An excellent presentation by Ilford Photo/Harman Technologies rep Michael Bain

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by vdonovan, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. vdonovan

    vdonovan Subscriber

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    I attended a talk this week by Michael Bain, Ilford Photo's North American rep. It was a fascinating and inspiring talk about Ilford's path through the changing photographic landscape over the years. The black and white film market is a fraction of what it was, but they have restructured the company around the new realities. Interestingly, 35mm film sales are flat, but Ilford is seeing steady growth in medium and large format film. In printing paper, RC paper sales are flat, but there is growth in fiber papers, which is where they've launched new products.

    He emphasized over and over that Ilford Photo is financially healthy and fully committed to black and white film photography. They are a small company facing a changing market, so they are very conservative in their operations. With sound financial management, they hope to preserve their existing product line, even the smaller-volume products, while finding new ways to grow.

    Like everyone else in the world, Michael expressed frustration that people often confuse Ilford Photo, the financially healthy black and white film photography company, with Ilford Imaging, the now-bankrupt manufacturer of digital printing paper. They actually got stung by Ilford Imaging, because Ilford Imaging was the source for the emulsion for Ilford Photo's direct positive paper. Now that Imaging is bankrupt, they are not supplying the emulsion. Ilford Photo is trying to purchase the formula, but it has proved to be very expensive to try to work through the Swiss bankruptcy system. At the very least they've learned not to rely on another company for a key component.
     
  2. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Good news to hear! Ilford is the ONE reason film photographers can believe in a future. Kodak offers nothing as well as Fujifilm.

    Much praise to Ilford!
     
  3. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I am very happy that Ilford is still around, and that they have the business practices they do. At least here in America they serve the market exceedingly well. After using up my remaining three rolls of 120 TMY-2 and four rolls of 120 Tri-X, I have nothing but Ilford films in my camera bag, and Ilford papers in my darkroom (except for the old stuff I use for lith printing). In addition, I use Hypam fixer, which I buy in 5 liter containers locally, and Harman Selenium toner.

    Their involvement with the end users and presence in the online environment is encouraging and impressive.
     
  4. Trail Images

    Trail Images Subscriber

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    After over 30 years now of shooting nothing but transparency films I've injected B&W into my usage of films. Along with my normal transparency load of film I now carry 4x5 holders with B&W film along with a roll back with B&W for my RB as needed. And, yes, my move was to using Ilford based upon their apparent dedication to keeping film alive.
     
  5. AgX

    AgX Member

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    That of course had to be expected when doing that tradename agreement. It should be considered the price for Harman to gain use of "their" old name.

    Otherwise they had to pay a huge monetary price for promoting a new tradename as Orwo did in a similar situation.
     
  6. djhurley92

    djhurley92 Member

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    They used to make cameras... if they're looking for new ways to grow, perhaps they could develop a new digital b&w (repacking someone else's with a modified sensor).... there must be a lot of people who want a monochrom but can't afford it :tongue:. But more realistically photo books would be very cool with their print quality and paper.
     
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  7. omaha

    omaha Member

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    Ilford gives me hope for what the world of film will be like in the future: Niche manufacturers, highly responsive to a dedicated customer base.

    It seems like the writing is on the wall with Kodak. KA's goals and management don't seem aligned with film over the long term. My hope is that when the time comes that KA exits the market, it is done in such a way that an Ilford-style company is able to take over some of their product line.

    I hope whoever that is chooses to follow Ilford's model.
     
  8. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    They are making cameras! Three pinhole cameras.
    And they also make single use cameras with hp5 and XP2.
     
  9. djhurley92

    djhurley92 Member

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    Oh yeah!! I forgot about that. I actually bought an HP5 one as a gift for someone with processing included. It's a great way to get people in to film. The pinhole cameras are cool, but for special uses. In my post I was referencing their old general purpose 35mm cameras from the 60s.
     
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  10. AgX

    AgX Member

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    How could such a small company develop a different digital camera, whilst they are not even into electronics? They could not even give their name to a bought-in camera as that is not theirs. (Digital products are traded under the Harman brand anyway.)
     
  11. RattyMouse

    RattyMouse Subscriber

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    Whomever follows in the footsteps of Kodak will HAVE to follow Ilford's model. There's no other proven way to sell film profitably.
     
  12. MartinCrabtree

    MartinCrabtree Member

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    Been an Ilford user sine the '80s. Nice to see them thrive by a solid product followed up by innovative and sharp thinking.
     
  13. djhurley92

    djhurley92 Member

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    I'm really pleased they're doing well and will keep buying plenty of their film and chemicals...
     
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  15. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    I'm not at all surprised. The future of B&W imaging isn't in 'amateur products' like 35mm film and RC paper but rather, in products designed for the more committed photographers.
     
  16. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    Most of the greatest pictures (since the 30s) have been taken on 35mm.
     
  17. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    35mm photography is the format most likely to go digital.
     
  18. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    The medium format film camera companies are all out of business,
     
  19. analoguey

    analoguey Member

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    You are suggesting that the one successful B&W film maker, which is fully committed to analog - should go digital, ala on the lines of Kodak? :mad:
     
  20. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    So?

    Their existing cameras will last a very long time and there's no shortage of spares. Lots of people use Graflex products and it's been gone for how long?
     
  21. chip j

    chip j Subscriber

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    My point was that digital wiped out med format first.
     
  22. Pioneer

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    I am all in favor of Ilford, and I do buy quite a bit of medium and large format film from them. Black and white is terrific, but I still like to shoot color as well so I continue to support Kodak and Fuji. I for one will be very, very disappointed if they fold entirely. I am still very much addicted to Fuji slide film and to Kodak Portra films.

    IMHO there is still nothing quite like a well exposed medium format color slide. For the life of me I cannot understand how someone can claim that color digital is the way to go after looking at a medium format slide show.
     
  23. analoguey

    analoguey Member

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    They probably havent looked at it. I only recently shot some colour slides in 120 and was blown away!
     
  24. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I do not see 35mm and RC paper not being for the "more committed photographers".
     
  25. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Do not overlook that they offer products for digital photography since long time.
     
  26. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Buwahahahahahahahaha!