Where's the big market for film?

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by StephenS, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. StephenS

    StephenS Member

    Messages:
    140
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I few years back (maybe 5 or 6) I remember Kodak saying they were expecting the growing market for film would be in Asia, meaning China.

    Seemed like a logical thing at the time but film sales worldwide were still decent then because digital wasn't fully entrenched yet. I believe Kodak had just built a new facility and maybe were in optimistic/let's not scare the shareholders mode.

    My question is, is this still true at all? (Was it ever true?) Is there a place with growing film sales? Even in a place like China it seems digital would grow faster than film.

    I ask this because I'm surprised at how little film is now offered in the grocery stores, Wal Mart, etc. It's getting hard to find consumer versions of 100 ASA film for snapshots at this point.
     
  2. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

    Messages:
    4,090
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location:
    NYC or Copak
    Shooter:
    35mm

    Oh, oh....

    To start at the end - I still see plenty of film (usually K plus a house brand) in grocery stores, drug stores etc. (I don't shop in WalMart).

    As to China - last Spring my wife had a business trip to Shanghai and borrowed my little digital P&S. Everywhere she went she was approached by street vendors offering to sell her CF cards. :D

    Now let the fun and games begin with this perennial crowd-pleaser of a thread!
     
  3. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

    Messages:
    4,049
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    When I was working in the photo store about 3 years ago, we started to see a decline in ASA 100 films and it was being replaced with ASA 200 films as the norm, but I still don't have any difficulty in finding film in the local wal mart and grocery stores, in fact I normally check all of them around here when I need to purchase consumer films, because often times they will put 4 and 5 packs on sale for great prices, but still don't have any problems finding it..

    Dave
     
  4. bill schwab

    bill schwab Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    3,751
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2003
    Location:
    Meeshagin
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm actually quite surprised at the amount of film and one-off cameras I still see in grocery, drug and convenience stores. I always see people at the photofisish counters with rolls of film as well. I think there are still a lot of people out there not digitally minded enough to sling the cameras... yet.

    B.
     
  5. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

    Messages:
    2,223
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A recent news article discussed how disposable camera sales were still quite strong. Nobody will buy a digital camera if they forgot their good camera at home, but they don't mind spending ten dollars on a disposable camera.

    Much of the demand for colour print film these days is in the disposable camera market.

    I've lamented the disappearance of the 36-exposure roll of colour print film (it's been hard to find here in Canada, aside from professional films, for many years). The point-and-shooters get too many Christmases on a 36-exposure roll, I guess. :smile: I order it from B&H now, even though it costs me a few bucks in shipping.
     
  6. StephenS

    StephenS Member

    Messages:
    140
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't see the racks of film like I used to. Even at Wal Mart I often have a hard time finding 100 unless I buy 4 pack of Fuji.

    But that wasn't really my question. I'm wondering if anyone else had heard Kodak talking about expanding markets in Asia and if that had indeed been a correct forecast. Considering it's a large chunk of the world's population, even modest growth there seems like it would be a big deal. Big enough to keep film sales healthy for awhile.
     
  7. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

    Messages:
    4,090
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location:
    NYC or Copak
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yes, I saw this on CNN website a while back - it was based on continuing strong sales of disposables in Japan - mainly to domestic day tourists who forget their cameras and have to buy disposables on-site.

    However, I do fear that the camera phone will soon cut into that market since chances are - even if you forget your "good" camera" - you're almost always carrying your phone.
     
  8. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,436
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Kodak's business plan included strong growth of film in China, SA and Africa. They built plants in China and Brazil as part of their effort to supply these markets. This included the fact that most economies start in B&W and then move to color.

    What happened was a big growth in the economies in those areas, raising the average income, and a big drop in the price of digital cameras.

    So, as a result, single use color cameras sell well, as noted above. B&W film and paper almost vanished, and digital became the norm in most of those areas. We see the fallout now. B&W occupies a niche market for custom photos or beginners, while color single use and motion picture sustain color negative.

    This has caused a big drop in sales of reversal films such as E6 and Kodachrome. However, the drop in Kodachrome began in the 80s with the introduction of E6 when E6 films began to compete with Kodachrome for grain and sharpness.

    The Brazil plant is closing or closed, and some of the China production is now back in the US in Rochester or Colorado.

    You all know where we are now regarding B&W products.

    PE
     
  9. Paul Sorensen

    Paul Sorensen Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,897
    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Location:
    Saint Paul, MN
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    One issue specific to 100 speed is that with modern point and shoot, and even modern cheap slr zooms, 100 is a tough speed to use. I think that 400 has become much more the norm for comsumer film, and I see much more of even 800 and 1600. That said, there is a more limited supply of everything in consumer stores. I don't see any black and white except for the Kodak C-41 stuff, and it wasn't all that many years ago (maybe three?) that I saw TriX in Target. I think you are getting hit by a double whammy if you are trying to get consumer 100 speed film in groceries and the like, film has dropped, and 400 is replacing 100 and the preferred normal speed.
     
