This blog post is a follow up from the previous article on Save Cost is to go Bangkok.
Photocity Bangkok: Economical film heaven
They seem like the boss among the shops there. They sell developing chemicals and many types of films. I just think they look like a proper photography-support store.
Photocity opens daily from 8am-10.30pm. So good right?
Furthermore, their price for a standard c-41 developing is 50 baht + 50 baht for scanning. That makes it SGD$4-5 for everything!!!
Here is a summary of the price in Thai Baht (developing + scanning):
C41: 35mm (50 + 50), 110/120mm (50 +100)
D76: 35mm (90 + 50), 110/120mm (90 + 100)
E-6 (slide film): 35/110/120mm (150 + 100)
If you want to push or pull, it’s additional 20Baht a stop.
Develop 5 rolls get 1 free. But when I developed 3 they also gave me one free (charge me the price of 2 rolls). So I don’t know how it really works.
Generally, I think the films in Bangkok are slightly cheaper than in Singapore. But some films are cheaper in Taobao, such as AgfaPhoto Vista Plus and Kodak Color. Personally I think the films worth buying when you go to Bangkok are Kentmere (not found in SG shops), Pro Image 100 (uncommon in SG and its freaking $5 for a roll in Bkk, expired in 2018!) and maybe Kodak Tri X ($8+ for a 35mm).
One more, Lomography! If you refused to buy $250 worth of stuff for free shipping or have no friends to combine purchase with.
Scanning films through X-ray in airport
I have received a lot of concerns about having films going through x-ray at the airport. If you look closely at the X-ray machine, you will see the ‘film safe’ sticker on the x-ray machine.
So I trust that it is really film safe. Nonetheless, x-ray damage is cumulative. So it’s best to keep the number of x-ray scan to the minimum.
Generally, film is safe from x-ray scan as long as they are under ISO 800. That is to say film at ISO 800 is borderline dangerous to be damaged. ISO 1600 and 3200 are on the dangerous zone.
I have read many blogs where they shared about having their film scan multiple times, the highest I saw was 11 times but still, the ISO 50-400 all were fine. But their ISO 800 films had started to give some funny effects.
When I went to Taiwan, I bought 5 rolls of Cinestill 800T. I put them in hand-luggage and had them scanned by x-ray at the airport. It has gone through one scan by me, but the result is fine.
You can go to Cinestill800T Film Look album to see sample photos.
And to also answer one more frequent question: will ordering from overseas (such as taobao) induce damages onto your film since they do air mail?
Let’s look at these photos below:
I ordered these films from Taobao. Clearly the films are not made in China thus the factories need to ship them to China. I am not an expert in shipping so I don’t know how it works. Let’s assume, from the film factory to China is a direct shipping and the bulk was scanned once. Then from China to Singapore, second scan.
From Singapore to Bangkok, third.
Developed in Bangkok, done.
They are fine.
They might have been scanned a few more times if they were in transits around the world, we wouldn’t know. Or they might not have been scanned at all except that one time I took them out of Singapore.
I read that the scan they use to scan parcel is less strong than the one they use to scan hand-carry luggage.
However, the scan used by airport to scan checked-in baggage is extremely strong so it’s a confirm (plus chop) that your film will be damaged. Hence never ever checked in your films.
Anyway, if you are really paranoid, use digital. Or cry like a baby in the airport security.
Use ISO 50-400 films and hope for the best. At least there will be images if your camera is functional properly.