Along with Fuji's price increase was the news....

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by RattyMouse, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    ...that film demand is still decreasing. Without any hard data, I had thought that the general feeling here was that the drop in film consumption was finally slowing down. I guess the feeling was artificial, somewhat fueled by my own re-discovery of film; thinking that if I was doing this, there must be a lot of others.

    So to read that film use continues to drop, one has to ask, at what point does this decrease bottom out and a new equilibrium found? How far away are we? Still more years?

    With Kodak dropping their E6 line, you would have thought that this would have added nicely to Fujifilm's film production. Apparently not.

    Clearly there needs to be more consolidation of the film producers. Here, Kodak's continuing struggle to stay alive might ultimately hurt the remaining more healthy producers. It would be more than a little ironic, even sad, if Kodak continue to limp along year after year, fatally damaged Ilford's and Fuji's film production by taking away production volume that would keep these two companies producing, all the while Kodak having no chance at all, due to their massive legacy costs and dramatic overcapacity.
     
  2. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Maybe it already has, and that is what has allowed Fujifilm to continue producing those E6 film lines that they are still offering...

    Ken
     
  3. Pioneer

    Pioneer Member

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    And since they are now almost a single-source supplier the lack of competition allows large price increases. Face it, Fuji has one foot in each camp. They are now in a win-win situation. If people buy more digital cameras, they win. If people continue to purchase E6 slide film at elevated prices, they win. You have to agree they have positioned themselves nicely.
     
  4. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    I dont think it is that simple. If you read Fujifilm's quarterly results, they do not make much money at all from digital cameras. Hard to believe but it is true. In fact, their entire imaging division LOOSES money. I looked back from today's year all the way back to 2005. Not one year reported a profit in their imaging division. Not one. It seems that their film chemicals keep the looses from being too high.

    Second, they want to price E6 film so that it has a stable, if not slightly growing market. They cannot just gouge people on this as E6 photography for the most part is a luxury now, not an essential purchase.
     
  5. thegman

    thegman Member

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    Film hoarders will make any change in the market difficult to see in the short term. If people have hoarded Kodak E6 film, then Kodak stops making it, it'll be a year or more before those buyers switch to Fujifilm, and the sales turn up on reports.

    I don't know if sales are up, down or flat, but I think there are many factors which can affect sales. I think a small part of it is the digital camera coming out now which look like film cameras, like the X-Pro1 etc. they can attract film shooters, who may use one for 6 months, realise it's not like film at all, and then go back.

    The state of the economies around the world does not help, often people are not poorer, in fact often they are better off due to low interest rates on their mortgages, but it's amazing how often I hear "we need to cut back, with the economy". I know for a fact that these people are better off or unaffected, but they'll cut back anyway on non-essentials.
     
  6. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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  7. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I'd bet e6 demand is still decreasing. It's more apt to be replaced by digital than B&W. Few places develop it. It's harder to develop at home than B&W.
     
  8. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    Well, do you really expect a story to come out worded like, "We're going to have to increase our prices, but sales were up too, we're just greedy bastards" ...?
    I'd say there's enough of a margin of error on different timescales that they could say flat in one interview, rising in one, and falling in another, technically be correct all 3 times, and pick whichever fits the rest of what they're saying.
     
  9. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Now blaming Kodak for other companies having problems? The problem is a decline in the the market and it effects all companies in it.
     
  10. dorff

    dorff Member

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    One of the issues with film is that the current user base has made a shift in workflow for colour film more than B/W. The colour film ends up being scanned and printed digitally, and makes more sense in MF and large format than 35 mm, where it is easily beaten by the convenience and quality of the "other" cameras. B/W I think has more traction with the Holga and Lomography crowd, and has a larger user base within the traditional darkroom printing community. I use all three categories, of which colour combined is about 20 to 30 %, and none of that in 35 mm. Maybe I am not the typical film consumer, but I do see a similar pattern with the other local film users: Mostly B/W, then colour negative, and a long way behind comes slide film. It is easier and cheaper to get C41 processed, and if the output is going to be scanned as a matter of course, the increased DR of negative film holds some advantage over slide film and is competitive with other imaging methods, especially in larger formats. So I see some future for colour neg film, and definitely for B/W film for some time, but I can understand that E6 is in a late phase if that is the case.
     
  11. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    Unfortunately, I feel Fuji is now stuck with E6 film and Kodak may have made the wiser, but unpopular, choice. Kodak produces a small variety of color negative films but Fuji much less so, rather concentrating on the E6 market. Digital has all but eaten reversal film. CN film may have a much longer life due to it's better latitude. Obviously, we would all wish none of the manufacturers had cut anything. I haven't been a slide film shooter for a long time but I don't like to see anyone lose the materials they like.

