Fujifilm prepares for double-digit film price hike


posted Tuesday, April 2, 2013 at 12:03 AM EDT

If you're still shooting some or all of your photos on silver halide film, now would be a good time to stock up. The explosion of digital photography over the last decade and change has brought many benefits, but for film lovers -- and the companies who supply their beloved medium -- it's also created a rather difficult situation. The challenges of producing analog products in a digital world will soon be felt by film photographers, as one of the largest remaining producers prepares for a double-digit price hike.

It's not really a surprise to hear news of soaring film prices, and it's infinitely preferable to the alternative: news of another no-longer economically viable film stock being discontinued. And being realistic about the situation, climbing film prices are entirely understandable. With far less of us shooting film, demand has fallen greatly, and along with it production volume. Costs, however, have done the opposite. Prices for the raw materials needed to produce photographic film continue to climb, and with lesser economies of scale, the cost of manufacture has simultaneously increased significantly. There's only so much the manufacturers can absorb, before profit margins shrink below what's sustainable.

Still, if you're shooting a lot of film,  a price increase of this magnitude could sting a little. Stocking up now will help stave off that pain, at least in the short term, so if your films of choice come from Fujifilm it's time to head to get a bulk order in at your local film supplier. Japan's largest film producer has announced plans to raise US-market prices of black-and-white, color negative, and color reversal films, as well as single-use film cameras, by approximately 20% across the board. The increases will take effect from July 1st, giving you three months or so to do your shopping.

Of course, if you're planning a bulk purchase to save yourself some hard-earned cash, you'll want to protect that material investment. Long-time rival Kodak offers some tips on film storage that should prove helpful.

(Velvia film canister image courtesy of Kevin Dooley. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.)