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  1. #11
    gr82bart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    All kidding aside, hand made products, sold on the open market will be expensive as demand will outrun supply.
    I think this is how it will survive and prosper. I keep saying, elevate its status and people will come.

    Regards, Art.
    Visit my website at www.ArtLiem.com
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  2. #12
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gr82bart View Post
    I think this is how it will survive and prosper. I keep saying, elevate its status and people will come.

    Regards, Art.
    Art;

    It is all well and good to say that, and I agree. The problem is having people who can do this. There are too few right now to make a difference. That is a very very bad situation. The art is teetering on the edge of being lost.

    Simon has posted on this agreeing with my guesstimate. There are probably only about 200 people in the world right now who know how to do it. This is a drop in the bucket compared to what demand might be, and a drop in the bucket in being able to teach the art to others.

    PE

  3. #13
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Correct me if I am wrong Alex, but I am pretty much there for an Azo type paper, and pretty close to having very high quality coatings.
    Very true Ron. I would be quite happy to show the prints I made with your emulsion to anyone that was sincerely interested in bringing the emulsion to the market. One cannot think of it as a direct copy of Azo; that's unrealistic for several reasons. I believe one should think of it as a contact printing emulsion, very similar in tonal characteristics to Azo, but also one that opens up many new possibilities for its employment.

    One reason that it can't be considered a direct replacement for Azo is the paper base Kodak used is gone. Even if it were still available, I tend to think that hand coating on single weight paper would be arduous. However, Ron's emulsion can be coated on several different paper bases, similar to the pt/pd process. Artisic opportunities abound with this capability.

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    As for the issue of having a big plant. No, you don't need one to make stuff for yourself. You can supply your needs with a quite reasonable investment as long as you make LF film and paper for either contact or enlargment.
    This is where what I call the "tyranny of the accountants" comes into play. True, it takes a very large enterprise, ala Kodak, Fuji et al, to produce large quantities of photo products that have extremely tight qulaity control standard. The business model of such a large corporation is extremely complex and the accountants typically "rule" when it comes to how much product must be produced in a specified time-frame for profitability. The overhead costs in a large corporation are also staggering.

    A small business is far less complex. Five-year business plans are the norm. Overhead costs can be far less of a percentage. The big bugaboo these days is in complying with the plethora of regulations concerning employment, OSHA, EPA and so on. In fact, from my observations, these type of costs can break the business. So it becomes an extreme challenge. To reiterate, such an enterprise needs some very deep pockets to finance, and investors that are quite sympathetic to the cause.

    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    If you talk about making quantity material, that too can be done at reasonable price, but as quantity goes up, variablility and quality goes down. Ever hear of someone getting a car that was a lemon? So, with a small coating machine, the size of a 2 car garage, I can coat 4x5, 120, and 35mm film with good quality but it will probably have dust or bubble defects here and there and it will vary in speed from batch to batch.

    Lets look over the complaints here about EFKE film defects. They have a good staff with lots of knowledge but an aging plant. So, product varies from excellent to mediocre, if I read the posts right.
    I concur with this point also. Ron further points out that his emulsion characteristcs are varying based on where they are being made. This shows the sensitivity to ambient environmental effects. Again, only the large producers can afford the technology necessary to minimize these effects. So, we are going to have to learn to live with them. To me, that is no big deal. To others, it may be hard to live with.

    We are also seing variations between production batches from the small producers. Hell, even Kodak had large variations in the last runs of Azo.
    I would bet that the current level of variaitons being seen today with current producers are not nearly as significant as they were in the products made a hundred years ago, or maybe even just fifty years ago.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
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  4. #14
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    Thanks Alex.

    Yes, Kodak had problems making Azo identical in the Rochester and Canadian plants. It needed costly tweaking. Even with that, the last batch was off due to a subtle chemical imbalance that did not show up in release testing. I suspect it was a reciprocity effect due to the difference between testing and average use in the customers hands.

    No one can get the cream colored SW Baryta that Kodak used, and so at best we will probably see M&P reproduce an Azo that is on a pure white support with blue black tones raather than traditional Azo.

    The problems are far greater when it comes to higher speed films.

