Analog and love it but worried

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the APUG Community' started by Rtcjr, Jul 21, 2013.

  1. Rtcjr

    Rtcjr Member

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    Hi all,

    Have been shooting digital for a while now and just cannot embrace it. A propensity to shoot a gazillion shots and little keepers. Never really part of the process, never taking the time to be sure if the shot is even worth the nanosecond it will take to upload somewhere.

    I bought an F4 late last year, have a couple of primes and thoroughly enjoy the process and the looks from some people. Before I invest more into the medium (would like to try MF someday), can an informed someone please comment on the reality of film availability in the future? Are we looking at a slow death or will we have a niche market that will be sustained so people like us can enjoy this process.

    Thank you
     
  2. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Don't worry re 120 film! With companies like Ilford, Kodak, ADOX, there's nothin to worry about! Plus entry level MF cameras are really inexpensive now (rbz, bronica, tlr). Go all in!!!

    If you don't belive me that there's nothing to worry about, check out what Mirko (of ADOX, maker of Rodinal) said about analog sustainability....this guy knows the math, he's not just some guy on the Internet with some "theory", he's got capital, staff, customers, and I trust what he says below...

    http://www.apug.org/forums/viewpost.php?p=1268761
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2013
  3. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    Hi,

    I think it's an issue everyone on this forum get concerned. Here's how I think about the issue.

    I think no one on this forum can give you a definite answer. I would also think, manufactures themselves may not be able to predict how long they will manufacture their last film. Many are reducing their product line up because of the demand and thus prolonging the availability of film as whole.

    Assuming your intent is to stay in photography, I think the choice is fairly clear. Say you want an SLR of any kind, digital, 35mm, or 120 (MF), you have certain expenditures. You pay for the body, lens, and supplies, and thus you have an annual expense. That's ultimately what your concern is, isn't it? You don't want to end up with an equipment with its associated expense and no use. Say, you spent X amount of dollars or whatever your local currency, and no way to use it because supplies have dried up.

    IF you are going to be in digital realm, you have this upgrade thing going because the technology is constantly evolving and improving. So you have X amount of dollars spent per certain period. I have to say this value is rather high.... and fairly short lived. When it comes to film gear, the advancement is basically over. You can get a top level gear for basically nothing. I have a set of newly acquired Mamiya RB with all the lens I could possibly want and I spent about $1500 I think. I intend to use it for few years at minimum. I think it's a safe bet 120 film will be around for few years, possibly quite a bit longer. So my annual expense falls....

    I fully predict, at certain point in time in future, film and whatever needed will be so expensive and rare it will be impractical. But, because of this annualized expense being relatively low, I have no issue buying whatever I want and need and ENJOY IT NOW and for foreseeable future. Also, my interest may change and future situation may change. I don't try to predict the future for more than few years at a time for something like this. And for the next few years, it looks pretty stable.

    Also consider, hobby expenses are ultimately a waste, if you want to really analyze it. You get enjoyment out of it and that's your ROI. (Return on investment) So I say don't worry, buy it, and get the maximum enjoyment out of it.

    I don't know your age, financial situation, interest, future plans, or anything, so what I said may or may not relate to you. But this is how I think about the issue.

    And I'm heading out with my newly acquired (pair of) Horizon Perfekt, a panoramic film camera I just bought new. I spent about $500 for two. (they were on sale)

    PS. I fully expect 120 film to be readily available at reasonable cost for 5 years. I also expect it'll be available in one form or another for 10 years at obtainable costs. I think, 15 to 20 year span may be questionable. How's that for a bold prediction?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2013
  4. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Why worry about something you cannot do anything about? What will be will be. You may be gone before film. Shoot & enjoy today.
     
  5. Light Guru

    Light Guru Member

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    Skip medium format and start using large format. If they ever stop making film you can always make your own wet plates.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk 2
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Interesting that there's a revival of production in many areas, the Impossible, Project, Fotoimpex/Adox and now Ferrania. Seems to be a good omen.

