Page 2 of 4 FirstFirst 1234 LastLast
Results 11 to 20 of 33

Thread: Are Film Price Differences Worth The Money?

  1. #11
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Re: Are Film Price Differences Worth The Money?

    Quote Originally Posted by drgoose View Post
    I am a newbie in LF photography as the content of this post will soon make evident. While I was writing another post regarding BTSZ I was looking at film prices and was wondering if the price difference between films is worth the money. I have not shot most of these films in LF so I would love to know why someone might spend significantly more money on one film than the other. I understand that some of it depends on the volume of film consumed. If I shoot 5 sheets a month paying 4 times the price for the more expensive film doesn't really make any difference.

    Attached is the spreadsheet I made using Freestyle prices as of today 4/28/14

    Attachment 114494
    It's worth it to me to use what I want (within reason). It has taken me quite a number of sheets and outings and chemicals to get in a groove and get the results I envision from particular films. I like FP4+ and Tmax400 and have put in the effort such that I make negatives that produce the "look" I had in mind with a particular developer. (People typically build that relationship with tri-x rather than tmax; you'll hear it a lot.)

    If you're new to film, you might be happy to just have a sharp image that's adequately exposed and developed and variations in tone, grain, spectral response won't matter much. I've been using tmax400 since it first came out, so at this point, I'm after smaller differences and rather than the basics. I've managed to make FP4+ work equally (interchangably) well in some circumstances but not all circumstances. It's grainier, less expensive, less yellow filtered, more reciprocity failure, slower but still a nice film. I need options in case TMY does get too expensive or Kodak makes some boneheaded move to kill a film. In addition to LF, I do shoot MF and probably do more MF right now. Kodak tmax400 is a very affordable film for 120 format in pro-packs, and if it's a little more in LF, it kinda averages out but I like the consistency between formats.

    I have had quality issues with the arista stuff. Other people like it and have not experienced that. It's not a risk I want to deal with. For student / learning, it's a valid option despite that.

  2. #12

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Oregon now (formerly Austria)

    Re: Are Film Price Differences Worth The Money?

    Buy good quality (expensive) film that does what you need it to. Then just shoot fewer and better pictures.

    If you can find film cheaper that performs the same, buy it instead.

    Use your phone for snapshots and save the film for "serious" work.

    Spend a lot of time complaining about film prices instead of photographing; that should cut down on film costs...

    Shoot paper positives so you don't need the intermediate (and superfluous) negative in the first place.

    Move to a smaller format, use a roll-film back on your 5x7, or cut up a few dark slides to take half-sheet pictures.

    Buy the cheapest film you can and go crazy shooting. When you cull the failures due to defects, you should about break even (or not...)

    [sarcastic smiley]


  3. #13
    Landscape Addict
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Brisbane, Australia

    Re: Are Film Price Differences Worth The Money?

    I've shot a great deal of Fuji Acros 100, quite a bit of T-Max 100, a good amount of FP4+ and now a handful of Fomapan 100..

    Its a hard call for me, I love Acros for its low contrast negatives with no reciprocity out to 2 minutes, but I really feel fomapan matches how I shoot so much better... I feel I produce better images with fomapan than I have with any other B/W film I've shot.. and comparatively, I pay $90 AUD for 20 sheets of Acros 100, and I pay $47AUD for 50 sheets of Fomapan 100..

    No brainer for me, but film choice is a very personal thing.. contrast, range, tones, filtration, development, end use (scan, contact print, enlarger prints etc) all work together to define the type of film that is going to suit you best...
    Chamonix 045N-2 - 65/5.6 - 90/8 - 210/5.6 - Fomapan 100 & T-Max 100 in Rodinal

  4. #14
    Tim Meisburger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    McLean, Va.

    Re: Are Film Price Differences Worth The Money?

    I started out shooting mostly Shanghai because it was available and cheap. After four years I was on a trip to the US and decided it was time to move up, so I bought a lot of FP4. Weirdly, I preferred the Shanghai, and have moved back to that. Only thing I regret is reciprocity. I like to shoot at night, and Shanghai is the worst for that.

    Anyway, I recommend you learn with a cheap film if cost is an issue, and occasionally try others till you find one or several you love. I love Velvia 50, but unfortunately the last e6 processor in Thailand closed in January. With development I was paying more than five bucks a sheet for that, but it was worth it.

