Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Save money with 36 exposures

Here's another infrequent money-saving photo tip for 35mm film shooters. Always shoot 36-exposure rolls.

If a PJ shoots 24-exposure rolls, they're wasting money and time. At a sampled dealer, a 24-exposure roll of Fuji film costs $1.79 (7.46 cents p/frame) while a 36-exposure roll of the same brand costs $2.09 (5.81 cents p/frame)*. The cost difference is 30 cents per roll (about 4 frames), so the PJ basically gets six free frames per roll with 36-exposure rolls.

It doesn't sound like much. But, when a PJ is accustomed to shooting seven to 10 rolls per day, it adds up quickly.

In reality, the PJ still fires at least 72 frames per assignment (two rolls of 36 or three rolls of 24). The real cost difference for the same number of frames is $1.19.

More importantly, the processing (or chemistry) fees are enormous. This is where the grocery stores – and even some camera shops – make the real money. They charge about $2 for each roll of film (12, 24 or 26 exposure) processed without prints. For each two rolls of 36-exposure film, the cost is about $4. For each three rolls of 24-exposure film, the cost is about $6. However, the same 72 frames have been shot. The PJ just lost $1.40 plus tax.

This also adds up when a PJ is accustomed to shooting 7 to 10 rolls per day.

Now is anyone wondering why some grocery and camera stores only sell 24-exposure rolls? They want to make a higher profit from PJs (above standard markup). The specific additional profit on each small assignment is $2.59. If PJs want to make a profit, they'll find the shops which sell 36-exposure rolls of film.

* For this comparison I used consumer film instead of professional press film. Press film at this same store cost $2.79 per 36-exposure roll. There is no such thing as 24-exposure professional press film because nobody would buy it.

Enough for now,

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