More news from photokina RE global photo chemistry

Discussion in 'Darkroom Equipment' started by CatLABS, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,473
    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    MA, USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Here is an experpt form my post about recent experiences from Photokina 2012 all about C-41 E-6 and BW chemicals!

    About 2 years ago, Tetenal withdrew from the US market its popular and easy to use C-41 2 bath kit, and E-6 3 bath kit in all sizes , along with its powder 1L press kit leaving many users scrambling for replacements which were not readily available. Some smaller re-breanded kits from smaller companies emmerged, but did not offer the same quality and consistency users were used to with the Tetenal kits. A few months ago Tetenal re appeared in the US market, and the full line of its color and slide film chemistry is readily available in the US one again.

    It appears that Tetenal and Jobo will once again be marketing their products in some form of cooperation, though it was not entirely clear what that would mean for the end user at this time, aside from the wonderful news about a new film processor that will enjoy a regular supply of chemistry from a venerable manufacturer.

    At photokina we learned the Champion photochemistry is resizing its commercial use chemicals for C-41 to meet lower demands, and the new smaller kits and containers will be a much more viable option for the home user then before. Due to the fact that all Champion chemistry has no haz-mat rating in the US it is easy and safe to ship around the country.

    Maco Photo, a company distributing a plethora Foma and Rollei branded films, in BW and IR, as well as AGFA formulated BW chemistry such as rodinal and nuetol replacements offers several C-41 and E-6 kits, along with a plethora of specialty BW chemicals and films.

    Indian photochemistry manufacturer Convex is looking in to US distribution for its line of RA-4 chemistry.

    Another bright point at the show - the Adox booth was swamped and it was nearly impossible to get near it.

    All in all, in a mega show like Photokina, where digital photography dominates over all, it was wonderful to see so many companies offering film based products. From old time camera companies such as Linhof and Rolleiflex now offering a whole new line of film based cameras (albeit with digital conversion options) to newly emerging companies such as the employee buy out AGFAphoto which is now offering APX100 and CT precisia (E-6) films, and many small and specialized darkroom and other high end analog product manufacturers. Many other companies have re invented them selves to match the demands of this new market, creating a market specific product and adjusting their service and production towards a specialized nieche business model. Though this means the universality of film based photography might have been diminished, it is amazing to see the level of dedication this new business model has created.

    It seems that not only is film after all not dead, but in fact it is supporting a whole new commercial segment. One which commands the respect of many dedicated users, some of whom were not even born when companies like Agfa went in to receivership for the first time. This is a new world of film users, with new demands and needs, new standards and a whole new view of the world through silver based imaging.

    The future of film and film processing has not seemed to bright in a long time.
     
  2. bwfans

    bwfans Member

    Messages:
    176
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for the good write up!
     
  3. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,473
    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    MA, USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    :smile:
     
  4. gorbas

    gorbas Subscriber

    Messages:
    471
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2007
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Shooter:
    35mm Pan
    Is this some kind of weird dream???
    "employee buy out AGFA photo"????
    Again?? Didn't employes buy the Agfaphoto company from AGFA a few months before it went to bankruptcy in 2004???
    New APX100???
    Too good to be true??
     
  5. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

    Messages:
    5,479
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Certainly SOUNDS too good to be true.

    The other side of this would be, with Champion and Tetenal offering C41 and E6 chemistry, how long will there be film, particularly E6? (And particularly in sheets, for some of us.)
     
  6. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,473
    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    MA, USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Don't look a gift horse in the teeth?

    But the truth is i dont know. It looks like sheet film is here to stay, at least for a while. Fuji is suppliying film to so many re branding schemes, both color and reversal that i think their production is just spreading around or increasing.

    Sheet films will always be around from the small European makers, at least in the foreseeable future, which unlike in american terms means all the way to tomorrow, in this case means 10-15 year production planning.
     
