Silvano's in Toronto has closed, having a clearance sale.

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Bob-D659, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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  2. dxqcanada

    dxqcanada Member

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    Yup, I have seen that Lambda printer ... and it is too big to fit in my condo.
     
  3. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Talk about a dog's breakfast. Locals should keep an eye on their dumpsters! Their plant was large and one wonders how they shifted the rest of their processing/printing lines. Suspect they'd already moved out most of it since their business and quality had been in sharp decline for the last 5-6 years.
     
  4. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I had a tour of this plant two weeks ago by Silvano and his crew, the Lambda and most of the equipment is first rate and if I did not have most of the gear I would have purchased something... 100,000 sq feet operation, basically the world has moved to digital and wedding photographers are not making prints.

    It is not a fire sale by any means and unless you have seen the whole setup , you would not know the genius of Silvano Sr.
    Most of the techs have moved on and the head management team are set to retire in style.
     
  5. CGW

    CGW Member

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    As a customer, I gave up on them once their processing quality tanked 3-4 years ago. My sense, again as a customer, was that the business had slowed to a weak trickle Their late flirtation with E6 processing--something they'd never done--was a minor disaster.
     
  6. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Over the last few months I have seen your posts regarding the demise of certain films .. and your sense is correct I believe on the industry and the trends,

    my two cents is that

    Quality loss is a direct result of people not exposing film anymore. The best E6 lab, some would argue *Me* in North America was Colourgenics, followed by Steichanlab, both high quality E6 labs with the best of best Refrema equipment.
    Both labs stopped processing E6 film due to the lack of film required to keep their tight control in line. Today we have Toronto Image Works left as the sole provider of quality processing for E6 and C41. Once Ed decides that the volumes do not warrant the effort to keep the plots in line they too will stop.

    If I was to put on my future telling optics on I would suggest that within 5 years not only will the big custom labs decide keeping top process control is not worth the effort,for both C41 and E6, but an even more disturbing trend is that the mini lab operations are all converting to dry labs... Blacks in our area has already made the switch with all the others soon to follow suit. ** for those not in our area, Blacks is a monster chain of photo stores**
    I had the chance to visit Fuji in Mississauga and was completely blown away by the dry ink lab available that could produce 600 4x6 prints per hour and the quality was outstanding. 10 thousand dollars, which seems like a lot but when compared to a wet Fuji Frontier system or a Noritsu D labsystem is over $250K to get involved > A dry lab i is a piece of cake therefore to get involved with and every Mom and Paw operation will have one within two years.

    Its like the trend in printing, now with inkjet I have noticed there are now over 40 master printers in Toronto now, where years ago there may be three or four, Anyone able to buy a 40 inch printer for under 10 k can offer their prints to the public, you even can put the printer in the living room . And the names of their processes are even more confusing than their stated skills on the internet, and half our time at our front counter or when we talk with photo groups is explaining the differences in processes.

    What will be left , HOME BREW - plain and simple -PE will have to help all those wanting to prepare their E6 and C41 chemicals.

    I still expose a lot of C41 film and we batch process the film on our C41, I am hoping I am wrong about this but we are seeing a disturbing trend of dwindling fresh film, and once the marketing gurus in Kodak and Fuji decide that sales are consistently heading downwards they will cut the product sku's.
    We hope to be one of the last standing labs offering black and white processing, and will continue to process our own personal C41 as long as the chem's and film is available. But we are preparing for the future where mixing from scratch, alternative hand coated prints, and probably making the single largest purchase of Ilford Warmtone will be made by us within the next 3-10 years. At my age , there is a time coming where my clients and I will be forced to make the investment and cold storage 10 years of paper. After that I will be wearing Diapers and watching reruns of Dallas and the Price Is Right and won't give a shit about the industry that has been my friend and supplier of a place to rest my head and feed my family for over 40 years.

    In Silvano's case I believe they did not make the switch to a complete digital workflow soon enough and as you well know 100,000 square ft of space in Toronto is a monster to cover financially. It was a great wedding portrait lab for many years and its sad to see them go.



     
  7. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    One thing I have never quite understood is that all these pro labs need precise process control, run multiple test strips every so often and need lots of film running through to maintain their quality standards. On the other side you have plenty of home developers reusing E6/C41 kit chems many times over, set to 38°C with flimsy thermometers, chems poured into and out of hand inversion tanks with little reproducibility and still: mostly happy users with workable results.

    Are these home users with their imprecise dev procedures just imbeciles who don't know what good development results should really look like? Are all these pro labs old dinosaurs pursuing a pointlessly optimized procedure with excessive effort? Why is it that I can get E6 kits easier than E6 processing in my home town?
     
  8. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    A pro lab that is running over 10k a day in film processing requires precise replenishment and process control,
    Keeping grey balances is quite a step above hand process at home.

    Nothing wrong with doing home process that way, but impossible to make a living with demanding clients who want consistancey and run to run accuracy with their pushes and pulls.

    Most of the good E6 labs are going or gone.

     
  9. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    There was a lot of talk about how Kodak didn't seem to be able to scale down with declining market demand, but pro labs seem to have fared even worse. These labs could have focused on affordable small scale processing but apparently decided to hold on to their 10k a day processing setups. These "demanding clients who want consistency and run to run accuracy" don't seem to exist in meaningful numbers nowadays yet pro labs act like that's the only type of E6 shooter worth their attention.

    Note that this fixation on "consistency and run to run accuracy" made these labs easy prey for the digital juggernaut. As mentioned before: if it is easier to find a brick&mortar store carrying E6 home dev kits than a lab doing E6, the problem can not only be attributed to E6 going out of fashion.
     
  10. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Or maybe its because every single professional shooter in the GTA switching to digital capture by the year 2004.


    I run a scaled down small batch process for black and white clients who still shoot film, just to give you some scale, 1993- 200 thousand dollars per year in film processing,, 2012-10 -15 thousand a year if its a good year. We still do film processing for our clients as a required service that leads to printing, film processing does not in itself make any profit.

    Survival in our industry is due to joining the juggernaut rather than fighting it. Lots of pro labs (ourself included) are doing fine, just not with film blazing the way.
    We are one of a few that has kept an element of film and enlarger printing alive, 800 sq ft darkroom is fairly large by todays standards.



     
  11. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    If consistency and run to run accuracy would be my most pressing concern, I'd be digital, too. Pro labs sold and perfected a specific kind of service that turned out to be the natural habitat of digital.

    Under all normal circumstances E6 home dev kits would have been the first product to leave the market. Instead it is pro labs followed by Kodak slide film.
     
  12. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Bob and I saw the same fight from different seats. When advanced amateurs who once shot between 100-300 rolls/year began dropping E6 materials for digital, it was obvious a sea change was in progress. I saw this happen in several of Toronto's larger camera clubs around 2003-04, when the high volume slide shooting members(who also happened to be among the more affluent)quickly shifted to digital. By 2004, many clubs ended slide competitions and shifted to LCD projection.Demand for E6 materials nosedived and quality E6 processing that pros once kept afloat started to shrivel up. Home kits amount to drop in the bucket relative to the chemistry volume that once flowed through busy E6 labs. The E6 lines folded because demand for slide film faltered about 8 years ago in our area. Kodak's E6 material sales volume(not $ sales which are skewed by price increases)must have been shrinking at a frightening rate over the past 5-8 years.
     
  13. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    The problem with scaling down a decent size E6 or C41 processing line means replacing it, for many thousands of dollars. It just isn't cost effective, especially when you can see demand falling in the future. When the 1 hour giant grocery chains switch to send out two week turnaround for C41, there is no consumer demand either. Yes you can do C41 by hand or in a small processor, but not many people are willing to pay something like $20 for develop only for C41 and quite a bit more for E6.
     
