How are different film formats made

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Jim Chinn, Mar 5, 2003.

  1. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

    Messages:
    2,512
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebra
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Can anyone enlighten me on how the different film formats are manufactured?
    For example, is all HP5 produced on the same machine and then cut to specific sizes on seperate runs, or is the same machine used with just different size film run through for each format?

    I am curious because it seems to me if the same machines are used to produce and cut all of one emulsion, as long as one format is produced, they can all be produced although with higher costs for formats less in demand in the future.
    If specific machines are required for each format, I can see where as film becomes less in demand, those machines become unprofitable to maintain and operate.
     
  2. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Jim,
    I can' t answer your questions as to the logistics of the manufacturing process and it may actually differ from one manufacturer to another. But if I understand the underlying question of future availability of a given film format, then at present I can relate that there are several suppliers of specialty film formats. The cost is often prohibative, however. For instance, I was seriously considering building a 10X16 format camera and the cost in lots of 5 boxes minimum was 180.00 per box of 25 sheets. I can purchase 12X20 film at a slightly lower cost. Hope this addresses your question and thoughts.
     
  3. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

    Messages:
    750
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Just north o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The real question is how cheap are the machines to run?

    Say Kodak decides tomorrow to stop making all film. They just stop. SOMEONE will buy up their plant or at least the machinery in it and take up production. They will be able to get the used equipment cheap. The real cost will be running the factory to make the film. If you can do it cheaply, you are set.

    Now, the actual cost of a box of film is probably more related to what people will pay than to how much it costs to make. There is no reason 10x16 should be more expensive than 12x20. Rather the opposite. But if the market will bear a high price for the "rare" 10x16 then they will sell it at the high price.

    I am pretty sure that sheet film is cut down from one large roll. It just seems odd not to do that when you can get a whole lot of different formats from one roll. With 35mm and 120/220, I think they each come off special machines. 35mm seems to have a thicker base to me (very unscientific statement here by the way) and all 3 formats have different numbers and codes on the base. So it would seem that they are coming from different sources.
     
  4. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

    Messages:
    3,219
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Robert Kennedy @ Mar 5 2003, 08:41 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Say Kodak decides tomorrow to stop making all film.&nbsp; They just stop.&nbsp; SOMEONE will buy up their plant or at least the machinery in it and take up production.&nbsp; They will be able to get the used equipment cheap.&nbsp; </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    If this is true then why is nobody making Super XX Pan?
     
  5. glbeas

    glbeas Member

    Messages:
    3,307
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2002
    Location:
    Roswell, Ga.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (c6h6o3 @ Mar 5 2003, 01:55 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Robert Kennedy @ Mar 5 2003, 08:41 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Say Kodak decides tomorrow to stop making all film.  They just stop.  SOMEONE will buy up their plant or at least the machinery in it and take up production.  They will be able to get the used equipment cheap.  </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    If this is true then why is nobody making Super XX Pan? </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Nobody else has the formula and/or patents for it. They would have to reinvent it at a considerable cost.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    17,922
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    The Forte plant used to be a Kodak plant, which Kodak got out of in the 1960s, I believe.

    I've tried Fortepan 400, and it's nothing like Tri-X.
     
  7. Aggie

    Aggie Member

    Messages:
    4,925
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    So. Utah
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ..
     
  8. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Aggie, Sounds as if you have a plan...how about the long green?
     
  9. Robert

    Robert Member

    Messages:
    747
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    The way I understand it. 35mm is different from 120mm which is different from sheet film.

    You don't need to fit sheet film in a 35mm can. So you can't make it exactly the same.

    I thought somebody said getting Ilford to custom cut film wasn't too expensive. The problem was the massive order size. Likely no different then Kodak. You aren't really paying for the film but for setting up the machine. If you buy enough the cost of setup gets spread over enough sheets so it's not an issue. But if Kodak/Ilford/etc had to change the machine over a few boxes it doesn't make sense for anybody.

    What might make sense is a buying co-op. It doesn't even need a lot of effort on our part. [Always a good thing-))] Does anybody have good contacts with any of the major retailers? All it takes is a retailer willing to take orders. When x boxes of a certain size of film are ordered then the order is sent out to have the film made.

    Buying a plant sounds nice but some how I wonder if it would turn out to be a "I love Lucy" episode-) Instead of buying a whole plant buying part of it's production might be easier. Something like committing to buying so much film every year for so many years.
     
  10. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

    Messages:
    3,219
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (glbeas @ Mar 5 2003, 10:14 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'></span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (c6h6o3 @ Mar 5 2003, 01:55 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Robert Kennedy @ Mar 5 2003, 08:41 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Say Kodak decides tomorrow to stop making all film.  They just stop.  SOMEONE will buy up their plant or at least the machinery in it and take up production.  They will be able to get the used equipment cheap.  </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    If this is true then why is nobody making Super XX Pan? </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Nobody else has the formula and/or patents for it. They would have to reinvent it at a considerable cost.</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    If Kodak's getting out of the business, why wouldn't they sell the patents and the formula along with the "used equipment cheap"? The very fact that they stop making something is proof that they're giving up their proprietary interest in it. So I ask again, if it's so easy to take over the manufacture of classic films, why isn't somebody producing them? JandC, Bergger and Forte don't count as they are not old style thick emulsion films. It was the physics of the emulsion which gave it such wonderful properties, not the chemistry. A micro thin coating of an old formula does not reproduce the old thick emulsion film. Super XX was so silver rich because it was so emulsion rich. I don't know about Efke yet. I haven't really tested it.

    Kodak must have scrapped the equipment for making thick emulsion films (after all, Super XX had been the only one for quite a while) when they sold their remaining stock. In order to retool for that process would cost millions. Otherwise someone would be making it.