  7. jbrianfoto

    jbrianfoto Member

    Messages:
    118
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Location:
    Fredericksbu
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    In the 1970's everyone was dumping vacuum trubes for 'better, smaller, more reliable' transistors. Good tube manucfactures shut down or went into other types of manufacturing. Then, in the 1980's, some people realized that they really liked tubes for their unique characteristics - and folks started searching for surplus tubes. Soon the surplus market dried up and then the demand really kicked in, some companies started making tubes again. Now - today you can buy common audio trides, pentodes and rectifiers from any one of about a dozen manufactures - all good, some better than others. None are made here in the US.

    Is there a lesson here? I think so - I think we are already beginning to see it - there will be several boutique film / paper / chemical manufactures that will see there is money to be made, and they will make what they can sell. Will we ever see Kodachrome again? Maybe not, but the popular B/W film formats for 'home brewers' like us surely will be revived, as long as we keep spending money on this stuff. Right now folks are scooping up existing stock on their favorite films in preperation for them no longer being available. As soon as the surplus hoarding phase of our addiction ends (because the surplus is gone) - we all will start spending our dollars with whoever is making what we want / need.

    I for one am encouraged at this theory,

    Thoughts?
     
  8. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,473
    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    MA, USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I must second Brian - 100% in agreement here!
     
  9. AgX

    AgX Member

    Messages:
    11,904
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2007
    Location:
    Germany
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The films offered by AgfaPhoto are not manufactured by them nor made on their specifications. They are either stock from Agfa/AgfaPhoto production or bought from manufacturing companies out of their standard portfolios.
    Thus they are no true enrichment of the range of films on the market.



    There is only one receivership in the long history of Agfa:

    in 2005 when Agfa's so called "Consumer Imaging" Branch short after having been sold by Agfa went into insolvency/receivership.
    (Not involved in insolvency was a newly erected holding company which was the actual buyer of the Consumer Imaging branch and which forms the AgfaPhoto company mentioned above.)

    I would be be glad if 7-years old would be "dedicated users" of film.
     
  10. lensman_nh

    lensman_nh Member

    Messages:
    45
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Location:
    New Hampshir
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I also agree with Brian.

    Commercial E-6 & C-41 may/is be becoming unprofitable. With no color labs there is no demand for color film. With Champion/Tetnal etc making kits available again small scale non-commercial processing becomes possible and demand for film will rise, or at least stabilize. I'm thinking home, education and community darkroom type use.

    Or so says economic theory. The idea of boutique suppliers is nothing particularly new. The idea of the "long tail" well documented and with modern manufacturing and retailers and distribution chains such as Amazon it has gone from concept to solid reality.

    B&W film & processing is already a boutique market and appears to be stabilizing. Harman, for example, have realized they are not in the film business. They are in the coating business. They stick emulsions to substrate, be it film, paper, inkjet or whatever. This allows them to amortize the coating machinary across a number of product lines. The result is they can keep film alive since it is not film alone that pays for the maintenance of the coating machines. If they had a machine dedicated to coating film only Ilford film would, I wager, be a fond memory only.

    If this will carry over to color materials in the long run remains to be seen because of economies of scale. But the actions of Tetnal, Jobo and Champion indicate that they see it as probable. You are not going to invest in new product and distribution channels when all you see is failure.

    I am very encouraged by this.

    J.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2012
  11. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

    Messages:
    809
    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2006
    Location:
    Co. Wicklow,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I was 7 when I started using film, and by 9 I had my own enlarger, standing on top of a washing machine, in a tiny bathroom. OK, so that was 34 years ago, but film will always find its appeal with the sort of a person, young or old, who one day would be looking up stuff on APUG. I hope.
     
  12. dr5chrome

    dr5chrome Member

    Messages:
    463
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    ..hate to put a rotten spin on a good review, but analog currently is a mess as it sits today. I don't think I have seen it worse than this year. There are so many bad points to even mention - don't have enough fingers and toes to count them all.

    So i'm glad this post brought some smiles to some, I see nothing but doom for our industry in the coming years. The sad thing about it is, most of us left choose to 'row the boat faster' away from the sinking ship. God-forbid they held a fellow analog company. ..i'm almost disgusted by the whole thing..
     
