Justification to buy films

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Battou, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've been shooting 35mm film almost exclusively for years and I have no forseeable causes to switch to digital. I have been shooting with consumer grade films straight off the RiteAid and Walmart shelves. I know it's impacting my photography. I am limited to Fuji film at speeds of 200, 400 and 800 of color film only at Rite Aid and have the same selection of Kodak plus BW400CN at Walmart. What's more these selections are often old stock and I am finding on a few occations irreparable colorcasting because of it. I've continued to do this largely for the simple reason Rite Aid is right there and I can not justify paying shipping and handling and wait time to order better/newer films from internet sources.

    As I begin to really consider taking my photography to a paying status I need to figure out if telling Rite Aid to screw off and turning to the internet for my film and film processing is going to be worth the added overhead and inconvienience.


    I know a lot of people here shoot with film that the drug store ain't packin and not everyone here lives next to a photo store so I assume someone here has made this conclution before.

    Is it worth the hassle? and I am not talking image quality, that I already assume will be of some value, It's paying the mailman and waiting for them to get here I want to know about.
     
  2. Moon Baby

    Moon Baby TPF Noob!

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    I'm starting to get into medium format and the local store only sells and processes E6 film. The reason why I want to use film is the greater tonal range, but they don't sell C-41. Good things come to those who wait. I say order bulk online and treat yourself. If you can't find a store within a 1-2hr drive, waiting 2-3 days for an order isn't so bad...shoot, aim for next day shipping! But I see why you can't justify this, you're not doing paid work just yet.

    But consider this, what if you make a great shot but use low end film and if it weren't for that, you could have used it towards your portfolio? If it's weighing on your conscience, it must mean something, right?
     
  3. randerson07

    randerson07 TPF Noob!

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    I just place larger orders. Typically around Tax return time, and sometime in the fall. This doesnt just apply to buying film, its all of my hobbies.

    In between larger orders I will hit up the local hobby store, photolab, video game store, what have you. But most of my supplies for whatever hobby im into at that time come from the internet simply because of the wide variety of choices, and when you factor in how much im ordering, shipping really isnt too much of a hassle.
     
  4. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Battou, it would help to know which segment of the market you wanted to get into. It does make a difference.

    Also, how far is it to the nearest 'pro' lab? The most cost effective way with film for me was to get the negs developed and scanned and then I was able to do editing and post on the files so that I only had printed what I wanted to keep.
     
  5. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    which segment of the market you want to get into? General, so I can fill a gap where ever needed, and it fits my existing shooting style. I began what will end up being a three day insurance shoot this after noon, I am still waiting on a time for some wildlife work and I still have the Laccross client, That's three completely different fields in the last month, that is not including several portriat sessions I declined.

    how far is it to the nearest 'pro' lab? I havn't found one yet so it's likely Buffalo or Jamestown if at all, both cities are impracticle for me.
     
  6. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well in that case, I don't think that you can find a justification to stay with film. Unless you plan to do all of your own darkroom work as well.

    There are niche markets for film but for general photography I don't think that you can beat the CODB with digital. I can tell you don't really want to hear this but get a sharp pencil and do the math. A high res scan of a roll of negatives costs about as much as just having them printed when the developing is counted. So, take $1 per shot for an example using film, if you take 600 shots and 120 of them are keepers then you spend $600 for 120 photos. We'll not get into having any enlarged.

    If you are using a digital camera then your 120 shots cost you $120 @$1 per.

    If you do 10 shots like this one then you save $4,800.

    If you are making a living with photography then you are likely to be doing 30 or more of these a year.

    Can your business afford to leave $14,400 (more or less) on the table?
     
  7. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I live a few blocks from Freestyle Photo, so I use 'better' film all the time.

    But having used the drug store stuff and comparing it to the good stuff, i'd say, yes, it's worth the hassle.
     
  8. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I live near Freestyle as well so I guess I'm spoiled. I've been shopping there
    for many years. I've never really bought film from drugstores, etc. I either
    get it at Freestyle or I find deals on recently expired film.
     
  9. Sjixxxy

    Sjixxxy TPF Noob!

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    compur & bhop, you make me jealous. :)

    Does Freestyle have a sweet walk in storefront?
     
  10. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    It does, and they have most anything you want in their store too, it's nice. They also have a small photo gallery and do some educational stuff.

    Freestyle Photographic Supplies - Board Lecture Series
     
  11. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    The store is not nearly as jammed packed with products as it was in the good
    old pre-digital days but it's still got plenty of stuff in there.

    They used to have these tall racks about 7 feet tall loaded with a dizzying
    array of practically every kind of darkroom material imaginable. Loads of
    papers from Kodak, Agfa, Ilford, Oriental, etc., etc. and more chemistry
    choices than any one person could ever need. Plus loads of darkroom
    hardware, camera gear, etc. If there was a film or darkroom material
    made by anyone, chances are you'd find it there. They had some
    raw chemicals too for mixing up your own formulas (though a much
    better place for that was nearby in Burbank called Tri-Ess Sciences,
    now gone).

    Every Spring Freestyle would have a parking lot sale too where
    they'd sell off their oddball stuff. Once I bought this cute little
    Durst portable enlarger that folds up into a little case there. They
    had a bunch of them and were selling them cheap. Wish I still had it.

    But, it's still a good place to visit. They have a bargain table there with
    specials on short-dated film and other clearance type stuff that I always
    check first when I go there. ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2009
  12. blash

    blash TPF Noob!

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    The nice stuff makes a HUGE difference for me. I wouldn't even think of staying with the crappy "consumer" film.

    I do have to agree with Mike here, if you plan to go professional in any capacity then you need to invest in digital equipment. Film is for us sentimentalists who prefer the raw portrayal available with grain and can appreciate the amount of time that went into it - for a professional, just keep film on the backburner for the odd client that can appreciate a film result and use digital otherwise, or else you will lose an enormous amount of money.
     

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