Alternatives to Portra

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Let's Take Your Car, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. Let's Take Your Car

    Let's Take Your Car Subscriber

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    Given the recent news about Kodak's Chapter 11 filing, it is hard not to consider alternatives to Portra for the future. Does anyone know of anything that could act as a substitute? Fuji Reala, I guess?

    I have talk to some who believe that Portra will survive in some form, whether it be Kodak continuing to make it or another firm producing down the road. There has been a good bit of R&D dollars spent on Portra, it would be a shame to just chuck it in the trash.

    David
     
  2. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Member

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    Don't assume that same fall in demand for Kodak film is not also happening to Fuji. This is not a case of Kodak customers leaving the brand and stalling sales. This is about a worldwide collapse of demand for film at industrial scale production. At some point, although not through bankruptcy, Fuji will have to deal with its productive capacity and film's loss of revenues.

    If Portra is that good, and it can form the basis of some private venture firm incorporates the product line as an alternative medium to digital, likely with motion picture film forming the basis of supply.
     
  3. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    All kinds of things are going to be chucked and trashed. We just don't know which yet. Film will probably be around just as long as any of the specifically current digital options. To continue to make money any mfg has to have something expendable, and if it isn't film, it's going to be the
    electronics or associated software itself. Most pros have figured this out by now, and not all of them
    can afford to rebuy every few years, so the long term prognosis for pro film looks pretty good as long
    as it generates a sufficient scale of film base mfg. But this differs from format to format. A really
    complicated problem which is very difficult to predict one way or the other at the moment. Why not
    just buy whatever Portra you can afford and freeze it?
     
  4. film_man

    film_man Member

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    If Ilford can get by selling film I'm sure someone can buy Kodak's colour film division and make a profit.
     
  5. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Mfg a high-quality color film is a vastly more complicated task than black-and-white products. Nobody but EK and Fuji have that kind of R&D muscle anymore, er ... now Fuji only, unless some
    brave investors can leverage Kodak's film label independently of the rest of the train wreck. Let's
    hope so, but at this point it's anyone's guess. And Fuji is largely inscrutable and probably won't tip
    their hand anyway until the Kodak issue is first resolved.
     
  6. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Fuji 160NS/S is a magnificent film.
     
  7. mesh

    mesh Member

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    I am possibly panicking prematurely, but my solution is to do a biggish Portra and Ektar order ASAP ;-) tomalophicon... are you interested?
     
  8. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Mesh, YES!
     
  9. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Right, imo.
    I know the increase in digital is a big part of the Kodak "slump," but isn't a bigger part the fact that they didn't adjust from a managerial standpoint? Ilford is doing ok, as far as we know, doing just film, chemicals, and paper. If Kodak had downsized their production and made it more possible to continue limited runs, but still make many film types, they might be in different shape. They followed the market rather than finding a niche and sticking with it. They were trying too hard to be something for everyone rather making a decision and following through. Just my non-knowledgeable 2 cents.
     
  10. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    The downside of us all hoarding color film is that it will temporarily depress the demand for startup
    of new production. Any potential investment group will probably get a skewed perspective on the
    long-term demand, as will Fuji. Analogously, when Ilford was going down and everyone started stockpiling their film and paper, it was what allegedly tipped Forte out of business, due to short-term
    lack of demand. But what choice do we have? For one thing, if there is some degree of continued
    availability, keep buying it and rotate your freezer inventory. Otherwise, we might not only lose color
    neg film but even the ability to process it. It takes a fair amt of volue to keep those C41 lines in
    commercial operation, and even home kits are probably dependent upon larger volumes of certain
    chemicals staying viable. Ironic, however, that just as soon C41 films have hit their peak of quality,
    the plug might get pulled.
     
  11. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I am sticking to Portra.
     
  12. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    FFS, isn't there enough threads about the doom and gloom of Kodak? The OP asked a simple question, is there an alteranative to Portra.

    Why do we have to start yet another long and bulls..t discussion about kodak?

    To the OP, there really is only one alternative at the moment - it's Fuji. I wouldn't call Reala an alternative, I'd be looking at the Pro 160 range and 400H for higher speeds.
     
  13. Alan Klein

    Alan Klein Member

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    In 2010, Kodak made $64 million on over $1B in film sales. They also have other divisions (digital, etc). The problem is that overhead and debt are bleeding them dry as are legacy costs like pensions. If Chapter 11 bankruptcy can reduce these, and they trim down expenses and overhead, they can start making profits again and will survive. That's the purpose of Chapter 11. It's not a liquidation like Chapter 7.
     
  14. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    It's very premature to assume that Portra won't be around. It looks like the most viable product line
    in still color film at the moment and is likely to survive this downsizing. But if you want to try Fuji
    160 somebody probably still has some around, or you could get a sample shipped in from Japan. It's
    high-quality stuff, just a step or two behind what EK is doing with Portra.
     
  15. stavrosk

    stavrosk Member

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    There are not many alternatives to Portra.
    Portra 160 -> Fuji 160 S
    Portra 400 -> Fuji 400h