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  1. #11

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    Obvously prices have tumbled, but you only have to look at BW magazine, Apug or even deviantart to see film has a loyal and devoted following. I am not saying that sales would not be down if it were not for the second hand market, but it does seem that the real reason why film cameras are struggling so much is from the second hand market that has flooded the market with cheap gear, thats is why a film camera is only going to sell in any sort of quaintity is by either offering somthing new or somting that is hard to find second hand, so what is it you would like that would make you buy a new film camera?

  2. #12
    alien's Avatar
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    I personally want a back-to-the-roots mechanical fully manual camera, small, VERY robust, with an expected lifespan of decades (I am happy to have it serviced every two years to keep it mint), and with a built-in average and spot meter.


    Nothing fancy, really.....

    Maybe thats where the future for film lies - in the back to the basics stuff. All the sci-fi can go into the d*g*t*l thingies...

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by ajuk
    I am not saying that sales would not be down if it were not for the second hand market, but it does seem that the real reason why film cameras are struggling so much is from the second hand market that has flooded the market with cheap gear, thats is why a film camera is only going to sell in any sort of quaintity is by either offering somthing new or somting that is hard to find second hand, so what is it you would like that would make you buy a new film camera?

    Actually, the real reason that film camera prices are down so much is that the general public prefers digital cameras by a wide margin. That's the cold, hard truth. The vast majority of my customers would never think about going back to film, and I get told that every day. There has always been a lot of used cameras on the market, Ebay has certainly made it easier to find things and it's the best place to sell things, but it is the (relative) lack of interest that keeps the film camera prices low and supply high. The days of a film camera selling in any sort of quantity (by Japanese camera manufacturers standards) is over. In practical terms, the market for new 35mm and medium format cameras is not large enough to support any manufacturer, let alone fund any new new designs.

    If you look at the prices for used stuff, it's clear who is drawn to the film world. The all mechanical cameras hold their value much better than the electronic based ones. Sadly, it is those mechanical cameras that cost the most to build new...


    Isaac
    See my adventures in Yemen here:
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  4. #14
    alien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isaacc7
    ...

    If you look at the prices for used stuff, it's clear who is drawn to the film world. The all mechanical cameras hold their value much better than the electronic based ones. Sadly, it is those mechanical cameras that cost the most to build new...


    Isaac
    But isn't that the hope for film, together with high-end back-to-basics mechanical stuff?
    Looking how Leica seems to be doing (it was bad for a while, but they seem to come out of the deep end at the moment), this could be a strategy for a small manufacturer like that.

    I agree with you, the times for any substantial sale of film cameras is over - but there will aways be the one who like the special thing (funny, film becoming special...).

  5. #15
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    Personally, I trace the fault back to the pundits on Wall Street (and their equivalents in other capital markets). The expectation of compound growth, both in terms of market share and profits, has been the primary dictator of corporate business strategy for years. Even if a company's management were savvy enough to plan for market saturation, flat growth, etc., they have been precluded from doing so by the need to maintain growth in stock value. That need, in turn, has prompted many corporate execs to go to virtually any means to accomplish that goal, whether ethical or not. In today's captial-market climate, if you can't compete with the latest bubble being created by unrealistic expectations on Wall Street, the only option is to close your doors. Sad.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarker
    Personally, I trace the fault back to the pundits on Wall Street (and their equivalents in other capital markets). The expectation of compound growth, both in terms of market share and profits, has been the primary dictator of corporate business strategy for years. Even if a company's management were savvy enough to plan for market saturation, flat growth, etc., they have been precluded from doing so by the need to maintain growth in stock value. That need, in turn, has prompted many corporate execs to go to virtually any means to accomplish that goal, whether ethical or not. In today's captial-market climate, if you can't compete with the latest bubble being created by unrealistic expectations on Wall Street, the only option is to close your doors. Sad.
    Everything that you say is absolutely the truth... However, I am not sure the word "fault" is an appropriate description. When a company decides to go public and gain all of the investment benefits of being a public company, it subjects itself to the "pundits" on Wall street. On Wall Street, every public company (not just those involved in photography) must show a growth curve that will attract investors. Most investors could care less how a company makes money so long as it's "making money". The Wall Street pundits analyze the public buying trends and "encourages" companies to take advantage of those trends. If public companies fail to do this, the "pundits" advise investors to withhold investments.
    Often wrong, but never in doubt!

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by alien
    But isn't that the hope for film, together with high-end back-to-basics mechanical stuff?
    Looking how Leica seems to be doing (it was bad for a while, but they seem to come out of the deep end at the moment), this could be a strategy for a small manufacturer like that.
    Umm, Leica isn't what you want to base any hopes on, they are hardly in sound financial shape... Honestly, I only see a future for the larger film formats at all, there are just too few people that like using all mechanical type cameras, hell, it's tough to find someone willing to give up autofocus let alone autoexposure or, God forbid, a meter... If you want to get a good idea of what a camera would cost that is back to basics, go price a Leica. They have been serving that niche for longer than anyone else, and it has been about their only customer for quite a while. To make good cameras in limited numbers costs quite a bit if they are to be profitable...

