Why the massive price difference between 120 and 135 pro slide films

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Simonh82, Aug 17, 2012.

  1. Simonh82

    Simonh82 Member

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    Apologies for cross posting but I tagged this question on to a comment about slide film in the Fotokemika thread in the B&W forum and I recognise that it was the wrong place to ask.

    Anyway, why the ridiculous difference in price between pro slide film in 135 and 120 format? Provia 400x is somewhere between £5-£6 per roll in 120 (from a pro-pack) and over £10 in 135. Provia 100f is available for £3.20 per roll in 120 (from a pro-pack), but £8.39 for 135! It is roughly the same film surface area and generally I guess 135 sells more, so production of canisters and packing material can't account for it. Also Fuji make the AgfaPhoto CT Precisa film, which is apparently a slightly modified version of Provia 100f, so they clearly can produce cheap 135 slide film.

    I guess the answer is to shoot the Agfaphoto film, if I want cheap slides in 135 format, but that means nothing like Velvia when it comes to landscapes.

    Does anyone know of a good reason for this, or are Fuji trying to kill slide film as a consumer product?
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Nope... have no idea why that may be... and I doubt that Fuji is trying to kill anything... if htey wanted to kill something they would just discontinue it and move on.
     
  3. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    Maybe it's a usage thing--more sales in 120 vs 35mm? There seems to be a similar but slightly smaller gap in prices here across the pond.

    35mm would be somewhat more expensive to make (metal canister, 2 metal end caps, perforation), and the base material is thicker, perhaps a little more expensive, but this doesn't seem to justify the differences I'm seeing. But if 35mm users have mostly abandonded slide film and 120 users haven't, then lower volume could easily account for the difference.

    Charlie Strack
     
  4. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Goods are priced to the market, Fuji will have a good reason for their price levels.
     
  5. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I would guess (and that's all it is) that 35mm costs more to make, the perforations, the little colour-printed box, the plastic canister, the metal can etc. I doubt that's the full answer though. Maybe also, professionals shoot 120, and they *need* to make it work economically, hobbyists shooting 35mm *want* to make it work economically. Just a guess though.

    Provia 400X really is quite remarkably expensive though, maybe it really is just showing that it's a low volume product.
     
  6. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I hadn't noticed this as I don't use slide film but on checking my list of film stockists you are right with almost very stockist charging the same except a company in the case of Provia film called Keyphoto which is selling Provia 100f 35mm at £5.95 which brings it much closer to the 120 price.

    If Keyphoto can manage it why not everyone else and it begs the question is it a manufacturer pricing issue or a retailer one when one retailer can do it for a lot less?

    I suspect it is a retailer issue. If you check on a range of retailer prices for film, paper etc it has been my experience that each will have relative bargains and each will have relatively expensive items but they aren't the same items at each stockist so Keyphoto might and probably will be beaten by several others on other product lines

    The problem with a cherry picking approach for the buyer is that each time there is postage to take into account which may negate the benefits of cherry picking and each stockist is well aware of this.

    pentaxuser
     
  7. Simonh82

    Simonh82 Member

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    I hadn't considered that it might be the retailers, but that may be the case. The price of 120 film seems to have stayed reasonably consistent over the last couple of years. It has gone up, but seems to have gone up at similar rates everywhere. 135 film seems to fluctuate significantly. I saw Provia 400x for almost £13 recently and it is now back down to £10, from the same retailer.

    I still think the price discrepancy can't be explained by the material cost as Fuji can make cheap 135 slide film to sell on to AgfaPhoto.
     
  8. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Retailers price their goods at the highest price they can get for them to maximize their profit margin.
     
  9. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    As others have said retailers will charge what they believe the market will bear and maybe they believe that Fuji slide will command a higher price than Agfa? Maybe they believe consumers think: "Agfa slides, isn't that old technology and isn't Agfa out of business? Isn't Fuji king of slide film?

    It is the same train of thought that makes sellers believe that "Lomo afficionados" will pay almost anything for old and long since defunct film.

    They may be right in both cases. I haven't any experience of Agfa slide film but if it is anything like Agfa Vista colour neg film then it may have a distinct and muted colour signature which can be attractive.

    Maybe we are lucky that retailers stick to the price that they set on their websites or in their shops. If pricing was based on their knowledge of consumers' desires or calculated assumption that a particular consumer thought that say Fuji Provia was the only slide film worth having then just watch the price soar if each transaction was the equivalent of a middle east bazaar :D

    pentaxuser
     
  10. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    You see prices fluctuating? That's your retailer experimenting to determine price elasticity and what point on the price/demand curve gives them greatest overall profit.
     
  11. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    OK, I got it. The 35mm users are mostly Leica guys, and they will pay anything! Actually, I think it might have to do with metal cannister, more shots per roll, and more steps to make a 35mm rather than a 120.


    Kent in SD
     
  12. Marvin

    Marvin Member

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    I would not think that its the canister as very low priced B&W and C41 films are available using the same 35mm packaging. Ilford 3 roll 35mm 36 exp packs for about $10, and Fuji 200 print film in 4 roll packs at Walmart for around $7.
     
  13. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I think the the cost of the cassette is a red herring, to, quote an old saying "it's the profit that makes it dear", especially since Fuji now has the virtual monopoly now that Kodak ceased manufacturing E6 films retailers can charge pretty much what the market can stand .
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 21, 2012
  14. Dismayed

    Dismayed Member

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    Yeah, I was taught that nonsense in B-School. Then I got some real-world experience.
     
  15. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    You got a better way for them to decide on their pricing in the "real world"? How are they meant to know what's optimum for them without a little experimentation?
     
  16. wogster

    wogster Member

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    I can see a small retailer, doing this, you add say 50¢ to the price of a roll, if sales stay the same then you add another 50¢ if sales fall, you go back to the old price.....
     
  17. Dismayed

    Dismayed Member

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    Game theory. Tit for tat is the best approach.
     
  18. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I checked a few US catalogs, and I didn't find a similar price differential. 35mm professional color film, both negative and transparency, was about $1.50 more than 120. 220 was more than twice the price of 120, however, There could be several reasons for the difference in price. What the market will bear seems most likely. Inventory costs (related to demand) are another possibility. 35mm is probably a bit more expensive to make and market, but not that much.
     
  19. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    We have no choice we have to either pay the market price for Fuji pro films if we wish to use them, or do without it, the reasons for the pricing structure for the consumer are academic, because there's nothing we can do about it but bite the bullet.
     
  20. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    A single shop is not a good gauge of price levels. If they feel they have too much of a certain product they will lower price on it for fear of overstocking.

    In general I wouldn't be surprised if Fuji tried to sell dearer their slide film, considering that it is sold cheaper as Agfaphoto. It would be a very normal case of brand-price segmenting, when you sell two almost equal goods with small differences, brand them differently, and "target" them to two different market segments. It is done all the time, from cars to chocolate, so it would be conceivable that it is done also for slide film.

    Maybe Fujifilm is licensing the Agfaphoto brand to operate this market segmentation; or maybe Agfaphoto has a deal with Fujifilm, Agfaphoto buys at least X quantity of film but Fujifilm moves the price of its own products a step higher, etc.

    The same fine tea cookies which are sold in a luxury packaging are sold by the kg at a much lower price...