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  1. #1

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    Break down: Why film costs what it does

    Which components or processes or forces that go into the manufacturing and distribution of silver halide emulsions contribute the most to the price we pay on the shelf, and to the rise in the cost of film? Is it the silver? The labor? The gelatin? The base? Reduced demand? How much faster has film risen compared to inflation?

    I hear a lot about silver being the root. But I have it on good authority that one mole of silver is able to coat 1600 sqft of film. With silver being a bit less than a dollar a gram, that's about ~$100 per 1600sqft since one mole of silver is 107 grams or so. How many rolls of 35 doth 1600 sqft make? I'll tell you in the AM after I get some sleep.



    Oh. And I also would LOVE some historical charts on the price of film, even just one emulsion, and even even just anecdotally.

  2. #2
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    Assuming no waste, and taking your numbers, I get ~140 bulk rolls coated at that coverage.

    Assuming lots of waste (that doesn't get recycled), say 100 rolls.....for that $100. The silver is a fraction of the overall costs.

  3. #3

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    It's because barely anyone shoots film anymore compared to 15 years ago.

    And 15 years ago, film still wasn't "cheap".

  4. #4

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    Dear Silvergrahm,

    Your 'good authority' has ' very bad information'

    I will save you a calculation or two....


    ( Excluding waste etc ) you get 17.58 rolls of 135 - 36 per m2 of parent roll, 26.37 rolls for 24 exp and 19.55 rolls of 120 film per m2.

    When I was a photographer I always remember a client who 'grumbled' at the cost of a wedding, it became quite an issue, he would not pay his invoice, he went away and calculated the cost of the film, prints, album etc etc and told my then boss to justify the invoice against the cost of the materials ......my boss spoke to the guy and said he had an accountant, and he got three pieces of paper from him every year, and he estimated the paper cost about 2 pence...it was what was written on the paper that was actually important, since my boss explained he could not do it was why he paid someone else to do it, and do it well....the guy paid his bill...he was entirely co-incidentally an accountant...

    I learnt a lesson that day......

    Simon ILFORD photo / HARMAN technology Limited :

  5. #5
    AgX
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    The price of silver is still a major concern to the industry.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by silvergrahm View Post
    Which components or processes or forces that go into the manufacturing and distribution of silver halide emulsions contribute the most to the price we pay on the shelf, and to the rise in the cost of film? Is it the silver? The labor? The gelatin? The base? Reduced demand? How much faster has film risen compared to inflation?

    I hear a lot about silver being the root. But I have it on good authority that one mole of silver is able to coat 1600 sqft of film. With silver being a bit less than a dollar a gram, that's about ~$100 per 1600sqft since one mole of silver is 107 grams or so. How many rolls of 35 doth 1600 sqft make? I'll tell you in the AM after I get some sleep.



    Oh. And I also would LOVE some historical charts on the price of film, even just one emulsion, and even even just anecdotally.
    Is there anything wrong with film prices?

    Perhaps for You the difference between photo grade silver and the *other* silver is not big deal?
    Same goes for everything used in making photographic materials, not just film.
    Regards,
    Georg

  7. #7

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    In the UK, taking into account inflation, I'd say film, especially slide film, is somewhat cheaper than it was. With the much lowered economies of scale, you'd expect the prices to go up, but in the UK at least, they do not appeared to have. I imagine both major makers spend much less on marketing than they used to, maybe that's got a lot to do with it.

    The economic situation can help as much as it can hurt. In the UK, interest rates have plummeted and the cost of borrowing has increased. However, this means that my mortgage has roughly halved every month, making me a lot better off each month. The same is for businesses, if they have a mortgage on their property, it's possible they have never had it so good. If you can keep your sales up (which many companies in the UK have, like John Lewis), then "the economic crisis" is anything but.

  8. #8
    AgX
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    Quote Originally Posted by silvergrahm View Post

    Oh. And I also would LOVE some historical charts on the price of film, even just one emulsion, and even even just anecdotally.
    In 1980 the price of silver tenfolded. That meant for one of the big players that they had to pay just for the silver alone 4/5th of what their volume of sales had been the year before.

  9. #9

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    Hello !
    Actually price of ingredients to a film recipe are not significant in the finished product. (and this is true to any industrial product).
    Bear in mind that you have to factor in every cost from the factory building to the electricity and wages for the workers plus the cost of research, maintenance and the like.
    Add to this that film is a perishable product so when you make a batch, you have to keep it "fresh" until it is sold. This involves freezing which IMHO will be a big cost...
    And last but not least, ads, sales people, transportation, seller margin, and so on...
    In last the maker have to factor in the competition and price the product at a level the consumer can afford, make some benefit of it and be a bit cheaper than the competitors..
    Where is the silver price in this ??????

  10. #10

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    As AgX puts it the cost of silver is a concern to the industry !

    Its 8 years since HARMAN technology Limited was founded, we were really very concerned, as in our business model as the cost of silver was worryingly high at $ 7.00 per troy ounce.

    In the corner of my computer screen, the feed that is with me every minute of the day says silver as of 4 minutes ago was $ 31.39 per troy ounce. We buy silver by the tonne.

    You know the little sprocket holes on 35mm film ? as they are perforated, a high suction system sucks them up and stores them in a hopper, they then go and have the silver recycled out of them...

    Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :

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