Tuesday, December 14, 2010


So I just wanted to make a short post about the economics of shooting various types of film with the Xpan. The film prices here were pulled from B&H on 12/14/2010, and the processing and scanning prices were pulled from North Coast Photographic Services (NCPS). It assumes about $0.50 of shipping for getting the film from B&H and then shipping it to NCPS, then shipping the processed film back. It also assumes you get 21 panoramic shots out of a roll of 36.

FilmRollShipProcScanTotalPer Pano (21)Per Std (36)
Fuji Provia 400X$9.89$0.50$8.25$5.49$24.13$1.15$0.67
Fuji Astia 100F$7.55$0.50$8.25$5.49$21.79$1.04$0.61
Fuji Velvia 50$6.95$0.50$8.25$5.49$21.19$1.01$0.59
Kodak E100VS$6.99$0.50$8.25$5.49$21.23$1.01$0.59
Fuji Pro 400H$6.89$0.50$5.50$5.49$18.38$0.88$0.51
Ilford XP2 Super 400$5.64$0.50$5.50$5.49$17.13$0.82$0.48
Kodak BW400CN$5.25$0.50$5.50$5.49$16.74$0.80$0.47
Ilford FP4 Plus 125$5.09$0.50$5.50$5.49$16.58$0.79$0.46
Kodak 400TX (Tri-X)$3.45$0.50$5.50$5.49$14.94$0.71$0.42

So we can clearly see that the venerable Tri-X is the most economical to shoot, but obviously it may not give the desired results or grain. I was a bit surprised to see that Provia came out to be most expensive. $10 per roll is way too much; not sure why it's that high.

Now the real trick is to not think about how much each shot is costing you, causing you to hesitate as The Moment passes. This is especially true of street shooting. I'm curious to hear what others do to mitigate the recurring costs of shooting film. Developing and scanning yourself seem like the obvious choices, but the time and tedium (not to mention chemicals) have their own costs associated with them.

I prefer to think of the cost in terms of something to pass the time. I could pay $20 and go to an amusement park, or eat at a semi-nice restaurant... or I could shoot a roll of Pro 400H for less. For me the reward is often being there, and the pictures come afterward.

If this post bored your completely, then check out how Steve Kamb is going to travel the world for $418.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Seven Forty Seven


This is really more of a reminder to myself for future reference. When flying United to/from Narita (NRT), connect through Chicago (ORD), not LAX. Generally I'm not a fan of delay-prone ORD, but ORD to NRT gets you on a 747. LAX to NRT only gets you on a 777.

The route from LAX to NRT is entirely over water; it doesn't even come close to Alaska or Hawaii. The two engines on the 777 are impressive, but there are only two of them, and the Pacific Ocean is a monster body of water.

The route from ORD to NRT goes up over Alaska and northeast Russia. It's a barren world of ice, but it's something. Besides, you've got the 747's four engines to carry you over it all. This route also gives you some amazing views below if you get stuck in a window seat.



Chao Phraya Long Boat

I didn't have a lot of time in Bangkok this past week, but I did get to do a little exploring. My friends and I took the Skytrain from Siam down to Saphan Taksin on the Silom line. Our original plan was to take the express boat from there up the Chao Phraya River to Wat Po. Unfortunately, it appeared the regular boats had shut down early due to the holiday (the king's birthday). Luckily, help is never far in Bangkok, and it readily presented itself along with a price. The first guy wanted 600 Baht (about $20), which we all scoffed at. After a little wandering around, we talked to another guy who started off at 500 Baht. We asked for 400, and ended up meeting in middle at 450.

That kind of negotiation is pretty much standard on taxis, trinkets, and boats. It can be frustrating to approach every situation as a used-car-style negotiation, but there are a few things to keep in mind: 1) they really are trying to make ends meet, 2) they're expecting to be talked down, 3) there's another guy selling the exact same thing just a few steps away, and 4) the stakes are pretty low since you're usually talking just a few dollars difference.

In any case, the ride up the Chao Phraya river was so worth the 450 Baht. If you don't have much time in Bangkok, I recommend it as a way to get out of the bussel and see the city from a different perspective. Here are a few of my shots from the river and around the Grand Palace and Wat Po.

Chao Phraya Sunset

Wat Arun

Old City

Grand Palace