Does film have a future?

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by macandal, Aug 10, 2012.

  1. macandal

    macandal Member

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    I'm kicking myself for not saving it, but I read in a discussion somewhere, someone saying that shooting film was a losing proposition because, eventually, film would disappear. I always thought that film would always exist. Yes, my notion may be a little deranged, but I thought there would always be a market for film, a niche market but a market nonetheless. I like digital, but I love shooting film, and I would hate to see it go away. Does film have a future?

    (I searched but I couldn't find a discussion on this topic. Feel free to delete this if there is already talk of this somewhere here or to repost elsewhere if it doesn't belong here. Thanks.)
     
  2. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    This is one of the oldest, most-well-beaten-dead-horses on APUG. Short answer, yes, film has a future. Long answer, it depends on the type of film. There may not be a future for color negative film. There is probably a very limited future already for color transparency (slide) film. Black-and-white film is much easier to manufacture in small volumes; it can survive even if the market continues to contract. So if you are interested in shooting film, just keep on doing it and don't worry.
     
  3. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    To ask a question like this on a forum that's devoted entirely to film photography is like walking into a church and enquiring where the nearest mosque is. :pouty:
     
  4. macandal

    macandal Member

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    I don't know if, by this, you're also referring to the format. I, like you, it seems, shoot LF. I mean, I'm doing it more and more and would hate to see this stop or to switch to digital backs and all that. More than in my SLR, LF is something I love doing on film, color, transparency, or BW. Thanks.
     
  5. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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  6. macandal

    macandal Member

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  7. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    My pleasure. Happy reading!
     
  8. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    For such an antiquated and redundant technology the prices and demand for film cameras doesn't seem to have subsided much.

    I suspect the word hasn't gotten out there yet.
     
  9. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I'm talking in general. Color film production in other-than-35mm formats is highly dependent on motion picture film consumption. If/when film production in digital passes a critical-mass point, it will be no longer cost-effective to produce color emulsions. Part of the problem is that being able to sustain quality control for color film requires higher volume than b/w does. If you don't have the volume, the quality drops, and then you have a much higher loss at the plant, increasing costs, which then drives sales volume even lower.
     
  10. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Yep. Deadest horse on the site.
     
  11. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Yes but don't trust the present to provide many clues about the future. So far, Ilford is the surest bet for b&w. C-41 is the problem with MP materials' longevity the great unknown. E-6 materials are nearly dead. What's certain as it gets is that what survives will be pricier and less widely available than before. The demise of cheap C-41 35mm dev/print service in N. America said it all about color film consumption. But there is a future and it won't be totally awful--just very different than where many of us stand now.
     
  12. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I've been on photo.net since 1999 and on this site since 2003. Around 6-7 years ago people were saying on photo.net and photosig and a few other places I barely visit anymore that film would be really hard to get in 3 years and virtually gone within 5. They were very wrong.

    Can I get 120 or B&W 35mm at the local druggist anymore? no. Can I get it at anywhere from at least a dozen places around the SF bay area? yes. Can I get it mail order from hundreds of places? Yes.

    It's not leaving us any time soon if ever. And I suspect its use has bottomed and might be going up in many circles. Especially since more and more people are realizing that digital sucks. HA!
     
  13. macandal

    macandal Member

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    So true. I've gotten BW and color in MF, LF, and 35 mm. You have quite a few places to get it processed too, and a few other places that allow you to process your BW film.
     
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  15. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    Digital has all the benefits and few of the drawbacks of film photography with the added bonus of almost instant viewing. However there is nothing like exposing a film, developing it yourself and making prints from it. Sheer magic which digital will never equal. My ex wife came up with a good analogy for the two mediums :- Digital photographs do not have a soul!
     
  16. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    We still have three pro labs in town doing everything. Plus one hour c41 at some of the boxes, send out at others, with Fuji starting to dominate the hangars. Sounds like one market may not be all markets, and/or vice versa.

    Personally, I find pessimism to be a self fulfilling prophecy. Tomorrow never comes, so bloviating about it, particularly with a full bladder, is decidedly boorish IMO.

    If ya got it, stop whining and shoot it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 10, 2012
  17. zsas

    zsas Member

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    :whistling:

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Prof_Pixel

    Prof_Pixel Member

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    I think there are actually two questions:

    1. Does film have a future?

    2. Does AgX photography have a future?

    The answer to question 1. depends on the future demand for film. If at some time the demand for film products drop below a critical level (and none of us know what that is), film is gone.

    The answer to question 2. is only a function of the interests of present and future experimental minded photographers. As long as people care enough to experiment and make their own emulsions, AgX photography will survive.
     
  19. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Personally I find that aspect a huge detriment and distraction to my photography.
     
  20. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    When the 60 megapixel camera could be found from thrift shop for 1 dollar , I will never use film again :smile:
     
  21. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I am happy for this thread because I learned about the word "Bloviate".
     
  22. Phileas_Fogg

    Phileas_Fogg Member

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    If I may take an analogue audio analogy. For over 20 years post the intro of the CD and then MP3 to now downloads the death of vinyl sales was to be imminent. Yes, by the late 90's it was hanging on by a finger hold. But funny thing started to happen and ironically now fueled by the internet and social media. By the mid 2000's vinyl began to see a resurrection in popularity. More and more new vinyl is being made, once closed factories were snapped up for pennies on the dollar by smaller entrepreneurs and reopened in a smaller scale. Record player sales began to notably rise. Sales of used vinyl shot up. Not just aging boomers but the hipness of the younger demographic who are looking for an experience that is different and unique to the now daily drudgery of online life and downloads they partake in. No, none of these folks are going to ditch their digital media downloads and playback devices as such, but they want to get a feeling for what analogue audio gives and the now growing coolness of vinyl. Sharing this growing coolness with friends enhances this experience for them.

    Now nobody in their right mind suggests vinyl playback will reattain its halcyon days of the 70's. But it's being shown to have a lasting and growing pleasurable interest.

    I suggest we will see a similar lasting value for film over the years. No, film won't regain its status of sales and popularity. But it will maintain a useable base and enough so to be profitable all be it on a smaller scale and by design a way to be viable at such . Technology will be its asset in keeping costs of production under control. Ingenuity for this will be maintained by entrepreneurs, techs and engineers for what will be a stable and maybe improving market. There may be fewer sku's in the future but interest will be as in vinyl audio maintained and enhanced as such I think we will see film colour and B&W viable for a long time to come. No it may not ever be dirt cheap, but like vinyl its value will be enhanced and those who use it will value the cost to performance of it.

    Industries change and reshape but many a once doomed industry is still viable today but in a smaller scale and often a more profitable scale for those who partake. If I may make one more example.

    100+ years ago the automobile was a limited production item made by craftsmen. Henry Ford led the ideal of mass production and as such made cars viable to the masses. Hand crafting all but disappeared. Now 100+ years later we see a relative plethora of limited run, specialized and hand crafted for the most part autos. No, they are not a huge market but they see techs, engineers and craftsmen who partake of now do so with generally a healthy profit.
     
  23. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Don't forget "tendentious," either.
     
  24. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    It's why we are here, jeenyus.
     
  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    some say there is a future
    some say there isn't ..

    who cares ..

    enjoy it while you have it
    and when you don't, do something else ..
     
  26. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Ah yes, excellent. How very sagacious of you to see that.