  13. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,473
    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    MA, USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Can you elaborate on that? i am not sure i get your drift.

    As for the state of things, well they are bad, and in reference to the past they are really bad. But the past has gone, and even the present that was only a few years ago is no more. This is a new world, with a new market, new users, new reasons for using film, none of which have anything to do with anything film related of 10 or more years ago, or even 5 years ago.

    I see this as a new beginning, and as such, it has all kinds of kinks and quirks - but - if one can look at this form a business\commercial\start up point of view - it is pretty much all good. Forget about DDX and tech pan, that belongs to the "one apon a time" bed time stories realm. Look at what IS out there and try not to fall of your chair.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. lensman_nh

    lensman_nh Member

    Messages:
    45
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Location:
    New Hampshir
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    krifatida,

    I had much the sam thought last night when I read it. Thinking on it the market has dramatically changed, like so many markets in the last 15 years. The losers are always the same in these shifts. The middle men and high street shops. Large retailers/distrubutors who can hold inventory are delivering direct to the consumer. Amazon killed Barnes & Nobel who had in turn killed the Mon & Pop bookstore. Netflix killed the high street video rental.

    And now shifts in the market driven by digital are killing brick and motar retailers and commercial labs. The market is now a shrinking number of small scale consumers who will be serviced by large direct-to-customers retailers. B&H is the model here. They are almost like an Amazon for photography.

    We have B&W materials that are thinning out, (Kodak drops T-MAX 3200) but demand seems to be rounding off and Ilford (Harman really) and Fotokema seem to have been sucesssful in scaling operations to suit the new market. Harman is diversified and is looking for new markets for its technology. Film is part of a diversified portfolio.

    Color will eventually go the same way. Demand will stabilize and those companies that can deliver at the smaller scale will do so. Part of that ecosystem is the Jobo CPP-3 and Champion introducing small scale processing packs, direct to folks like you & me, or small community type labs.

    So here's the real question. Is this direct to small scale user market large enough to sustain the products required to service it at a price that keeps enough folks engaged? The real answer is we don't know. It might be, it might not. Champion and Jobo are betting that it is.

    My guess is that it might just be, but the shakeout will be a very close run thing and a couple of missteps will kill the market. We will lose some more C-41 emulsions and will maybe have 2 E-6 emulsions at the end. I know my E-6 use will go up (from zero currently) if I can get decent E-6 processing materials. My C-41 use is only sustained because I can get the Digibase repackaged Fuji-Hunt chemistry. My film use and chemistry availabilty are linked. Is this typical - nobody really knows.

    Where dr5 is right is in seeing doom in his market. I don't see a rosy future there. The market, as it was, is dying. The new film ecosystem will be much smaller and very different if it survives.
     
  16. dr5chrome

    dr5chrome Member

    Messages:
    463
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    ..as things evolve, folks who understand what real photography is, in the-mind, will not want to give up that notion. To these peeps 'cell-phone-photography' is a joke. But, they only have so many $$ resources.

    It's not that we don't have enough clients, we do. The problem is will we have enough clients that will be able or will want to pay the cost for the services. This is what caused EFKE to close. While they had enough business, the cost of doing business in the foreseeable future was too high. EFKE didn't feel that their client base would pay what was needed to keep it all going.

    As a lab service its the same - the cost of chems & supplies, some of them up 250% this year alone, [not to mention ship costs & film costs]. These are business cost increases we cannot absorb. The result is to raise rates. As EFKE did, labs have to decide to raise rates and hope their clients will pay it, or close and do something else..

    Real photography has all moved to the arts. There is no commercial or hardly any being done today. When the economy is bad, artists have no money, and arts related services suffer. This is now the state of our industry. By the time who-all is left in analog, decides to pool together, it will be too late for all of us.