    I personally feel I'm better off using a modern film whose chemistry has been adjusted to provide good expandability and control with modern, thin emulsion structure. I can certainly push HP5+ a lot farther than Bergger without hitting the dmax wall. Look at the density curves on Ilford's website. Good stuff.
     
  11. Robert

    Robert Member

    Messages:
    747
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    The same reason GM won't sell the tooling for the old corvette when they make a new one. They want you buying the new product. I wouldn't expect Kodak to do anything that would stop people from buying Kodak film. Well no more then they usually do-)))
     
  12. David Hall

    David Hall Member

    Messages:
    470
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    South Pasade
    Sheet films and rollfilms have a different base, which is of different thickness. That's why sheets and rolls do not come rom the same film stock. I think the boxes say what the thickness is on each type.

    But I have an ancillary question: not all sheet films, as an example, have bases of uniform thickness, or so it seems. Bergger, for instance, feels siginificantly thinner than HP5, when you hold a single sheet. I wonder if this is a question of hardener in the base, or of thickness. And if it's of thickness, I wonder if that would affect depth of field at very wide apertures or very wide angles?

    dgh
     
  13. bmac

    bmac Member

    Messages:
    2,156
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (David Hall @ Mar 5 2003, 02:08 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> But I have an ancillary question: not all sheet films, as an example, have bases of uniform thickness, or so it seems. Bergger, for instance, feels siginificantly thinner than HP5, when you hold a single sheet. I wonder if this is a question of hardener in the base, or of thickness. And if it's of thickness, I wonder if that would affect depth of field at very wide apertures or very wide angles?

    dgh </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I am almost sure it is thickness, but not enough of a difference to make difference in DOF or Sharpness.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

    Messages:
    6,242
    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Just by way of info. The quote at photowarehouse on 12X20 film is about $45.00 lower then other retailers. Since they cut the film themselves, the potential savings of coop buying may not be worthwhile in terms of coordinating, shipping, etc. All reports that I have received indicate that this is Ilford film, even though photowarehouse doesn't advertise it as such. Most probably due to some agreement with the mfg.
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    17,922
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Cooperative purchasing is something I've done a bit of on a relatively small scale, say to find one or two people to split a 500 sheet box of Azo gr. 3, before it was available in 100-sheet boxes from Michael and Paula, and before I was quite ready to commit that kind of cash to Azo. Occasionally on the LF forum, people have announced plans to make a minimum order of a certain film in a banquet size, and those seem to have worked well. I'm considering doing the same at some point for Tri-X in 11x14", if Kodak will still do it, and if new Tri-X (which I haven't tried yet) is as good as old TXT (which I've bought from B&H in other sizes as recently as a month ago).
     
  17. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

    Messages:
    2,512
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebra
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    David,

    if you decide on the Tri-X send me an E-mail. I would be willing to buy a portion of the order.
     
  18. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

    Messages:
    750
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Just north o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I seem to have a vague recollection of hearing about silver prices going pretty high years ago. I mean YEARS ago. Like Super-XX years ago. Could that also be the reason for the lack of a Super-XX replacement? Prices went up, it became cheaper to switch and go with the thinner stuff. Then prices dropped and well...the switch was made.

    Just a theory. Plus Kodak has to move forward. It is poor marketing to NOT improve emulsions somehow....
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    17,922
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I've heard that Super-XX had gold chloride or some such in it that made it about twice as expensive as other films of its day. I'm sure that the days of $80/oz silver and $1000/oz gold in the mid-1980s had an impact. Hungary has significant silver resources, and I'm sure that's had something to do with the growth of Forte films and papers.
     
  20. clay

    clay Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,124
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Location:
    Asheville, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You guys are talking about a co-op. Would it make sense to pool resources and buy a whole ROLL of a Kodak film such as Tri-X or Tmax100, and then let photowarehouse store and cut it to whatever size we need, and pay them for storage and cutting? That way, you would have a much bigger base of potential buyers since they could cut it to 5x12, 7x11, 11x14, 7x17, 14x17, 8x20, 12x20 or whatever. I was told that Kodak's increasing reluctance to do custom orders has more to do with making unusually sized boxes and packaging than it does with the actual cutting process itself. If you're willing to accept photo warehouse's somewhat spartan packaging, this might be a real option that would put film in lot of hands. We could call in APUG-XXX ISO320 pan film! Sounds like a porn film.

    Whaddya think? Would this work? Anybody have a contact at Kodak?

    Clay
     
  21. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Clay that is a great idea. I am using PW now for the "FP4" film and they have great service. Personally I would like to see the roll in TMX400. But I woul dbe willing to settle with anything faster than 100 other than HP5 or Bergger 200.

    If you guys want to do the roll thing count me in. If we get enough people I guess we can contact PW and ask them if they will be willing to do this with us.
    No contact at Kodak, but I think I know someone who does.
     
  22. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    17,922
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    That sounds like a great idea if Photo Warehouse is up to it. I'd be in.
     
  23. bmac

    bmac Member

    Messages:
    2,156
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    I'm not familiar with P.W. care to clue me in?
     
  24. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    17,922
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    They buy films, which are believed to be HP5+ and FP4, if I'm not mistaken, and cut them to size from a master roll. I don't know that they have a website, but they are in California and have an 800 number that you can find if you hunt around on the net for it. I think they primarily cater to the printing industry, but are a popular source for films among the alt-process crowd. I haven't used them.
     
  25. Aggie

    Aggie Member

    Messages:
    4,925
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    So. Utah
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ..
     
  26. Aggie

    Aggie Member

    Messages:
    4,925
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    So. Utah
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ..