Sic Transit Gloria B+H

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by Rolleiflexible, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

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    I heard sad news from a B+H sales clerk
    on several fronts.

    -- B+H is out of 135 Tri-X and down to 70
    rolls of 120 Tri-X, and will not be restocking
    it any time soon due to "disagreements" with
    their distributor.

    -- In the next two months, they will be
    closing the darkroom section and halving
    the size of the film counter (which was
    already shrunk when it was relocated).
    Darkroom supplies and equipment will still
    be available by special order or by retrieval
    from the warehouse, if stocked.

    -- They will also be removing MF and LF film
    cameras and equipment from the shelves
    (again, to be sold by special order or from
    the warehouse if stocked) to make room for
    equipment intended to produce still photographs
    from motion picture equipment, believed to be
    the next wave in digital photography.

    Moving their darkroom department off the retail
    floor, in particular, strikes me as shortsighted.
    While I am sure it does not pull its weight in
    generating revenue/ft2, it is part of B+H's core
    identity, that distinguishes it from Best Buy.
     
  2. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    "-- They will also be removing MF and LF film cameras and equipment from the shelves (again, to be sold by special order or from the warehouse if stocked) to make room for equipment intended to produce still photographs from motion picture equipment, believed to be the next wave in digital photography."

    Ignoring for the moment the implications of this, how would this work? Frames captured at 1/24th or 1/30th of a second as a substitute for still cameras? Seriously?
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    chris

    people cherry pick still frames from a digital stream.
    the commercial world has been doing this for a while now.
    the camera-operator shoots dv (for the web) and then stills ... from the image stream.

    kind of makes still-camera-operators nearly obsolete!

    gotta love it!
    john
     
  4. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    Oh, you mean that, using the same camera that mainly shoots video at 1/30th, you could choose to expose a single image for 1/1000th of a second. Sort of like the 5DMk II in reverse (camera that mainly shoots video used for stills instead of a camera that mainly shoots stills used for video)?
     
  5. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    Chicken and egg...you can't sell film/darkroom if it's not on the shelves -- you can't justify it on the shelves if you're not selling it.

    It takes a retailer taking a stand, ultimately.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Scaling back medium and large format doesn't surprise me. High-end studio photography in many ways hasn't seemed to have been their market for some time, except in the lighting department. They don't sell some lines of medium and large format digital backs either, I think because they aren't set up to offer the kind of service that the manufacturers want. Studios in the NYC area with Sinar equipment are probably dealing directly with SinarBron, who can send reps to make studio visits. PhaseOne dealers offer training as part of the package, and in some cases financing and lease arrangements. These kinds of practices wouldn't appear to fit the current B&H business model.

    Another reason to support Freestyle.
     
  7. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    They're not even keeping a small darkroom section? Does that include paper and chems? I don't know about MF, but B&H has basically been out of the LF business for a long time. They carry some token offerings, so it's no big loss on that front. I suppose we're seeing film photography moving to the niche retailers, but it still stinks and it's hard to think of not going to B&H when I'm up in NYC. Oh well, long live Central Camera!
     
  8. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

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    David, I had the same reaction. I can
    understand a decision to remove MF and
    LF cameras from the shelves (although
    they take up a tiny fraction of the camera
    display shelving upstairs). The rest of it
    makes little sense to me, though -- B+H
    is transitioning to a business model of
    selling boxes near cost, and "extended
    warranties," and away from its former
    reputation of being a photographer's store.

    I'm already looking to Freestyle for my
    papers -- I guess I'll join you in sending
    my film and chemistry business to them
    as well.
     
  9. Rolleiflexible

    Rolleiflexible Member

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    My understanding is that you will make
    darkroom purchases at what's left of the
    film counter, and if it's in the warehouse,
    they will bring it into the store for you.
    But there will be no display space devoted
    to darkroom equipment or supplies, including
    papers and chemistry.
     
  10. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Don't forget that Freestyle doesn't go into conniption fits about putting wet chemistry in some delivery service. B&H would carry lots of stuff but you had to go to the store to get it because they wouldn't ship it.
     
  11. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    Wasn't there a post recently about how B+H had increased the size of their film counter and it was selling like hotcakes or something? I don't know, it might have been some other store.
    But it doesn't effect me at all, as I'm on the other side of the world. So, I'll be on my way - gonna go take some photos.
     
