Are Kodak pricing themselves out of the Market

Ian Grant

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Registered User
A bit of background. For some years Ilate 1980's onwards I used Agfa AP 00 then APX100 films with Tmax 100 as my backup the only difference was the Agfa 100 ISO films were an effective stop faster than Tmax 100, so Agfa at box speed, Tmax at half box speed, same development time and they printed on the same grade of Agfa Record Rapid paper. Fast forward and Agfa ceased production so I was 100% Tmax for all formats. Then I moved abroad and finding any Kodak B&W film was difficult in Turkey, and on a six week trip to South America. Ilford film was everywhere but FP4 and HP5 rather than Delta 100 or 400, and surprisingly Foma films where in equal abundance. No Kodak except a lot of 35mm colour film at the mini lab stores.

So I switched to Ilford films buying Delta 100 & HP5 while in the UK but had also begun using Fomapan 100 & 200 in 120 when that was all I could buy in 10 packs in Turkey straight off the shelf.

Now it's long been know that Ilford dominated B&W film sales in terms of their percentage market share fo decades and they actually ahd talks about manufacturing film for Kodak because they feared if Kodak ceased making B&W films the whole market would collapse, after all it was Kodak's sudden decision to cease B&W paper manufacture that caused Agfa's downfall and Ilford to seek Voluntary Administration.

That's in the past, but today Kodak aren't in the same market place price wise. Tmax 100 and 400 are no better than Delta 100 & 400, Tri-X I don't know with 35mm or 120 but with LF is no netter than HP5 which is superb.

Then it comes to pricing, I'm using 10x8 film as an example perhaps because the differences are more obvious:

10 sheets Kodak 320 Tri-X £174.99 thats £17.50 a sheet

25 sheets Ilford HP5 £150.64 that's that's £6.03 a sheet

50 sheets Fomapan 200 £135.61 that's £2.71 a sheet

At no time in the over 50 years I've shot film has there been such wildly diffrent pricing.

It's unlikely I'll ever shoot a Kodak B&W film again, Ilfor plenty, Foma thethe same. probably Adox.

Ian
 

thronobulax

Active Member
Registered User
Noting that I pay US prices, I do still use some Kodak, notably Tri-X 400 in rollfilm and 320 in sheet film. As I have slowly been chewing through my Agfapan APX 100 stock (of which I still have plenty) I've been looking for a good replacement. FP4+ is easily that. Fomapan looks promising, but I've not yet proven it so. I see the nosebleed pricing in the UK and just shake my head. Someone, somewhere is missing the market ...

P.S. I also want to explore TMX more, but I find the look of T-Grain films cognitively dissonant, whether Kodak or Ilford.
 

Marley

Active Member
Registered User
I actively hated Fomapan in 35mm, but having now tried it in 120, 5x4 and 5x7 and in 100, 200 and 400 guises I must say it's growing on me. It has a feel I can only describe as old fashioned, right down to quite thick (and thus easy to handle and load) film base. I can also use a truck load of it due to the price. When I taught at college the motto I hammered into students was shoot more/learn more - and as I'm still relatively new to large format, I apply that to myself too.

Apart from colour emulsions I abandoned Kodak years ago ... and when working professionally always used Ilford HP5 for B&W and Fuji predominantly for colour negative ... with the odd Kodak roll thrown in. I always preferred the slightly 'softer' look of HP5 to Tri-X in smaller formats.
I was also put off of Kodak by memories of the way my Father's small optical enginearing business (formed after he was made redundant from the aerospace industry) was treated by Kodak sales reps. The attitude was 'We're Kodak and we tell you what you want rather than the reverse'. That corporate arrogance in my opinion lead to the company ignoring digital technology in favour of what the company thought the public wanted.
I shoot Kodak colour film under sufferance as Fuji seem to have dropped the ball somewhat ...
 

Stephen Batey

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Registered User
Regardless of price, I also find it easier to buy Ilford or Foma (or Adox). I've used Ilford B&W almost exclusively since the 1960s, although now I'm trying Fomapan (the price is attractive!) and Adox. I tend to buy whatever is easiest in the size I use.

I used to use Kodachrome for colour; when it disappeared, so did my use of colour.

As far as I'm concerned, Kodak is now irrelevant to me - and having seen the exorbitant prices of Tri-X in 10x8 I'm rather happy to stick with others.

It's a great shame, as I used to use Kodak papers and chemicals in the darkroom, and greatly admired the detailed information they provided on their products. Their reference books were wonderful and without equal. In fact, I don't think anyone came close.
 

Marley

Active Member
Registered User
Were it not for Kodak's few colour emulsions: the various Portras, Ektar 100, Ektachrome E100 I would sadly turn my back on them completely. I hope that as this analogue photography resurgence matures another colour film manufacturer may emerge.
 

Ian Grant

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Registered User
It's fair to say that Kodak lost market share when they restructures their sales, marketing, and distribution, in the early 2000's. Here in the UK they out sourced to Sangers who folded and went bust in under a year.

Outside the US (and UK) their distributors concentrated on the profitable Mini-lab market, after Kodak stopped manufacturing B&W paper they no longer had a complete range of B&W materials and it seems Foma stepped into the gap they left on an International basis.

Ian
 

James T

Member
Registered User
A while ago, I did a quick analysis of price as a function of format for the three main B/W manufacturers, taking 1 roll of 35mm (36 exp), 1 roll of 120 and 3 sheets of 5x4 as having roughly equal area.

I don't have the numbers to hand any more but:
Ilford was pretty close to constant price per unit area,
Foma became cheaper as the format size increased, while
Kodak became more expensive as the format size increased.
 

Ian Grant

Well-Known Member
Registered User
There's also the issue of price differentials 10x8 Tri-X 320 is $119.95 (£87.40) for 10 sheets in the US less than half the £174.99 here.
25 sheets of 10x8 HP5 in the US is $177.95 (£129.67) compared to the £150.64 here so pretty much the same allowing for VAT

Those are the B&H prices inthe US, Foma 10x8 film is a touch more expensive than here in te UK but is cheaper rebranded by Frestyle.

Ian
 

thronobulax

Active Member
Registered User
There are lots of forces at work here - demand, manufacturing costs, tax policy, shipping, and so forth. The demise of my beloved APX 100 taught me that - since I cannot control any of those variables - my strategy has to involve buying and freezing film in all the relevant formats until such time as I have enough likely to carry me past my shooting days. I was fortunate to buy up a fair bit of APX 100 in both 120 and 4x5s. I think FP4+ will be a good replacement when the time comes.

I have oft commented on my (mis)adventures with semistand processing this year. What got me interested in this, in part, was the availability of old, out of date films in no-longer-made formats like 3x2. Semistand proved to be the salvation for such films, thereby providing yet another avenue for "stocking up for the future".

It's worth noting that - so long as there is demand - someone manages to supply, albeit at increasing prices. For example, vacuum tubes (valves) are still entirely available for the audio and music crowd, we just get to pay insane prices for them.
 

Ian Grant

Well-Known Member
Registered User
I have a B&H account and if I bought 10 sheets of TMY-2 or Tri-X 320 they add the VAT. so $119.95 + $21.21 shipping and $24 Tax, a total of $165.20 which is £120.28, two thirds the UK list price. B&H now give you the choice of paying the taxes at the time of purchase which is just the 20% VAT on the item, or you can pay it yourself on arrivel, - however in this case it's VAT on the item and the shipping and a handling fee usually around £8 to collect the charges.

When the price rises to $149.99 it would be £146.57 to buy from B&H,.

Ian
 
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