Having moved from the UK to Australia, I can say that the cost differential to the UK is quite significant. Australia is a lot cheaper a place to live. Taxes are only the beginning.
Rent is a lot less here, my much nicer house, twice the size of my UK one, costs less than half what the UK one did to rent. Transport costs less, food costs less, even furniture and some electronics costs less. In the UK, you don't just bear a higher tax burden, but everything costs that little bit more, and that makes a business cost more to run, and therefore the prices it charges must be higher.
I don't criticize the UK for this, it's high taxes and high costs do probably reflect in a higher level of public service. The price has to be paid somewhere though.
Here in the UK there is a supplier in Lancashire selling HP5 via mail order for the equivalent of USD 7.17 per 36 roll and Tri-X for USD 7.00 so there are some cheaper places to source film though it still doesn't explain the discrepancy with US prices. I've been buying film from Germany recently as it's still slightly cheaper than the UK even with shipping.
" ... a cook who relies on nothing but a sharp knife has no guarantee of producing excellent dishes." - Yoshihisa Maitani
Here in the US, we have very cheap labor rules. Northern European countries have interesting things like required paid maternity leave for a YEAR! They have health care for everyone; yes, FREE health care for everyone. My experience is from what I have observed from regular visits to Denmark over the last 10 years.
Originally Posted by onepuff
In the USA, your standard of living is up to your employer, basically.
In the USA the minimum wage requires that you need food stamps depending on where you live.
Paying for the higher base standard of living = more expensive film.
"If its not broken, I can't afford it."
The realities of the distribution system are as important as all the factors mentioned above.
Kodak used to be its own distributor. Prices were relatively stable, because with the exception of shipping costs and tariffs, most of the retailers could purchase film for the same price as other retailers.
Now that there are intervening middle wholesale vendors, prices are all over the map.
The US distributor that sells Ilford to B &H sells it for less than Harman or its distributors sells to UK retailers.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
When you get that all figured out, move on to pricing discrepencies of petroleum products between countries.
Originally Posted by hdeyong
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There are differences that are not easily explainable by distribution costs and taxes.
But are you comparing "apples to apples" when it comes to the retailers? For example, B&H will be a lot cheaper than a smaller retailer in another part of New York.
"Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer
local temp is 40F
Whisky is not cheap here but you can make it yourself in the vernacular it is called 'the wee still' not poteen!
Lots of the film I use was imported by people who have just gone to dark side... or expired surveillance film may need to start importing soon.
In local shop Ilford and Kodak 135 is the same price.
HP5, XP2, BW400CN all 135... so it is not manufacture or distribution... this is termed 'mug punter'.
and Australia are teaching us to white wash.
I think the most relevant points contributed are the local cost of wages, taxes and property. In the UK and France, (where I live most of the time), there is a 20% tax included, whereas in New York, there is a small sales tax added afterwards, and then only if you live in the state. If it's shipped out, there isn't even that small amount.
Also, yes, the social services like free medical coverage enjoyed in Canada and Europe definitely costs a fair bit and the money has to come from somewhere. Property probably mixes in, but the lowest prices are places like Adorama, and I don't think you're going to buy their or B&H's buildings in New York City with leftover beer money.
I checked out Macodirect in Germany, and they are competitive. Also, there are good discounts available here in France if I buy 50 rolls at a time, which is no problem.
Isn't it all good fun?
If I may suggest contact Rob at Big Camera. He advertises here from time to time and is located just outside of Toronto. He is well stocked in film, chemicals and paper as well as LF cameras. He is very honest and ships very quickly. I now use him exclusively. If you have trouble finding him, PM me and I will give you the contacts. Don
In Sydney, the biggest city in Australia, there are very few stores still carrying film and those they do usually have a pitiful, straggle of orphan boxes in a dingy corner somewhere. I usually buy from B&H or Freestyle 30 or 40 rolls at a time in various formats. Recently I had to make an emergency purchase as my latest order was in transit. The last 2 rolls of FP4 on the shelf for $15 Canadian each. Gulp.
Count your lucky stars, but I would still rather live here :-)