FP4+ NOT AT CALUMET
I bit the bullet of an earlier post and decided to go to Calumet New York for film.
My film of choice right now is Ilfords FP 4+. Not a particulary esoteric film.
The Calumet salesperson smilingly told me that they did not have one box of FP4+ but did have a box of HP5. The salesperson seemed to think it had something to do with the increase demand for digital equipment.
I assured him it did not.
Odd. I have become acustomed to this smug behavoir demonstrated by all manner of sales people at camera stores but have never once encountered same at the sprawling film counter in the Calumet, San Francisco store.
I was (and for the most part still am) a big fan of the Calumet website. I am NOT a huge fan of their retail stores, however. I've found the New York store often lacks certain things (particularly film and chemistry) that I would consider to be basic and essential. San Francisco is a much better store overall, but their used department these days seems to consist of two or three 35mm lenses and not much else. Calumet could do a lot better system-wide with how they handle used gear. Of course the Chicago stores fare best with stock and service. Now, when I go to New York, I just go straight to B&H when it comes to film/chemistry/paper.
I live in Chicago and even though this is their North Amrtican warehouse location, they are often out of things they should have. This has been going on for years and predates digital, so I think the problem is systemic. I gave up a long time ago trying to convince them that they were losing business when customers had to go elsewhere for supplies. I now buy primarily from B&H and Freestyle.
Calumet NY is a fifteen-minute walk, while B&H is a 9-dollar taxi ride. The last time we walked (over a year ago), Calumet didn't have any of the things we wanted (film, polaroid, and a technical question about a film camera model); pretty much all digital. They did have a pretty nifty 120 pinhole camera and some used MF and LF, though, but very little.
Took about twenty minutes to get sales help, even though there were more sales people than customers (about 4 or 5) in the store the whole time we were there.
I see no reason to go back.
Life was easier when B&H was on W17th St.
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Oh, those were the day's. You would wait 20 minutes in line outside the store -- rain or shine -- just to get in.
Originally Posted by tac
Then shove your way around the mass of people inside. The counters were really protecton devies to keep the sales staff from being crushed.
I've ordered from Calumet's web site and been happy (and probably will again), but their NY store is just awful.
You live in the sticks in a third rate country with no history, why expect to get first rate products from Europe Just joking but . . .
Reality is that the old traditional supply chain no longer meets our needs. I do live in a quasi modern country, Turkey, some Ilford films and sizes are available but as it happens not the ones I would use. That raises an impass, Ilford say the films are available, the importer doesn't import them.
It's a Catch 22 situation, and Ilford are not addressing it. I went to a major Photographic supplier in Izmir looking for Delta 5x4, 10x8. It's just not imported, I couldn't get 35mm or 120 either.
At a different store deep in the Kemeralti, the Izmir (Smyrna) market district where you can supposedly buy anything . . . . I was passed (by telephone) to the owner of a large Turkish photo chain, in Istanbul. He said he tore his hair out over the supply of Ilford products. He couldn't get what he wanted only what they wanted to sell.
Back to another supplier and the truth was quite different. The official import system had collapsed as far as small users were concerned, all serious photographers bought over the internet from abroad.
Now I'm not suggesting you do that but you will have to find a supplier who can supply what you need.
I had a superb supplier, Kevin (@Leeds cameras) they kept film & paper on the shelf just for me, He knew what I used & how much, they were taken over , Agfa film was still on the shelf, but Agfa B&W papers only to order - then Calumet bought them, so no stock. So I went else-where.
Back to reality unless analog film and paper manufacturers realise that the conventional historic supply chain has collapsed (as far as we analog users are concerned) we won't get what we want. and their sales will suffer significantly.
I should add that when I'm in the UK supplies of Ilford or Kodak materials are just as bad.
Before I upset the excellent suppliers I now use I should say I only buy from them online. (Although I did visit Silverprint a year or so after its founding). It seems that unfortunately the Internet is our only option. There are still superb retail outlets, but we can't all live near to them.
I drove a long way to one of their shops to get some boxes of 135 Portra NC. In vaine.
Then, it slipped out of my mouth that I use FD lenses. I guess I should not have said that...
On the Calumet website today, 40 of 132 offered Ilford paper products are out of stock FWIW...EC