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  1. #1
    digiconvert's Avatar
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    ADAG (Anti doomand gloom)


    It's clear that people on this site take film photography very seriously and the passing of every film is mourned deeply by at least some members of the community. However I would like to suggest the following reasons to keep it all in perspective ;
    - All companies are in it to make money , that's what they do so if Kodak or Ilford or whoever discontinues a product they are doing it because not enough people buy it at a price that makes enough money. No amount of weeping over infra red films or cooltone developers will change that.
    - Film is wonderful and the surveys show that a lot of professionals hold that view. But ever since Kodak started selling cheap cameras to encourage mass film use ( a fantastic business model !) photography has been a mass market activity. In the same way that Joe Public once bought cheap and cheerful instamatics they now buy digital because they're easy to use and Aunty Freda's photo usually comes out looking ok with them (add in marketing and the geek factor and they sell in millions). So what we and a few professionals think is never going to sway the accountants.
    -What we are left with is some fantastic colour films from Kodak and Fuji (Portra is really lovely) and cracking BW films from these and Ilford as well as a few interesting films like Adox/Efke 25 which should keep most people happy for a while.
    -The number of colour and Mono papers is decreasing admittedly but Ilford's efforts in monochrome need to be recognised, if the Cheshire plant had closed things would have been so different. And I can still buy Kodak colour paper and room temperature processing chemicals reasonably easily from internet sellers.
    - Getting into film photography has never been more accessible . OK new film cameras are rarer than hens teeth but the s/h market can probably supply APUG members for quite some time yet and prices are silly, Darkroom equipment is almost 'free to a good home' on ebay .

    SO let's celebrate the hobby / living we love and be thankful for the opportunity to use that equipment we dreamed of only 5 years ago and please stop convincing ourselves that the end is nigh. Film will have a long death , some people here still use plate cameras from before WWI so 35mm and 120 should be reasonably easy to get in the next 5 years , after that who knows , better stop writing and get shooting/developing/printing

    Cheers CJB
    Hmm- Wonder if she'd notice if I bought that :)

  2. #2

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    A good take on the subject...as I frame in my darkroom...and hang the door this weekend. :-)

    Jed

  3. #3
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    We definitely need this thread in APUG.

    Thanx,
    Steve
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  4. #4
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    It's refreshing to see an upbeat post and what you say makes a lot of sense. There's still a large choice of materials out there, though sometimes we have to search a bit harder to locate them.

  5. #5
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    I like this thread and think it is very timely.

    I got fed up on rangefinderforum of all the posts bemoaning the end of film and how great digital could be. That's why I started reading and posting more here. One of my final posts on rff was about the realities of film sales and the prospects for further innovation in the film business. For what it's worth I am appending a slightly edited version of that post here:

    Thinking about this 'either/or' issue with respect to digital/film and whether there is a renaissance of film in the offing I have been looking at the statistics regarding analogue sales and monitoring various websites for a number of years now. I think the future is probably not so bad for film users as many think.

    Sales of analogue photographic products seem to have flattened out. There were big falls in the early 2000s, but these have tapered off as the market has restructured. Figures from the Office for National Statistics in the UK show manufacturing output for different parts of the analogue photography sector as follows:

    UK Sales from 2003 to 2006 (£million):
    Sales of flat film based products- 2003- £162, 2004- £99, 2005- £108 2006- £108
    Sales of roll/cassette film- 2003- £47, 2004- £41, 2005- £39, 2006-not available
    Sales of paper products- 2003- £26, 2004- £18, 2005-n/a, 2006-n/a
    Sales of chemicals- 2003- £79, 2004- £90, 2005- £96, 2006- £82

    So the big crash was 2003, by 2006 the flat film market seems to have bottomed out and the chemical market doesn't show any particular pattern.

    This confirms Ilford's recent comments on the film market:

    [QUOTE]
    The sale of all formats of film has been stable for the last 9 to 12 months, though the brand mix has been undergoing some noticeable shifts. Agfa Photo and Konica films are no longer available, and the statements made by Kodak are causing concern amongst users of black-and-white film. All of these factors have strengthened ILFORD PHOTO’s resolve to continue to not only serve, but to also develop, the market for premium quality black-and-white films.
    [END QUOTE]

    In the US the situation is not that bad on the whole. The analogue photographic industry has pretty significant statistics (these are from 2006 in US$bn):

    Sector: PHOTOGRAPHIC FILM, PAPER, PLATE, AND CHEMICAL MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY
    Total revenue $9.1bn
    Gross profit $3.7bn
    Total export value $2.9bn
    Export growth 7.2%
    (see marketresearch.com)

    Kodak has had a painful transition, but even here sales of analogue products are still strong (these are for the Film and Photofinishing Systems Group):

    2004 $7.1bn
    2005 $5.3bn
    2006 $4.6bn

    So the film industry is still worth a lot to Kodak. And sales have been falling, but again it is bottoming out. And as they say in their annual report:

