Positive outlook from Maco concerning BW-Film
Dear film friends,
in addition to my original posting I want to give you a link to a statement from H. Schroeder, head of Maco Photo Products (Maco/Rollei).
He is optimistic for the future of BW materials for us "normal" photographers, because of the stable or increasing demand for special BW Films in industrial or other areas.
For those who don't speak German I will try to give you a very short summary:
1. There is a stable demand for aviation films for military and civil use. The German military for example is using these films in their "Tornados" (currently in Afghanistan) in special format with Zeiss optics. These films are made by Agfa-Gevaert in Belgium. One of these films is the Maco/Rollei IR 820/400 which you can buy and use for normal and IR photography.
2. There is a stable demand for traffic surveillance films. The german policy alone is using almost the same amount of film as all german BW photographers are using per year. For example the Maco/Rollei R³ is a slightly modified traffic surveillance film (made by FilmoTec, Germany).
3. The demand for microfilms and orthochromatic films for long term data storage is increasing. For example the german administrative bodies say that only BW microfilms are suitable for their long term data storage needs, and so they buy these films in large quantities. We can profit in form of the high-resolution films like Spur Orthopan UR (= Adox CMS 20) and Agfa Copex Rapid (= Gigabitfilm), both films are made by Agfa-Gevaert, the Maco/Rollei Ortho 25 (made by FilmoTec) and the Kodak Imagelink.
Short: The sufficient film demand in these areas keep film production profitable, at least for some companies (for example FilmoTec make also good profit in BW Cine film and some speciality films).
Just coming at this with a different set of observations. I see ads for Kodak and Fuji films in professionally oriented publications. While I suppose that doesn't help consumers nor enthusiasts much, the fact that marketing money is being spent is a sign of interest. Simple fact that film generates profits, so might as well continue with that.
I spoke with a Fujifilm rep on Monday. One aspect I found interesting is a slight divergence in emphasis towards professional users, which is that there are products that less directly compete between Kodak and Fuji. Almost like the Pepsi and Coke situation in grocery stores, where those two companies effectively shut out other soda companies in the US.
Fujifilm need Kodak to be a competitor. Maybe that doesn't make sense to some people, but think about an alternative future and it might be more apparent. If either company ceased film production entirely, then confidence amongst end users (professional, enthusiast, or consumer) would wane. A loss of either company could mean people give up entirely, because then they really would think the end was quite near.
There is much hand wringing here at APUG, with many wishing Kodak would end film production. This view has been biased for a while here. People should be careful what they wish. There needs to be a greater understanding of what WallStreet biased press releases actually mean, and the intentions of public company press releases.
If people looked at any company on NYSE or NASDAQ, then read the releases, they might develop a cynical view that anything bad for end users of a given companies products or services, should result in increased stock prices. Some daytraders work under this theory. There is also the idea of buy on the rumor, sell on the news. When people only read one source, they will always get a biased view, yet people invariably continue to rely on one source of information.
Simple fact is that two companies now make E-6 films. While photographers who only use B/W might not care about that, some professionals rely on E-6 films to produce their images. Imagine what would happen to this narrow market segment if either Kodak or Fujifilm stopped making any E-6 products.
A G Studio
those statements, how ensuring they may sound, are not really convincing. See Agfa; though still serving the commercial, and military, market, they have lost interest in the consumer field. This is the situation of today; what the future will bring nobody nows. As I stated before, we encounter interesting times, but as also stated before, with any sort of speculation we are moving on thin ice.
Ilford has stated that, whilst sad, the loss of Agfa and Kodak monochrome paper, has been ideal from their point of view - there just is not the room for all in this market now.
I can't help thinking the same about Kodak / Fuji.