  12. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    For some of us this was a plus--that they carried the stuff on the shelf, not that they wouldn't ship it. If I had to pay to ship TF-4, I'd probably mix my own fixer instead.
     
  13. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I can understand for locals, but if you're out of town and you want to order the 5 gallon Rapid Fixer they were selling, driving up to New York was a lot more expensive and time consuming than having it shipped. And you couldn't buy that locally, certainly not in that volume.
     
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  15. Barry S

    Barry S Member

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    How will I know what I want, then?

    Hannibal Lecter: No! He covets. That is his nature. And how do we begin to covet, Clarice? Do we seek out things to covet? Make an effort to answer now.
    Clarice Starling: No. We just...
    Hannibal Lecter: No. We begin by coveting what we see every day. Don't you feel eyes moving over your body, Clarice? And don't your eyes seek out the things you want?
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    One question is whether this change will be relevant for non-locals, if it's mainly a matter of giving up floor space in the store and moving things out to the Brooklyn warehouse or the downstairs stockroom. Of course it could have an effect if taking things off the shelves means they sell fewer of those things and the things are discontinued, but I wonder how much paper, for instance, is sold to walk-ins as compared with mail order. You can't tell anything about paper or developer by looking at the package on the shelf, unlike a camera, which you can handle and look through.

    There are many products sold at B&H that aren't on the shelves, but are in the store's stockroom and have to be called up. I remember once going to buy a small ballhead, and all three that I was interested in had to be brought up so I could see them. None were on the shelf.
     
  17. marylandphoto

    marylandphoto Member

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    I was speaking to some NFL photographers last year during a very nice experience where I got to take pics down on the field. They said that the feasibility of simply choosing which still images you want from high definition video capture instead of a dedicated still photography staff has been studied.
     
  18. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    It's too bad Freestyle doesn't have an east coast warehouse though.
     
  19. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I know what to do! Lets start a petition just like someone always does when a film is discontinued! We can sell darkroom, MF and LF equipment in the same barn that we coat homemade Kodachrome.

    All siriusness aside, I am sad to learn about this turn of events. :sad:

    Steve
     
  20. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I got my last shipment of TXP 220 in three days, I think, from Freestyle. I usually try to order from them anyway when the shipping will be less than the local tax, and I've gone out of my way to make a special order from them even for things I can buy off the shelf locally, like my Zeiss Distagon 35mm/f:2 in ZS mount (M42), because they support APUG.
     
  21. tim elder

    tim elder Member

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    I can understand, but it makes K&M look even more attractive, to me at least. At least that place looks like a camera store.

    Tim
     
  22. JMCS

    JMCS Member

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    Well, at least you can still order the stuff. But seriously, there is barely a film counter to begin with so I'm just wondering how they are physically going to shorten it, without removing it completely.
     
  23. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    People who want to buy paper already know they want to buy paper. They don't really need to see it first and they can find out what's available by looking at the B&H website. So probably it will result in a sales reduction, but maybe not much of a reduction.

    But then, B&H probably doesn't care. They're not there for you, they're there to make money and they most certainly know what they're doing in that department - by turfing the darkroom section, they can make commercial photographers (you know, the ones with the money to spend!) lust over new toys that are now on display. Doesn't matter that those particular toys don't appeal to you.
     
  24. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    there is a lot of open space in prov and worcestor,
    maybe we can get them to rent some of it!
     
  25. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    Well, it is sad in a way, but it's the way of business, I suppose. The part that I always wonder, though, is how many young people might have "stumbled upon" that darkroom section and wondered..."what's this analog photography really about?" And then proceed to purchase some goodies and get hooked! :D

    That's a dream, I know, but I think it must happen from time to time, especially at a place like Freestyle, where if they come in for some nice Inkjet paper, they surely can't help but browse the analog stuff too!
    Well, Freestyle gets all my film business these days since I moved to SoCal anyway. But when I was in Alaska, B&H was the best - fastest and most reasonable on shipping.

    Jed
     
  26. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Well, for most of us purchasing in the store is not the most important matter. I assume that they will continue to sell LF film items and chemistry via the internet-or am I wrong?

    One might begin to think more seriously about mixing one's own chemicals. In most instances, the process is amazingly simple AND very safe. The new digital balances are quite inexpensive, and chemicals are readily available from Art Craft, PF, and some other sources. Measuring spoons can be purchased from any super-market. A thermometer is cheap...a few brown bottles or Jobo bottles for storage...some distilled water from the same market.....and you will be in business.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2010