    PE

  5. #15
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Yes, Kodak had problems making Azo identical in the Rochester and Canadian plants. It needed costly tweaking. Even with that, the last batch was off due to a subtle chemical imbalance that did not show up in release testing. I suspect it was a reciprocity effect due to the difference between testing and average use in the customers hands.
    My experience bears this out, since I seem to have relatively short exposures with Azo (under 30 sec, often under 20 sec), and I haven't been having the dramatic contrast issues with Canadian Azo that others seem to report, and whose exposures are often over 1 min.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex Hawley View Post

    We are also seing variations between production batches from the small producers. Hell, even Kodak had large variations in the last runs of Azo.
    I would bet that the current level of variaitons being seen today with current producers are not nearly as significant as they were in the products made a hundred years ago, or maybe even just fifty years ago.

    Let's say that a 'micro-brewery' coating line could take us back to the standards of the 1930s. I think most of us woud be willing to put up with this, rather than scrap our 35mm cameras. If they can reach the standards of the 50s (Ilford FP3, for example) there are even those who would regard it as progress...

    Cheers,

    R.

  7. #17
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    My experience bears this out, since I seem to have relatively short exposures with Azo (under 30 sec, often under 20 sec), and I haven't been having the dramatic contrast issues with Canadian Azo that others seem to report, and whose exposures are often over 1 min.
    Right David. And if you recall, the variations were well-discussed on the Azo Forum and we all acclimated to them and made them work.

    The internet made that discussion possible and disseminated the resolutions. That is an advantage we now have that wasn’t there in previous eras. Before, the reporting of the data/problems and dissemination of solutions was far more cumbersome and far less effective. But now we have the ability to conference on these things on these forums, which, as we’ve seen here on APUG, some industry representatives and some photo businesses also monitor and participate in. Definitely a win-win situation.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  8. #18
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
    Let's say that a 'micro-brewery' coating line could take us back to the standards of the 1930s. I think most of us woud be willing to put up with this, rather than scrap our 35mm cameras. If they can reach the standards of the 50s (Ilford FP3, for example) there are even those who would regard it as progress...
    I could live with that Roger. Over the last year, I've printed many negatives that were made in the 1940s and 1950s. Nothing "wrong" with them at all. I can see no peculiar differences between those negs and the ones I have made in the last few years on currently-produced film.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  9. #19
    Andy K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gr82bart View Post
    Elevate its status and people will come back. Ironically, like the price of gas, elevate the prices too and people will still buy - maybe even buy more. Have SUV sales gone down?

    I think its already starting to happen as I hear from my friends and my younger brother's friends for example. They are starting to 'value' traditional photography products more. Many calling them 'real' photographs. Once this mindset sets in, then traditional photography products and equipment can survive in a digital world.

    I noticed this today. A colleague was telling me he is 'getting into SLRs' by buying a Canon 400D. He asked me what lens he should get with it as his sister had recommended the camera after she bought one to replace a 350D, and also so she could have two cameras 'just in case one died while out shooting' (I suggested a short zoom to start with). I said that was a bit of an expensive way to go about it and showed him my Bessaflex TM kit (body, 28mm, 50mm, 135mm, 200mm, filters, cable release etc). His answer to that was, `Yes, but you're into real photos, I don't think I could get my head round that stuff.'

    So I guess the idea that film is a step up is already out there in the general public's mind, but they are afraid to actually do it.


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  10. #20
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    The problem is that over the internet we don't know who is 'real' and who is not. I have been fighting this problem, as many people refused to believe that I was 'for real' when I first began posting.

    How many people out there have said that they are making and coating emulsions, but how many have presented results? I have not only presented my results, but have offered my coatings, emulsions and technology to others, and now they are beginning to post results.

    How many are posting disinformation or abuse or false claims, or hollow claims? Ian Grant and others have warned about posts on Wikipedia, especially on some of the photographic sites.

    I have friends who have quit posting rather than fight the disinformation or verbal abuse they have been sujbect to when they try to give out good information.

    This is another side of a many faceted problem. It is the more seamy side of the current situation that is mainly overlooked. It can discourage good work from being disseminated.

    PE

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