The rising price of chemicals (UK) ...

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by pdeeh, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    I am just placing an order with Silverprint and thought I'd better top up on Metol ... but am a trifle gobsmacked to find that in the 9 months since I last ordered, the price of 100g has risen from £11.28 (inc VAT) to £18.96 (inc VAT) - i.e, about 60% up in the space of 9 months.

    This prompted me to check a few other bits and bobs: Hydroquinone, I paid £9.76 for 250g in May 2013, today it is priced at £9.36/100g (or £23.40/250g); Phenidone 25g, £7.85 (last May, £4.88); Sodium Carbonate £10.10/1.5Kg (£5.40 last August).

    I'm not suggesting Silverprint are "trying it on" - I just think it goes to show how how niche (and therefore expensive to acquire) photochemicals are becoming over here.

    Couple that with the fact that you can no longer buy metaborate from them, and more recently that they seem to have dropped CD-3 and CD-4 and I begin to wonder for how much longer we'll be able to buy raw chemicals like this in the UK. Silverprint are one of the few places raw developing agents can be bought in the UK (yes, I know we can buy from Moersch, but shipping is ridiculous and they've never answered any of my enquiry emails to them anyway)

    just a blurt and steam-letting-off really.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2014
  2. Pat Erson

    Pat Erson Member

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    If you ever spend a holiday in Paris drop by Artista (rue Mouffetard) They have everything you might need... with reasonable prices.

    Plus they're located in a lovely part of the city. So the Missus won't mind going with you :tongue:
     
  3. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    What makes you think I have a "missus" ?

    Mind you, there is an element of swings-and-roundabouts involved, as thanks to a recent thread here I realised I can buy Champion Amfix fixer incredibly cheaply from Silverprint, and the saving over Ilford rapid is so great it'll pay (over time) for the price increase on the raw chems
     
  4. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    As goes the US economy, so goes the rest of the world. So it would seem. None of this surprises me.
     
  5. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    Yes I noticed that and the rise is nearer 68% than 30.

    I bought a bottle of glycine from Boots cheap.

    Noel
     
  6. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Glycine isn't a developing agent, glycin is.
     
  7. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    quite correct, I had calculated the 30% on the price of something else but didn't correct the error. Which I will do shortly. Although I make it about 60%.

    I think Clinch Witness sounds like a straight-to-DVD action-hero, by the way.
     
  8. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    You could give process supplies a call. However I don't think they sell Metol (surprisingly).
     
  9. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    No, they have reduced their range of "raw"chemicals really substantially in the past year, and they charge a small fortune for shipping chemicals as well. At one time they had an excellent range, so it's rather a shame.

    Bizarrely, you can still get Potassium bichromate from them (500g at a time) without difficulty, whereas Silverprint won't sell it to an individual but only to an institution.
     
  10. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    pdeeh. Is this massive rise confined to Silverprint or are other raw chemical suppliers increasing prices likewise? I think that Peter Hogan sells some chemicals but maybe not as big a range. Worth checking him out

    I wonder, is it the price of the raw chemicals or the seller recognising that he may be one of the few selling such chemicals. As I understand things, Silverprint's ownership recently changed hands. It is no longer Martin Reed which I suspect hasn't worked in our favour.

    A new owner, a desire to improve profits, a recognition that he has a near monopoly position or at least knows that buying from rivals is too much of a "faff" all tends to add up to the classic response of charging what he thinks the market will bear.

    The longer I watch the photographic market place the more I subscribe to so-called money expert, Martin Lewis' position on the seller/buyer relationship which is that these people are not your friends, anymore than the Utilities or banks such as Npower, EDF, Barclays Lloyds etc are your friend.

    pentaxuser
     
  11. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    They have a near monopoly on the reducing agents, although occasionally they can be obtained via eBay or through one or two of the industrial chemical suppliers who will deal with individuals. The prices are usually grossly in excess of Silverprint's, however. Possibly also true of some of the long list of Ammonium compounds and various EDTAs they list, but as I have no use for those I haven't bothered investigating them.
    One can always pick up the carbonates, sulfites, hydroxides, even things like permanganate and whatnot, as they have other common uses.

    I wasn't aware of Silverprint having changed hands, but unless you have clear evidence that the new owner(s) is/are "gougers", I'd rather attribute them good intentions until proved otherwise.

    Frankly, if there were fortunes to be made from flogging photo-chemicals, there'd be more competition, so I'm guessing that they sell relatively small volumes of stuff and thus they can't take advantage of volume purchases. If they can't sell in volume, they can't buy in volume; and if they can't buy in volume, they won't get volume prices themselves ... and it gets passed on to the punter. That's my guess, anyway. The US is a significantly bigger market and can support several large retailers like Freestyle, Formulary, B&S and so on - it would not surprise me if it were found that the entire UK market for photochemicals wouldn't keep the Formulary with it's current pricing and range

    I've no idea who Peter Hogan is, by the way.

    The thing is, it's very inconvenient and also in the end very often much more expensive to chase around buying bits and bobs from here and there. Much easier to pay a tad more and get a whole lot of things at once from Silverprint, but as I say, I was taken aback by the rather swingeing increases ...
     
  12. Jim Taylor

    Jim Taylor Member

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    +1 for process supplies.

