Am I getting Ripped Off?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by pm63, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. pm63

    pm63 TPF Noob!

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    I have just begun to experiment with 35mm film, nothing serious yet, just testing it out on a zone focusing camera my grandad gave me. I am, however, finding it very expensive.

    I mainly want to shoot B&W film so I bought a 36exp roll of Ilford XP2 at a high-street store, and it cost me £6 (Americans double this price for USD, but keep in mind it will be cheaper than the figure you end up with in the US). Fair enough, I thought, this is just for testing and from now on I'll buy from Amazon - but now that I look it turns out that Amazon is the same price. Total so far: £6.

    I finished the roll yesterday, and went to get it developed at another branch of that same store. Development only is costing me £5 (standard C41)! Total so far: £11.

    Scans on CD would have cost me £2 for the roll but they would only have been 6MP JPEGs so I didn't take it. That would have been £13, just to have 36 exposures in digital (albeit low quality) editable form. I'm thinking that if anything good came out of that roll, I'll find a good lab and get some decent-size TIFF scans.

    Is it normal for you film buffs to pay this much? Am I just being cheap and have to get used to such costs when working with film? In particular, the development cost seems a lot for a quick machine process. Do the more experienced among you cost-cut by self-developing or other methods?

    Also, is it worth me finding a good lab rather than resorting to high street ones which draw blank looks when asked about Ilford XP2 development (despite rolls of it lying right next to the counter for sale), assume that development must also involve prints of the entire roll, and can only scan JPEGs? :lol:

    Any and all help is much appreciated.
     
  2. randerson07

    randerson07 TPF Noob!

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    I certainly dont pay that much, mostly because im a cheap bastard and will sacrifice some quality to save a buck.

    I get my processing for C41 done at Target for $0.94 for negatives only next day service. $1.95 for same day service negatives only. Im pretty sure Target is US only, but theres got to be something similar in your neck of the woods.

    I then scan my own negatives on my $40 used epson scanner I got off of Craigslist.

    I get my film, either from Freestylephoto.biz or from local sales, recently ive been getting in date rolls of Kodak color and black and white films at half off on clearance at a local store. Freestyle's arista line of films are good films and very very cheap, Im not sure if they ship overseas, but its worth a shot. Ive read on flickr, that alot of the overseas folks use 7dayshop while I dont know what that is, Ive heard good things.

    Good luck, and no it does not have to be crazy expensive.
     
  3. Bifurcator

    Bifurcator TPF Noob!

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    Yeah, that's about right give or take a few pounds. You can cut the developing in half by processing the film yourself but it takes about 50 to 100 rolls before you break even on the equipment if you buy nice equipment. I always get stainless for example... It's even fun for the 1st ten rolls or once in awhile thereafter.

    Also I would recommend at yet more cost to you, buying your own scanner. They're about $200 ~ $350 and you can control the size up to about 30,000 x 20,000 pixels with interpolation (which is quite good) though the resolution of film isn't that high ever - but I'm just pointing to the versatility aspect of it. Also software is good enough now that you can just throw the slides or negs onto the scanning bed and it will digitally straighten them and crop each frame for you automatically and/or print each automatically if you so choose. Some scanners (within the same price range) will scan 16 bit files too getting some of that good film latitude into your computer. :)

    Anyway, the bottom line is that film is very expensive with both film cameras and digital cameras costing about the same these days - unless you're buying pro/semi-pro or something. Think what it would be like if you shoot 200+ pictures in a couple of hours like people using digital so often do. :D It's well over $100 a day...
     
  4. Stogie

    Stogie TPF Noob!

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    You can buy 100' rolls and roll your own film and save half compared to roll film. The initial cost of doing this will be offset in no time. The last 100' roll of T-Max I bought cost me about $28.00. That was a non US film which means nothing really, but the cost is cheaper.
     
  5. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    I used to buy from www.7dayshop.com (already mentioned by randerson07) when I lived in the UK. Their current price for 36 exp XP-2 is GBP 2.58.

