Thursday, 10 March 2011

It's a high price

I am just reeling a little...I knew large format would be an expensive hobby...but I naively underestimated how costly.  I want to, for the record, compute the processing costs of my large format photography film.  Then, I need to think if there is another way!!

This is my first assignment so I have made various mistakes which increased the cost such as double exposing, out of focus, sheet feed problems etc.

Cost of purchasing film: provia 160nc (10 in a box): £35.00 x 3 boxes =  £105.00
Processing of 28 images with Peak Imaging = £74.90
Proof sheets = £37.40

So, so far I have spent £217, + postage and other sundries and have a mere ten usable images.  And...I still haven't printed these out or had them scanned for submission.  To print at 10x8 will cost a further £30 and to scan a further £30 on top of that.

This makes the total cost of ten images £277, almost £30 per image...bloody hell!!!

This is scaring me and I'm not sure what to printer isn't up to printing at a high enough resolution, it doesn't scan particularly I'm thinking should I look at processing myself...I'm not going to give up on it yet...but putting the figures down on paper like this gives me the dear husband is very supportive, but I think he would wince if he caught sight of these figures....

Answers on a postcard please...


  1. Wow - it certainly adds up. But this calls into mind a recent comment by Clive about how cost and effort can add to the way we value photographs. And I suspect that fairly soon almost every picture will be a good one as you become increasingly careful and skilful.

    At those prices it would be economic to buy a decent printer - after 20-odd prints you'd have recovered the cost. A scanner for large format is another matter and I think that getting a professional scan is probably always likely to give a better result.

  2. Hi Eileen. What you say makes a lot of sense. I hope I will share your optimism soon. Feeling a little raw at the moment, particularly because I'm not sure the difference in quality is that visible. I suspect I need to see them large and give it more time....thanks again!

  3. As you know Penny I haven’t done that much LF, but the few large prints I have made were awesome quality. Their content was maybe poor, but that’s just my photography and I think it will be difficult to get good photographs yet with such an awkward system. My HP T610 printer is a 24" roll feed and prints to A1. Using a loupe and looking right in the corner of the print the details were full on and very impressive. Not satisfied with that even I am in the process of upgrading soon to a Z3200 and my long term goal of making and selling huge prints will be realised. Even using the D3 though this sort of quality isnt possible so persevering with the LF is a must. At FOCUS I met Mike Walker who makes the only hand made LF cameras in the UK and am now looking to get one of his as they are so sturdy and well made.
    I scan my own BTW with an Epson V750, which for now is about as high as I can go in the pecking order. It works well, but like all things esoteric (meaning LF) it doesn’t work easily straight out of the box and need research on the web to learn the "how to".
    All in all though I agree it is an expensive way of making photographs, but look at what we get. Huge files, camera movements and an image that looks like a photograph due to its analogue properties. Stick with it.

  4. Thank you Nigel for your thoughts on this. You sound very well kitted out for this, although you'll be making a few upgrades from what you say. Who processes them for you or are you using trannies? It sounds like you are well and truly hooked. I must admit there are one or two images where the clarity is fantastic. I have a canon pixma which has a scanner but it isn't working so can't upload anything to show you at the moment. I guess these are just the frustrations you have with film - it just isn't as convenient or as cheap as digital. But I will keep going with it and want to try and master the tilt and shift too!!