Idea: Comprehensive list of B&W Films

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by htmlguru4242, Jun 26, 2007.

  1. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    I was thinking today after reading some topics on here, that there's some confusion about what B&W films are available. This is especially the case with the Efke/Adox, Rollei, Maco, Foma, Forta, Arista, etc. films that may be unique films, but may also just be another brand re-packaged.

    It's made me realize that a comprehensive list of B&W films, along with the actual identity and source of the film, could be useful to some.

    Am I the only one that thinks this, or could this be of use?

    If so, we should work on assembling one here.
     
  2. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I think this is a good idea, but I'd take it to another level and add colour negative and reversal films, and add data about film formats. It will be more work but I think this would be a phenomenally useful resource.
     
  3. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

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    Pop Photo magazine used to do this periodically until, you know, "film died". :rolleyes:
     
  4. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I've certainly noticed that there are many fewer films than there used to be (particularly for 120), but I'm not exactly worried that our days are numbered yet.

    In a sense, the shorter list will make this project easier.
     
  5. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear David,

    Yeah, well, look at Shutterbug Buyers' Guides until two or three years ago. Frances Schultz used to do exactly this, though only for films available in the US. I can tell you that it's a LOT of hard work, calling the manufacturers and checking exactly what is and isn't available. Then there are special-order sizes and 'short-run' films -- a lot of Maco stuff appears and then disappears.

    Good luck to anyone who's willing to do it as a labour of love, without being paid! We thought of doing it for www.rogerandfrances.com but realized we'd be making a rod for our own backs -- there will always be corrections, and then there are the 'corrections' sent in by those who don't actually know the answers...

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  6. Toffle

    Toffle Member

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  7. Snapshot

    Snapshot Member

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    Perhaps this endevour can be compiled in the same manner found in the Massive Development Chart from Digital Truth. The question is, would Digital Truth be interested in hosting this data?
     
  8. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    Contacting DigitalTruth is an interesting idea; they may be willing to host some stuff. Though, at this point, its significantly too early to think about hosting anything.

    The link to the page on Nikonians is good, although obviosly a tad dated. That could be used as a jumping-off point for the list though.

    As far as Ilford and Fuji films go, this won't be too hard; the information is available on websites. I'm also sure that a call or message to Simon Galley would get us a definitive answer. Fuji would probably be the same.

    Kodak, as we all know, is another story, as their website has proved to vary widely in reliability, and it seems hard to get a definitive answer over the telephone.

    The European manufacturers are going to be even harder to extract information from.
     
  9. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Just get all the apug members to add a reply with their favorite in each category. Shouldn't take long at all.:tongue:
     
  10. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    Well, I just looked on Ilford's site, and they have a wonderful PDF detailing everything we'd need about their products.
     
  11. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    Start by compiling the products available at B&H, Freestyle, Silverprint, Retrophotographic, Fotoimpex, FotoHuis, etc, and you're 99% of the way there.

    But before you do that, I would say: think about your data structure. What information do you want, and how do you want to tabulate it? Coater, manufacturer, packager, reseller, are all vaguely related and sometimes criss-crossing categories.

    Perhaps "emulsion" would be a good informational unit. Base and format comes next. Brand names are irrelevant, in a way, especially with the eastern european mish-mash.
     
  12. jstraw

    jstraw Member

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  13. Terence

    Terence Member

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    Even going by "emulsion" is tough as Maco's/Rollei's products have changed, and sometimes changed maker, but kept the same name, and others are hotly disputed as to who produced what and when.

    As for Kodak, there's a fairly complete historical list by film number already on the web, but it doesn't capture lots of special run films. I have three Kodak emulsions that are completely different but share one of their "special order" emulsion numbers that got re-used year to year.

    I think the project is do-able, but will be a pain to figure out a simple format.
     
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  15. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I never ever saw a list which seriously was intended to be complete...
    Though I would appreciate such.
    I myself tried to trace the manufacturers still around and keep just the films updated which would interest me somewhat.

    But it's not only the manufacturers, from some material some amounts will still be around at some dealers or as surplus in serious amounts. To consider all this would take a huge amount of effort. I personally would only consider such a list if I would be sure that it regularly (twice a month?) would be controlled by someone who knows his way around.

    Utopia.
     
  16. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    mhv, that's a good point about the brand names.

    I was thinking, taking the eastern european "mish-mash" that you mention into account, that the actual emulsion on the film would have to be noted.
    To me, however, it'd make sense to list it by brand name, with the actual film in the emulsion category.

    For example, say that Arista.EDU 100 is really Delta 100 (I don't know if it is or not, just an example), it would be listed as

    Film name: Arista.EDU 100
    Distributor: Arista
    Emulsion: Ilford Delta 100

    For the films that are not re-branded, the emulsion and distributor fields could be left blank, or noted that they are not relevant.

    A suggestion of categories:

    • Film Name
    • ISO Speed
    • Distributor
    • Emulsion
    • Base
    • Formats
    • Packaging
    • Product Status

    Film name I believe is self-explanatory.
    ISO speed (we should list DIN as well for those folks who use it), should be self-explanatory as well.

    Distributor would be who sells the film by that name. For, say, Tri-X or HP5+, this would be Kodak or Ilford, respectively. For something along the lines of the Arista films or the [former] J&C Products, this would be Arista or J&C.