    If you are scanning, you could use colour negative film - in many ways it is more versatile for B&W than using a chromogenic B&W film.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  6. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I definitely don't pay that much...

    My cost:

    Film: Fuji Neopan 100 = $2 a roll

    Chemical costs for self development = $0.25 a roll


    That's just $2.25... then I scan all my negatives and only print the rare few.

    Of course there is the upfront costs for the scanner and developing equipment:

    Scanner = $400
    Developing equipment = $100


    Time to develop and scan = about 15 minutes per roll
     
  7. randerson07

    randerson07 TPF Noob!

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    Lucky you, It usually takes me about 15 min just to dev, then 30min to 1hr to dry, then another 1hr+ to scan on my Epson 3490.

    Its a very long process for me, sometimes it takes less time to shoot the roll then it does to dev and scan, I can only imagine if I was wet printing as well.
     
  8. pm63

    pm63 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the replies everyone. And thanks for reccomending 7dayshop, that place is cheap! Looks like I've found out where to buy film from.

    In terms of developing, it turns out the high street store I got it done at last time is known for being quite expensive (they also charge £10 for an A4 print believe it or not).

    Looks like I'm going to have to learn the art of cheapskating if I want to shoot film. Getting a scanner is something I will definitely consider in the long run as it does work out much cheaper, but for now I don't have the money and I'll stick to getting the lab to scan it. I'll probably use dlab7.com, the sister site of 7dayshop as they seem to be cheap too.

    In light of this... Anyone have any reccomendations for scanners that could scan 135 as well as 120 film, in reasonable resolutions? Is it a good idea to buy second hand?

    Do you mean shooting colour negs and converting to B&W in post production?

    Thanks again.
     
  9. lostprophet

    lostprophet No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I work in a camera shop in the UK and although we have stopped selling xp2 we sell hp5 and fp4 for £3.49 a roll, back in the day xp2 was the same price as hp5 and fp4 although delta was £1 more and sfx was about £6 a roll

    And years ago when i used film I also got mine from 7dayshop
     
  10. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

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    Yes. Colour film as an alternative to chromogenic B&W film, not necessarily as an alternative to silver-image (ie traditional) B&W film. The image characteristics of colour film and chromogenic B&W film are fairly similar - they are both made up of dye clouds instead of tiny specks of silver. By shooting in colour you have the opportunity to control the way in which different colours are represented in greyscale during post production. With a B&W film it is fixed at the time of shooting. Colour film is also available in a wider variety of ISOs than chromogenic B&W film.

    My general personal preference is to use traditional B&W film (with filters if necessary) because I usually have a particular 'look' in mind before I take the photograph, and I usually prefer the appearance of silver graininess to the almost digital smoothness of modern dye-image films.

    Aesthetic preferences aside, the practical advantages of using colour film for B&W images intended for scanning are:

    it is possible to use infra-red dust and scratch removal software, such as 'ICE';

    the effect of coloured filters can be simulated in post;

    a very wide dynamic range is achievable effortlessly;

    acceptable quality rapid processing is comparatively easy to find if you don't want to do it yourself.

    The first and last of those, and the third to some extent, are also shared by chromogenic B&W film.

    Best,
    Helen
     
  11. anubis404

    anubis404 TPF Noob!

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    What I pay:

    CVS film: $2 (USD) per roll
    Snapfish developing and prints: $3 per roll.

    Yea, you're getting ripped off.

    Speaking of Snapfish, see if you can get your film developed there. Its really cheap:

    www.snapfish.com

    Pricing: http://www1.snapfish.com/helppricing
     
  12. pm63

    pm63 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks Helen, but I think I'll try shooting real B&W film as it's what I wanted to do all this time (now that I've found a lab to dev it). I don't have a problem with converting to B&W in PS (I currently do it with my digital files), but I want to get into film to be able to achieve a "look", without having to muck around in PS to get that look. Films and their individual characters is what's drawing me into trying them (what Alpha said in Old New Film... or was it New Old Film).

    anubis404, thanks for the Snapfish suggestion. I'll have to find out how if and how quickly they can post to the UK, and in what resolutions they scan.
     

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