Expired film – How much is too much?
Who likes shooting expired film? I sure do. In fact I like it so much I have a whole fridge full of the stuff that I have accumulated over the years. And I encourage others to share their stashes of film on the site. In my opinion shooting expired film has always been a fun and cheap way of shooting different stocks. But it seems things have changed and shooting expired film is becoming increasingly expensive.
Remember Provia 400x? Yeah that stuff was fantastic. When it was discontinued I made sure I kept a few special rolls in the fridge, and I am glad I did as the prices for it now are simply insane. But why? For sure it is a good film, but the prices online are simply not justifiable.
Look at this. That works out to be $69.89 per roll. Plus shipping. That is simply insane. Provia is a great film, but it is not worth shelling out $69 (nice) for it. This is less about supply and demand and more about unscrupulous sellers price gouging. If you want to pay this much for this film then more power to you I guess.
Or how about this? One single roll of Aerochrome, for $199! Oh and good luck finding somewhere that can develop it, if it is even viable as you have no idea how it was stored. And that is the thing about expired film, you have got absolutely no idea if it will work. That was always part of the appeal.
But this could be my favourite. I am not sure at this point if they are just taking the Michael.
So this is what gets me. Shooting expired film has a long tradition of being a relatively inexpensive way of getting your hands on some old film and having a bit of a play around. But the prices are rising so much for some of these films that it becomes impossible for most people to use them. And when you shell out $70+ for a roll of film when are you going to shoot it, or will it just stay in your fridge forever?
Why has this happened?
Well, there is supply and demand, as these old films get older and rarer they become harder to find, which adds to the price. But there is also something new to contend with. The resurgence in popularity of film has brought a lot of new photographers to the fold, which is great. but it has also increased demand for the classic stocks that they may never have had the opportunity to shoot. So obviously over time those stocks are going to age and dwindle and as such the prices will rise. But there is also the fact that there will always be online sellers who will try to pull a fast one.
How can we shoot expired film?
There are still ways to find expired film. Ebay is a crap shoot and I generally go by the notion that they are talking cobblers when they say it has been freezer stored since purchase. Check the feedback and ratings, there are some serious film sellers out there. But there are other places too. Don’t bother with the forums, they are cesspits full of bitter old men and bile. But there are emerging facebook groups that often have swaps and sales (you will have to find them yourself lol). You should be able to find something special after a little bit of scouting. And the sellers on there are generally not looking to maximize profits but to share what they have. Etsy is also not half bad for finding something esoteric.
So, you can still shoot expired film, you just have to dig a bit to find the gold. But when you do it sure is worth it.