APS/Advantix Film Discontinued

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by nexus757, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. nexus757

    nexus757 Member

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    Anyone else notice that Kodak has just now quietly discontinued the last APS/Advantix film? Might be a good time to take a last spin with your APS camera while there is a little fresh still on the shelves.

    I doubt anyone will ever be able to reload this format as some do with 110, so after it's gone it really will be dead as disc:

    http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQuerier.jhtml?pq-locale=en_US&pq-path=1096
     
  2. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Kodak has had a bad history in coming up with odd film sizes. I think that it was their hope that other camera manufacturers would get on the band wagon. Add to the list instatmatic, 828, and 620 films.
     
  3. chriscrawfordphoto

    chriscrawfordphoto Member

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    Fuji also made APS film, and the cameras were made by Kodak, Fuji, Nikon, Canon, and Minolta. So, it did catch on with manufacturers, but I think consumers were turned off by the high price of the film and especially high price of processing compared to 35mm film. I worked at a one hour lab when this stuff was introduced years ago and people bought the cameras cause they had a lot of cool features, then were SHOCKED by the processing cost, nearly twice 35mm at that time!
     
  4. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    And the fact that it came out just as digital was taking hold. Double Whammy!!!
     
  5. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    Good riddance.

    APS cameras weren't significantly smaller than 35mm, the cartridges were a pain in the rear for the lab tech, and prints were significantly grainy beyond 4x6 (which was already a bit of a stretch for the format).
     
  6. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    APS was the result of a collaborative effort of the major film manufacturers and the major camera makers. It certainly wasn't Kodak all by themselves.
    Who didn't jump on the band wagon the way they had hoped was the public.
     
  7. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    And APS was intended to be the transition point into a film and digital combination - same size film and sensors, enhanced data storage capabilities, etc.
     
  8. DBP

    DBP Member

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    Not exactly shocking. APS was always a hard film to find a use case for, even if not the misbegotten mistake disc film was.
     
  9. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I always thought it had potential for miniature cameras. Unfortunately the APS cameras weren't that much smaller than 35mm cameras for some reason.
     
  10. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Subscriber

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    APS was the answer to questions that the film industry kept asking for decades, it just arrived late.

    First of all, it is fool-proof. You just insert a plastic cartridge inside the camera and close the door. Just like with 126 or 110. This is very important if you want to increase film sales. Many persons, my parents included, would just have the roll loaded in the camera by the shop-keeper. And when they have finished the roll, they keep all the camera to the shop. Imagine how much that can damage film sales.

    Also, the APS format allows the use to change, in a perfectly easy and error-free way, a roll mid-way. You can switch from ISO 100 to ISO 800 and back with almost the same ease as with digital. The camera IIRC remembers where the cassette was extracted and when you put it again in the camera it aligns the film with the first useful frame, no error, no waste.

    The APS format gives the user the negative (or possibly slides) back inside the cartridge, where they can be perfectly preserved for decades. No more stripes of 4 when you have sleeves of 6, no more dust and scratches on old negatives. You never touch negatives or slides. You don't need cutting and touching to frame slides (you don't frame slides).

    It is possible to devise, and it was done, APS film scanners where you just put the cartridge in it, and the scanner will scan the entire roll in sequence, without need of assistance. Now you either deal with - in the best case - stripes of 6 frames, or you scan mounted slides one by one. It goes without saying that with mounted slides you have dust problems that are possibly very reduced with APS cassettes (the cartridge is light-tight and so also pretty much dust-tight).

    Is possible to devise a slide projector that is programmable for each cartridge so that the scanner knows which slides it has to skip during projection. No more frames, no more putting all the frames inside carriages with the occasional slide upside-down, and then putting them again inside the plastic box. And imagine a slide projection without all the click-clack-stomp between frames (and without stuck slides).

    I think APS was basically a great idea, with some flaws IMO:

    1) they chose a format smaller than 24 x 36. That condemned the format to the casual user niche. Professionals need quality. Advanced amateurs mostly tend to copy the behaviour of professionals or what they perceive as such. By choosing a small film surface, they confined the APS format to the typical Instamatic or 100 or photodisc user. If a camera wants to exploit all the possibilities of the APS it has to cost something more than the bare minimum. Slides, where the APS format could have had a very bright future, were entirely missed because slides are for advanced amateurs looking for quality, not for the Instamatic market.

    2) The producers presumably did not help financially the laboratories. Laboratories had to make an investment to work with APS. Most didn't. That alone would have killed APS, a new format needs acceptance all over the productive chain.

