Agfa discontinues ALL MEDIUM FORMAT FILMS !!!!

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by david b, Apr 13, 2004.

  1. david b

    david b Member

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    Can anyone confirm this? I just read this on photo.net and not sure I believe it.

    I am waiting for a return call from Agfa USA and will let everyone know once I speak to them.
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I gave up on AGFA after they lied to me about the disco of APX 100 in 4x5. To bad, it's great film.
     
  3. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I just got off the phone with the Canadian distributor for AGFA films - Amplis Photo. Phil Nelson says the only film he has heard that has been recently disco'd is some 220 color product. He mentioned they sell LOTS of 120 B&W and can't see that being dropped anytime soon. But of course this is the same guy that told me he hadn't heard of the 4x5 APX100 being disco'd until it was to late for me to get any.

    Take it for what it's worth.
     
  4. david b

    david b Member

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    This is from AGFA UK:

    Dear Mr. B,

    Thank you for your e-mail.

    Medium format films are currently under review by many manufacturers including Agfa but we have made no decision to discontinue it. The vast
    majority of 120 film has traditionally been bought by professionals but it is also this market that is turning most rapidly to digital technology.
    There is no denying that 120 sales are declining.

    Taking these market trends into account we will be examining the situation very closely to determine future manufacturing capacity. Should we take
    a decision to discontinue 120 format, a proper announcement will be made in the Photographic press.

    I hope this information is of help.

    Regards,
    Philip Miller
    Corporate Communications Manager
    Agfa UK
     
  5. Leon

    Leon Member

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    that doesnt sound good .... damn the digi, damn the digi.
     
  6. victor

    victor Member

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    damn the digi leon...
    im pro too - have no meaning to go digi and want agfa film and paper in my arsenal.
    anyway - lets start studing the maco products more and more, cause some of them are very similar to the agfa.
     
  7. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Not wanting to be a doomsdayer, I mentioned this in the "end of analog" thread.

    With the proliferation of digital in the professional disciplines of photography, it is going to have dire consequences for the analog users.

    The costs for Kodak etc to produce chemistry, films and papers is probably astronomical considering the EPA concerns. Add to this the fact that instead of selling millions of rolls of film to professionals, to now just selling thousands of rolls to die hards it seems this phenomena of products being discontinued is going to continue.

    Granted, boutique suppliers will continue to support us, but there is little doubt that the choices we not have will begin to diminish.

    I'm sure that people think that we are some sort of a large market but compared to the pros that are going digital we are a very small group. When I ran my comparitively small studio twenty years ago I used about 70 to 100 rolls a week. Multiply that by a few hundred thousand studios and you can see the number of rolls that are now, NOT being purchased. Add in product, fashion and photojournalism and the writing is on the wall.

    Michael McBlane
     
  8. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

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    It only confirms what I have been saying for awhile now. Those film products geared to professionals will be the first to go. First MF film, then I suspect we have probably seen the last of new MF cameras to be designed.
    I can't see mfgs sinking money into a market that was almost entirely geared towards professionals that now shoot dgital.

    Next will come the reduction in LF film. I still believe that this will continue to be a viable market into the future, although with a much limited selection of film from niche suppliers. It appears to me that any professional who still uses a LF camera and film does so by choice, probably in addition to digital. We also have the current increasing art and hobbyist market in LF and ULF and maybe some of the MF hobbyists will make the shift to LF as prices for used cameras, lenses and enlargers continue to go down. The internet will continue to fuel the new renaissance in alternative processes that many want a LF camera for, and some of those individuals will also shoot film.

    The positive is that three or four years from now may be the ideal time to get into MF if someone keeps producing film. Older Hassys with a lens will be selling like old Calumet C-400s, today at about $150-$200.
     
  9. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I cannot help but wonder about the assumption that the entire body of "Professionals" are massively, and without exception, "going digital". For the small studio dedicated to the best *quality* - price efficiency, IMHO, film is nothing like dead. Yeah - right- the High end digitals are "just as good as film" - but at what price? A top shelf Phase 1 or Leaf or -- backs are *still* in the US$10,000 to US$25,000 price range ... with a probable life of 1 to 2 years ... that is only for the back. The humongous computer - and the printer and the software are additional - all to get equal with film.

    Check out the latest "Professional Photographer" magazine - I have April 2004 - *NO* ads for Digital Backs . none. There is a display ad for the entire Sinar Digital line.
    Leaf does have the back cover, advertising an "Integrated Medium Format" camera - the Leaf-Mamiya "Pro Digital . for only $6999. That is the first Leaf ad in the last two issues. There is an ad for the Mamiya 645 AFD - a NEW camera with **both** optional digital AND film backs.
    Hmm... last page - "Fresh Perspectives ... two images captured on Fuji Provia 100F film and combined in Photoshop. That is what I see the local small studios around here doing - capturing on *film* and manipulating after the fact digitally.

