Who made these films? (and cost/performance factor)

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Seele, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. Seele

    Seele Member

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    I am to start an extended photographic documentary project for the local government, what sold the proposal was that I will be shooting film, and in particular, conventional monochrome. I tried to interest Agfa and Ilford to get involved but it did not work out so it seems that I have to pay for my own film!

    Now, knowing that I would have to go through perhaps hundreds of rolls, economy becomes a factor. Unfortunately, being in Australia, a much smaller market than the US and Europe, the choice of available film is comparatively limited: apart from the Big Three, I can only see Fuji, Forte, Maco and Paterson being available; Foma withdrew from this market some years ago, which was most unfortunate, and Konica stopped selling its Pan 100 and 400 films here too; two marques I rather like.

    Let me say here: I have no particular alegence to any marque, even though I have been living on Ilford for many years; and I have experiences with many different films and believe I can make the most out of each one by appropriate techniques, so not a worry here.

    From prior experiences, I have some issues with Forte which sort of make me apprehensive, even though the price is quite advantageous: in 100 or 400 speed, a roll of 36 exposure is A$6.40, 30.5m roll A$59 (think in terms of an Australian dollar as three-quarters of a US dollar). Maco 100 prices are A$6.95 and A$62.70 respectively, and knowing that it is Efke 100, a film I feel comfortable with, I do not think it is an issue there.

    The wild card is Paterson: in 100 or 400 speeds, each 36 exposure roll is A$6.60. So, who makes Paterson?

    I would appreciate the thoughts from my learned fellow members; TIA!
     
  2. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Efke 100 is beautiful stuff, and if you feel comfortable with it, why not use it, if we're just talking about a difference of a few dollars per bulk roll?

    If you need a little more speed, it also looks great at EI 200 in Acufine.

    Glancing over at jandcphotography.com, they are selling Efke 100 for $34.99 USD per 30.5 m roll, which comes to $46.10 AUD, and they might give you a discount if you order several bulk rolls at once, which could probably more than make up for shipping costs from the US.

    Also, check out J&C Classic Pan 400 at $2.59 USD ($3.41 AUD) a roll, made by Forte, very much like Tri-X, and if you need a lot, they can probably sell it to you cheaper in bulk rolls, if you ask.
     
  3. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    Whatever film you may choose, in the end it will work out cheaper if you buy it in bulk.
    Loading your own cassettes will probably save you around 40% per roll. Another advantage is that you can cut rolls at the length you prefer.

    Hans
     
  4. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    In the US, Paterson 200 is actually Fomapan 200. I've never seen Paterson 100 or 400 in the US, though, so I'm not really 100% confident that what you're seeing in Australia is Foma. You could buy a roll or two and develop it, though. Foma is the only brand I've seen that does double numbering (that is, frame 1 is "1 2", frame 2 is "3 4", etc.). Its rebadged versions are the same, except for the Freestyle bulk roll I bought, which has no markings at all.

    Given the quantities you're buying, you could also try ordering from overseas; shipping is likely to be reasonable on hundreds of rolls. Some of the European film prices are excellent, but I don't have any pointers. In the US, Freestyle has very good prices on its house brand films, which are made by various others: Arista Pro = Ilford; Arista.EDU = Forte; Arista II = Agfa; Arista.EDU Ultra = Foma. (They're in the process of switching suppliers from Ilford and Forte to Agfa and Foma.) Also in the US, B&H has very good prices on the more popular manufacturers' products (Kodak, Ilford, Fuji, and Agfa, mainly).
     
  5. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Subscriber

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    I have been buying Agfa APX 100 and 400 from filmart.com for $1.99 and $2.19 per roll. I don't know about shipping to Australia, but the price is so great that it might make up for high shipping and customs. I buy in pretty large quantities and they ship quickly.

    I also second the recommendation of Freestyle, I buy almost all of my paper from them and they are a great supplier.

    Paul.
     
  6. Seele

    Seele Member

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    Very interesting thoughts, gentlemen! I will definitely check out your suggestions.

    The dealer in Australia who represents Maco (and others) is Vanbar who also stocks Paterson films. I am not sure if they will display correctly but here they go:

    Paterson Phototec 100 Pan

    Paterson Phototec 400 Pan

    The "double numbering" on Foma films is actually a tradition on the European continent, where they're numbered for half-frame; the genuine Wolfen-made Orwo films were numbered likewise, although I cannot remember for certain if Foton films were also numbered as such. (Speaking of Foton I sure miss its papers, although its films were a little bit on the funky side.)

    In the current climate I am not sure if I feel too comfortable with ordering lots of films from the US, but another professional photographer is considering just that, so I think I should give him a call and see what happens.
     
  7. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    This and the other both displayed OK for me, but didn't give any clues about who actually makes the films. I note that I can't make out "Paterson" anywhere on the boxes, though, just "Phototec." A Web search suggests it is Paterson, which in turn suggests it's really Foma under the label. I can't be certain of this, though.

    I figured it was for half-frame cameras. I'd never encountered it before, including in Agfa and Ilford films.

    Do you mean weather (heat concerns) or political (x-rays at customs) or something else? Whatever the case, you could also ask a potential seller what precautions they take.
     
  8. Mike-D

    Mike-D Member

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    You might try to order from Fotoimpex in Germany, www.fotoimpex.de They now sell through Jand C in the US but will probably still sell directly to AU. Before J and C came along I used to order from them quite regularly and they were always very easy to deal with. They sell Efke and Foma plus the various 'classic' brands.

    Mike D
     
  9. esanford

    esanford Member

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    There has been a lot of very good advice already provided. I would like to approach it from a little different angle. One of the things that you didn't mention was whether or not you are being compensated for the project. Also, is this your first project of its kind, and will it be a platform through which you will obtain further assignments? Without knowing all of those details, I make the assumption that this is an outstanding opportunity for you. That being the case, it is my belief that you should use the best film and print materials with which you are most comfortable. Moreover, I think that your focus should be on providing the best end product for this assignment. Clearly, you should be cost efficient, but I think that you should focus on what materials would give you the best results no matter what the cost is. I would be very careful about bulk loading on an important assignment. There are two many chances that you might accidentally expose the film and blow an outstanding shot; or the film could disconnect from a cannister and stop winding in the camera (all of this has happened to me). I say use the best to do your best and don't cut corners to save what in several years from now will look like a minimal amount of money. Good Luck!!!!
     
  10. Seele

    Seele Member

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    esanford,

    I did consider that; I received a certain amount of money to finance the project but of course it would be a better idea to make the dollar go further. Having been a bulkfilm-reloader for decades (I still have a small stash of Shirley-Wellards to prove it) I do not think the issues mentioned presents any problem at all. But the bottomline remains: Australia is such a small market that it is tough getting something that the rest of the world pretty much take for granted; we still pay, begrudgingly, more than ten dollars for a roll of FP4 Plus, and that's something not exactly easy to swallow.
     
  11. esanford

    esanford Member

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    Wow! I had no idea that film cost that much... Does Austrailia add a large import duty if you go directly to a retailer like B&H out of NY... Their film prices are very reasonable and they ship worldwide... I don't know if that is an alternative... I wish you the best with what still sounds like a great project!
     
  12. Smudger

    Smudger Member

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    If you want to give Fuji b&w a try ,why not import directly from
    http//www.unicircuits.com/shop/index.php
    you can get Acros 100, SS100, and Presto 400 (Neopan 400) in bulk.
    Acros has had rave reviews, and Neopan 400 is my favourite 400 speed film.
    These films will blow that miserable Forte stuff into the weeds imho..