TIRED OF BW FILM PRICE 'EXCUSES'

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by David Lyga, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Yes, I am tired of 'excuses' being given for BW film prices.

    With such a mature technology (all the R&D long ago paid for) it seems amazing that decent, high quality, 'no frills' film cannot be made in bulk rolls for no more than $20 for 100 ft. Why does 100 ft of Kodak Plus-X have to retail for, what is it now, about $80 before discount?

    When I was living in New York City in the 70s, a 36 exposure roll of Plus-X was 63 cents at the Camera Barn chain store. Why does a DISCOUNTED price now have to be over 6 bucks at B&H? That is TEN TIMES the 70s price. Back then minimum wage was $2.50/hour and now it is about three times as much.

    I know that the usual excuses will follow (ie, less made) but I really think that the groundwork made in production efficiency and refinement over the years should mitigate the 'less is sold' excuse. Am I dead wrong here? Or is this film simply selling for what the traffic will bear? Lack of competition thwarts reasons for not giving 'value'? - David Lyga.
     
  2. wildbill

    wildbill Member

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    On the large format forum they have a complaining thread just for this kind of thing.
     
  3. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Yes, Bill, occasionally I look at large format prices and wonder, and wonder anew, why a damn 8 X 10 single sheet of film has to be measured in DOLLARS rather than cents. No sense. Unless...one wants to make a financial killing. - David Lyga.
     
  4. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Again, back in the 70s one could get a pound of metol for $30. Today, although not nearly as much is sold, one STILL CAN get it for the price. (Artcraft). Paper is as outrageous as is film. - David Lyga
     
  5. Neanderman

    Neanderman Member

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    Well, in 1969, you could also buy a Volkswagon Beetle for somewhere around $1,995.

    It's not just film...
     
  6. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    You might also compare the price of groceries then and now. I don't like the prices on any of them, but I have to eat.
     
  7. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I think you are probably wrong. What about milk? Gas? Any number of products that we have the manufacturing process down pat?

    I don't know what the profit margins on film are, but I'm willing to guess it's pretty small. When costs go up, prices go up.
     
  8. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    It's been noted many times that, adjusted for inflation, film is the same or cheaper now than in the 1970's.

    If you can find something else that hasn't had a price rise in source materials, that isn't (at least) ten times the actual list price from 40 years ago...be my guest.

    That number once again: 40 years.
     
  9. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    All of the film I buy is priced in dollars, regardless of where the film is manufactured. I can buy a 100 foot roll of Ilford Pan F+ for $54 and a roll of Kodak Tri-X 400 for $60. In pre-1964 silver dimes with the silver content valued at $33.94 an ounce Troy (as of a few minutes ago), that is 22 dimes ($2.20 face value) for the Ilford film or 25 dimes ($2.50 face value) for the Kodak film. I think that's pretty cheap, probably cheaper than it was in 1964, although I wasn't buying film then so I'm not certain about that.

    Film is not high priced. It's gotten cheaper. The problem is that the US Dollar is practically worthless. If you want to blame it on something, blame it on the inflation of the money supply over the last 40 or 50 years. All those mature technology production efficiencies you mention have not only kept the cost of film low, but has actually reduced its price to you over the years.

    So yeah, I believe you are dead wrong.
     
  10. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I don't think that's the real problem. I think the real problem is that for the typical American, wages haven't kept pace.
     
  11. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Wages have not kept pace. the devaluation of the dollar, the price of silver, the long term reduction in the demand for film, fuel prices, ...
     
  12. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Similar issues with dairy products! Butterfat is a commodity item and it just keeps getting more and more expensive for so many reasons that it is equally hard to figure out cause from effect.
     
  13. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    I'd agree, Tim Gray, that for most people, wages have not kept pace with inflation. Inflation is a hidden tax that hits the lower income wage-earners harder than it does others. Who does inflation benefit? Surely not most wage-earners.

    You're looking at a symptom and thinking it's the problem.

    Film is still cheaper than it was 40 years ago. It is only the perception of its price that has grown higher.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2011
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  15. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    Well, were off into politics here. I do think the US dollar is practically worthless, and credit cards (and debt) have replaced wage gains. Not to mention food stamps subsidizing large zilion-aire corporations so they can underpay their peasants, er, employees. I still shoot a lot of 8 x 10 and it is very expensive. Turning more and more to medium format.
     
  16. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    Please, in all seriousness, why don't you look into starting a company and undercutting the big manufacturers? I would love to have more options for film.

    I share your frustration, and I blame inflation and taxation, both essentially caused by too large and too unaccountable government.
     
  17. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    As long as I can still buy B&W film, I'll make due with the prices of B&W film.

    Jeff
     
  18. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    David L, yup you are just dead wrong. :smile:
     
  19. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    You need to place some of the blame on speculators in precious metals. IIRC, the price of silver doubled recently.
     
  20. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    Starting a company is not a bad idea. Many of us could get together and start a consortium and buy in huge quantities. There are volume discounts.

    don
     
  21. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    It'd be nice if films and all other film related products are cheaper but when many companies are discontinuing products for lack of profit and few hanging on, I have no problems having them make reasonable gain so they can sustain it as a profitable business.

    Although I spend good chunk of my hobby fund on photography, supplies are still smaller portion of the whole. I complained about high cost of paper myself (to myself) but hey, I had fun for 1/2 a day for about $15.... (used half of the pack)
     
  22. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    How to operate a business: Lesson 1A.

    Make profit.

    If you have to scale back production due to lack of sales of a product that has essentially been in the curve of demise for 15 years, you want to make every sale count. People that want it badly enough will pay, and when they do you make a healthy profit every time. Film and silver gelatin based photography is essentially a cash cow, waiting to die. A few are holding on to this technology, because they love it. The rest of the world doesn't care. How do you make a profit in such a circumstance? You charge more. Easy peasy.
     
  23. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Yes, we could have somebody make a film coating assembly line in their daddy's barn. Please see the dreaded 'Kodachrome has been deleted' thread to see where that one goes.
     
  24. lightwisps

    lightwisps Subscriber

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    Actually maybe I misspoke. I am thinking about buying a large amount of film. Making it ourselves is out of my realm.

    I buy Ilford in the hundred rolls per buy and get a good price. Imagine buying a thousand at a time.

    Don
     
  25. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Ok, you mis-typed. :wink: However the second sentence points out an approach that the Austrialians are using to get passed the high mark ups of their country's film stores. I believe that they have to keep the cost below $1,000AUS.

    Steve
     
  26. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    kodak used to raise their prices two times a year, it wasn't 30ยข / roll for long ..