    [QUOTE]
    Although our Film Products Group (FPG), formerly the Film and
    Photofinishing Systems Group, might not be thought of as part
    of the digital spotlight at Kodak, it continues to generate an
    impressive amount of cash to help fund our digital transition. Showing great leadership, our traditional business has successfully
    paced its restructuring efforts ahead of the decline in revenue.
    Despite competing in a challenging industry environment, we have
    maintained strong market positions and significant profit margins
    .
    As a result, we are creating a sustainable business model for
    customers who use film and paper.
    [END QUOTE]
    (My emphasis)

    So whatever Kodak's longer term intentions and whether they can be trusted they are surely not just going to abandon this profitable arm of their business next week.

    Furthermore 2 recent surveys of professionals (in the US and in Europe) both suggest that around three quarters of pros still use film and want to continue to use it.

    It seems to me that people are often worried about the future of film, but many of us are relying on old news stories and perhaps out-of-date impressions that were fuelled by the digital boom and the advances made in digital technology. Perhaps things are about to settle down.

    On top of this there are smaller innovative companies such as Foto-Impex in Germany who are trying to solve the problems inherent in a shrinking market. They have bought the old R&D production equipment of Agfa so that they can profitably make film and paper on a smaller scale than in the old days. The first results of this are now evident in the reintroduction of MCC paper and hopefully Agfa films in the near future.

    So let's be optimistic for the future of film. It seems to me that there is every reason to be.
    Mark Tomlinson

  6. #6
    gr82bart's Avatar
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    See, some folks on APUG remind me of my Grandma. She's approaching 98 and everyday she's complaining that she's dying while she's doing her chair exercises or bonsai or flower arrangements. Every time I visit her, I find her complaints of an approaching death while enjoying a very fun filled life quite amusing. Love her 'to death', and entertaining. Like some folks on APUG.

    Regards, Art. (My brother and I predict Grandma will live to 120 at least - as long as she continues complaining!)
    Visit my website at www.ArtLiem.com
    or my online portfolios at APUG and ModelMayhem

  7. #7

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    Art,

    You could be onto something. My grandmother lived to 106, complaining evry day. If it works for grandmothers, maybe it'll work for analogue photo graphy too.

    Richard Wasserman

  8. #8
    digiconvert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by disfromage View Post
    Art,

    You could be onto something. My grandmother lived to 106, complaining evry day. If it works for grandmothers, maybe it'll work for analogue photo graphy too.

    Richard Wasserman
    The time my 93 year old Gran STOPPED complaining about the aches and pains we knew the end was nigh, it took two weeks .
    maybe we need the dommsayers to keep us going.

    And thanks for the positive way the thread has been received.

    Chris Benton
    Hmm- Wonder if she'd notice if I bought that :)

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by digiconvert View Post
    ....

    SO let's celebrate the hobby / living we love and be thankful for the opportunity to use that equipment we dreamed of only 5 years ago and please stop convincing ourselves that the end is nigh. Film will have a long death , some people here still use plate cameras from before WWI so 35mm and 120 should be reasonably easy to get in the next 5 years , after that who knows , better stop writing and get shooting/developing/printing

    Cheers CJB
    Hallo CJB,

    you are absolutely right. I have begun with photography in the "golden age of film" about twenty years ago. Nowadays I have
    - much better films, papers and chemistry
    - my materials are much cheaper (considering inflation) then 10 or 20 years ago
    - I have much more alternatives, because I can get materials from all over the world, 20 years ago I have had limited access
    - in some areas I have much more products and options, for example 100 ASA slide films: Today we have such a beautiful and widespread programme: Ektachrome 100G, 100 GX, 100 VS, Fuji Astia, Provia, Velvia 100, Velvia 100F.
    Nothing like that 20 years ago. Such a programme was a dream at that time.
    Same with developers and chemistry here in Germany. Much more excellent options today because of our local chemical wizards Heribert Schain (Spur) and Wolfgang Moersch. Wonderful products.

    I enjoy my photography with film.

    Regards,
    Jana

  10. #10
    digiconvert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JanaM View Post
    Hallo CJB,

    Fuji Astia, Provia, Velvia 100, Velvia 100F.
    Four reasons to celebrate , I love Kodachrome 64 but tried Astia last year for a portrait shoot and loved the outcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by JanaM View Post
    Same with developers and chemistry here in Germany. Much more excellent options today because of our local chemical wizards Heribert Schain (Spur) and Wolfgang Moersch. Wonderful products.

    I enjoy my photography with film.

    Regards,
    Jana
    I keep looking for Spur products to try . retrophotographic are the photoimpex dealer in the UK but the link to Spur is often out of action . Is it good ?
    Keep on keeping on

    Regards ; Chris
    Hmm- Wonder if she'd notice if I bought that :)

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