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  15. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Yup. My long love affair with 35mm is just about over, thanks to the demise of cheap 35mm dev/print service.There's one Loblaws in the far west end of the GTA that still runs a Frontier line. Prices are up and quality is, well, variable. Costco folded its film services a couple years ago all over Toronto. Dismal.

    Transitioning to hybrid now and shooting way more 120 C-41/E6/b&w while pro lab processing is still accessible.
     
  16. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I think this is the writing on the wall that we all know is there, but people on this site have a hard time dealing with. You can't blame them, it's just not what we all would have wanted. The town I live in with some 6,000 year round residents used to have two full time E-6 labs that in 1998, got flooded with work from people like tourists to big name ad shooters handing in anything from 35mm to 8x10. It was truly amazing a town this small could be so photo-centric, but it is a world famous resort. As of 2007, there are no E-6 labs in the area, only a couple in Denver. Not even the Wolf Camera has a C41 machine anymore. I still shoot some E6 but replaced it mostly with C41 since it gets scanned and output onto Endura Metallic. I have a couple hundred rolls of Ektar 100 in 120 and Portra 400 in 220, I will only stock up on that so much due to the fact it does not have good long term prospects for pro use and quite frankly, my future is in black and white, a much more stable product line with a far easier to home brew level of production.

    My concern is now for silver gelatin paper prices, by far already the most expensive part of the equation of being a professional fine art photographer preferring film. When I hear about you making a sizable investment in Warmtone, I am on exactly the same page, cover my rear so I can continue on and I think this is how most of the established pros I have talked to think as well. The thought of investing some 20-30K+ on paper in the next 2-3 years is a daunting one, but what choice do we have, we are still in the game and will play until the fat lady sings...

    Honestly though, I am impressed color film in any form has survived this long, Kodak's Portra and Ektar product line is simply amazing stuff...
     
  17. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    CGW, I think the Loblaws C41 setup is the last one in the country. I started doing my own C41, works out to under $2 for the Kodak chemistry listed in the sticky post if you extend the dev times. Results are excellent.

    BTW, those C41 chems are available from Kodak Canada, thru any photo dealer that sells Kodak stuff.
     
  18. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Around here (Vancouver, BC area) there are still a few Walmarts doing C41, as well as a Shoppers Drug Mart or two.

    In addition, several London Drugs still process film (including two apparently who will process 120!), although they have transitioned totally to Fuji inkjet for printing.

    There are three pro labs as well, although since their move, ABC is no longer doing their own E6 :sad:(CustomColour does it for them).

    Costco does a huge business still printing from digital files onto RA4 paper.
     
  19. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    "CGW, I think the Loblaws C41 setup is the last one in the country."

    I meant it was their last one in the country.

    But yes, C41 processing is disappearing quickly.

    The odd thing is that RA4 prints are less expensive to produce than inkjet, but the backroom costs of fixer disposal and handling chemicals goes away with the inkjet process. The drylabs are approx half the cost of a RA4 unit, which makes sense if your printing requirements are maybe just a couple of hundred prints per hour.
     
  20. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Bob:

    I was speaking the other day with someone who has worked in the photo department of London Drugs for a long time.

    He was saying that in the heyday of film, their returns from recycling silver were enough to update or replace all their equipment every 3 - 5 years.

    Everything is changing :blink:
     
  21. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    When I look in our local photo club, there are lots of older members who switched to digital in that same time frame. These folks loathed dark room work and saw digital as an easy way out. While there may be some folks on APUG who shoot slide film purely for resolution and quality reasons, a sizable number of them enjoy dark room work, and going to a pro lab would take some of the fun away. When new folks show up in our dark room, they may have a few rolls of already developed neg film which they had done by a lab, but as soon as they get the hang of it they develop for themselves.

    Conclusion: people who were served well by a pro lab are served even better by digital capture. People who want analog today may use pro labs once or twice as a jump start but won't come back often. Right now pro labs offer nothing I would want, and I spent four digit numbers on materials last year.
    While in most areas the slow movers were the first ones to be out, I see some anomalies: Plus-X went away while Efke/Foma/Adox are still around. Pro labs go away while E6 home processing kits are still around.

    These are two trends which you can't just explain away with "declining demand".
     
  22. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    This conversation reminds me of a few threads a couple of years back about Ciba..

    I was one of the last purchasers of a totally dedicated Ciba machine in the mid to late 90's. There were about 50 of them made, I certainly tried to make a go of it.
    At the time I was making various contrast and colour control masks for transparancies and doing only enlarger work.
    My client base at that time was indeed mostly part timers shooting 35mm slides. Rocks Trees, Flowers....

    My price to mask and control contrasts were not being purchased as being too expensive, then three grades of contrast paper were available and to hell with the mask and meet the expectations. Ciba management did no marketing, their chain of distribution was pitiful, we then purchased a Lambda and for a time we were making hay again, but the price of material and shipping and duties and improper containers from Ciba became too much to handle. I threw out a perfectly good machine with 20 years left on it.....
    During these threads I remember being the messenger of doom and gloom about Ciba,,, I got slammed then and I remember those sticking their heads in the sand about its future... three years latter try to purchase fresh Ciba kits and materials....

    The market place is fickle, the common denominator is price it seems.

    For clarification, I do not miss the old good days, in fact my company has completely retrofitted itself so to speak, we have brought on young blood with fresh ideas and one benefit is I am in the darkroom more and shooting more film for my projects than I ever did before.
    I hope C41 and E6 products do not go away and I hope those reading my posts understand I am fully committed to film and fiber prints... but the gate has been open for a very long time on colour and the materials needed for film camera may ,,,,, may not make it past five years... today I am working on separating film to make Tri colour Carbons by hand , but my youngest staff members are capturing with 5d's and making inkjet.
    I just can't sit on this forum and not tell it like I see it, even if it rubs individuals the wrong way.

    The day will come where I need to purchase the large Ilford Warmtone order, it will not be due to fiber paper going away, quite the opposite as I think there is enough of a market to sustain yearly paper runs, hopefully from various manufactures.
    My reasoning will be price ,,, there will be a tipping point for me and my clients where we will consider long term safe storage of paper purchased at price x in year x
    or just keep on paying the predictable price increased Harmon/Others will need to continue supplying us paper on a ongoing basis.

    This paper purchase should keep me busy on many museum and gallery projects that are slated as well as private commissions.
    I probably looking at my health and age consider about 15-20 years of demanding printing for my clients who have supported me over the last 20 years since I opened Silver Shack. Beyond that this old dinasour will just be happy if he could crank out one print a day and I hope that I will be able to do that.


    Back to Ciba...... Who do you all think is still using the material on a regular basis and will do so for a few more years.......... any takers......



    Jeff Wall- hmmm:munch:

    I suspect he made the single most largest purchase of Cibachrome trans material as recently as two years ago.... I know that when I was printing cibas, he was the big buyer on certain years and looking at his background I think he has enough boxes of frozen paper to continue on with his work.... maybe he contacted PE to get the chemical mixtures as well.
    I am only guessing this but I hope he is .
     
  23. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    BTW

    A conversation with PE and others here on how safe it is to store colour film and chemicals would be a great thread to get going... I would stock pile C41 and Colour Film, RA 4 Chemistry and Colour RA4 paper, if I felt that the materials could handle the cold storage. This would be of great interest to me and hopefully to others wanting to continue making colour prints.

    My background , does not make me competent to discuss this properly but we do have some bright emulsion and chemistry experts here on APUG.
     