    I agree with you, the times for any substantial sale of film cameras is over - but there will aways be the one who like the special thing (funny, film becoming special...).
    The thing is that most people do not consider film special at all, I certainly don't. There are some technical advantages to film that outweigh the connivence of digital capture (IMO), so I stick with it. The "preciousness" or "specialness" of film has nothing to do with photography and that's why the new film camera market has died. You'd be shocked at how many people regularly threw away their negatives after picking up their pictures. There just aren't enough people that like film cameras enough to keep the companies going, it's that simple. The large electronics companies are already set up for the appropriate R&D and are structured for fast turnaround in technology. It is a much different world these days..




    Isaac
    See my adventures in Yemen here:
    www.isaharr.com

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by DirkDynamo
    so why are some of the big names of film camera production going under?

    at first glance digital seems to be a large culprit, but digital's main market seems to be nothing more than point and shoot cameras. DSLR's are only recently becoming viable resources for working photographers, both due to prices becoming more reasonable and picture quality improving. But why are some companies calling it quits?
    You'd be wrong about "digital's" main market. All of the traditional camera companies are going after the lucrative SLR market. Most of the profit that Nikon, Canon, and Pentax are generating is in digital SLRs. New film camera sales are dead regardless of what kind of consumer you want to think of...

    i don't think the competition of digital was the only reason these companies are leaving the market. I think the main reason these companies could not sustain their production is rather simple; they made quality products. The reason we were drawn to their products in the beginning was the solid construction, with durable materials. The cameras were made with a sense of quality and longevity that beat the same companies out of selling replacement cameras every few years.

    But that was the case 5 years ago too, and film cameras were the only game in town then. There are many more people buying cameras today than 5 years ago, but if you preferred the older cameras, your choices today are about the same as they were 5 years ago. It is the growth of photography as a hobby that the advent of digital has caused that is shaking up the industry. Nikon and Canon have done pretty well in the transition, Minolta, Pentax, Bronica, Mamiya, and even Hasselblad have not done so well. <shrug> that happens in any industry when there is change. If there was still a viable market for the cameras that those companies made, they'd still be around. The reason that camera companies are leaving the market is that people have chosen not to buy their cameras in sufficient quantities to make it worthwhile. No mystery really...


    if i took a new dslr in one hand, and my metal slr in the other, and bang them together until pieces fly, i think my slr would come out unscathed.

    what do you think?
    If you put your metal SLR in one hand, and a new one (film or digital)in the other, which do you think someone would buy? That has been made abundantly clear in the last several years. Nikon sold 10 times more F100 cameras than FM3a cameras despite the fact that the F100 was 30% more expensive. People want the newer style, so that's what the companies made. Now the electronics companies are making what the market wants, so they are doing well to the detriment of some of the traditional camera companies...

    Isaac
    See my adventures in Yemen here:
    www.isaharr.com

  9. #19
    alien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isaacc7


    The thing is that most people do not consider film special at all, I certainly don't. There are some technical advantages to film that outweigh the connivence of digital capture (IMO), so I stick with it. The "preciousness" or "specialness" of film has nothing to do with photography and that's why the new film camera market has died. You'd be shocked at how many people regularly threw away their negatives after picking up their pictures. There just aren't enough people that like film cameras enough to keep the companies going, it's that simple. The large electronics companies are already set up for the appropriate R&D and are structured for fast turnaround in technology. It is a much different world these days..




    Isaac
    That was not what I meant with special.
    Computers and digital imaging have become mainstream. Everybody does it.
    For me, photographie and darkroom work has always been special, even more so now when I sit on the machine all day. Frankly, I dont care whether analog is better or worse, for me it is the value of my spare time.
    I believe there must be more out there like me (I know several personally!).
    It is a bit like climbing a mountain, when there is a railway on the other side. Most people will take the easy way...but some dont.

  10. #20
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by isaacc7
    If you put your metal SLR in one hand, and a new one (film or digital)in the other, which do you think someone would buy? That has been made abundantly clear in the last several years. Nikon sold 10 times more F100 cameras than FM3a cameras despite the fact that the F100 was 30% more expensive. People want the newer style, so that's what the companies made. Now the electronics companies are making what the market wants, so they are doing well to the detriment of some of the traditional camera companies...

    Isaac
    I much prefer my Nikon F5 over any Nikon I have ever owned - F2, F3, N70, N80. I prefer the autofocus, autoexposure, autowind for the situations I use this camera. While this isn't my primary camera, I enjoy using it a lot.
    Robert M. Teague
    www.visionlandscapes.com
    www.apug.org/forums/portfolios.php?u=2235

    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

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