Film Frustration

I still own my beloved film equipment but find myself using it much less frequently these days, much to my frustration,  because of two limiting factors...

The first is the relentless and continuing discontinuation of many of my favourite film stocks, especially by Fujifilm, so that the choice of film is becoming extremely limiting. Taking for example 800 ISO colour negative film. My all time fave Fuji Pro 800Z went along time ago but their (less good) consumer alternative Superia Xtra 800 soldiered on for some time after that, till it too succumb to the corporate axe. This leaves Kodak Portra 800 and Lomo CN 800. The former is a superb emulsion but... well I will come on to that in a minute. The Lomo film is OK but its availability is very hit and miss, mostly the latter, and its cost keeps climbing. Further, as an example of the continuing reduction in availability, CN film choice from Fuji is now limited to just two consumer and one pro films, c200, Superia Xtra 400 and Pro 400H.

Which brings us to problem number two, cost. Taking ISO 800 film stock again as an example. one 35mm roll of Kodak Portra 800 36 exposure will set your back about £14.00. The only alternative Lomo CN 800 is currently yet again out of stock (as of writing on 14th May 2020) so let's leave that for the moment. Processing of one roll of 35mm typically costs around £14.90 including a high res scan. Thus using one roll of Kodak Portra 800 would set you back £28.90 including processing and scanning. That's just over 80 pence every time you press the shutter - ouch. Even a consumer ISO 400 film, including processing and low res scanning, costs about 47 pence per shutter press. Oh, and that's without including the postage costs which vary depending on the number of films you send out together at one time.


When you think I used to burn my way though ten rolls of Fuji Pro 800Z on Heritage Steam Gala photo shoot and not have to turn a hair at the inclusive grand total £80-ish cost for pro film and pro processing back in the just pre-digital days compared to the £289+ it would cost today, well it puts things into context.


So there you have it, these days the choice of film stock is limited and costs have escalated and continue to do so. Thus real film photography has become a bit of an indulgence to be practiced on high days and holidays as the old saw would have it. It's sad but inevitable really.

✧ Jokul Frosti ✧

A space containing the thoughts, experiences, photos and collected curiosities of a walkabout photographer with a snapshot style.