  24. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    Cibachrome is a prime time example how the photographic industry actively killed analog. A number of factors contributed to its demise:
    • Ilford Switzerland. Enough said, no point in spending extra words on this miserable failure of a company.
    • Complete lack of marketing for this process. I've been to all kinds of pro labs but never saw an Ilfochrome print until I made one myself.
    • Forum BS: There were countless postings claiming that for doing Ilfochrome at least a PhD in process chemistry is required. Ilfochrome without contrast masks: phhhh! Only the very best is barely good enough and that only in a few lucky cases. If any imbecile amateur ever got a P3/P30 kit, he'll be lucky to survive its first application but never get discernible results. And normal dark room equipment will never work for Ilfochrome, only a few top secret contraptions made by "the experts" have a chance to make Ilfochrome work at all.

    Result: complete lack of interest until the process died.

    Surprise: none.

    Unlike some folks on APUG I was never rubbed the wrong way by people writing from their own experience or who post less than optimistic forecasts about certain photographic processes. All I did was point out that the failure of Ilfochrome and E6 pro labs can not be exclusively blamed on the digital juggernaut. It was the digital juggernaut combined with complete inability and/or unwillingness of the affected parties to deal with the new situation and a changed market in exactly these areas.

    Think of the following, I've read this somewhere here: Cars have completely replaced horses as a means of transportation in the last 100 years. Yet, there are more horses in California right now than there were 100 years ago.
     
  25. CGW

    CGW Member

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    This degree of sarcasm and disingenuity doesn't further your arguments. This has to be a prime example:

    Unlike some folks on APUG I was never rubbed the wrong way by people writing from their own experience or who post less than optimistic forecasts about certain photographic processes.

    I never saw this spirit in evidence in any of your recent exchanges with Aristophanes and others in threads on Kodak's torment, just full throttle vituperation and bile.

    BTW, "declining demand" is incontrovertible--sad, granted, but true nonetheless. PlusX sales/use dwarfed B&W off brands in N. America. Demand for b&w materials tanked and what's left is barely visible(recall that Kodak's decision to end B&W paper production likely wasn't the result of spite). Home E6 processing? C'mon. Again, Kodak killed their small batch kit, too. Why?

    I saw dozens of dedicated, often longtime, film shooters ditch analog beginning a decade ago for matters of cost. Heavy E6 amateur users rationalized the switch in cost terms--that's all I ever heard. Pros who shot fashion/editorial/PJ moved to digital workflow instep with client and publication needs.
     
  26. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Frank Green at the Lab Ciba has, he also has several artists who have done like I have and invested in his paper purchase to the tune of thousands. I had wanted to print a big show from my Kodachrome slides, but did not have the cash outlay to do it right away. So now I am forced to sell crap and pony up because I want at least *some* of the show to be printed on the real deal. Word also has it that there is a European man who is a devout analog supporter who is possibly going to offer as much as a million U.S. to Ilford to supply him material, for who or what, I do not know.

    In terms of buying large stocks of Ilford paper, this is exactly my thinking too, build up a stock before sharp price increases and then rotate stock and keep contributing to the company's bottom line on a semi-annual basis. One of my clients is a couple who owns a very successful restaurant group, I have three major shoots coming up that I would normally be paid nicely for. But in this case, I am looking at getting trade in the form of walk in freezer space for paper...the stuff is big and needs that kind of room.

    If you are a hobby shooter like most, make sound choices in what you use, and use enough of it, contribute to the bottom line on any product you want to see stay afloat and spread the word, get other people to use it.

    If you are a pro, you most likely don't need to be told to streamline your long term goals in terms of what products you want to use and then make large initial investments in those products to cover your rear and then simply buy new stock as needed as frequently as you can to contribute to the same bottom line the hobby shooter does.

    I have no idea what is to happen, but I do know this, if you thought 2000-2010 was a bad decade for film and related products and services, you ain't seen nothing yet. Between the poor outlook on the global "Freeconomy" and the digi-machine, it's going to get ugly out there...so plan accordingly.