Thanks everyone, it all certainly steers me in the right direction.
I know about the NY stores, sure. I guess I just baulked at buying from them because in the past I've found their shipment methods/costs a little inflexible thereby expensive, and the latest happenings over there got me worried again about mail scanning (on this end too).
I have in my darkroom (which is my kitchen) a Leedal tray ladder. It lets you stack the 3 trays (16x20) vertically on top of each other. The perfect solution, because bench space is at a premium in there, and I have to eat too, need at least a little space to butter toast. The NY stores only seemed to offer me the most bloody expensive way of getting it here. Really, I'm happy for it to go regular USPS, you know, with the mail! But, they would not offer me the option of snail-mail. So I thought this is gonna cost me a fortune, as the tray ladder is quite heavy. It was all too hard, so I sought out the manufacturer, Leedal in Chicago (www.leedal.com). Lovely people, said they'd send it to me any way I like, I'm paying Even with regular post I had it in just under 2 weeks.
Anyway, that's a big heavy metal thing. Concerning film, perhaps it is safer not to go with snail-mail. But then isn't getting it UPS'd/FedEx'd going to defeat the purpose of saving by buying from the US?
I'll be looking at the other suggestions too. Thanks again....
I am not sure what the minimum postage from Freestyle is, but the minimum postage from B&H is about US$60. Given the strength of the Aus$ and the much cheaper prices of almost everything in the US, you might be surprised by how little you need to buy to make that postage charge worth accepting. Maybe you should buy some extra film and put it in your freezer? Or order that other obscure item that you have always wanted but can never find in Australia. Or start a thread in the Australia section here asking if someone else wants to share postage costs with you.
Originally Posted by gamincurieux
My theory about UPS, FedEx, etc, is that these guys don't have passengers, so are unlikely to be caught up in knee-jerk responses to terrorism scares. Places like B&H ship enormous numbers of boxes with them every day (across the US and beyond), and could not afford for their film to get fried.
Hi Paul, I just posted a very similar sort of question elsewhere (new here so, naturally my question was in the wrong place!). I'm in a very similar predicament regarding the exorbitant cost of shipping - particularly since I'm in no position to buy anything more than bare necessities, a little at a time. I'm not sure whereabouts in Melbourne you are, I'm south, down on the Mornington Peninsula, but if you could wait a week or two - and perhaps got some others in on it - do you think we could put in like a group order sort of thing? If the total wasn't excessive, I've be happy to put everything through on one order shipped to my address and then do a drive around delivery to everyone. I'm not working at the moment, so playing postman doesn't bother me in the slightest.
The part about waiting a week or two is simply because the "joys" of Christmas and my mum's birthday and wiped me out for the forseeable future, but after the 11th I could add my minute order (and share of the shipping, obviously) without a problem.
If anyone else wants in - and perhaps make it a regular (monthly/quarterly/biannual?) thing, perhaps we could start a thread up for the purpose?
I'm happy to look at going into a group order. For the time being mine would also be considered 'minute' orders. That's the thing, small orders for one just don't make it seem worthwhile, you're paying a high price for a relatively small amount.... or, put it this way, you pay for a certain-sized box that you'll never fill by yourself, so you might as well combine and fill it.
I'm in Windsor/Prahran, by the way. I'm not in any hurry either Molli.
Oh yeah, I might want to look into paper as well, come to think of it. I can't rely on quitting photography students selling off their Ilford Multigrade cheap on Ebay forever!!
You know, there's probably some arrangements already ongoing among long-time Melbourne members. I'm trying to find some threads about it. That said, we could look into starting up a new one, I'm sure there's newer members who might like to get in on it.
I did look around for a thread dedicated to this purpose, but couldn't find one - I'm awfully sleepy, however, so this may be two days of 'net binging' catching up on me! Given that I've never processed my own film before, I'm really needing to buy some cheap stuff to begin with, so Vanbar is definitely out! I'll have to haul myself up to Carlton at some time in the near future for chemicals because of overseas shipping restrictions in that area (and their prices seem okay on that front) but for these first few rolls of film, there's no way I'm paying out $8 to $12 for what I'm all too likely to ruin.
I found some cheap stuff via Amazon - 3.29 for Ilford HP5 + - orderered a few rolls of that and a few packs of negative sleeves. All told, $11. Fantastic, right? Then I click on checkout and I'm informed that my teensy weensy order will cost me $75 to be sent to me. What can I say? Adorama, don't go there! Needless to say, I didn't complete the order.
Nova, one of APUG's sponsors, had the cheapest shipping I found - 5 pounds, but then you throw in the currency conversion and ditto on whatever you've ordered and it all winds up the same. To top it off, finding a link to their Australian distributors and where are you sent? Vanbar! It actually costs MORE to have items sent from Carlton to here than it does to have them sent from the UK!
Yup, we're definitely going to need a new thread for this, methinks. Care to do the honours? I'm new and trying to keep a hold of my entirely-introverted status. (I think I might be failing at the moment, if words per post are any indication!)