    In browsing around I checked out Calumet ... Interesting to note the film - chemical paper products available from Fuji - including direct positive papers.

    I wonder how much of this "Digital Revolution" is really a true fact, and how much of it is -- dare I suggest it? -- Advertising Hype.
     
  10. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    And in "Rangefinder" the other magazine bought by most portrait studios virtually every ad that dealt with equipment or labs was digital. Along with that most of the articles were about digital.

    Added to that just about every speaker at the conventions is pushing digital. Of 50 speakers, 40 are talking digital. Granted a lot are being paid by the manufacturers but digital has saturated the portrait environment. Same for the wedding environment, which is shooting a lot with 35mm style cameras, because they usually don't enlarge much more than 8x10.

    Agreed that the "capture" medium may still be film but from there going to digital for retouching, proofing and prints doesn't take much imagination that when the digital cameras or backs drop a bit in price, the writing is on the wall.

    I'm not happy about this, I'm merely stating the obvious.


    Michael
     
  11. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Ed, according to my camera repair guys, it is real. At least it is for their photojournalist clients, their "kidnapers" and their wedding photograpers. Their largest wedding photo client has completely switched from Hassleblads to digital Nikons over the last 2 years.

    Of course, when a digital body conks out, you usually don't even attempt to repair it. The lenses are a different story.

    IMO silver based photography will be around for a long while yet in the MF, LF and ULF realms. Whether the cost accountants will allow the Kodaks, Fujis, and other big co.s to continue manufacturing the film is another question.

    A big freezer seems like a good idea.
     
  12. Doug Bennett

    Doug Bennett Member

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    Amen, Ed. I'm not anti-digital, although it's not what I enjoy. But yes: the amount that photographers are willing to spend on digital in order to approach the quality of film, especially medium format, is astounding. I've won a couple of contests, and sold the odd print here and there, with a $3.00 roll of film in a couple of sub-$200.00 TLRs.

    Unfortunately, in today's landscape of mega-corporations, the consumer won't be able to buy what he/she wants. The consumer can only buy what is offered, and there is huge money in planned obsolescence. There is no money (well, not enough money in today's world) in my style of photography. It used to compute, but somehow it doesn't any longer.

    While the above mentioned TLRs will most likely retain their value, my 2-1/2 year old $800.00 Nikon digital is down to less than 1/2 it's original value, and falling.

    The only strategy I can think of is to support those boutique shops: Ilford, Forte, Photographer's Formulary, et al.
     
  13. mark

    mark Member

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    Ed

    Unfortunately people buy the advertising hype, then turn around and buy the digital cameras. Shutterbug(a magazine I stopped buying maybe five years ago, but I was sent for an unknown reason two free ones) is all digital. Full of "Professionals" sounding the digital is better battle cry. and professing the death of film.

    I do wonder if it is media hype and corporate pushing that is killing the film market. It really does make sense if you ditch your ethics and think the way a corporation does.

    Build something that will not last. Force people to update ever few years to ensure a market demand and place prices that are higher on the new ones than the old ones while slaughtering the market for the used equipment, by making the used stuff obsolete

    or

    Build something to last, that people will give their kids. Build it so people will not have to "upgrade" unless they really want to. there are a lot of people using twenty year old Nikons and Canons out there, and fifty+ year old LF cameras?

    There is a reason they don't build them like they used to.
     
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  15. david b

    david b Member

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    Just received this:

    Dear David,

    Thank you for contacting Agfa Consumer Imaging. Please be advised that there are no immediate plans to discontinue any Agfa 120 roll films


    Sincerely,
    John Auer
    Agfa Consumer Imaging
     
  16. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    by "immediate" please understand "in the next 48 hours..."

    regardless, Agfa will be the 1st to fall, followed by Kodak & Fuji. Ilford, in my ignorant understanding, does not have as a big of a share in the digital market, so they might hold out a bit longer.

    All of the sudden that arista.edu line sounds very interesting, doesn't it?
    BTW, changing topics, am I the only one reading "only students need B/W film" in the arista.edu name?
     
  17. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    Based on my experience with other slow and medium speed films I believe that APX 100 can be frozen for eons. However 400 speed films do not seem to last much more than ten years without a lot of base fog.

    Mark Layne
     
  18. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    Andre R. de Avillez wrote:
    Ilford, in my ignorant understanding, does not have as a big of a share in the digital market, so they might hold out a bit longer.



    Three years ago Ilford were just about gone, Kodak had made an offer and it was accepted but just a short time before the contracts were to be signed Kodak pulled out of the deal. Ilford started to manufacture high end digital paper but also sold very low end digital paper in places like Tesco and Computer World and those sales generated a lot of income and saved Ilford. Last year for the first time more than 50% of their turnover was generated by Digital paper sales and they are still growing. I do quite a lot of promotional work with Ilford and when the UK Sales Director told me the figures I asked for how long they would continue to manufacture film to be told that there were no plans to stop but that they would not be spending money on research projects for new traditional products. Whilst we may be anti digital we have it to thank for saving Ilford.

