As the economic effects of the global pandemic hit, a rise in costs is putting pressure on businesses and customers alike. The pinch is also being felt within the photography industry, with photographers, labs and corporations alike noticing higher prices and rarer goods.
Fujifilm already announced an increase in the price of its film products, noting that despite their attempts to absorb costs by improving efficiency, the continuing rise in prices of materials and the soaring transport costs mean sale prices could rise by as much as 60%. The cost of film is the first line of products to increase in price, with an increase of 20%-60%, while photographic paper and chemicals are set to increase in May by 10%-20%.
These increases will likely have a knock-on effect for labs and analogue photographers, who are already noticing a drop in availability of certain materials. Fujifilm announced a drop in the production of 120 reversal films due to issues surrounding ingredients. The company announced the problems on its website, noting “it is difficult to supply products due to insufficient procurement of raw materials”, particularly for its 120 slide films such as the Fujichrome Velvia and Fujichrom Provia films. “The supply and demand is expected to be tight for the time being.”
Fujifilm isn’t the only manufacturer grappling with issues. Sino Promise, the manufacturers of Kodak’s photo paper and photo chemicals, already announced that the organisation was struggling with supply issues, back in 2021. It seems the issue has only worsened, with a 30% increase in prices and a shift in the terms of trade - requesting the purchase of goods in the United States and Australia to be paid upfront. According to a report by Inside Imaging, it is believed this move is due to a cashflow issue by the company, and details Sino Promise’s failure to supply financial reports in the US resulting in the company’s status shifting from non-compliance to ‘Delinquent’. This problem may be, in part, due to several strict Covid-19 lockdowns in the city where many of Sino Promise's chemicals are manufactured. Only time will tell the severity of the problems.