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  1. #1

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    Question of a "smart buyer": original vs. discount vs. generic consumer film

    Going through the five comparison tests on color films from 2000 to 2004, which can be purchased for download from the German Stiftung Warentest (a non-profit consumer product test foundation), I could compare the recent technical progress in image quality and exposure latitude of the major brands Kodak, Fuji, Agfa, Konica, and Ferrania. These tests are well characterized, unbiased by any commercial interest such as advertising in photo magazines, and thus provide a better help in choosing a high-quality low-cost film than the latter.

    Especially Kodacolor VR 200 Plus and VR 400 Plus, and Fujicolor C 200 were among the best films tested, and these types seem to be sold also by major drugstore chains in Germany and Austria as their generic brands. It is worth mentioning that their exposure latitude (from almost - 2 to at most + 4 f/stops) exceeds that of many higher-priced films of the same manufacturer.

    Since the last test in 2004, two major players (Agfa and Konica) have ceased to compete in this business for known reasons. Ferrania's print films are still sold as generic brands here in Austria (and in Germany as well, I suppose).

    Even current color slide film is today available under generic names, as in the past Agfa's CT Precisa 100, and now still Fuji's Sensia 100 and Kodak's Elitechrome 100 - the latter for half the price of the same film in the yellow box.

    Fortunately for the customer, the days are over when only niche players such as GAF/Ansco or Orwo tried to hold rather modest market shares with questionable quality. However, today's local photo dealers may not be very pleased about the wide choice of today's top-quality films for such a discount.

    I would like to know if in other countries such films are available in a similar way (I only know about Walgreen's in the USA), and if cost- and quality-conscious photographers may profit from the apparent overcapacity in consumer film manufacturing - by saving that money for buying more professional films.

    Thank you,

    Dr. Heinz Anderle, Austria

  2. #2

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    Dear Heinz,

    Everybody likes a bargain and I admit openly to watching for discounts on 100 and 200 speed Fuji and Kodak consumer films. They are great for sunny days and bright colors and, if you get really lucky you can find them for $1 for 24 exposures.

    Neal Wydra

  3. #3

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    I am not aware of any generic branding of Kodak made film stock in the USA. Here, the generic "house" brands are Fuji or Ferrania.

  4. #4

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    Don't know if this helps you but Kodacolor VR 200 and 400 is now on sale at Aldi supermarkets in the UK. I had assumed that this was seriously outdated stock but it appears not to be the case.

    Until I saw it in Aldi, I hadn't seen it for sale anywhere else. You can pick up the original thread, if you want, by searching with "Kodacolor VR".

    pentaxuser

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by pentaxuser View Post
    Don't know if this helps you but Kodacolor VR 200 and 400 is now on sale at Aldi supermarkets in the UK. I had assumed that this was seriously outdated stock but it appears not to be the case. pentaxuser
    Thank you for the quote on the earlier discussion thread. The "Scotman's Portra", as you called it, fits well for most purposes - I even shot a wedding with it as I needed some extra film and didn't have the time to buy my favorite Superia 800 in Vienna. Upon scanning, the results do not differ from more expensive consumer and professional films, as slight color deviations may easily be compensated.

    I recently came across some VR 1000 negatives from 1985, looking like gravel in the scan - to judge from the visible difference in grain, the current VR 400 Plus is definitely a current state-of-the-art film. I do not understand why the more expensive consumer films such as Kodak Farbwelt (I don't know the equivalents) are still on the shop shelves. It makes absolutely no sense to waste money.

  6. #6

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    I would say that "gone are the days" when one could find 120 size film in bargain bins. I remember as a kid in the 1960's a discount store around here had Gevaert b/w film, 120 size, for 18 cents US, a roll.



 

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