Sorry, I'm trying to work my way towards a concise point here... where was I? Oh yes, a new thread - and some sort of timetable. If we leave off until later in January (when people have possibly recovered from the silly season's expenses) would that be better? By then, perhaps even just you and I might be able to cobble up an order between us that justifies its shipping costs? Just a thought.
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Got my car rego coming up in Jan too, so it's an extended silly season for me. Never mind that, anyway, let's keep it on the table Molli, absolutely.
Yes, the tyranny of distance.
By the way, developing film is eeeeeeeasy, you won't ruin it True, not much alternative to going to Vanbar for chems, and if you use them wisely it doesn't work out to be too expensive. If time is on your side, wait til you have a number of films to develop then use the same chems to their full capacity. Get yourself one or more 4 or 5-roll Paterson tanks & plenty of reels, it's all out there on Ebay. It's when you develop piecemeal, the odd film here & there, that you have to make a new mix then throw it out because you're not likely to develop again for some time. Unless you use one-shot developer, such as Rodinal, which is pretty cheap (is that still available I wonder?!). Out of laziness I generally use T-max (around $20 a bottle) which is NOT one-shot, and I always feel like I'm ripping myself off when I mix up a batch just to do a couple of rolls, when one mix will do quite a few. Shows how much I've been shooting of late.
There's also Blanco Negro in Sydney who sell the Czech Foma products that I need to look closer into..... only it looks like their dedicated webpages on Foma products/prices seem to have gone, I can only see the pages about their darkroom hire etc etc.
With regard to buying piecemeal - or doing anything in that fashion, actually - I already have a tank Just my luck, it seems to be pretty much the very first one off the Paterson assembly line. I bought it off a guy who sells vintage cameras out in Tyabb (um, directly south-south-east of you - about 50mins away at a guess). He's a fount of information and I've been milking him for advice for the past couple of months. I desperately wanted to buy SOMETHING off him in return for all of the time he's taken in talking to me. At any rate, given what he knew of my needs and budget, he handed over a 1950 Paterson 35mm. It only takes the one roll, which is perfect because then I can only screw up one lot at a time Unfortunately, I meant what I said about it being first off the assembly line. It works perfectly (if my sacrificial roll is telling things right on the practice runs I've put it through) but some of the rules after that point don't seem to apply. Primarily, this is NOT a tank you invert. Also, the manual goes to great lengths to harp on about not needing to take the film out of its canister. So, given what a rarity this particular model seems to be, I've no one to ask questions about where the instructions I have deviate from EVERYTHING I've read on the net and in books.
Hmm, sorry, bit of a tangent there. The total cost of my chemicals came to $36 at Vanbar. I can't recall precisely what I put in the shopping basket, but I believe the dev and fix were both Ilford and the stop was Kodak. At any rate, I've been looking around at all of the tricks of the trade to prolong shelf life, so I should be okay there and, given that I thought all of that stuff was going to cost me a fortune at the outset, I'm not going to feel too if I don't use it all in time. My major concern really has been the expense of the film. Particularly, as I mentioned, for those first few rolls which I won't dare take anything "important" on them. (Probably be a ton of snapshots of my toes under different lighting conditions just to see how they turn out without being worried about how I trash the negatives!)
What format do you shoot?
They still have a page up for Kentmere and Foma papers. It's under Services. The link to the Kentmere page is
8" x 10" FB matte & gloss 25 sheets - $38.50inc GST
12" x 16" FB matte & gloss 10 sheets - $41.50inc GST
16" x 20" FB matte & gloss 10 sheets - $68.50inc GST
20" x 24" FB matte & gloss 10 sheets - $96.00inc GST
and for Foma it's
8" x 10" gloss or matt, 25 sheets - $42.50inc GST
9.5" x 12" gloss or matt, 50 sheets - $119.30inc GST
12" x 16" gloss or matt, 10 sheets - $50.25inc GST
12" x 16" gloss or matt, 50 sheets - $205.35inc GST
16" x 20" gloss or matt, 10 sheets - $75.45inc GST
20" x 24" gloss or matt, 10 sheets - $101.25inc GST
Apologies for the text links - IE isn't letting scripted windows to run for some odd reason.
Anyway, don't know if either of those are of any use to you but thought I'd save you the cut and paste to the pages themselves.
As an update to what Ian mentioned about minimum orders, Freestyle's minimum is $25. When calculating shipping for an order of half a dozen rolls of film and a few packets of negative sleeves (totalling about $27) this is what the calculator came up with:
Available Shipping Services
Priority International = $70.34
Priority Mail International = $39.82
I can certainly live with waiting two or three weeks for things.... it was the part about paying more for shipping than for products that held me back from ordering. I'll have to do an item/shipping comparison with B&H although, obviously, I'm going to need a bit of help getting to their $60 minimum. In the end, it will really come down to what you're after (35mm stuff is easily had, but if you're shooting an oddity we'll need to look around to find something that sells everything you're wanting). If you give me a shopping list (just for price comparisons, etc) I'm happy to look around for what's cheapest and where - I have a LOT of time on my hands!