How has the price of a (typical/common) roll of film changed over the last few decades?

I am trying to get an impression whether film is getting more expensive (and if so, how much) as a result of decline in usage/production. I am not interested in a particular brand or type of film. Data about any common types of film would be fine as long as the examples are comparable (e.g., size, number of frames, quality, or fanciness).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is that pun intended? Price of film developed... \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Commented Jun 28, 2014 at 16:02
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Super good question! :-) However, you ask a different question in the title and the body. Are you interested in the price of an (undeveloped) roll of film (by the way, what roll? :-) or the film+development? If latter, are you interested in the cost of development in house (that is, you get the raw chemicals and do it) or get it developed? \$\endgroup\$
    – TFuto
    Commented Jun 28, 2014 at 20:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ Pun was not intended...at first. But whatever gets this question more exposure ;) Also clarified the title to match the body. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 28, 2014 at 21:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ I imagine that looking at things like minimum wage/purchasing power would also be relevant: www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/04/5-facts-about-the-minimum-wage/ --this is supposing you're interested in US cost, which you might not be. \$\endgroup\$
    – moorej
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 19:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ New and related: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/104247/… \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 14, 2019 at 14:04

2 Answers 2


I'm no expert in this area but I did find a quite interesting blog post from Jim Kasson Photography:

In 1957...Kodak Tri-X... Twenty exposures were 85 cents, and a 36 exposure roll was $1.15.

And that roll of Tri-X, the one that sold for $1.15 in 1957, or $8.43 in today’s dollars? You can still buy one. It’s changed a bit; it’s twice as fast and has finer grain, but you can no longer reload the cartridges. It’ll cost you $3.93 at Calumet.

The blog post was written in 2007. A quick check at B&H Photo shows a single roll of Kodak Tri-X 36exp ISO 400 selling for $4.99 today.

The Consumer Price Index inflation calculator shows that $1.15 in 1957 dollars has the same buying power as $9.74 in 2014.

Assuming that Jim remembers very accurately what he paid, I would say that a roll is about half of the cost today as it was in 1957. I'm too young to know anything about the 50's and I'm also no economics expert.

Film development gets considerably more complicated. The reason is that at one time the cost of the film included processing, and at others you had to process it at home yourself in a dark room, and obviously today you have a few options too with variable pricing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ On a side note RIP Calumet. \$\endgroup\$
    – moorej
    Commented Jul 12, 2014 at 19:25

More "exposure" LOL you're funny. As for film, i am fifty years old, and growing up my dad owned a drug store. We sold all the typical films back then, 110, 35 mm , Polaroid and the cute little flash bulb packs. Of course Polaroid was the hot new thing and very expensive! We thought. Maybe 8 dollars a pack? 110 was a couple dollars and fancy 35mm three or four dollars.

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    \$\begingroup\$ And so has it got more expensive? Or less? \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeW
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 23:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Interesting answer, but incomplete. You'd have to account for inflation here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Max
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 8:01

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