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  1. #1

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    Where's the big market for film?

    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. #2
    copake_ham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StephenS
    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.

    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.

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

  3. #3
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    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. #4
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    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. #5
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    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. I order it from B&H now, even though it costs me a few bucks in shipping.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  6. #6

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    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. #7
    copake_ham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJim
    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.....
    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. #8
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    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. #9
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    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. #10

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    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.

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