    It seems hard to believe a bottom has not been found by this point. The general public (aka soccer moms) haven't used film in years and even digbibal P&S units have mostly given way to cell phones. Few SM's use anything but phones any longer.

    If is wasn't so sad, it's almost humorous to note that 10 to 15 years ago, the silver halide imaging market was at the top of it's game and today so few people really even recall it. This past weekend I spotted my first film camera in the wild in years, other than mine, of course. It was a disposable, but it was film.

    -- Jason
     
  12. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Was that film demand overall i.e total film sales are down or simply that Fuji film sales are down?

    I wonder what the trend for Ilford film sales are? Of the three major film makers only Ilford seem to have made a commitment to be "last man standing" so its Ilford's fortunes that maybe needs to concern us the most.

    pentaxuser
     
  13. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    For the first time ever, I'm starting to think that E6 isn't worth the cost and hassle of trying to get it processed. I dont't think there is any service now in the UK which allows you to buy a prepaid mailer at a reasonable price (now that Jessops have finished....anyone like a few mailers which are no longer valid!), and postage is a killer. I process my own E6 sometimes, but when supplies of slide film in my freezer are exhausted, that will be that so far as I'm concerned. :sad:
     
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  15. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    I think the future of reversal/slide film will follow the Agfa/Rollei model of making a color film on a clear base with no orange mask that can be processed as a negative or a transparency.

    The orange mask is not needed anymore since all color photos are digitally scanned and printed now. And the handful of people or labs that print CN optically is irrelevant.

    I expect to see a future offering from Fujifilm or Kodak that accommodates both methods.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2013
  16. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Don't agree. I think the most committed colour shooters are the Lomo crowd. They tend not to shoot black and white at all from what I see, but convert afterwards.
    I think the majority of people shooting 'pro' black and white films, only shoot black and white.

    I'd like to see an APUG poll on 'who shoots colour neg consistently'. It probably wouldn't be double figures.
     
  17. Prest_400

    Prest_400 Member

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    There was a cycling racing event here in the past weekend. Went to the teams' concentration and saw 2 film cameras! A middle aged man carrying a silver EOS and a younger man (30s) with a nikon (F4 perhaps).
    The mainstream market has shifted to smartphones. You get to see more people shooting with phones than compacts in some occasions.

    Something I'd love to do is shoot medium format slides... 6x7 or 6x9. But given my very thrifty student situation, that won't be possible for a while. :sad:
     
  18. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    I think the economy may have a roll in this as well. Even if the film market were stable, raw materials are costing more. We've seen steady price increases for almost everything for quite some time.
     
  19. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Fujifilm consistently states that they will be with film to the very end. The problem is, the end is not pretty, what with one or two different films left. It's the long long slow slide to the end that is seemingly unable to be stopped.

    At least at this point no films are being discontinued.

    WHEN will the bottom be reached in the film market?
     
  20. OzJohn

    OzJohn Member

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    It's a bit off-topic but the following arrived in my inbox this morning from PMA:

    "April 30th 2013 marks the twenty fifth anniversary of the opening of World Expo 88 in Brisbane, Queensland. The event ran for six months from 30th April until 30th October 1988.

    An Expo is a world's fair, where nations and corporations gather together to review and predict our cultural and technological evolution through exhibitions and demonstrations of their achievement.

    The 600 million plus event was fully sanctioned by the bureau of International Expositions based in Paris, and ran with the theme 'leisure in the Age of technology".

    World Expo 88 was sread over 40 hectares on the South bank of the Brisbane River, within 800 meters of the CBD. The total attendance for the six-month event was 15,760,000

    Hanimex - Fuji as the official suppliers of Film and Cameras to World Expo 88 were responsible for the set up and running of three (3) on site one hour minilabs as well as the photographic media centre.

    The onsite official media centre was set up for use by accredited photographers for the duration of World Expo 88. On site processing and printing of black & white and C-41 compatible color negatives was available, while E-6 was processed off site by F-Stop Color Laboratory via regular courier runs organized by the media centre.

    Black & white processing and printing was handled at no charge with C-41 and E-6 services made available at tax-free prices. A full range of color and black & white film (as long as it was Fuji) was also available at the sales and service counter.

    The Hanimex -Fuji minilabs were operational from 30.04.1988 to 30.10.1988 a total of 184 working days, during this time three minilabs processed in excess of 74.000 rolls. The hours of operation were 10:00 to 22:00 (these hours were laid down as part of the agreement with World Expo 88 and could not be altered.