    Ian
     
  7. Paul Glover

    Paul Glover Member

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    Don't worry, shoot film, be happy. :smile:

    I don't expect film to disappear overnight, if it were to disappear at all. Individual product lines, yes. That happens, but you aren't going to wake up one day and find all film is just gone.
     
  8. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    Honestly, I am not worried about our medium. Food for thought, if you will:

    "From today, painting is dead!” Paul Delaroche, 1839 (commenting on the announcement of the Daguerreotype).
     
  9. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Welcome to APUG
     
  10. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    All I can say is: LOL.

    The truth is simple: We do not know.

    But my personal take is even simpler: I will die one day, and I want to live a happy life. A happy life involves a lot of Quality time spent in my Darkroom producing Quality prints.
    Living life involves making and spending money. I decide to spend my money on Film and paper and equipment. Some others prefer to spend their money on cars and boats. Or shoes.

    What's the big deal? I don't understand the people that stop using film because one day it will be gone... As if they'll live 1000 years!
     
  11. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    And it died in many, many, many of its forms from that day on (maps, ads, all forms of communications...).

    Just like today, film is dead in many of its forms. Film and painting has become a niche and that's it. It will remain that way.
     
  12. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Who has ever produced a digital masterpiece ?
     
  13. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    Welcome to APUG!
    I look at it as something I enjoy. If I can ever make a little money, that's good, too, but I'm mostly in it for me. I figure the more I and others shoot and print, the longer it will be around. So if you like film and want to keep shooting it, doing so has more of a chance to make that happen. I'm about to buy a brand new 4x5 soon, too, and I'm fairly sure I'll have film to use with it.
     
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  15. gleaf

    gleaf Subscriber

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    Congratulations, one master roll of film base can be 51 inches width (Kodak's standard width) and a mile or more long. Your choice of analog film proved to those who risked making the master roll that one more person approves of their work. You get to vote with your money. It is what drives every corner of the economy. The coin of the realm you spend on anything is well tracked by everyone who understands that your dollar, peso, euro, pound sterling, creates jobs. Jobs which pay real wages. Economy is the money people have to spend as they like, not for required necessities of life. Enjoy your voyage in analog. We appreciate your vote of confidence in our corner of endeavor. The multitude has gone digital the same way that they went to simple cameras that were the key to Kodak's success. The market has returned to the 'serious about analog' people size. There are 3.5 times the world population as there was when mass market film began. That is a bit bigger market than Kodak and others had to work with. Don't worry about getting the start perfect... just enjoy the start and the voyage.
     
  16. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Why troll the OP's thread?

    And for your information some folks in this world think there can be such a thing as a digital masterpiece. I believe that the #1 and #2 most expensive photographs used digital means....regardless if these types of art meet your or my taste, they are masterpieces to some....regardless if we think "piece" of X or Y....

    I choose not to comment re what I think of these works of art, because our OP has a legitimate question, not a question of "what is art"....

    http://petapixel.com/2012/05/09/simulated-battlefield-photo-sells-for-3-6-million-sets-canadian-record/
     
  17. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    If film becomes unavailable you can spend the time reproducing the negatives you have already shot in different ways.
     
  18. Mark Feldstein

    Mark Feldstein Member

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    There's no doubt that digital photography has greatly changed the photographic industry. IMO, your question RT, has become like a new age-old question. I don't think there's really any way to accurately answer it just like there's no way to accurately predict the future. I can offer a lot of analogies and and an equal number of hypotheticals but to what end? Manufacturers dreamed of coming up with products with built-in obsolescence and their marketing firms have a field day selling products that out do each other soon after the older ones are released. Not so with analog equipment, accessories and collateral services. Even when companies like Canon and Nikon, among others, zealously pursued digital equipment research and manufacturing, they still provided some support for analog users and hedged their bets as did repair outfits including ones that started buying up huge inventories of analog parts.

