Danger, Will Robinson, Danger! Kodak employees are actually attempting to earn a living and sustain their business! Look out!
Yes, the news was all over the interwebs towards the end of 2019; Kodak Alaris formally announced that they are being forced by their supplier to raise the cost of film products in 2020. The cited reason was because demand has increased and must be met with a ramp up in production. This requires more of the green stuff from you and me.
In September, Kodak marketing representative Tim Ryugo told me “We have had a shortage of film lately. Worldwide backorders.”
That was in September. So they trudged through a year at current pricing barely able to meet demand. So I don’t get the impression that Kodak’s public statement was a lie as some conspiracy theorists have speculated, additionally claiming that Kodak has been selling us NOS film.
And across the film forums, frugal photographers declared betrayal and I think that I even heard a few thuds when they hit the pavement after jumping from nearby high rise windows.
Look, I don’t claim to know the first damn thing about Kodak’s finances. And personally, I wouldn’t trust anyone who claims that they do if they don’t actually work for Kodak or have experience running a major international corporation that helped define the last century. But what I can tell you is that the big scary price increase, so far is nothing to be afraid of.
Below is an invoice from B&H to me in March of 2019 for one of the several film orders I placed last year. I think they may give me a bulk discount on TMAX 100 by like $0.10 a roll, so these numbers may differ slightly from a baseline but just to give you factual, non-conflated basis of comparison…
Today, I look on B&H’s website and see the following:
TMAX P3200 35mm 36exp was $8.99 and is now $9.19
Tri-X 400 35mm 36 exp was $5.59 and is now $6.99
TMAX 100 35mm 36exp was $5.59 and is now $6.49
I also like to shop at Film Photography Project. My September 2019 invoice from them was the following:
And today on FFP’s website I see the following:
TMAX P3200 35mm 36exp was $7.99 and is now $8.99
Tri-X 400 35mm 36 exp was $5.59 and is now sold out at $5.89
TMAX 100 35mm 36exp was $5.49 and is now $5.89
I don’t know what pricing is like in other parts of the world or at other shops. I hope that things are at least as reasonable for people. What I can report to you from my little spot of the world, however, is that everything is pretty much business as usual. I have no plans of changing brands or buying less film. In fact, hopefully I’ll buy more this year because I already have some fantastic clients booking.
So look, please don’t let the vocal film fear-mongers scare you. Just keep shooting. Shoot your best work. Share it. Talk about it. Enjoy it. Shoot more. If you do this, no business in their right mind will stop supplying you for as long as their resources continue to allow. Kodak’s on our side, guys!
That conversation with Mr. Ryugo I referred to earlier, he went on to say:
“Kodak mfg. is working all it can to keep up with Worldwide demand. The analogue renaissance continues!”
Thanks for reading, happy shooting!
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