    3) The old same VHS - Betamax story, or the PC effect. Once there is a huge "installed base" for a certain platform, for a new platform it is quite difficult to entrench itself in the market. People want to use their investment. Professionals need to use their heavy investment. Even if the film surface had been deemed enough quality-wise, professionals would not invest in a totally new system (new camera and new lenses at least). Again, professionals acceptance is the key to the high-end amateur market, where probably most of the money is.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2011
  11. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    IMO, a lot of the things that APS did or at least tried to do might have been able to be done by 35mm stock with either a magnetic stripe on it (like APS has) or even optical imprinting on the rebate. Use the 35mm format could have allowed Kodak to use only one film to fill both types of cassettes. I also believe that if Kodak was really and truly thinking ahead to today they might have even made it so that the cameras could have been adapted to use a standard 35mm cassettes after APS cassettes went out of production.

    As others have said, that magnetic strip and odd film size ensures that APS cameras will go the way of the Kodak disc.
     
  12. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Ever see a Canon ELPH? The Canon, Minolta and Nikon SLRs were quite small. The stainless-clad Canon IX was a nice piece of industrial design and took EF 35mm lenses, unlike Nikon and Minolta models. The IQ from the SLR systems cameras wasn't bad.
     
  13. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    And unlike a lot of other extinct formats, you can't buy larger roll film and re-spool/cut down to keep them working, like 828 or 620.
     
  14. BetterSense

    BetterSense Member

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    I actually have a Canon ELPH. It's the exception in that it is smaller than would probably be allowed by 35mm. Nevertheless the Stylus Epic and other miniature 35mm cameras set a high standard for smallness.
     
  15. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Also remember that APS was put in those silly little cartridges to address a market-research generated issue, of people being intimidated by loading and unloading 35mm film. The whole idea was drop-n-go. But I think that once all the retirees who were insufficiently dextrous or mindful enough to handle opening the back of the camera and remembering to rewind the film bought theirs, that market was pretty well saturated.
     
  16. CGW

    CGW Member

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    But I think that once all the retirees who were insufficiently dextrous or mindful enough to handle opening the back of the camera and remembering to rewind the film bought theirs, that market was pretty well saturated.

    Screwing up film loading/rewinding remains an equal opportunity affair. APS sold well in Japan largely for its convenience and its compact cameras. Processing was never as cheap as 35mm. There was also the surprise on pick-up of different prices for the variable-size prints that pissed off customers.
     
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I worked in camera stores in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

    The "complexities" of 35mm film seem to intimidate and defeat a huge number of people - there was a reason that 126/110/disc films were very popular.

    I assure you that it wasn't just marketing.
     
  18. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    My store I worked at also had the disadvantage on the pricing end of having to send out the APS to the Kodak lab - we lacked the machinery in-house to process it, so it was not price-competitive with 35mm film. I wasn't implying that it was JUST marketing - but that those in need of that feature of APS were a limited audience. Heck, I can remember having to help folks un-jam APS cartridges from their cameras because they stuffed them in wrong.
     
  19. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Thought the design stopped that...
     
  20. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Never underestimate the power of the idiot to disprove the notion of idiot-proof.
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Like the customer we dealt with who complained about the fragility of the camera we sold him (a Konica SLR).

    Eventually we learned that he carried the camera in one of those aluminium suitcase/attaché type cases ....

    ....that for convenience had all the cushioning foam removed from it:blink:
     
  22. ajuk

    ajuk Member

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    Silly question, but aren't there more obscure formats than this still in production?

    Yeah why didn't that ever happen, I had (well still have but it's Broken) an Olympus Stylus Epic DLX, the Stylus Epic to me stands as one of the reasons why APS failed, it was tiny, it had date imprinting, auto loading and a Panoramic mode. Now I thought the panoramic mode would use the data back to leave an instruction on the film that told the lab to print it like that, but no it was just two pieces of black plastic.
     
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  23. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    Well some of it WAS fixed in 35mm. 35mm cameras did advance to the point where loading was "put the film in and close the back." I have a Stylus Zoom 140 I picked up at Goodwill for twelve bucks (I think it was) and that's it - put the film in, lay the leader across the back, and close the back. Loads automagically, rewinds automagically at the end of the roll. Sure it doesn't keep the negatives in the cartridge and all but most people who had trouble loading film also never used the negatives again and were quite content with the one or two sets of 4x6 prints they got the first time.
     
  24. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    they did a pretty solid job in coming up with 120 filma hundred years ago!