Thinking of investing in $5,000 - $10,000 of film. Suggestions?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by LFman, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. LFman

    LFman Member

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    I've been shooting large format only for a couple of years now, and the film I defaulted to is now out of production. I'm currently buying a whole bunch of different Ilford, Fuji and Kodak films to experiment and to see which ones I prefer. So far, I've narrowed it down to Ilford Delta and FP4+, Kodak Ektar, and Fuji Provia. These should do all the things I require, and my forthcoming testing should confirm that they'll be fine (I'm doing proper testing because so far, I've just dabbled).

    I am serious about my photography (I am working towards being a fine art photographer) and the money matters far less than having film available in the future which I've tested and become comfortable with (I'm standardising my systems at the moment and want to settle on just a few type of films).

    If I'm spending $1000-$2000/mth for a while on film to store in a freezer, what considerations should I have?

    So far, I'm thinking:
    1. Upgrade to a larger freezer.
    2. Do calculations to determine whether it's cheaper to order in one batch each month or smaller batches, given our import customs limit
    3. Will colour film last long past its expiry in a freezer like B&W does?

    Am I missing anything? I know I might appear nuts, but I've thought it through.... mostly!
     
  2. CPorter

    CPorter Member

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    You must be either incredibly rich or you are living way beyond your means. I don't think it matters, IMO, if you have that capability each month to spend disposable income just on film, then what could anybody here say, just do what you need to do keep your film. My view is probably too simplistic, I'm sure. Good luck, and I mean that :smile:.
     
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    As far as Ilford products are concerned, there is no need to stock up as they are still (and looks like will be) a viable company for the long haul. A lot of things can happen in one year and longer. Both planned and unplanned. I might suggest scaling back your (film) disaster planning way back. Keep 6 months to a year worth and re-evaluate at the half way point.

    That's what I do personally. I have what I think I'd spend in a year, film, chem, and paper wise. I do this for convenience.
     
  4. LFman

    LFman Member

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    Excellent food for thought, thanks. It's difficult to see inside Ilford to get an accurate picture of their health. If a major brand name like Kodak had trouble, there's a reasonable chance Ilford had similar issues - the major difference being how they structured themselves internally and so on.

    I might consider what I'd use in a year and go from there...
     
  5. LFman

    LFman Member

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    Neither rich nor living beyond my means... I've just had some clarity over the past few years... I'm happy to forego new cars, Playstations, travel, trips to the cinema and so on in exchange for doing what I really love. If I spend my time and money like other men my age, I'd have no time or money for the level of photography I'd like to achieve. That said, I don't smoke, rarely drink, and don't have kids, either!

    :smile:
     
  6. ChristopherCoy

    ChristopherCoy Subscriber

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    I don't suppose you have an extra room I could shack up in do you? If you've got that much film, I'm moving in. :D

    That said, I don't drink, smoke, nor do I have kids either - and I think I have a single 5 roll pack of 120 TriX in the freezer and that's the extent of my film right now. How do you find time to actually shoot 1-2K worth of film per month? The developing along would kill me! LOL
     
  7. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Why not buy a relatively small amount of each of the films you are interested in, do the tests, and then decide what to buy? You don't need that much film for good tests. Also keep in mind you need enough $ for the chemistry, paper etc.

    In any case I'm not sure I understand your purpose in stocking up.
     
  8. Hatchetman

    Hatchetman Subscriber

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    I'd worry about the long term availability of color chemistry.
     
  9. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    Color film does not keep as well as B&W even in the deep freeze. As color film ages, you would experience color shifts; sometimes these can be corrected with filtration. Increased fogging and grain is also evident in old color film.

    To be on the safe side, buy enough color film for the next five years.
     
  10. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    If you are "investing" because you want to sell some of it when it gets discontinued, probably Kodak would be a first buying choice, followed by Fuji. It makes little sense to buy something you have no interest in using though.

    If you like Ilford film, there is nothing wrong with putting some in the freezer to hedge against price increases, though it's not likely as volatile as Kodak.

    I bought a bunch of Kodak 8x10 film and it's gone up 30% in cost in less than two years. At some point, the price increases, if Kodak is not careful, will drive people away and a film might end up discontinued. If it's anything cult like or hallowed like some of the polaroid products, it may maintain a good new-old-stock value. I bought it to use and bought enough due to the uncertainty of Kodak's future.
     
  11. fotch

    fotch Member

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    What are your "given our import customs limit"?
    If limits not an issue, based on what your said, I would get a chest freezer, try to get a volume discount or reseller discount, and stock up. Rotate your stock as you use it, first in, first out.

    Good Luck.
     
  12. Katie

    Katie Subscriber

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    I think he will be spending that amount a month until he gets to a reasonable stores amount of film that he will be satisfied to last him a good while. I don't believe he said he shoots 1-2K worth of film a month! :smile:

    It's reasonable to me - my husband spends that much a month on his hobby (which does include a land payment - so it's more of an investment that a hobby, but still...).
     
  13. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Everyone's situation will dictate a different response. What I find is time changes all things and what is right today may not be right for tomorrow. I also find that upgrades are generally consistent albeit in longer time frames. So "I personally" wouldn't stash a huge lot. "I'll" do my testing, buy some film and go photograph the gardens of Japan, or some such subject of interest and consider the experience an opportunity to record the wonders of the world. Perhaps that will translate into creating a travel book or a photo book, but for sure I'll be richer from the experience of meeting different people. So for me it's not the potential in the freezer that counts, it's what it produces in the life. Like I say, a different response.
     