    This im afraid is the reality of it all..

    to krifatida's post - We deal with what we are given - DDX is still very much alive btw.. As mentioned, and I might take it to extreme, specialty stores even as big as freestyle may be going bye-bye sooner than we all think. The Amazons of the world are going to take over this mail-market. As 'services' get more expensive, more artists will be doing the DIY thing to save money. As far as helping each other, it rarely exists, if at all.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2012
  17. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

    Messages:
    5,479
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well after that ray of sunshine I think I'll just throw away my cameras now. :wink:

    I don't see it nearly that bad. Ilford seems to be doing fine in spite of some of the most costly materials on the market (because their stuff is good and worth what it costs.) I don't know about their financial health but Foma is around and makes a variety of materials, and Adox is now coating new films in Germany. I think most everyone knew that there were too many players for the size of the market and some shakeout was expected. It still hurts when it happens though, especially when a company made products unlike anything else on the market (like IR820 and Efke 25, Varycon and Emaks.)

    Costs are up and I expect prices to go up, but photography has never been cheap and it still isn't all that expensive compared to many other hobbies and materials for other arts. The economy is starting to improve, at least here in the US, and we can hope that continues which should not only increase demand but hopefully reverse some of the insane run up in precious metal prices and bring down the cost of silver.
     
  18. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

    Messages:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Floriduh
    Shooter:
    35mm
    If expenses are high I would suspect that the idea would be to move to a cheaper labor market or closer to one's supply chain. It isn't that moving cost aren't high, it's that there are plenty of towns and states willing to work deals on taxes in order to provide job's. If ones company is paying State and Federal taxes, and depending on the State tax liability (including Federal social security and medicare payments on higher wages) maybe moving would be a business saving idea. Let's put it another way; My truck insurance costs in S. Florida alone would be cut by 40% if I moved to the middle of the State. I have talked to my State Farm insurance agent and if I were to move to Georgia or N. Carolina it would be cut by as much as 60%. Then add in lower overhead costs, lower food costs, cheaper warehouse/factory rents and the list goes on. That why the Japanese are over here building Toyota's and many companies moved from California to Nevada. Btw, there are 7 States without a State income tax. What would that save one alone? Cut the overhead, maintain a lower price level and everyone win's.
     
  19. CatLABS

    CatLABS Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,473
    Joined:
    May 20, 2011
    Location:
    MA, USA
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    With all respect to your lament about what film photography once was, it is no more - it is time to look forward to what is around us now, what ever that may be, and as ugly or meaningless as it might seem to us.

    Nothing is better then a good, sustainable business plan, and even with that as you note the world around us is changing and some things become obsolete.
    Artists never have any money regardless of the shape of the economy, which if i read the WSJ correctly has never been better. And i say this after spending close to 10 years in art school and a working artist. Rich people who happen to be artists, however, always seem to have money to make their art regardless of the cost or the shape of the economy. I remember my professors telling me 12 years ago about how there are so few materials left to choose from and even those are so expensive. I do not even have a point of reference to give to my state uni students when i try to explain the base cost coefficient of the materials they need for my macrame photo darkroom class.



    Freestyle might go away or might flourish, but on a good note - a plethora of small, local business, catering to all new film users, who know nothing about DDX, or what chrome should look like (whatever that means anyways in 1/3 stop fanatics lingo) and are happy to use their cell phones to make type 55 look alike digital snaps, in the "everyone is a photographer" world, using plastic cameras to make bad negatives. Lomo is selling 100% more films then last year and that was 100% up form the year before. This is not just a shift in marker share - it is a new market reach, to customers who did not buy or use film before. I see it in my business first hand.

    As the twp posts above me noted: Prices will go up, markets will change, people will pay more - right now it looks like everyone is winning - Jobo is coming out with a new product to a marginal market - so is tetenal, lomo, impossible project and the list is LONG LONG LONG. Users have materials to use, manufacturers are selling - all is well, and stuff is getting better, stuff is getting better all the time :wink:.
     
  20. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

    Messages:
    5,479
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Depends on where in Georgia, and where you came from. My car insurance more than doubled when I moved from rural east TN to the Atlanta metro area. Things I buy in the store here cost the same as back in TN. Anything I hire someone to do costs more, because everyone makes a lot more here - including me, which is why I moved.
     
