Film cameras in 20 years? 50? 100?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by jamnut, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. jamnut

    jamnut Inactive

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    Those of us who enjoy analog photography are alright for now, even with diminishing resources, but the picture in 20 years could be quite different.
    Let's say that a supply of film and paper and chemicals is always around in the future. What about cameras?
    In short:
    1. Who will be willing to build film cameras?
    2. Who will have the know how to repair our present cameras?
    3. Where will we get the parts for our cameras?

    In 20 years, when 50 megapixel disposable cameras are common, who will take time for film cameras? What are your thoughts?
    Thanks!
     
  2. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Hmmm. There's a parallel. 8mm cine. And another, even more absurd. 9.5 mm cine. And another, less absurd. American-made press cameras.
     
  3. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Does it really matter to most of us, what is around in 50 years?

    Dave
     
  4. mark

    mark Member

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    My camera will still be working and I am sure film will be around then as well. Maybe as a niche market but who cares, it will be here. Contrary to what the digital world says on a regular basis, film is not dead nor will it be.
     
  5. rjs003

    rjs003 Subscriber

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    Local Amish farmers are still using farm equipment that is 100 years old and they still produce bountiful crops. Most of my cameras are several years old and seem to be able to take great pictures despite my lack of talent. So I don't think we need to worry about our the future of our equipment.
     
  6. fingel

    fingel Member

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    I would guess that at least for large format cameras, the same people who are building them now. Maybe not the exact same people, but people who enjoy using the format. Large format hasn't been cutting edge for what, about 100 years now, and people are still using them and building new ones.

    By the way, I got my first 8mm cine camera earlier this year after seeing the quality of some movies that my Grandfather took in the 1930's and 40's, it is a blast to use. It sure beats the heck out of that video camera that I used to use.
     
  7. thedarkroomstudios

    thedarkroomstudios Member

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    Hey Satin.... speak for yerself "old man" lol j/k Us Young'uns will care. (Okay, so I'll by about 80 in 50 years so I'll then be a bald old curmudgeon myself :smile: )

    Umm... yeah I still sell 8mm and processing mailers. Not many mind you, but still do. The lovely thing about the shrinking world is that even if the last good analog camera repair shop is in Hell, Wisconsin you'll still be able to ship it, fix it, and get it back quite easily.
     
  8. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    There is enough of a supply of high quality manual film cameras around today that even if they never made another one they'll be plenty around for anyone who wants to use one. I'm giving my Leica M6 Millennium to one of my daughters (the one who thinks the manual everything is way cool compared to the autoeverything cameras) in the event I don't make it to 104. I have no doubt that she will be able to obtain B&W film and plenty of spare parts and service if she wants/needs them. View cameras can last forever. None of this should be an issue.

    If they solve the dynamic range issue with digital sensors by then, I'd use one for color.
    Take care,
    Tom
     
  9. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Hey,

    All I am trying to say, is I know I have film and cameras now, and that is what I shoot, overthinking the future can really mess with you mind..

    Shoot for today and the future will fall in place!

    Dave
     
  10. 127

    127 Member

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    Most of my camera's are about 50 years old. If I'm not still using at least some of them in another 50, the I recon it's more likely down to me failing than to them - I'd give them a better chance of making it than I do... (if only because they outnumber me, so statistically they have an edge).

    Ian
     
  11. thedarkroomstudios

    thedarkroomstudios Member

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    True True Dave... when folks come in here and (seeing I am not the 65 year old guy they expect from such a place) try to tell me that I should close up (or that I must have a messed up mind to open) or go digital I remind them that the fact they came to me in the 1st place and spent $ tells me otherwise. Yep, sell film today while I can, plan for the future and leave the worrying to those afraid of change.
     
  12. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Agreed.

    I'm working on my lifetime supply right now!:D

    Cheers

    David
     
  13. 25asa

    25asa Member

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    We are all doomed.
    Most of us will not be here 50 years from now.
    What's left of our endeavor will will go to the dump.
    The junk man will demand $200 from our wives to haul all that "junk" away.
    We are in denial.
    Film will be as dead as collodion is today. Merely a curiousity.
    No one will want the bother.
    Horses will not be allowed on the Interstate highway.
    Radio tubes will be a special order manufacture.
    As 115 roll film disappeared before we were born, so all silverhalide will die.
    All is lost.
    And for what?
    We are all doomed as we rebell against the machine.
     
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  15. andrewfrith

    andrewfrith Subscriber

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    If film disappears completely i'll be doing wet-plate collodion...actually i'm just about to start doing wet-plate soon. i just think ambrotypes and wet-plate collodion glass negs printed on albumen look gorgeous.
     
  16. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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    I drive a fifty year-old car, use a 100 year-old camera, live in a 120 year-old house... I ain't about to be worried about doom-n-gloom prophesies.
     
  17. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    Actually, the current film camera situation reminds me of the American Automobile in Cuba. Nothing past 1958 vintage, "all" kept in running order. We are very close to having the "big boys" no longer manufacturing film cameras. That's OK. The manual cameras still out there will be usable darn near forever. :D
     
  18. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    Somebody will make them.

