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.

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