Runaway inflation? Maybe I'm sheltered here in Canada (although I suspect our numbers are very similar to those in the US). While fossil fuel prices remain volatile, overall, inflation in my country has averaged between 1 and 2% the last several years. Back in the early 1980s, inflation was in the mid-teens as a percentage.
Film prices are going up fast, but they are a small part of the economy, and consumer electronics generally go down in price as time moves on.
Film prices will stabilize at some point, assuming silver prices and oil prices stabilize too (film base is a fossil fuel product, and films obviously have to be shipped from their point of manufacture to the consumer), but film photography is always going to be a little expensive compared to digital, the same that fountain pen ink is expensive compared to cheap, disposable ballpoint pens. The market has changed, but the prior option will remain for those who want to pay for it (like us).
Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.
Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?
I think you're forgetting, oh, let's say 1974 through 1982:
Originally Posted by noacronym
A a professional buyer for a wide range of manufactured goods, I say that overall, the last decade has
seen less inflation and more price stability than any time I can remember. Certain deliberately gamed
commodities like steel or copper could wildly fluctuate at times. Certain products like paint which are
held hostage to limited sources of titanium oxide etc have gone up. Food is inevitably going to go up
due to more severe droughts and increased competition for water from sprawl and energy extraction etc.
But film just seems to be doing the inevitable once price wars have stopped, with Kodak and Fuji no
longer competing head to head in identical categoris, and the product is no longer essentially subsidized. Those kinds of wars are now going on in amateur digital cameras betwen various companies, some of whom are risking their neck. Otherwise, things dependent on petrochemicals like
film base have also inevitably gone up. I shoot 8x10, so I'm painfully aware of cost increases, but as
long as I can remember, film this size wasn't exactly cheap and required a commitment. But at least
color paper is quite affordable now.
Jim - digital photog might be affordable if one's goal is just viewing things on the web. But there's nothing particularly cheap about inkjet expendables. That's an arena that is obscenely profitable to
the ink manufacturers, just as in office printers. And they gouge for plain paper with just some appropriate sizing - no silver, dyes, or gelatin, which traditionally determined the cost of paper. You
often pay more for a blank sheet! So yeah, folks might save some money on film, but they pay thru
the nose to print it. And at a high quality level, they really pay. Or, for someone like me, who often
works in 8x10, the wannabee quality equivalent would either be a very harsh equipment investment,
or be a pipedream. Film photography still has a lot going for it, in any format.
I'm in the chemical industry and I have seen enormous inflation the past 3-4 years. Price increases are just never ending. As a result we are sourcing chemicals from 3rd world developing countries rather than pay the enormous costs that "mainstream" suppliers are demanding.
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
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Funny how costs and prices continue to skyrocket yet wages are still tanking. It is even more confusing considering the improved worker productivity.
What drives these costs up if not labor? Incessant thirst for profits?
Last edited by wblynch; 03-26-2013 at 08:45 PM. Click to view previous post history.
- Bill Lynch
Well, Fuji's annual report is certainly an interesting read http://www.fujifilmholdings.com/en/p...r_2012_all.pdf
Originally Posted by RattyMouse
63% of imaging revenue is from photo imaging and the rest from digital imaging. And yes, combined they are making $40 million loss.
The breakdown does not go more into detail, so it's hard to say what percentage of photo imaging comes from film. Fuji seems to bet on color photo paper and printing services. To an average APUG member, those would probably qualify as "electronic" anyway.
It's impossible to say really what's the current demand for film from the report. Some people in the industry know. Kodak, Fuji, Adox and their distributors do. We could guess some of the numbers or at least trends by studying Adox and fotoimpex revenue, for example - but I'm not sure the data is publicly available, at least not for free?
What is sure though is that price elasticity of demand for film is getting lower. What this means is that you are going to buy Velvia or Acros no matter the price - because you really need them to achieve what you want or because you are loyal to the brand. So the whole economics of film is changing upside down, from high volume commodity to low volume niche. It also means we can expect further price increase also by other manufacturers (if they are smart, they should follow Fuji's lead).
My guess is supply and demand. More and more people are moving higher in socioeconomic status, especially those in the two most populous nations. As their SES improves, they demand the same luxuries that Americans and Western Europeans have. As the demand increases, the price will increase to equilibrium.
Originally Posted by wblynch
"Panic not my child, the Great Yellow Father has your hand"--Larry Dressler
One of the constant sources of income for some film manufacturers has been film for the movie industry. With the demand for that decreasing, some of that income might need to be recovered in the still camera film market.
At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can be a good day of exercise.
Certain raw materials are hostage to poliltical complications between various countries, some are essentially commodities which are being unfairly gamed to make middlemen obscenely rich at the expense of the both the public and economic common sense. Petrochemicals fall into both categories.
But at least here in the US, overall inflation of mfg goods was exceptionally stable for about a decade.
China is a very different scenario because of a very different internal economic model, as well as its
mushrooming growth. Film is a pretty small player in all of this and is probably just now reaching an
inevitable economic equilbrium in the face of reduced demand. It you can't afford that fact, just don't
waste as many shots. I'd prefer we all waste a lot of shots, so the demand for film would stay healthy.
But I shoot 8x10 and am not exactly rich, so if it's not worth actually printing, I won't trip the shutter.