When did I become a professional?

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by DBP, May 20, 2006.

  1. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I've been a serious photographer on and off over the years, and have experienced a bit of a renaissance with the new century, but never would characterize myself as a professional. Among other things, I've sold one picture, and that when I was 15. (Admittedly I didn't try to sell again until last fall.) Nonetheless, I was looking for the data sheet for Plus-X today and stumbled over the fact that Kodak characterizes all non-C41 films and anything other than 35mm or APS as "professional." I thought maybe this was part of their continuing retreat from film, but the Fujifilm Global website does the same thing, and I can't find any mention there that they even make black and white film. (I can find it on the USA web site, but that wasn't where I was looking.)

    When did photo companies start thinking that anyone who could develop film must do it for a living? Has anyone at these two companies considered that they might sell more film if the casual searcher could find out that they still make it? After all, outside of major cities, most photo stores will only stock what is being marketed, and anything but color print film is becoming scarce. It reminds me of having to give up using my Argoflex in the late-70s because the local camera store said Kodak had stopped making 620 film. In those pre-internet days I believed them. But according to the lists I have seen, the film wasn't officially discontinued until 1995, almost two decades later. Just seems like it is a self-fulfilling prophecy.
     
  2. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    eh, I wouldn't get too...what is the word, excited (?) about the "professional" moniker. I think it's just marketing hype. It's supposed to make you feel important..or, justify the additional cost perhaps?
     
  3. John Bragg

    John Bragg Member

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    From what I remember, so called Professional emulsions were sold with a shorter shelf life than amateur stock, having been pre-ripened and produced to very tight tolerances. It was usual for such film to be kept refrigerated in the store, whilst amateur emulsions were left on the shelf...... J.B.
     
  4. darr

    darr Subscriber

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    That is correct. For an example if you were paid to shoot a wedding (you are considered a professional when it is a source of income), then you would want all 200+ pictures to match as far as color goes. An example could be the bridesmaids dresses. If you ever look at a professional wedding album that consists of 200+ photos, look at the consistency in the gown colors alone. I know that if the colors were not consistent, I would have had a hard time getting my $2,500+ for the album and that was in the late '80s.
     
  5. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I understand that for color films, but Tri-x?
     
  6. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Tri-x has been classified by Kodak as a professional film for many years now, I used to work in a pro lab and we always had to order it from the pro-section of the Kodak master catalog and that was quite a number of years ago, so they have been this way for quite a long time.
     
  7. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Just because your film is professional, it doesn't mean that you are. Just like all those people buying "professional grade" GM pickup trucks...

    Kirk - www.keyesphoto.com
     
  8. DBP

    DBP Member

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    I didn't think I was a professional, though some of the pros I know have suggested it. It seems no one read much past the subject line. My real concern is that the camera companies are cutting off amateurs from expanding their knowledge by making information on medium format and black and white film hard to find.
     
  9. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I think your are reading into this incorrectly.

    "Professional" film products by Kodak meant that the film was made (manufactured) BY professionals who worked at the Kodak plant Monday to Friday.

    The "amateur" products were made by people they hired to come in on weekends to work there, people off the street who just wanted to earn a few extra bucks.

    Hope this helps.



    Michael
     
  10. darr

    darr Subscriber

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    Here is a link to: KODAK TRI-X Pan and KODAK TRI-X Pan Professional Films

    http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/f9/f9.jhtml

    If you look at the different tables between the "Tri-X Pan Professional" and "Tri-X Pan" versions you will see differences in film bases, exposure times, filter corrections, processing times, etc. Professional films are developed to be optimized for their speed and color balance the moment they are put into the camera. Professional shooters usually use lots of film at once so they need consistency from roll to roll. FWIW, I always used the same emulsion batch numbers on a job whether the job was for color or b&w. There are technical differences between pro and non-pro film types, and it would be correct to assume it is not marketing hype. You do not have to be a working professional to appreciate the differences, just a picky photographer that knows the differences and utilizes them.
     
  11. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    You can find advertising for Kodak and Fuji professional films in some publications. Mostly those are the more professional (working) photographer oriented publications, such as PDN, Picture, Rangefinder, or a handful of other titles.

    Kodak made an attempt at selling a Professional Portra 400UC recently through non-photo store outlets like Walmart and Target. I feel that since this is a C-41 film, and that it was not refrigerated, that the Professional wording on the boxes was marketing. I don't think it went over well, since it seemed to have disappeared after a few months. I rarely ever use C-41 films, so no big deal for me, even though I find great food deals at Target.

    It would be nice for someone in the Marketing and Communications department at Fuji or Kodak actually make a posting here. I suspect that advertising certain products is kept low due to some perceptions they might have about who buys certain products. Maybe APUG can put together a film user survey that might actually help keep some products in circulation? There are over 12000 members here, though I rarely see many responses to poll questions.

    Ciao!

    Gordon
     
  12. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I use a Fuji "professional" 6x9 enlarger for printing. It says it on its head. But it can be as professional as it is sold to photo students, pro labs, and all other high-end amateurs, and some professional photographers for their darkrooms.

    It's certainly built well, but does it justify to be a pro model? I don't know. I'll find out in a long term use.

    My Fujinon EX enlarging lenses are widely used including by the people in the medical field, which has always been a big market for Fuji also. But these lenses don't have the "professional" labeling of any kind.

    The Neopan rolls I have are only labeled as "Fuji Film", and so are the Provia ones. It's good that I don't necessarily keep my films in a fridge all the time.

    What else do I have? Oh, I have a Fuji portable small light table, which says, "Fuji Color." :smile:
     
  13. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Let me phrase it - Just because your filim is professional, doesn't mean that you have to be.

    Actually, I think Darr came closest to answering. "Professional" has a specific meaning for the manufacturing, aging, and storage of the films, even at the retailer level. It's not meant to scare off amatuers.

    You should write Kodak marketing and tell them the film needs to say "Professional Grade, but good enough for amatuers" instead...
     
  14. DBP

    DBP Member

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    And yet when I pick up Plus-X or Acros at the camera store, it is not in the fridge with the real professional films. I think both companies have lost sight of a significant chunk of the market, the same portion from which APUG draws some members.
     
  15. Kirk Keyes

    Kirk Keyes Member

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    Huh!? It is at my camera store. Well, walk in climate controlled room.

    But then it's called Pro Photo Supply (Portland, OR).