I have a stash of 35mm Kodak Tri-X expired since 2001 that I shoot from time to time. It curls like mad, in large part because the film has been wound into those canisters for more than 20 years, but also because Tri-X just curls.
That natural Tri-X curl makes the film frustrating to load into my scanner. Ilford’s similar HP5 Plus dries nearly flat. For the last few years I’ve been buying HP5 Plus for easier scanning.
For many years, decades even, these two films cost about the same. But now price is a strong motivator to shoot HP5 Plus over Tri-X. Check out these screen shots from B&H: Tri-X is now 45 percent more expensive.
All of us film photographers know that film prices have been on the rise for the last few years. Kosmo Foto recently reported that Kodak would be raising prices 17 percent on average starting in March of this year. In contrast, Ilford has managed to hold the line on its prices over the last few years.
Interestingly, for these two companies’ ISO 400 T-grained films, the price difference isn’t so strong. T-Max costs about 23 percent more than Delta.
CORRECTION. Someone on Facebook pointed out today that I captured the 24-exposure roll cost for Delta 400, not the 36-exposure roll cost, which is the benchmark I’m setting. In this case, 36 exposures of Delta 400 are more expensive than T-Max 400.
Either way, these price differences make it easy to keep choosing Ilford over Kodak. Here’s hoping Ilford holds to their lower prices as a competitive advantage, rather than deciding to match Kodak for fatter margins.
At least for traditionally-grained films, it’s easy to choose Ilford. For T-grained films, Kodak has the slight advantage. Fascinating times we live in.