    They're also the only place I've found in the UK with Kodak E6 chemicals available individually - not in a kit.
     
  13. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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  15. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    phenodine is cheaper?
     
  16. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    Just punched in a dummy order, and shipping is being quoted as £8.52 using their "UK Chemical Carriage" option - Not too bad for a next day service.

    If you do a price comparison with some of the other sellers out there (ebay for example), the prices Silverprint charge are not extreme. For example, some ebay prices:
    Metol 50g - £16.99 (inc. shipping)
    Hydroquinone 100g - £23.50 (inc. shipping)
    Pyrogallol 25g - £16.99 (£8.75 shipping)

    Purchasing raw chemicals is becoming more difficult in the UK (and across Europe). Some of it is due to tighter restrictions on storage, shipping, and sales to the "general public". Some of what can be purchased "over the counter" (and ebay) could be used to make some very unstable explosives (for example, Acetone Peroxide as used in London 2005).
     
  17. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    photographic chemicals right in the kitchen


    sorry for kidnaping the thread but this reminded me of an old idea. Does anyone have a list of things that can be used as photochemicals but is commonly found in the kitchen or a local grocery store
    |I try to get started:
    coffe-as developer
    citric acid-as a stop bath
    baking soda-asan accelerator
    salt- for HCAAND A MILD FIXER
    what else and for what
    ideallyI like to end up with all processing chemicals right out of the kitchen.Is that possible?
    :confused:
     

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  18. richard ide

    richard ide Member

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    Hypo from a swimming pool and accessory store. Really cheap!
     
  19. bernard_L

    bernard_L Subscriber

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  20. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    The restricted chemical is Potassium Dichromate. My last attempt to buy this was from a company called Reagent in Runcorn. I had to complete a declaration form and they refused to sell it to me because I am not a business or educational establishment. Reagent are useful if you want to buy concentrated acids but charge nearly £15 for shipping. They have their own fleet of vans.
     
  21. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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    If you desperately need some check out the auction site. I can see this source being shut down soon as it is significantly against the rules to ship in normal post. I stored away 100g a while ago just in case I need it in the future. As ever, don't take this chemical lightly. Read the data sheets and treat with extreme caution. It is virtually banned for a reason.
     
  22. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    Potassium Dichromate is a synonym for Potassium Bichromate. Same chemical.

    I suppose the thread will head off at some wild tangent soon, as is the APUG way, if it isn't doing so already ... but my point was not to complain about SIlverprint, nor to seek alternative suppliers for the hundred or so grams of Metol I use yearly, but simply to observe that there had been large increases in some prices for some items and the reduced availability for others, and to wonder what it meant for future supply.

    It's a shame that Silverprint don't have a presence at APUG. It would be nice to hear their perspective.

    Perhaps it would be worth starting a thread in the same vein as the "where to get colour chemicals" sticky, but for black and white chemistry and focused on European suppliers.
     
  23. Xmas

    Xmas Member

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    My local corner chemist had a large stock of chemicals 50 years ago he was an amateur photog as well he would not sell me chemicals he did not use himself.
    When it stops being retail you get to pay even more. Silver print just did a cost benefit analysis (for them) is my perspective they were overstocking... They were buying in yearly so there have been step increases in past eg on Ag products.
    I got the last pack of CD4 and the last pack of CD3 went to Lithuania.
    They have a larger collection of 2nd hand film cameras now larger margins...
    So
    boric acid is available as an insecticide or eyewash!
    borax insecticide or foot wash
    PaRodinal is painkiller and drain killer
    sodium sulphite or bisulphite used in pub lines
    etc.
    Exotics from chemical suppliers
    I had been planning on replacing hydroquinol eg be ascorbic acid before the increase for toxcicidy.
    This dampen home processing of C41 or ECN.


    http://www.drugs.com/mtm/boric-acid-ophthalmic.html
     
  24. dorff

    dorff Member

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    Before you feel too sorry for yourself, in the same time, the Rand/GBP exchange rate has gone from around R14/GBP to over 18 currently. I am only grateful I bought most of my chemicals two years ago. For what it's worth, phenidone is cheaper than metol for similar developers (because of the incredibly small quantities required), so if you insist on home-made, then that is probably the cheapest route. I have about 250g of metol and about 80g phenidone. Enough for a lo-o-ong time. I wish though I could get hold of Dimezone-S - there is no company willing or able to ship that to South Africa. I'd be darned if I knew why, because I have ordered plenty of other dry powder chemicals from overseas.
     
  25. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    I also have plenty of phenidone, but I'm not feeling sorry for myself at all. I haven't complained or moaned, merely expressed surprise at the price increases, so I don't understand why you might think I'm feeling sorry for myself ...
     
  26. Anon Ymous

    Anon Ymous Member

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    Not too long ago, a forum member (possibly G. Koch) mentioned that he buys from this company. They don't have S. Africa in their export ban list, so it might be a good idea to contact them. Personally, I'm surprised that they are willing to send chemicals overseas, and even more surprised that it's cheaper to buy a pound of Hydroquinone from them, than from any (known to me) EU source. Anyway, I haven't bought anything from them, but it's rather tempting.

    EDIT: Oh, and they do sell Dimezone-S.