It seems that the effects of worldwide economic concerns and the high cost of oil are rippling into the photographic market as well: in a press release this week, Fujifilm announced that the price of it could no longer continue to absorb rising paper and film manufacturing costs resulting from the ever-increasing cost of raw materials.
Effective this summer, Fujifilm intends to raise the purchase price of its photographic papers and "other photosensitive material products" by 10 to 20 percent, depending on market. Rising prices on key raw materials used in the manufacture of photo paper and film, including crude oil and silver, were specifically cited by Fujifilm as responsible for the production cost increases.
For the moment at least, it appears that prices on Fuji's digital photo papers - which have some presence in the consumer market and are widely used in retail photo printing - will remain unchanged. (Unlike traditional photosensitive papers for printing film-based images, digital photo paper doesn't use silver in its production.)
While a 20-percent price increase is hardly a crippling financial blow to film shooters, we're wondering if this is a sign of things to come: the expensive commodities used to make photosensitive paper are likely to only get more expensive, and increasing materials prices and energy costs all around may eventually hit the ink-based photo supplies market as well.