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  15. LFman

    LFman Member

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    That's what I'm just about finished doing. :smile: Stocking up because I'm spending time in perfecting my own system of working, which relies on continuity of supply. I'm not in the US, so it's harder/more expensive for me to get the film. I don't want to spend time and money modifying my system to a particular combination of supplies only to find (like with Efke and some Kodak products) that they are suddenly gone. I'd at least like enough film stocked up so if this happens, I can keep a supply of my absolute favourite film in reserve for special projects, and give myself enough time to find a new set of films, test them, and then modify my system accordingly.
     
  16. LFman

    LFman Member

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    Hehehe... the commute would kill you, though! I wouldn't shoot all that film per month... just saying that would be my monthly budget for buying film for a few months, to get a bit of a stockpile. The developing is another task... Also buying Metol, Sodium Thiosulphate, acetic acid, kodalk, etc., in bulk. At least it's cheap on a per-sheet basis.
     
  17. LFman

    LFman Member

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    That's the other thing I'm worried about. I haven't got an easy solution... I could buy some, but then the expiry is the problem. I wonder how hard it is to make them from bulk chemicals.
     
  18. LFman

    LFman Member

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    I think it starts at $1000 when taxes, customs duties, import fees etc. get added on, and I think from memory it adds about 30% to the price. I already planned to get a volume discount :smile: Thanks for the tips :smile:
     
  19. LFman

    LFman Member

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    You've got some very good points. I've already been trying to weigh-up the options for the cash... I could spend a little, travel, shoot some landscapes, publish a book, and repeat, or I could stockpile some film, invest time and energy in my technique at home, and in a couple of years, I have improved technical skills and a great match between my film and my personal system of working. Even better, I'd also have film in the freezer, regardless of whether the manufacturer still exists or not.

    Both scenarios have merit. Luckily for me, I don't think they are mutually-exclusive. I don't admit this often, but I'd love to be the Ansel Adams of my area, so travel isn't majorly expensive. I could store film and still go experience life and get it on film. :smile:

    Really great comment, thanks for thinking of the big picture!
     
  20. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    One other thing....

    Your taste and preference may change. I bought a type of B&W paper in the amount of what I thought I would use in a year. My taste changed. My standard changed. My preference in subject evolved. They are still sitting in my refrigerator vacuum packed.

    It's one thing to have $150 worth of paper in my frig. It's quite another to have $2000 worth of stuff in frig....

    Yeah, you could sell them but you'll likely take a significant hit when you do.
     
  21. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    be careful

    buying a lot of film can be good and bad.
    good because you have a lot of it,
    bad because it might go bad, very bad.

    ilford's current situation is vastly different than kodak's
    ilford has figured it out ...
    kodak is trying to figure it out ...

    i'd buy what you need and not overstock or buy gigantic amounts of anything.
    unless you are used to, and know how to expose and process and print/numericalize
    outdated film .. it's not quite the same as "fresh" film ...
     
  22. dsmccrac

    dsmccrac Member

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    OK. I have been film hoarding a bit lately, not to the extent that you have but enough that we are getting a second fridge and my wife thinks I need to join 'film-anon' ;-)

    I have mainly been hoarding good deals (expired film purchases, etc) or films that are going away (efke 25). But for the long term health of the industry that it would probably be best if I stop stock piling and try to purchase on a regular basis. Buying regularly and trying to spread it around is probably the best thing we can do to ensure long term availability. Granted, if you decide that the best film for you is from a company that you worry about (like kodak or efke) then maybe stockpiling is a good thing to do. The problem with us all stockpiling is that it will help the company now but then they may not see us again for a while. I am trying to resist re urge to stockpile unless I am offered an amazing deal or know for sure (efke 25) that something is going away. Even then, when I stockpile efke 25 I know it will mean I am not buying stuff like ilford pan f for a while.
     
  23. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I have 9 rolls of 120 (1 of HP5 and 8 of Foma 100), 50 sheets of Foma 100 5x7, a few under 50 sheets of J&C 400 4x5, and 50 sheets of Arista EDU Ultra 100 4x5. While it isn't a HUGE stock, it's a stock. I like stocks.
     
  24. MartinP

    MartinP Member

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    This is all talk about film. Consider also papers.

    In both cases the strongest company with (coincidentally, or not?) the best products is Ilford (this thread is in the black and white sub-forum of course). Try looking at some sort of commercial deal with the Ilford importer in to your country, cutting out third-party retailers, or trust that the company will survive.

    For the colour materials I'd have to say to try both manufacturers, but don't expect their film to be around in a few years. RA4 paper may also be superseded by the dry-technologies which are becoming available for commercial-scale photo-finishers, so try to get a big fridge I suppose (not that paper will last very very long).
     
  25. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    You use 2000 dollars worth of film per month . Get credit and buy Leica S2 for 30000 dollars and shoot 100 times more pictures. Dont drop it to the sea for next 1.5 years :smile:

    Or another advise , Frame 2000 dollars with thick gold coated wood per month and try to sell it for 3000 dollars as a art piece :smile:
     
  26. BoxBrownie

    BoxBrownie Member

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    I'd agree with this. I have paper and film stored that don't 'feel right' to me anymore though I was happy back when I bought them. Tastes, abilities and techniques do change so I wouldn't stock up too much.