    I have worked for Ilford at shows and in colleges for nearly 10 years and have always found they give straight answers to my sometimes very direct questions and they are very concerned about their customers needs. I think they will continue making film and paper for many years to come. I do not think that I can say the same about Agfa, it has been common knowledge for many years in the industry in the UK that Agfa B&W Division has been available for sale but their have been no serious takers.
     
  19. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    There are some photographic applications where film *IS* dead: the Real Estate and Used Cars for sale ads, Super Market Flyers ... *Major* "big news" periodicals - I've seen some truly *pitiful* work from low end digitals in the small-town papers... I just developed a roll of Tri X 35mm on an emergency basis for a small town paper (local lab closed over the weekend). Much of the "intermediate advertising" is still done on film ... the capital outlay to switch to digital is a terrible barrier.

    The last time I visited my Hasselblad Fixer guy, he was **swamped** with work - heavily used 'blads with the typical note: "Please see if you can patch this worn out puppy together so that it will operate until the price of digital becomes reasonable."

    From what *I* hear ... feel free to beat this to death, I have *no* way to "justify: this ... the "Film Camera" market is depressed - a bunch; photographers are "waiting for ..", and the Digital Market (low - to moderate) is *saturated*. No one is doing well at the moment.

    I still say we have indications of what the future will be from what has - or has not - happened in the past: photography did not kill oil painting: Acrylics did not make oils obsolete - digital watches did not wipe those with analog dials out. ... I remember when Polaroids promised the end of traditional film ...

    I wish there was some reliable source for measuring what was happening in real life - I've learned - a long time ago - not to rely on advertising copy as a source of factual truth - ANY advertising copy.
     
  20. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I would bet that in ten years you will not find a portrait studio using film. There are just too many benefits not to. The entire industry is gearing towards digital and everything from equipment, printing, retouching and seminars is falling in line.

    I will also bet that you won't find a wedding photographer, photojournalist, fashion shooter or product shooter using it either.

    Although Ed naturally will argue with me and find some guy he knows still doing it, the guy will be a very lonely low budget die hard.

    The only people using traditional darkrooms and analog equipment will be "fine art" people. God bless them.

    The problem is they will have far less product to choose from because the big companies will have dropped most of it by then.

    You can probably still find people using typewriters but I bet not many. I wonder how much carbon paper they sell these days.

    It's sad but money makes the world go round. Does this affect you, maybe maybe not.

    but the times they are a changin'

    Michael
     
  21. david b

    david b Member

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    Michael,
    I agree. I think in FIVE years the only folks using film will be the fine art photographers.

    But I love reading about the latest "interest" in old school photograph such as wet plate etc.
     
  22. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Cinematographers. They know digital is cheaper and they use it for post-processing, but most think it looks like crap, so initial capture is on film. Serious television drama is shot on film, even though the only output will ever be video.

    In fashion I suspect film will become a special effect, for a retro look.

    Photojournalism is pretty much all digital now except for the photographers who have enough clout to make their own artistic choices--the Magnum group, Sylvia Plachy, Martin Scholler, David Burnett, and the like.

    Portraiture on film will just be at the high end.
     
  23. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    David B, I know it's kind of scary. It's not that people necessarily want to go in this direction but the industry is forcing them to go there.

    It is a corporation dominated industry now and the direction they wish to go in is the direction that it will head.

    That is definitely not to say that people will not be able to do what they love to do now, it's just that small boutique companies will have to supply them with product and there may not be as many choices.

    David Goldfarb.

    I agree I think there is definately a high end nitch for any photographers who stay with film and even perhaps traditional prints. That's my nitch now and I have no plans to change.



    Michael
     
  24. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    Les,

    I did say I am ignorant, didn't I? The reason I mentioned Ilford would hold out longer is this: I haven't seen an Ilford digicam/sensor yet. I forgot that inks and papers are just as important...
     
  25. david b

    david b Member

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    I was just pondering all of this and then remembered a scene for the Tom Cruise movie "minority report".

    His wife was a photographer and they showed her working in a wet darkroom. And in that darkroom was a huge box of ilford paper.

    That makes me happy.

    ps...what year was that supposed to be?
     
  26. livemoa

    livemoa Member

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    Well, interesting.

    I was talking recently with some pro photogs.

    Film vs digi.

    Wedding phototog: going back to film for some, if not all work, people prefer the look. When they saw samples they where drawn to the film examples. He said people say "they look better..."

    packshot photog:digital, unless it has movement (he used lit candles as an example of things NOt to shot with digital backs)

    both think digital is good, BUT it is limited, as film is, and they are hearing of more and more pros dusting of the 'blad and film backs and using the "analog capture device" that they can pick up at their local proshop.

    The use of black and white is also, in their minds still better suited to film (highlights don't blockup.)

    So, who knows, the demand for film may well increase again as pro's realise that they need a full arsenal of tools.