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Film (Portra) Increase... again.

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10 hours ago, peggers said:

On the home development front the trouble I’ve found for colour is that my volume of film - one or two a month - doesn’t make it economic for the c41 quart kits, that will expire after 4 months or so after being made up, in contrast to b&w where the one-shot options work well for my modest output. So I’m back to lab processing for c41 - and trying not to look too hard at 2nd hand digital Ms!

My digibase c-41 kit has been usable over 8 months now. Just tiny amount of lighter gas inside the containers will keep chemicals safe from oxidation. It's risky though but I haven't seen badly developed roll yet. I dslr-scan and then use Grain2Pixel for positives.

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Used to pay around £40 for 5 rolls of Portra 400 maybe 18 months ago. Now it’s £60!

I’ve just picked up 3 rolls of Ultramax 400 which is quite nice - a poor mans Portra if you like at £23 for 3 rolls.  I think I actually prefer shooting colour on film to black and white, so have to live with it I guess. 

Noticed my developing company have put a £1.00 on their developing and scanning as well - so it’s all only going one way!

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Wrt to prices, yeah it's been getting worse. That said, we should be focusing on solutions and alternatives, cause merely complaining about price without offering an alternative isn't much help to people interested in film photography.

I'll start: If speed is not a concern (i.e. you don't need ISO400 and above), a good, cheaper alternative for Portra is Kodak ProImage 100. It still gives great skintones (the main attraction of portra), and has small grain. It doesn't have the latitude of Portra, but it has enough and it's better in that regard than more contrasty and saturated films like Gold/Colourplus. Can be had for around €33/5pack from the usual European stores.

If speed *is* a concern and your film usage volume justifies it, the absolute cheapest price and the absolute highest quality (equivalent to Portra if not better), is rolling your own film from 400ft cine stock. You get the widest variety of ISOs, from 50 to 500, you got daylight and tungsten (which is an absolute killer for artificial light portraits, you'd need an ISO2000 portra and an 80A filter to match it), and the most advanced emulsions. Fresh, a 400ft roll from, say frame24,  costs £169, with EU shipping + VAT it's roughly €250. That's for 70 rolls of 38+ exposures, works out at 3.5€/roll. Caveat is you'll probably need to dev yourself, but you'd be doing that anyway if you are concerned with price. (As a sidenote, ECN-2 chemistry in EU costs around the same per litre as the C-41 1L kits, so about 30-35€. 1L is good for 14-16rolls easily, so dev costs roughly 2€/roll, which is less than half the price than most shops offer normal C-41 dev).


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