2022 could be a rough year for silver-halide materials

Just as film photography is gaining in popularity among young photographers, the prospect of product shortages and price hikes is putting a damper on expectations. Recently, Fujifilm Imaging Systems Co., Ltd. announced substantial price hikes for photo film, color paper and chemicals, citing “the recent rise in raw material prices, transportation costs, etc., as well as the decline in demand for photographic-related products. We have made every effort to absorb costs by improving production efficiency and reducing costs, but since it is difficult to absorb costs only by corporate efforts, we will implement price revisions with the following contents.”

Price revision date, target product and content of revision (price increase rate)

Price revision date Products Details of the revision * 1
April 1, 2022 Photo film 20-60%
May 1, 2022 Color photo photographic paper 10-20%
Processing chemicals for color photography About 10%
June 1, 2022 Prolab products, printed products and services 8-94%
  • * 1 This is the revision rate (price increase rate) for our shipping price.

To add to the pain, the company has subsequently announced Fujichrome reversal film in 120 format is in short supply, due to “insufficient procurement of raw materials, and the supply and demand is expected to be tight for the time being.”

A broken Sino Promise

On the yellow side of the photo product color spectrum, the situation doesn’t seem to be any brighter. The always-excellent Australian news site Inside Imaging is reporting Sino Promise, the maker of Kodak silver paper and chemicals, may be struggling financially as it has increased its prices and is demanding full upfront payment from labs, following last year’s warning it was enduring a supply shortage. Sino Promise bought the Kodak silver paper and photochemical business from Kodak Alaris in 2020.

Inside Imaging is reporting U.S. buyers have been told, in addition to a recent price increase of up to 30%, that Sino Promise now requires all purchases to be fully prepaid plus including shipping costs. Possibly more unsettling to U.S. buyers, is the company’s U.S. operations, Sino Promise Inc. is listed as “delinquent,” in the state of Colorado where it is registered. Sources in Australia advise Inside Imaging the problem is worldwide.

“We have been literally inundated with concerned phone calls from photo specialty retail and pro labs scrambling for locally-stocked, fully-supported alternative products to fill the gaps created by the Sino Promise/Kodak products cash flow and supply issues,” said Stuart Holmes, managing director of Australia’s Independent Photographic Supplies (iPhoto), in the Inside Imaging article.