  5. #15

    Join Date
    May 2013
    Derbyshire, England

    Re: Are Film Price Differences Worth The Money?

    Your opportunity costs are much higher than the cost of the film. This is why I use ILFORD films. I've never had a faulty film from ILFORD in any format since I started making photographs in 1958.


  6. #16

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Re: Are Film Price Differences Worth The Money?

    To figure out if the difference is worth the money, buy some different films and see. Only you can tell what's acceptable to you. :-)

    I've been shooting Tri-X since the stone age (from when it was ASA 200D, 160T), and when I've tried something else I've been not always disappointed. Recently I've been flirting with Ultrafine 400 in 35mm, and HP5 for 4x5 and found them OK for me. Arista edu Ultra 200 has gotten some rave reviews on its tonality, so that one is next. I like tonality, which I recently rediscovered when I went back and printed some negatives from the 1960s. Ask some people, and they'll say it's all been downhill since then, filmwise, and some people have said that the Ultra 200 slightly resembles that old film, so. . . :-)
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format:
    Mostly 35mm:
    You want digital, color, etc?:

  7. #17

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Beaverton, OR

    Re: Are Film Price Differences Worth The Money?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Lee View Post
    Let's say we go on a photo shoot: we might drive a distance and spend considerable money on a tank of gas, or two. We might get a meal somewhere. We might stay overnight and pay for lodging.

    If we add up those costs, the difference in the price of film may become less significant.

    If we consider the effort we put into the process (especially with large Format), the time and attention we pay, then the difference in price may diminish even further in importance.

    When making photos, every step is a link in the chain. From evaluating the subject to framing and displaying the print, all the steps matter.
    I'm with Ken, considering everything else, in large format scrimping on film doesn't really save much.

    The one time I might suggest being cheap with the film is for the first 50 or so shots. Get the dumb mistakes out of the way with something cheap (whether Arista or expired) then start buying fresh stuff from the big three.
    You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. ~ Mark Twain

  8. #18
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: Are Film Price Differences Worth The Money?

    Yes, more expensive films like Kodak are worth it in terms of quality control and versatility, if you know why, and if you actually need to work within the parameters of that specific "why". But it takes some experience to understand that relationship. And the learning curve with large format can be expensive. If that is not an issue, proceed in whatever manner seems best. But if you're on a tight budget, there's certainly nothing wrong with learning on discount films like the Arista label.
    They're a bit different. I've gotten some exceptional prints from Arista 200. It's slower than officially rated, and a bit annoying at very long exposures, but will handle lighting extremes wonderfully.

  9. #19
    ROL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Re: Are Film Price Differences Worth The Money?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Shiu View Post
    I don't know about all the present-day manufacturers, but in the past quality control (ie defects) have been a problem with the cheapest films. Therefore, I would stick with Ilford or Kodak.

    I never met a panchromatic film I didn't like, except for those with quality control issues, resolved precisely as Jon has related. I have in the past found Freestyle's Arista generics to be indistinguishable in quality and application from their brand name brethren (or sisthren). Any emulsion issues with FOMA/Arista? Speed may be the main consideration, although once you have determined individual film speeds, the differences may end up being largely, practically, inconsequential at that.

  10. #20

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Petaluma, CA

    Re: Are Film Price Differences Worth The Money?

    I would say there are two categories. The cheap stuff and the expensive stuff. I have very little time to photograph these days, and I can't afford to have my film fail on me. That said, there isn't much difference between Delta 100 and TMax100. I choose the less expensive Delta. I like supporting Ilford's film-making and I actually like it just a little better. All the top films are dead-on consistent.

    For scanning, I like a film that has tight grain. Delta, TMax and TMY2 are the best, unless you are willing to shoot at ISO25, and use the Efke. I wouldn't use HP5 for this purpose... for example. Darkroom printing is another matter, of course...

    Have fun!

    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

Similar Threads

  1. Is the Sinar Auto Shutter Worth the Money?
    By RedSun in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 12-Oct-2012, 07:31
  2. CNC machined Pacemaker lens boards... Worth the price?
    By fecaleagle in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 5-Jul-2012, 19:56
  3. Replies: 20
    Last Post: 10-Mar-2010, 20:10
  4. Epson Price Differences CA/USA
    By Annie M. in forum Digital Hardware
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 29-Nov-2008, 12:12


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts