Covid & The end of an era.


I haven’t shot a roll of film for quite some time. One of the places I used to frequent for film and prints was Lindale’s Fujifilm Image Service in Hamilton NZ.

The owner Don always had time for a quick chat even when he was busy and had a wealth of knowledge when it came to photography. Prior to his passing last year, he had retired a year or two earlier and his shop assistant bought the business and continued to run it. She and her partner continued to run the same friendly and personable service. I was unaware of Don’s passing or the closure of the shop towards the end of 2021. Sadly, another business closing the doors thanks to Covid and mandated lockdowns.


Often small businesses operate on small margins and a Covid enforced closure is disastrous, and yet again we see a small family business go by the wayside.

In a city of around a quarter of a million people we appear to be down to one photo lab that still processes film locally. Given the recent horrendous rise in the cost of a roll of film, in most cases close to or exceeding 100% more than at Dec 2019 I have to wonder just how long some of the other labs around the country will hold up in this inflationary market we have at present.

I did a photo shoot in 2018 at a local vintage railway and took two rolls of Kodak Ultramax along. They were 36 exposure rolls and cost $10.00NZD each and that included the freight to my rural location. Now the same roll of film costs $26.00NZD each plus freight. In other words, it now costs twice as much plus just to do the same photo shoot as I did 3 1/2 years ago. On a brighter note our local film processing lab has been able to hold the price of developing a 35mm color film roll to $25.00NZD and that includes scanning as part of the service. Thats only about three bucks more than what I was paying three or four years ago.

You can find Imageland at 55 Lake Road, Hamilton NZ. Hopefully they have weathered the Covid storm and will be with us for some time to come. What this means for the future of film photography at this point is anyone’s guess. If the YouTube community is anything to go by, we seem to be having a renaissance in film photography.

A Pentax MZ50 I bought for $50.00NZD 10 years ago now sells regularly on the local online auction sites for anything up to $200NZD. Supply and demand being what it is and the fact that you can’t buy 35mm SLR or point and shoots new anymore, seems to be driving up the cost of good condition used film cameras. I’m glad I kept one when I got rid of all my other film cameras. Now I just need some film 🙂

R.I.P Don, I will see you on the print side.

In the meantime, happy snappin”

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