Per an update notification issued in September, an increase of at least 5% on all photographic film and paper products will be passed from HARMAN Technology, producers of ILFORD, Kentmere and HARMAN products to the dealer/distributor chain effective October 16th 2020.

Today’s increase is the second for 2020 and follows an (upto) 15% hike on May 11th. Unlike this year’s first price rises, this most recent adjustment does not affect film development chemistry, cameras and other non-film or paper products.


Image Credit: @Exploredinary via ILFORDPhoto.com

I contacted Harman a few weeks ago for comment on the price increases and the company’s reasons for issuing them now, only 5 months after the last rise. From Harman:

We have had to implement a global price rise on our films and papers effective October 16th. This is due to significant increases in our costs that have resulted from the pandemic, over and above any normal operating cost increases, hence the unfortunate and unprecedented need for a 2nd increase in a calendar year. The most significant of these increases are from our sourced raw materials which we need to make the products which are outside of our control.

As always we have tried to absorb as much of these cost increases as possible, however, reluctantly we now have no choice but to pass a proportion of them on to our distributors and ultimately the end users of our products.

Increasing prices and subsequently the cost of consumption is not something a film manufacturer like HARMAN does lightly, especially given 2020’s economic uncertainties and the number of young, and budget-conscious new entrants into film photography.

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I know the team, based in Mobberly, Cheshire, would have explored all avenues available to them before passing any price increase on to customers and while it’s always disappointing to see higher than inflation price increases, I prefer the idea of HARMAN and by extension the ILFORD and Kentmere brands, as an extant part of our global community, rather than yet another shuttered brand to remember fondly.

In terms of the real-word effect of these increases, photographic film stockists (onlne and traditional brick and mortar stores) I have spoken to seem to be divided about their response. Some have stated to me confidentially that they will absorb the increase and not pass it on to consumers. Sady, at least two online retailers I am familiar with have taken the opportunity to increase prices above the percentage rise passed on by HARMAN.

Finally, thanks to the folks at Harman for their transparency and willingness to talk to me about this. It’s always a pleasure working with you.

~ EM



I'm EM, founder, overlord, and editor-in-chief at EMULSIVE.org. I may be a benevolent gestalt entity but contrary to increasingly popular belief, I am not an AI.

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5 Comments

 

  1. Sad to read abouth this tendency, but has to do with supply and demand, I guess (not to mention “touchy” issues such as Brexit and import/export taxes for raw materials that undoubtedly will somehow affect UK business from now on…). Don’t get me wrong, I love Ilford’s products (this last summer I’ve only shot Delta 400 in 135 format that I bought in a 100ft can for 87€ last December), but most of the time my heart goes along where my wallet can afford to be, so considering alternatives options such as Foma, Agfa… is never out of the equation. Cheers to everybody!!!

  2. I can already see a lot of complains online but looking at it realistically, the film revival train is rolling on and film prices are still way, way too cheap compared to the sky-high demand. HP5+ in 35mm has been sold out here locally in Germany even before COVID hit. Good luck getting any consumer grade C-41: C200, Kodak Gold, Color Plus, Xperia, Ultramax or anything that isn’t portra or ektar (even those are tricky sometimes!) I’ve been trying to get some C200 since February.. no dice.

    My local C-41 lab is backlogged for 5 weeks since this summer! Since I’ve started shooting film 6 years ago, thats a first.

    Also the buyers market for cameras has completely dried up here, that P&S with a crummy zoom you wouldn’t pay 2 EUR for 2 years ago now sells for 30+. The mid price fixed lens compact went from 50-80 to 150-250. Premiums? don’t even ask.. I don’t even bother to go to flea markets anymore, there are no more finds out there. The secret it out.

    What it comes down to is that film photography is no longer some quaint little niche, we can kind of retire those keepfilmalive hashtags at this point.

  3. Very upsetting. Film costs are spiraling out of control. I’m getting really tired of it. It’s just about made it unaffordable for me to do anything more than very rarely shoot a single roll. I know I’m not alone, and that is very bad for the industry long-term.

    Most of the community isn’t made of money, especially those who are the type of loyal amateurs that are necessary to keep this industry going into the foreseeable future. The manufacturers and retailers had better start figuring this out before they run themselves into the ground and destroy the wonderful artistic medium that is film. It’ll be there own fault if/when they do.

    It’s beyond absurd when Kentmere “budget” film is now more expensive than Ilford’s “professional” films were just a couple of years ago. It’s absolutely ridiculous.