    Emulsion, as mentioned, would be the actual emulsion of the film. If the example above were to be true [once again, I dunno if it is], the emulsion listed for Arista.EDU 100 would be "Ilford Delta 100".

    Base, which may be unnecessary, would be the type / thickness of the base that the film is coated on.

    Formats, once again, is probably self explanatory. It would simply be a list of what formats the film is available in. (8mm, Super8, 16mm, 135, 120, 4x5, 5x7, etc.)

    Packaging is not the right word, and may be an unnecessary category as well. I'm not sure how to say it in general, but I can explain it. For example, is the film only available in single rolls? Can you buy 5- or 10-packs, are there bulk 135 rolls? As I said, not of utmost importance, but nice.

    By product status, I'm getting at the current status of the film distribution and manufacturing-wise. In other words, is it in current production (like Tri-X or HP5+, for example), is it a discontinued film with stocks remaining (like the AGFA APX film of your choice), is it unknown (like some of the Eastern European products that seem to drift in and out of availability), is it in limited periodic production runs (like Konica IR750 towards its end of life), has the discontinuance been announced, and so on.
     
  17. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    I like the idea presented to comb the retailers for films. We first need a list of all currently manufactured films in all formats that we want to consider.

    It would also be good to come up with a list of actual EMULSION manufacturers (not including those who are solely distributors).

    Right off, I can think of:
    Kodak, Fuji, Ilford/HARMAN, AGFA, Polaroid, AGFA-Gevaert, Ferrania, Lucky China and Efke.

    Possible:
    Foma, Forte, Adox/Efke, Rollei, Maco, Konica, Bergger, ORWO, [Tasma, Svema, Slavich]-From Russia, is there any info on these?

    On the possible list, I'm either not sure that they're actually a manufacturer, or if they even exists
     
  18. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Concerning emulsion makers there are even more, but this is rather of academic interest as not all materials will be available.

    Furthermore small dealers must be taken into account: let's say cutting to 9mm or offering colour IR in 60mm...
    This is going to be complex!
     
  19. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    Hmm. Small dealers make this much harder. I'd think that it would be best to exclude them in the initial version; get the major films that most people use and or have heard about down, and then worry about the minor distributors or re-cutting operations.

    Out of interest, thoug, AgX, how many emulsion manufacturers are we looking at?
     
  20. nicolai

    nicolai Member

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  21. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    Well then.

    Good job with that sheet!!
     
  22. AgX

    AgX Member

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    htmlguru,

    Well, your list is quite complete. I first thought your second compilation was about rebranding or obsolete companies but later I realized that it included EFKE, Slavich, Foma and Tasma too. Add some Chinese companies and Filmotec who are said to coat too.
    Stating companies is a bit ambiguous to me, as there is another discussion going on at Apug concerning possible future film manufacturers. In this case companies coating solely graphic and X-ray material must be taken into account too. I leave them out, but rather draw your attention to paper coating companies. Should such a list not include photographic papers?

    And again I refer to the small companies: As long as companies release some data-sheets it is not that a problem to find out about the origin of a material just by looking at what one has got in ones binders. (I was surprised however that after the release of some Rollei films their origin was not traced by others.) But getting to know who has what material in offer in some weird format or, more important, perforation, seems more difficult to me.
     
  23. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    I like the idea about papers; there are probably more of those than films.

    The small manufacturers are a good idea as well, as are the companies coating other silver-based products (X-Ray, Graphics, etc., as you mentioned).

    This idea is becoming more of a comprehensive database of silver-based photo materials.

    Some if the info on Nicolai's sheet is a tad out of date (some of the AGFA products and Maco products), but its certainly accurate and complete as of before the fall of AGFA.

    Is anyone still interested in pursuing this farther?
     
  24. Terence

    Terence Member

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    Very nice.

    I believe there were two incarnations of Maco's 820c (made by Efke), besides the Aura version. The earlier one was slower to visible light, but I believe had about the same amount of IR sensitivity. I'm guesing your chart refers to the later one.
     
  25. AgX

    AgX Member

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    If such a list should be made. What better place would there be than Apug?

    But...
    Doing this seriously would involve constant updating by people knowing what they are doing. I mean before someone would do some big order on some material he rather starts researching himself before employing some weird list. This controlled updating however needs some formalism, a working group or so. Something which is unfamiliar to this volatile group.
     
  26. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council

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    The availability list is an occasionally recurring topic on APUG, and each time it fails to produce anything. To me such a list has a very limited purpose, and requires a lot of maintenance.

    As I've said before on similar threads, availability is dependent on, well, how available the products are. I mean: if you can buy it, then it's available. Ergo, you're better served by a cursory look at the catalog of specialized film shops (Retrophoto, Silverprint) or of film-supportive generalists (Freestyle).

    It doesn't take an eternity to cross-reference for oneself the list of brands names from a store catalog, to the websites of these companies in order to see what is being produced right now. Frankly, I prefer to go check Kodak's or Ilford's website for any information about their products, rather than rely on someone's list they haven't maintained in a while. Someone is PAID to maintain corporate websites.

    Where I see the value is for the more specific purpose of distinguishing between rebranded products. The Arista line has always confused me. The eastern european products are sometimes hard to discriminate, although the demise of Forte is in fact simplifying it. The Rollei and Adox lines of films could use some clarifications here and there, though.