uncertainty about probity, it's easier to get it from the Pro dealer (no shortage of films here to speak of). It's that 'touchy-feely' bit that I find most satisfying: to ensure I know what I am getting and working on a long-established relationship. EFKE, often marketed through eBay, is available from my usual dealer and with VIP discount is even cheaper than eBay. At the end of the day, I'm generally averse to buying anything of value on eBay now, including film!
     
  8. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    guilty on all charge :wink:

    last year's purchases:

    24 boxes of 400nc 4x5 (10sht boxes) 05/07 dating(frozen since purchase in 2003 though). all sheets shot are PERFECT!

    $10/box

    this year's purchases so far:

    80 rolls of 400vc 220 for ~$3/roll. 80(220)=160(120), yeah, had to upgrade my mini fridge after this little purchase :D.


    basically: watch for what you want, and scrimp and save your pennies(like I do, ALL spare pocket change/ extra money from gas money goes into film and chemistry costs.

    I still purchase new film when I have to, but with my limited income as a student(virtually nil right now, I hammer the local high school's dumpsters collecting cans and bottles) but right now its pretty much just efke 25, I'm pretty much set for color film for the next 2-3 years or so.

    -Dan
     
  9. B&Wpositive

    B&Wpositive Member

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    Yes. You're right. But there's another option too: to throw out all the expired film. I'm not saying that's a good option (clearly it's not). But it's still an option.

    Looking at it from your point of view, ebay is a "buffering ground" pr "resevoir" or "storage silo" for the stuff that isn't selling as fast as it "should be selling". You can also look at it as amrket within a market. Ebay of course, is also a lucrative market; it is a very successful company. No surprise.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 22, 2010
  10. imokruok

    imokruok Member

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    But as long as the dealer is still carrying film, film is still being sold. A dealer can't sell expired film without discounting it/disclaiming it. So they're selling it for less, *or* they're selling it to eBay-type wholesalers who provide a bulk option for them to dump expired film rather than sell in the boxes of 5 on eBay themselves. The dealer then replaces the expired stock with fresh stuff. The key is whether dealers are still carrying it - I agree, it's a lost cause if the film is on eBay because the dealer's no longer carrying that film.

    Just know that even if you're buying on eBay, demand/supply still works its way up the chain to the manufacturer. And the secondary market may even be helping things, because it means that dealers with expired film don't have to dump it for $0. They can potentially recoup something close to the wholesale price of the film. Which makes the economics of carrying film better in the first place.
     
  11. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    I buy new fresh kodak and fujifilm on eBay, one seller from the U.S. have gotten from before, typically others are Thailand, Hong Kong or Taiwan. They have to re-stock to, so there's no difference really if they are moving a lot of film.

    I sure as hell would never pay the rip off prices Australian shops charge. Though Vanbar seems to have a reasonable Tri-X 400 price in 120, so thats alright.
     
  12. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Every industry seems to have some mechanism for dealing with slow selling items. It is important for retailers to be able to get out of the "dead" inventory.

    In film's case there are three possibilities: back toward Kodak or Ilford or ...; sell it in a secondary market; throw it away.

    If you were in Kodak's and the retailer's shoes what would you do?
     
  13. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    I bought a lot of E100GX (200+ 35mm rolls) from ebay over the last many years, generally for under $2/roll, and stuffed it in the fridge and freezer. I have a very long term project I'd like to shoot all on the same film, and learned my lesson when E100SW went away. I figured I'd want to have a lifetime supply of the stuff in case Kodak every stopped making it.

    Well, now they stopped making it. I was clever, right? Except I can't shake the feeling that in my own small way I helped bring about its demise. After all, I never in my life bought a single brand new roll of E100GX! The whole "beauty of the free market" thing is great until one of those dips in demand makes Kodak throw in the towel entirely on something.

    For those buying film on ebay, don't forget the somewhat hidden costs: Shipping costs, plus you really need to waste a roll from each purchase to test it out, since no amount of cost savings are worth having important images you thought you captured not really be there after all. So one roll plus processing costs from each purchase goes to waste. Which is why I only buy big quantities of film. There seems little point in winning an auction of one or two rolls. On the bright side, nearly everything I've bought has turned out fine. Some really ancient Tri-X 4x5 was a little fogged, but no surprise there.

    The 4x5 Polaroid films are not good deals now, nor were the last couple of hundreds rolls of fresh E100GX 35mm that Adorama sold recently. But there are plenty of good deals to be had on more mundane stuff, if you shop carefully.

