I too find the Ebay prices too high for regular stuff - it's useful for occasional film oddities that pop up out of grandma's drawers but otherwise I prefer to use online retailers of fresh stock.
A quick Google search often reveals a dealer selling fresh stock for a lower price than the 'bargain' Ebay film you just found
A quick browse of completed film sales would seem to back this up--eBay is probably selling a few hundred rolls a month, and a lot of it is really old stuff, even films that are out of production (I myself recently scored some Super XX and Ilford FP4). Even in today's film market eBay's quantities are likely pretty trivial, not enough to affect anybody's production.
Originally Posted by eclarke
Quite a lot of film on UK Ebay is normal fresh stock being sold as "Buy it Now" from regular mail order dealers....prices are not much less than retail, so that's really no different from normal sales, just another way of selling.
Originally Posted by eclarke
There's some out-of-date stuff, usually from private sellers selling just one-or-two spare films, as you say not even a blip in the scheme of things.
There actually seemed more bargains two or three years ago, when you could get in-date films at good prices...perhaps that was when people were changing to the dark side and emptying their fridges.
"Is the Ebay market hurting new film sales?"
It's tempting to dismiss the question but the issue of film sales is interesting as well as important.
The answer to the question is 'no', regardless of the size of the eBay market.
eBay is a gray market mixed with an above-ground market. Call it a hybrid retail markt. Accordingly, demand for new and expired film on eBay reflects overall demand for film. Prices for both kinds of film on eBay are governed by the total market.
In no way should any individual feel compelled against or guilty for buying there, as it takes the respective units out of the broader inventory at a given price. It is what it is: supply. All use of film is good (apart from environmental impacts).
If the question is, 'How can we help keep the films we love in production?' that is an interesting question that maybe addresses our concerns more precisely. If there is not enough demand for film or for a particular film (that is produced with particular machines in a particular place), a manufacturer would be stupid to produce it out of charity.
We are seeing the discontinuation of important films by the big manufacturers, but the smaller factories are benefiting from this contraction of capacity.
I too would love to see worldwide sales trends. Ilford has this information but don't share it. The fact that they -- with their strong commitment to black & white -- and their new investments in direct positive papers (and a Walker pinhole camera to go with it) as well as their new Art 300 paper, these should be strongly positive implications that the overall numbers are positive.
Just because Kodak and Fuji are closing capacity -- and likely to close more -- this is not an indication that film overall is going away. Some of these capacity reductions will be painful. But scale in certain places is no longer supported by reality.
What all the other U.K based posters have said. We have good retailers of which AgPhotographic is but one who beat e-bay consistently.
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It's bottom-feeding. It's yard sale film. Steady price hikes for film encourage it but pro demand for film materials tanked at 5-7 years ago with few still shooting film now as their main capture medium--the main reason film sales went over the falls. That leaves amateurs, hobbyists, survivalists, contrarians, hard-cores--pretty much the APUG profile, no?
I've bought short and stale dated film at local semi-annual swaps meets. Who can resist a buck a roll? It's f-around film. There's still quite a bit in my film fridge/freezer. Available supplies are thinning and getting crazy old. Those pros mentioned upstream sold their film stashes years ago.
If I want consistency and the occasional check, I buy and shoot new stuff.
Last edited by CGW; 11-01-2011 at 02:48 PM. Click to view previous post history.
A lot of time when I buy cheap film on ebay or such I shoot more of it. It may hurt film sales a bit but it helps keeps the labs running. We really need both.
For chrome I alway buy new. I just placed an order for 50 rolls.
In years past when I was creating a working stash of films like Kodachrome 25, Techpan and APX 25, I used eBay. Now that I have plentiful supplies of discontinued films I need in deep freeze, I only buy from Freestyle or B&H.
I know there is a lot of talk of pros abandoning film but don't you think that is a little of a blanket statement? I know plenty who have gone back to it for personal reasons even on paying jobs. Sometimes I feel like this site is mostly people who like to dabble in the technical side of photography, to fondle and load film cameras but don't get outside that much.
It's a big world outside of this here Internet and you might be surprised at what you find if you look...
"I know there is a lot of talk of pros abandoning film but don't you think that is a little of a blanket statement? I know plenty who have gone back to it for personal reasons even on paying jobs. Sometimes I feel like this site is mostly people who like to dabble in the technical side of photography, to fondle and load film cameras but don't get outside that much.
It's a big world outside of this here Internet and you might be surprised at what you find if you look... "
Where have you been? Ever puzzle out why "pro" labs thinned out or vanished altogether across much of N. America? Could it just possibly be that "pros" were no longer processing the miles of film they once shot? Not sure about the "pros" you know but the ones in my world ditched film altogether 5-8 years ago and never looked back.