    Each outlet (with the exception of the Media Centre) was very small - only16m2. In this space room was made to fit film and paper processors, counters, two cash registers, paper/chemistry, stock,drums for photographic effluent and the most important ingredient up to five (5) staff members at any one time.

    Of the three on site minilabs one K420 handled almost 60% (44,000) of all rolls processed and sold in excess of 100,000 rolls of films.

    World Expo 88 saw the introduction of the Fuji Quicksnap with over 5000 processed in around three (3) months.

    Some interesting numbers from World Expo 88

    80 - the percentage of rolls that were 100 iso
    61 - the percentage of rolls that were 24exp
    74 - the percentage of customers that could either load or unload film from 135mm cameras.
    300,000 - the number of season passes sold all bearing the message "Image by Fuji Film
    0.8 - the percentage of sales that required a credit card transaction
    7 - the percentage of rolls processed with a second set of prints
    22.6 - the average number of frames per film
    2.4 the percentage of reversal rolls processed
    1.3 the percentage of rolls that were blank
    We processed 118.5 klms of film and produced enough 4" x 6" prints to cover the Sydney Opera House more than twice."


    The 1988 Expo was small in comparison to others that have been held but the Australian population in that year was just 16.5 million so Fuji did very well with 3 minilabs. They were the days. OzJohn
     
  21. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    Wow, 26% of camera users couldn't even load/unload their own film? Maybe that translates to today, in some way like 90% of users don't know how to shoot RAW?

    0.8% used a credit card, so what 10% BankCard, 20% Cheque, 69.2% Cash? That'd be a small kiosk worth robbing...
     
  22. noacronym

    noacronym Member

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    Well, well, well, some truth. The "economy". And for "quite some time". Yes, quite some time--about 6 years. But this is where I have to be a good boy and halt further comment, lest I break into a political rant. I WON'T do it, no matter how the temptation. I CAN say that it is noteworthy you won't see any of the runaway inflation of the last several years anywhere in the (American) media. In MY 56 years of living, this has been the most inflationary period ever. And as goes the American economy, so goes the rest of the world. We've got a problem. I hope film manufacture will survive the next "several" years. Just this week, unemployment is back to 10% in NC. Struggling to pay my mortgage and buy gas is a struggle, but living in a world without film is just too heartbreaking to contemplate.
     
  23. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Runaway inflation? Maybe I'm sheltered here in Canada (although I suspect our numbers are very similar to those in the US). While fossil fuel prices remain volatile, overall, inflation in my country has averaged between 1 and 2% the last several years. Back in the early 1980s, inflation was in the mid-teens as a percentage.

    Film prices are going up fast, but they are a small part of the economy, and consumer electronics generally go down in price as time moves on.

    Film prices will stabilize at some point, assuming silver prices and oil prices stabilize too (film base is a fossil fuel product, and films obviously have to be shipped from their point of manufacture to the consumer), but film photography is always going to be a little expensive compared to digital, the same that fountain pen ink is expensive compared to cheap, disposable ballpoint pens. The market has changed, but the prior option will remain for those who want to pay for it (like us).
     
  24. Sal Santamaura

    Sal Santamaura Member

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  25. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    A a professional buyer for a wide range of manufactured goods, I say that overall, the last decade has
    seen less inflation and more price stability than any time I can remember. Certain deliberately gamed
    commodities like steel or copper could wildly fluctuate at times. Certain products like paint which are
    held hostage to limited sources of titanium oxide etc have gone up. Food is inevitably going to go up
    due to more severe droughts and increased competition for water from sprawl and energy extraction etc.
    But film just seems to be doing the inevitable once price wars have stopped, with Kodak and Fuji no
    longer competing head to head in identical categoris, and the product is no longer essentially subsidized. Those kinds of wars are now going on in amateur digital cameras betwen various companies, some of whom are risking their neck. Otherwise, things dependent on petrochemicals like
    film base have also inevitably gone up. I shoot 8x10, so I'm painfully aware of cost increases, but as
    long as I can remember, film this size wasn't exactly cheap and required a commitment. But at least
    color paper is quite affordable now.
     
  26. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Jim - digital photog might be affordable if one's goal is just viewing things on the web. But there's nothing particularly cheap about inkjet expendables. That's an arena that is obscenely profitable to
    the ink manufacturers, just as in office printers. And they gouge for plain paper with just some appropriate sizing - no silver, dyes, or gelatin, which traditionally determined the cost of paper. You
    often pay more for a blank sheet! So yeah, folks might save some money on film, but they pay thru
    the nose to print it. And at a high quality level, they really pay. Or, for someone like me, who often
    works in 8x10, the wannabee quality equivalent would either be a very harsh equipment investment,
    or be a pipedream. Film photography still has a lot going for it, in any format.