  21. br549

    br549 Subscriber

    Messages:
    31
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Hello Roger


    What part of East Tennessee did you come from? I grew up in The Tri-Cities area but now live in South Georgia.
     
  22. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

    Messages:
    5,479
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Elizabethton. Lived there until I went to UT Knoxville in 81-82, moved back and graduated from ETSU twice, came to Atlanta area the first time in 2000 but only stayed six months and moved back. Moved back to the Atlanta area in 2003 and been here ever since, now with wife, house, and darkroom all here. :smile:
     
  23. br549

    br549 Subscriber

    Messages:
    31
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    What a small world it can be, I'm very familiar with Elizabethton and have good friends there. I left the area in '81 and except for a month in '85 I've lived in the South GA/Northern FL area. One day I would like to retire and move back to Upper East Tennessee (as they used to say).
     
  24. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

    Messages:
    2,297
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Floriduh
    Shooter:
    35mm
    We all know that large cities have higher taxes thus higher costs overall. Atlanta, Miami, New York, Houston, San Fran all have increased tax fee's, including on gas. The idea I was trying to relate is that in this day and age some businesses can be based in Timbuktu (so to say) and do business at a lower overall cost. Problem is, nobody wants to move away from the kids/Grand kid's and amenities/culture/entertainment/schools a larger city provides besides higher wages as in your case.

    A State without State income tax is a big incentive tho to keep a moderate price structure on services/supplies thus enabling enthusiasts to further enjoy film photography at moderate costs.
     
  25. dr5chrome

    dr5chrome Member

    Messages:
    463
    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Not sure how long you have been in the biz - me almost 30yrs, 1st and 1/2 that time as a shooter in NYC. Not many have the perspective I have on the industry I have here. Someone will always figure out a way to make a business work in any market. While one would think the best place for a small custom analog shop to be would be NYC, after 911 well over 3/4 of them closed. Offering digital services was no help. Its very hard to move a photo lab. The EQ can only sustain so much abuse. When we moved to Denver it was to save the business. The cost alone for rent would be 20x our current mortgage.

    Unfortunately I know all too well about 'good business plans'. We would not have survived this long without it. While there are some positive things happening, the negative far out-weigh the good in our industry. To put icing on the rotten cake is just fooling yourself. If 911 taut me anything it was never to be caught with pants down again.

    I would disagree with your synopsis of the arts however. It depends on the economy when artists have money. Our industry today is extremely volatile. When changes are made to adjust another wrench is thrown into the gear-box.

    The original point I was making is what is left in our industry needs to pool together, because we are dependent on each other. If most of the players continue to do as they are doing - standing by, watching others drown - our industry is certain to die very quickly.
     
  26. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

    Messages:
    5,479
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yep. Every time we visit my wife asks, "tell me again why we don't live here?" and I say, "because there's no work for me that would pay even 1/2 what I make in Atlanta." Oh yeah, that.

    I like the amenities too, though I could probably live without those. I hear you on business costs, but Fotokemika is in Croatia already, and I doubt moving that old equipment again is practical.

    Not sure I agree about lack of income tax though. Might or might not be an incentive but having lived in both sorts of states I think an income tax is much more fair than a sales tax, which hits lower incomes disproportionately. It doesn't even lower the cost of goods or services. It might lower the price tag, but not the final cost. This is especially true where sales tax applies to services, as it does in Tennessee which lacks an income tax. I moved from there, with no income tax but sales tax exceeding 9% combined state and local that applies to pretty much everything including groceries and services, to a state with an income tax but 6% sales tax, much lower local only averaging about 2% on groceries and no sales tax on services. It doesn't make up for the difference in cost of services but I think there's a lot more going in with that than the income tax.

    I was just taking issue with the suggestion that moving to Georgia, anywhere in Georgia seemed to be implied, would radically lower car insurance. Moving from a big city to a rural area almost always will, though - on that point I agree.