Ektagraphic thank you for the film advice. I need to do some looking around at the local walmart just to see exactly what they do have. I did notice that some version of kodak consumer color was around 2 bucks a roll at B&H, so you know exactly why I asked about those films. If that Gold stuff will do me except for the times when I really want to make a statement with Porta (if that's really needed at this time for my competence), then why not. The heck with it, I am going to see just how it well it works for me....certainly makes film cost a reason not to be using all these cameras I have.
Darkroom, before the buyout, things had slowed down significantly in my opinion. There was a strong film surge twice a year that went along with a local high school or college film course. They ate up alot of film inventory, which simply has not been restocked that I can tell in some 6 months, that is except for T-Max. One 5 pack of Porta 220, T-Max and that was it......
Even two months ago when I went in to get my filmed developed and a CD made also, there was a big wall behind the photo counter that would have many, many rolls of film developed and ready to be picked up all arranged by name A-Z. Those 8 or so big drawers were down to 2 1/2 today. I have NEVER seen it that low EVER. Maybe it's the weather, maybe not, but it just didn't seem to have the traffic (slow and steady) that I have become used to.
It's the only place in town where you can actually use a camera and get "real" instruction and advice as to capabilities of photographic equipment.....film or digital before you purchase something. I remember once they went into the parking lot with a high end canon with a HUGE lens with a customer's card in the camera and took sample photos in actual conditions. All I know is virtually everyone behind the counter wanted to sell you something you would be satisfied and happy with, which of course had the side effect of wishing you were back in the store again talking photography with them (and then buying something else......their master plan....).
Bottom line: The store that was Oklahoma City's premier photography store for decades definately saw the results of the decline in film and the mass marketing of digital cameras to the big box stores. I think all the pro guys used them extensively in the day, but as soon as digital hit the pro end along with the consumer end, it was all but written in stone for them. They did compete well against the big box guys coming very close to big box price or better in alot of cases, but big box would NOTshow you how to use your camera, they would. Saw that teaching service many times with middle aged folks trying to use their first digital camera.
.....then I would show up with several rolls of assorted 35mm and 120 film to confuse them all....