    I have an uncle who is a world class photographer. His manual analog camera skills are incredible. He creates spectacular images in b&w using very very old Hasselblad and Nikon Equipment, Weston or Lunasix exposure meters coupled with his accumulated knowledge. Assisting or just watching him work in the darkroom making amazing prints off of expired film, long-expired fiber based paper, is like a religious experience. One day I asked him why he never crossed the digital line. He simply told me "because I know, I understand and I love analog." He mentored me. He still does. He's 89 years old.

    On another day, he asked me why I drove a 47 year-old Ford pick-up truck and a 72 Mustang convertible. I told him "because I know them, understand them love them and their respective mechanical processes.

    I've been a photojournalist for 41 years. I do corporate image work and documentaries, mostly in black and white, all on film. I never crossed into the unknown realm of digital photography that so many were so quick to latch onto. I stayed pat and rather than modifying my equipment and techniques, found substantial uniqueness in marketing and promoting myself as a film shooter. I've carved my niche out shooting with film not pixels. Art directors, ad agencies, marketing directors, illustrators that I work with retain me not simply because of my photographic vision but because of how I record and present them. I still work with commercial printers and supervise press runs. I love doing what I do and I teach as well.

    So to answer your questions, my advice to you and anyone here or someone who calls attention to my old Nikon F2As or Leicas or Hasselblads is that if you love something be it a process or a machine or an inanimate object like a camera or meter or the smell of darkroom chemicals, the texture of fiber based paper, then love it passionately and unconditionally and be proud to show your love, respect and admiration for those things. While you gather new knowledge of those things from others, share your own knowledge of those things you like and love with others. Stay in the moment.

    Don't worry about whether or not those things you love or even just like will be around in the future. Enjoy them, love them for what they are now. Live in the moment. And don't ever be reluctant or afraid to drive old cars or trucks if you know, understand, love and respect them.
    Take it light ;>)
    Mark
     
  19. omaha

    omaha Member

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    FWIW (and truth be told, its not much) my take goes like this:

    The making of photography film is a very mature, very well understood process. The only real risk to ongoing availability (meaning into the indefinite future) would come from a lack of availability of some of the precursor components. As long as those components (I'm thinking about the various industrial chemicals/emulsions/whatevers that go into coating the film) are available, film will be available.

    How ever small the market becomes, there will be manufacturers who want to serve it. It may very well be that film turns into more of a "craft" industry, with small shops making product in small batches.

    And I can see availability getting squeezed from the bottom up in terms of format because of packaging: 35mm is harder than 120 is harder than sheet. Maybe sheet film, produced by craft shops in small batches is what the future of film looks like.

    But as long as you can buy the substrate and the precursor chemistry at reasonable prices, there will always be film.
     
  20. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I skimmed the other responses and didn't see this so my apologies of someone mentioned it, but I think it depends a lot whether we are talking about black and white or color. Color transparency is already in its death throes. Print film will last a lot longer but the selections are already down to a few, albeit wonderfully excellent, emulsions. I'd be worried about it too eventually.

    Black and white is so much easier to manufacture in small lots that I am unconcerned. Besides Ilford, whom Simon called "robustly profitable" there are also small companies like Afox and Foma making good products. No worries about B&W IMHO.
     
  21. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Well said Mark and what a beautiful post.
     
  22. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

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    I too skimmed the above statements and agree with this post, exactly.

    I do not believe film color photography will last very long. Anyone who believes so is very optimisitc IMO.

    Black and white emulsions on the other hand will last a very long time. Maybe not YOUR favorite film but film will still be available.
     
  23. paul_c5x4

    paul_c5x4 Subscriber

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    IF all film production ceased overnight, we still have the option of rolling back the clock and pouring our own plates. This however, is very much dependent on the availability of the raw chemicals - The way things are going, even the purchase of sodium chloride might become restricted to a few licensed individuals at some point in the future.
     
  24. omaha

    omaha Member

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    Not to mention dihydrogen monoxide.
     
  25. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I'll be long dead when film is dead! :tongue: Don't worry about it. BTW welcome to APUG.

    Jeff
     
  26. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    My doctor when doing a digital exam on my prostrate, but that is a story for another time and another place. :whistling: