Ilford discontinues ULF film

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Jim Chinn, Apr 15, 2005.

  1. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

    Messages:
    2,512
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebra
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    On the photonet large format forum is this post by Fred Newman of the view camera store.http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=00BrDw

    I guess for all of the ULF shooters we will ned to throw our support behind J&C photo as they are now the main supplier for ULF films in the US.

    In light of this news I am not going to put to much stock into suggestions from Ilford that they may bring back discontinued products. in fact for consistencies sake, I have probably bought my last box of any sheet film from Ilford as I do not want to mess with different emulsions between formats.
     
  2. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Sounds like unless Photowarehouse is able to obtain master rolls and recut them Ilford in ULF is gone. Like you said, might as well start testing and using the JandC film.
     
  3. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

    Messages:
    2,767
    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2002
    Location:
    Denton, TX
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Do we have a definite answer on whether or not Photowarehouse will still be using master rolls of Ilford or will switch to a different film maker?
     
  4. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,677
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    How do you stop making ULF? Don't they mean they aren't cutting it at the moment? It's the same film just cut bigger. No?
     
  5. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Not a definite one but rumors. Michael Mutmansky sent me an e mail asking if I wanted to join with him on buying a large lot of the Ultrafine 125 as PW had indicated to him that the film might not be available in the future. I dont know if he did buy a large quantity or not, but I am not taking the chance.....in any case, Jim, start thinking about glass plate holders... :smile:
     
  6. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,047
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Location:
    Lehi, Utah
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Last I spoke with Photowarehouse, it was the last master roll coming from Ilford, it was, however FP-4 film, not HP-5 and they were out of the HP-5. They are in the throws of testing new films. I've no news on what they are testing or what is left of the roll.

    I did order 300 sheets of 1220 when I heard it was the last, and now have a freezer full.
     
  7. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,101
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    fairfield co
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    ULF FILM

    Maybe if people pooled their resourses Ilford would gladly cut the film. Kodak used to do this if you placed a large order. It's all about economics. If they can't move it fast enough it's not worth it to them. I realize that for most people the sheer thought of putting out a substantial amount of $ for film is difficult. The upside is that you have freezer full of film; you don't have to keep retesting; and your supply is guaranateed.
    Regards, Peter
     
  8. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

    Messages:
    2,512
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebra
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Is 8x10 and smaller cut from a smaller width roll then 11x14 or larger? I would think if it all comes from the same roll it would still be available to re-cutters like photowharehouse.

    It does not make sense to not provide rolls for re-cutting, especially if you are not competing with your own product. From a production point of view it seems it would be more cost effective to provide the rolls and not incur the cost of cutting and packaging a more niche product. That would explain no longer providing Ilford branded film to Fred Newman and others.

    Either that, or they may be phasing out sheet film all together.

    Does not really matter to me. I will use JC or Efke or Bergger or work with fellow apugers to design consistent emulsions for glass plates.
     
  9. Rlibersky

    Rlibersky Subscriber

    Messages:
    782
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    Location:
    St Paul MN
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I have to agree with Joseph, the biggies don't seem to be interested in the alternative photographers. Bergger started out making 4x5 and up. Then went to 120 and 35. Not sure about JC and Efke but they are names I didn't hear a few years ago. I say support the newbies, they don't $100,000,000 to keep producing film. Kodak and Ilford should just sell there plants to someone who cares and get on with what they want to do. Seems everybody would be happier.
     
  10. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,218
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    S.F. Bay Area
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I seriously doubt that it is this simple. Consider the production costs associated with just the coating process alone. I suspect that these cost are probably not linear with the width of the roll of product. They might reasonably, therefore, coat different ranges of film sizes on completely different coater lines. If this were the case, and if sales volume of the product from one of these coaters consistently didn't support keeping the line running...well, I guess it'd be a pretty easy business decision...even for the comapny that claims they "...intend to be the last man standing in B&W photography."
     
  11. Robert Hall

    Robert Hall Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,047
    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2004
    Location:
    Lehi, Utah
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Actually the master rolls are 40" by 4000 feet, but economics is correct. It's easier to unload smaller film and the amount of investment sitting in boxes is not quite so great with smaller film.

    I'm sure the moment Les sees this thread, he will be on the horn to see what the story is.

    But I will only shoot one emulsion. I dont have the energy to remember which material this plate or that is made of what. I shot plus x pan for a hundred years then kodak cut it from the line up. I've been happy with FP-4 for some time now and have quite a stock. So when that runs out, I will look for the highest quality single emulsion at the lowest price that fits my needs (assuming it's available.)
     
  12. Michael Mutmansky

    Michael Mutmansky Member

    Messages:
    345
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Sacramento
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    Robert,

    The rolls are actually 60" wide, not 40" wide. Regardless, they are large, and will easily accommodate any size film that people want to cut.

    The issue that I see is that Ilford appears to be doing exactly the opposite of their press release from several months ago. Anyone else recall the press release where they mentioned coating glass plates? While I don't believe that the ULF market is terribly large, it is certainly larger then the glass plate market. Apparently, they have a very short memory.

    Worse, if Ilford decides to stop selling master rolls, and also stops cutting ULF sizes, then they have completely turned their backs on the people that will be continuing to purchase film into the future. There's no doubt that the 35mm and MF sales of B&W film have been dropping over the last few years, but the market for LF and ULF films is actually growing. If Ilford doesn't see that this will be about all they will have left in another decade, then they are bigger fools than I thought.

    I understand the possibility that they were selling the master rolls at a loss, and that needs to be corrected, but I don't see the logic in discontinuing the sale of master rolls a long as they are priced at a sustainable level.

    For example, if they sold a master roll that has enough film to produce 20,000 sheets of 8x10 or so, and if they determined a fair profit margin on the roll, why not sell it? It won't cut into their profits, as long as it is priced appropriately. They could sell 20,000 sheets of film without all the packaging and hassle associated with 25 sheet boxes, and end up with a good profit that complements their packaged film sales.

    They could feasibly sell the film at a higher profit per square foot than the 35mm sales and end up with a substantially better bottom line due to the lack of complex packaging and shipping requirements necessary for film by the roll.

    If they sold master rolls and disconntinued the ULF sizes, it would make perfect sense. They would never have to do a special order, and the loyal Ilford film shooters out there would still be able to get the film that they want in the size they want.

    When I heard the news, I began stocking up on FP4 from PhotoWarehouse, as I use cameras that may be difficult to get film to fit in the future. I figure I need to place one more order from them to last me for a good long time. Once I run through that film, I'll have to search out a place to cut film down for me, as the format I use (10x12) is not common enough to ever have sheet sizes available from the regular channels.


    ---Michael
     
  13. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,677
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Anybody ask Ilford yet? Right now we have one report. It could be a communication screw up. It could be they meant "We'd love to cut your order but not that small an order"
     
  14. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

    Messages:
    960
    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Well, I trust Fred Newman when he says Ilford refused to fill his order and told him the items were deleted. I know of one other person who recently placed an order through a different dealer for 12x20 HP5 Plus; the order is now well past the estimated delivery date and has still not been received.

    The unresolved question is whether Ilford will still be willing to cut custom orders, or whether they have washed their hands of this business entirely. If they are, then the answer may be to form some sort of purchasing cooperative to place a custom order periodically. Yes, that's a nuisance, so whether it will fly will depend on how badly people really want the product.

    Perhaps View Camera Store or JandC could serve as an aggregator to assemble a custom order, in return for a markup to cover their costs and some profit.

    The LF conference next month would be a good occasion to corner an Ilford rep and find out once and for all whether it will be possible to get ULF Ilford film again, and if so, what it will take.
     
  15. ronlamarsh

    ronlamarsh Member

    Messages:
    462
    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Location:
    Seattle Wash
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ilford ULF

    The discussion here seems to be running counter to what I have read in View Camera Mag. An article written by Mr Wisner stated that the Ilford folks were committed to the B&W arena including ULF and maybe even providing dry glass plates for the alt process folk. Could it be that this is a temporary bump until they get their USA operations going?
     
  16. lee

    lee Member

    Messages:
    2,913
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Worth T
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I have asked Les McLean to check into this and he has said he will. Maybe in the not to distant future we will find out the real answer.

    lee\c
     
  17. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

    Messages:
    4,677
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2004
    Location:
    Italia
    Shooter:
    Multi Format