  10. Kilgallb

    Kilgallb Subscriber

    Messages:
    309
    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    Location:
    Calgary AB C
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I never had a problem finding ASA 100 colour m in Hong Kong and Taiwan. So I brought quite a lot home to Canada where it is almost impossible to get.

    I was surprised to see how available Ilford and Kodak BW film was in Paris. Almost every one hour photo store had one or both brands in stock. Lots of C41 process BW too.
     
  11. Samuel B

    Samuel B Member

    Messages:
    193
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    35mm
    During the 90's 400asa film improved alot and was heavily promoted as the best all round film, so the decline in the slower films began then. Now that there is not so much demand for film many supermarkets etc. sometimes only carry 400asa film as it is the best selling film. But 100asa films still seem to be readily available, from most shops that I look at.
    It's a shame it doesn't get used more, the Kodak Gold 100 is a really nice film.

    As for the markets for film, I think the speed a which places like China took up digital cameras meant that film was bypassed and the boom in film demand never happened like it was predicted to.
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,436
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Here are some exposures of Portra 160VC, 120 size done using my Bronica ETRSI. I printed them to give about the same neutral and speed and then scanned them in.

    Each picture has the ISO exposure in the title. I went from 25 to 800.

    I did the same with 400 speed film and went from 25 to 1200.

    My conclusion is that you can shoot 160 down to 25 and 400 up to 1200 virtually as is, but with a mild pull or push the results will virtually duplicate the speed you want.

    PE
     

    Attached Files:

  13. JHannon

    JHannon Member

    Messages:
    969
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I see Tri-X 35mm and 35mm slide film back on the shelves at my local CVS Drug store. Not big quantities, but good to see it again...

    I also saw Tri-X (35mm) for sale at a lot of places when I was on vacation in Hew Hampshire's White Mountains.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,561
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Location:
    Pacific Nort
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A new Walmart opened up in my city so I went and checked out store. They have some great jeans, made in the USA, and a wall of Fuji Green film. The Goodyear tires were lower in price and every thing that I would buy that is not from China is lower priced. Be a selective buyer. If they would place an order with Kodak for AZO paper and some of that Amidol from China that would be nice. They keep saying just ask for new products; someone should call them on it.

    Curt
     
  16. firecracker

    firecracker Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    Japan
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Believe it or not, but older people are still not so tech-savy. So yes, they are the ones who tend to buy those disposable lens cameras. But I'm not sure if the "strong sales" are the right words to describe the scenes.

    I believe the U.S. is a much bigger market for film and other analog photo supplies. Seriously what you think of is a complete myth from at least a decade ago. Indeed, many Japanese people (have to) order from the store in New York, not from the stores in Tokyo because the Japanese stores don't have a variety of fancy professional items in stock.
     
  17. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

    Messages:
    4,090
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location:
    NYC or Copak
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Oh please don't start like this. I was simply reporting something I read on CNN's website about 2 months ago (yes, in 2006). Perhaps it was apocryphal or anecdotal. And it's not something " I think"! It's just something I saw.

    Oh, and if you go over to the RFF website you will find a whole group of US members who order film from a supplier in Japan because he has great supplies at such great prices that he can overcome the "shipping cost" differential!

    EDIT: The CNN story was apparently a Reuters pick up:

    http://news.zdnet.com/2100-1040_22-6081362.html
     
  18. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,436
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think my point in the post above with the pictures, that you seem to have missed is this; with todays films, with the right process, you can get very high quality pictures with virtually any ISO negative film exposed at over a wide range of ISO values. So, a 400 ISO film will yield excellent pictures down to about 100 ISO, and a 160 ISO film will yield excellent pictures down to 25 ISO.

    As for the market for simple point and shoot disposable cameras, with the low expense of these, knowledgable people have been buying them at their destination while on vacation and sending the processed prints home rather than take film through the airport. Others use them in rugged territory such as on hikes or rafting to aviod damage to expensive cameras. And the improved films and lenses make this possible.

    Young people tend to buy them, as they cannot afford digital cameras nor can they afford expensive analog cameras, but at the supermarket they can buy a camera + film and have the pictures processed and printed next time they shop. So, on the way to the beach for a picnic, they stop to pick up some soda and chips and also pick up a camera.

    The older people who buy them tend to be women who don't like to fuss with complex cameras of any type but want pictures of a special event.

    So, disposable cameras sell well all over the world, sustaining negative film's position even though sales are decreasing rapidly as digital prices drop. Reversal films are a vanishing breed.

    PE
     
  19. StephenS

    StephenS Member

    Messages:
    140
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In Wal Mart I already see what I'd consider disposable digital cameras for around $20. At this point they are mostly toys for kids, but I'm betting soon you'll see very good digitals that are something like one-use cameras.

