In Michael Kadillac's thread on Kodak's improved TMY, and elsewhere here, the issue of the cost of sheet film has been brought up. I had just visited two websites where I buy nearly all my film (Badger Graphic and Freestyle) and it occurred to me that the cost difference between emulsions is, well, kind of trivial. Of the five emulsions I shoot in 8x10---TMY, TXP, FP--4+ and Arista.edu100Ultra, the diffference between the highest (TMY) and the lowest (Arista.edu100Ultra) cost is around a dollar a sheet. If I include HP-5+ and FOMA's versions the spread is still about the same and the difference between the TMY and the bulk of the others (Kodak, Ilford and Foma) runs about a dime per sheet.
The past where Kodak film is priced disproportionally higher than say, Ilford is in the past (I won't speculate on whether Kodak was artificially higher or Ilford was just sold too cheaply--it is needless to say the sheet film market has been and is going through growing--or is it shrinking?--Pains!)
When I think of the cost of the chemicals to soup each exposure, the cost of film is trivial. The lesson then, is to shoot the emulsion you enjoy using.
A much larger issue is budgeting in order to buy film. The student or hobby-ist isn't likely to part with vast sums of money for film, so here the cost becomes an issue---a fifty sheet box is a considerable amount to invest in, especially for an untried emulsion. OTOH if it is an emulsion you like 50 sheets is a convenience and often less per sheet (though not all that much less.) The 25 sheet box is the standard, it seems and I think people are more prone to spring for an $80 box of 25 sheets than $150 for a typical 50 sheet box, but those 50 sheet boxes are nice! When I shoot Foma 100 I actually prefer buying the Arista label which comes in a 50 sheet box over the original Foma in 25 sheet offering (the cost difference between per sheet the two isn't so great that I find it to be a consideration)
OK thats my morning ramble. What are your opinions?