    Hell, the just came out with the F6 DESPITE the dire predictions that there "would never be another Fx film camera EVER!"

    One interesting fact is that while technology has made the film market smaller by some, it will also probably save the film camera.

    Rapid prototyping and production is becoming the big thing now. Basically, these machines allow you you to CAD up a design and then produce the actual item via a special lathe or ummm...hard to describe, but it is a big old machine.

    The price of this technology is dropping FAST. To the point of people seriously talking about the day when consumers could download a part from the Internet.

    Now, think about this too....

    In 50 years many copyrights on cameras will have expired. That means the camera is in the public domain.

    This could be an actual situation -

    A group of "Open Source" type photo guys go out and dissect an old IIIf. They measure every single part with an automated system (they have those too). This then recreates the parts as a CAD file. Even down to the screws. Notes are made on materials, etc.

    This is then placed on the Internet as an Open Source design.

    Joe Camera Fan downloads the file and sends a copy to Jim's Fabrication.

    Jim's, for a small fee, produces the part from the file automatically. This is what Jim's does. The IIIf parts are produced on Jim's fabricator automatically right between a flywheel for a 1953 Ford and a set of custom wall sconces.

    Joe picks up the parts and very carefully follows the building instructions he also downloaded.

    Voila! Cheap IIIf body.
     
  19. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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    I think you want to look at patents, not copyrights. Patents generally last twenty years. Regardless, I suspect that most of use cameras who's patents expired long ago.
     
  20. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    Film vs Digital in 100 yrs?

    The real question is not where film cameras be in 20 years, it should read... how many of today's digital cameras will still be around in 20 years?... 30, 50, n 100 years form now?

    I know my old RBs and Mamiya TLRs will still be around and working perfectly for a long long time, they are already 30-40 years old. I have enough parts to keep em running for another 40+ years if I live so long. I know how to reapir them and I am teaching others to do the same. With the MF dumping going on because of digital conversions, I can get all the spare parts I will ever need to last almost forever. Because of digital, I may have to make my own film and paper... maybe even mix my own chemicals too but it'll still be around regardless.

    Consider this... A 35yr old Pentax Spotmatic is still in demand today and still takes a beautiful picture just as it did 35 years ago. Will any digital cameras ever make that claim 35 years from now? Will your D70s or Canons today still be around in 30 years taking beautiful pics like your old 1970s Spotmatic is today? I have a feeling they'll all be at the bottom of the dump, not even recycled for spare parts, maybe ground up for the plastic recycling bin at best. All those expensive bodies and lenses will be tossed whole as garbage. They don't even look good on the mantle over the fireplace and will probably melt from the heat.

    Then there are Large Format cameras that have been around since the beginning and are still functioning just as well. There are people right here on this site that make beautiful LF cameras out of quality materials that will last for another few centuries with some care. Canl any digital cameras hold a flash to that?... candles will be obsolete by then, replaced by LEDs.
     
  21. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    I wouldn't be surprised if film/digital were a non-issue within 50 years. I can imagine someone producing "nano-film" which would be a variety of film using nanotechnology that would behave like film (you would actually program it to assume given film/developer combination characteristics), be loadable into a film camera, but would become a fully-developed image as soon as it was shot, somehow (if someone wanted to) communicating the image to a separate device, if folks are still inclined to obsess over staring at each image as soon as it's shot. With such a film, anything from a Nikon F to a Graflex Speed Graphic would become at once both a film and a digital camera. Hell, there's no reason why such a film wouldn't also have the "shutter" built in as well.

    I suspect you'd still have to contact print your "neg" onto duplicating film for more archival permanence.

    -KwM-
     
  22. jjstafford

    jjstafford Inactive

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    In the far future there will be substance-less lenses; light guided by principles that are just now emerging - infinite dof, zero distortion, and unbelievable resolution, and there will be multi-terabit storage for an image.

    However, cameras will not be able to turn back time, so what you capture now is priceless.
     
  23. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

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    Who knows, by then someone might have made digital systems worth using.

    David.
     
  24. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    The life of the digitals is good point.

    My wife is on her second digital P+S. In the time it took do that, I haven't had a single camera break "beyond repair."

    What happened to her first digicam to make it "unrepairable"?

    A slider switch broke off.

    It would cost more to fix than to replace with the newest digigizmo!

    Meanwhile I haven't had an issue with my Graphics, or my ETRsi.

    I will say though, the Pentax Optio 50 is a very nice little P+S. But it is just that...a P+S. Not good for much else. Her old Digital Elph was a dog...
     
  25. RichSBV

    RichSBV Member

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    If I am here in 50 years to worry about where to get my camera repaired, I will be a _very_ happy, and _very_ old person ;-)
     
  26. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    50 is a newish camera at my house. I have several that are 80-100 years old. And I have enough 10" roll film in the deep freeze to keep making pics on Efke 100 until about 2042. I figure I'll teach my grandbabies the craft when the time comes and after they bury me in the back yard they can crank up the Brunswick Victrola and listen to 78's while they print stuff they've made from those same cameras. If paper's all gone they can coat their own Pt/Pd. Gelatine Silver is just for the lazy right? That's what I love about LF. It really is timeless.