    People who have no computer skills can buy the camera and use it like a point-and-shoot, take it back to the store when done shooting 100 or so 4 or 5 mega pixel photos and get back 4x6 prints and a disc of jpgs for not much more than the price of a film disposable with processing.

    I don't think anyone missed the point about modern films - they are great and if you are within a few stops of a proper exposure you still get fine results. Even easier to use than digital. But if what people are saying, much of film sales are now from disposables, that sounds like a bad thing for future film production.
     
  20. firecracker

    firecracker Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    Japan
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I didn't mean to start off anything making my previous comment but simply wanted to point out what the market over here is like. And part of why the disposable lens cameras do well is that that's one (or maybe the only) effective way to sell a lot of films. If the users/shoppers prefer to have their films with baseball cards or whatever instead of those easy-to-use disposable lens-camera bodies, I'm sure we will see them in such a way.

    And the U.S. shoppers on the items from Japan are relatively a small number of people I think, compared to the Japanese shoppers on the items from the U.S. How do I know this? Well, I've lived in both countries and seen where this has been going especially since the decline of the demand for the analog photo stuff. The Japanese market has already closed its door to the shoppers. You can say that almost.

    Generally speaking, business reports are fine, but they don't tell whole a lot of truth in the market. Instead they tend to create a certain atmosphere, so that may grab some people's attention. A typical scene of agenda setting, I guess. I think what goes on CNN has been more like a VNR type of a product news, rather than a journalistic one.
     
  21. Samuel B

    Samuel B Member

    Messages:
    193
    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yes it's true about disposable cameras, they still sell well, I still get quite a few through the lab, they are very popular for kids to take on school camps, or to the beach or snow. I used one the other day which was loaded with old agfa film, and the results were very good.

    As to weather they will be replaced with disposable d*****l cameras, well while film and processing remain relatively cheap and available it doesn't make sense to me, but that probably means we will be seeing d*****l disposables on the shelves soon :D.

    Yes modern colour neg films have good exposure lattitude, but of course prints from 100asa film look different to those from 400asa film, although I guess the average happy snapper probably wouldn't notice, or care about the nuances different types of film give, so usually 400asa is the film of choice.
     
  22. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,436
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Having help design a 400 asa film from scratch at EK, I can say that the aims of both films in terms of color and curve shape (latitude) are / were the same, the difference being in sharpness and grain due to the coarser grain in the 400 film. But, given that a 400 speed film can look remarkably like a 100 speed film when exposed at 100 and printed to give the same results.

    When you think about it, the 9 emulsions in a 400 speed film overlap in character with the 9 emulsions in the 100 speed film. The fast emulsions in the 100 film are often identical to the slow emulsions in the 400 film. Even the medium emulsions may overlap, depending on design.

    BTW, my latest digital computer equipment came with a warning that the equipment contained toxic materials and must be disposed of properly, not just placed in the garbage. That was a note applicable in the EU. When will the USA become aware of this? IDK, but it is something largely ignored here but it is developing into a problem and if that is recognized then disposable digital will never become the norm.

    PE
     
  23. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

    Messages:
    2,725
    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Woonsocket,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    "Disposable" digital cameras aren't really disposable. When you return the camera to the store, they pull the images off it, clear the camera's memory, put it back in a box, and sell it again. (I don't guarantee that all of this happens at the store, though; they might send it out to a processing center somewhere.) It's really more of a rental model than a throw-away product.

    That said, I'd be interested in seeing an analysis of the environmental impact of film vs. digital photography. Film consumes physical resources (acetate, emulsion, etc.) and requires consumable chemistry to process, vs. digital requiring more in the way of electronics. I really have no idea how these two compare in terms of long-term (say, 10 or 20 years' use) environmental impact.
     
  24. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,436
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, N
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Consider this;

    Analog photography, a mature science, has eliminated toxic chemistry from its manufacturing.

    Digital uses Lead, Mercury, Arsenic, Selenium and other chemistry now unused by analog.

    PE
     
  25. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

    Messages:
    4,090
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location:
    NYC or Copak
    Shooter:
    35mm
    We seem to beat this dead horse on a monthly basis. It's as if we are condemned to do so.

    Why?
     
  26. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

    Messages:
    1,131
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2004
    Location:
    Near Tavisto
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Going off at a bit of a tangent (but along the same lines) I am surprised at how available 110 format film still is, even though I can't remember the last time I was aware of anyone (other than myself) using it.
    I've just returned from a lunchtime stroll which included Boots (large national chain of chemists, kitchenware & general stores for those who don't know) and I was amazed to see a shelf in the film section bulging with Kodak 110 film in fresh new packaging that I hadn't seen before with an expiry date of late 2008. Someone must be using the stuff and it's nowhere near as hard to come by as its sellers on eBay would like us to believe. (BTW, my use of 110 is for curiosity value in my collection of 110 cameras in much the same way as the owner of a Model T Ford might take it out for a drive occasionally without expecting it to perform like a Ferrari!)

    Best wishes,

    Steve