I ordered some 120 Delta 400 and FP4 last week from Freestyle at just under $4US per roll. It wasn't here by Saturday, so I went to the local photo store (where I bought everything for the last 20-30 years, till I could no longer get what I need) to pick up a roll or 2 (Saturday photo-fix). I asked for 2 rolls of Delta 400, and they were right at $8 each, so I asked about Trix, same price (within pennies). So I got one roll.
So, is this normal retail? I mean, I'm ok with paying 20% or so more for paper, etc, for convenience and to support my local shop, but double price is way off. I questioned the price, but he confirmed. This shop, by the way, is what is left of the best pro shop going back to early to mid 20th century.
Why so much difference? Is Freestyle still working off of a huge order, soon to go up when it runs out?
Film in stores is becoming a convenience item that doesn't really move well. It is going to be expensive. I suggest keeping a stock.
Here in New Mexico, we have three independent camera shops.
One is expensive, One is obscenely expensive, and one matches Freestyle prices on everything.
Guess where I shop?
Freestyle moves film at a volume far higher than your local place does, George--which means they can get substantial bulk discounts. They are also in many cases the distributor of the film (Arista, Foma, Efke among others), and thus they are able to cut out middle-men costs. I don't believe this is the case with Ilford, however, IIRC.
I guess I'm lucky here in the Twin Cities. A Pro-Pack of Tmax 400 is a little over $20 at West Photo or National Camera, and at Freestyle about $18 or so, so not enough difference unless I need a lot and the gain cancels out the shipping cost.
I've been toying with the idea of just skipping having anything mail ordered just to support the local business.
They carry film (Kodak, Fuji, and Ilford), papers (Ilford, all of it except Galerie), the full range of Kodak and Ilford chemistry, and some ZonalPro, Edwal, and Berg products. There's also liquid emulsion, etc. I really think it's unique today to have a whole chain within a major metro area carrying this stuff, and I sure am grateful for it. Usually the people working the film counter are grateful when I stop by too, because they tell me outright that if it wasn't for me and others buying it, they wouldn't have a job.
They don't have everything I want from Freestyle and the Photographer's Formulary, though, so they don't get all my business, but I do purchase most of my film there.
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There is one shop here in the Denver area that stocks lots of film all at the same price as the mail order sites. They even give a % off for volume purchases over 5 rolls. It's a great place with a walk in fridge full of every kind of film you could want.
I also live in Richmond, Va and I found that prices for 120 film are close to double at the local camera shop. What a pain in the rear. I have to do more mail order.
Unfortunately Richmond Camera is about all we have left here.
Searching my way to perplexion
Here in Holly Hill, SC its either CVS (drug store) with Kodak Gold and Kodak 400 B&W (not sure on price. I don't shoot much Kodak) or Family Dollar (Fuji Superia 400 B&W 24 exp at $3.50). The nearest other with any selection is Wal Mart 30 miles away.
One can always bulk load their own film, with is cheaper. With 100 feet you can usually get between 18-20 rolls of 36 exp.
A year or so back I foolishly went with the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" philosophy at my local shop and ended up paying $7.99 a roll for 36 exp. 35 mm Plus-X which B&H had for $4.99 at the time. It was a last minute acquisition -- I did get some nice pictures on it, and it's a durn good thing!