    Duncan
     
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  15. peri24

    peri24 Member

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    i just don't get it.
    To me ebay fresh film is way way more expensive than freestyle/bh or european fujilab/maco.
    It has been almost 4 years since i'm buying all of my film outside spain, usually germany or usa. And i always check ebay prices before purchasing, there hasn't been even one time i got a better deal with ebay sellers.
    In the other hand i also dont get the point to buy expired film. I know that there are some emulsions that were just magic and we lost them forever without any subtitute (polaroid 55 for example, polaroid 8x10) but leftovers of those films are museum items, but buying someone else expired film for your precious pictures, ¿? and take chances to buy something completly fogged?, i dont get it. I shoot expired film also, but it's my expired film and i know where and how has been stored.
    There are plenty of cheap film companies in the market with plenty of enogh quality to work with from 35mm to 8x10 film, maybe it doesnt has kodak on it but is more reliable than a yellow expired box.
     
  16. frobozz

    frobozz Subscriber

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    A brick of Kodak film, just out of date, being sold by a photo store who always kept it cold, should be every bit as good as fresh film. At least in my case, I plan to put it on ice for years anyway, so the few days it spends outside of the fridge while in the mail is no big deal in the scheme of things. You are right, it isn't worth the risk of shooting film if it might be fogged, which is why I test every batch I buy before using it on something important.

    I've bought plenty of fresh film in my life and continue to, but I'm also not afraid of ebay film, as long as I'm careful and double-check it. But if ebay film purchases are causing Kodak to stop making film, then I am the guilty one...and I do feel bad about that.

    Duncan
     
  17. Ap507b

    Ap507b Member

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    There seems to be a lot less expired film & general film bargains on ebay UK over the last year or so & maybe we have seen the peak of it over here? A couple of years ago sellers were doing 35mm Portra 160VC in bulk packs that worked out at around £2 a roll. No longer. In the UK, I find it in most cases cheaper to go to somewhere like 7dayshop.com that to use ebay.
     
  18. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    Cheap experiments or practicing with new equipment. I bought a bunch of 10 year expired film when I got my RZ67 and used it in the first few walks I did with this camera. Since an RZ67 takes some practice because its handling is very different from a small format SLR it saved me a lot of film. More expired film was used for practicing with the Jobo spirals and 120 film (much more fiddly than 35mm film for some reason).
     
  19. naugastyle

    naugastyle Member

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    Certain emulsions, particularly black and white, age very slowly. I buy my Neopan 1600 from eBay, a couple years expired, generally for about $2.75 per roll. I think it looks the same as it did when I used to buy it fresh. Any other films I get from eBay are unusual finds (APX 100 for $2.35 per roll) or anything that's about 40% off the cost from B&H or Adorama (160S expired 9/09 for $2.60, purchased before the expiration date). I'm comparing auction prices including shipping against B&H/Adorama prices including tax. For the most part though, I'm happy to buy from my local shops.
     
  20. ajuk

    ajuk Member

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    I doubt this is too significant.
     
  21. Simplicius

    Simplicius Member

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    I got my hands on lots of expired 200 iso Fujicolor which is no use to me, I have been flogging it on ebay ,still have around 600 rolls left, I keep it in a fridge but can't vouch for it's whole life. Tested a roll last week still fine. My attitude is its a free market and I need the money to buy B&W film. I doubt it impacts on sales of anywhere.
     
  22. Krzys

    Krzys Member

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    I completely agree. Prices here in QLD are terrible. I want to strangle a cat whenever I hear an American talk about their $2.80 rolls and complain that film is expensive in whatever way. In this city I'd be lucky to get one roll of B&W 35mm/36exposure or 120 film for under $14, that is $12usd!

    And it is impossible to get HC-110 without spending $100 or more (but that is for another rant)

    That is why I buy 10 roll packs off ebay.
     
  23. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    100 AUD for a litre of HC-110 concentrate?

    Tom
     
  24. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    If you turn them all into pieces of art, I don't care where you get your film, but remember to subscribe to APUG when you get into the big bucks!
     
  25. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    IMHO the prices on Fleabay for proper in date film are excessive compared to even high street sources in the UK.

    Anyone who thinks that ebay is a reliable source of bargains these days is to put it honestly a bit optimistic
     
  26. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I agree that in the UK, ebay is not a cheap option for fresh film, and most of the expired stuff is one or two rolls of Gold/Superia/Vista found in a drawer. It's been a few years now since I've found film bargains on ebay.