Photokina: Positive news for film
I attended the Photokina photo fair in Cologne, Germany, last week (professional) and want to give you a short report about some important facts concerning film (Photokina is the world biggest photo fair). I’ve had a lot of very interesting talks with different companies. Overall it was quite encouraging for us as film users:
Fuji: The Fuji Folder will hit the market soon. It will be marketed under the Fuji brand in Japan, and under the Voigtländer brand in the rest of the world. No exact release date or price yet. You can easily switch between 6x7 and 6x6 format. The lens has 6 elements in 4 groups. Fuji told me the the interest in this camera is huge. Much more than they expected.
Film: The Fuji film expert told me, that film sales of the professional film line has been stabilised in the U.S. and Germany (in Germany in 2006, in the U.S. even a little bit earlier). They even see a slight increase in professional film sales. For some purposes professionals are returning back to film. They think the worst lies behind them (concerning professional film).
On a length of about ten meters Fuji showed huge images (some had a height of nearly three meters), all photographed with their professional slide films. Looked great. Visitors see at once which outstanding quality is possible with film.
Kodak: Kodak presented the Ektar 100 film. They offered samples for free (TMY-2 as well). Some pictures made with this film were printed 50x75 cm and one 80x120 cm. Excellent quality, extremely fine grain, intensive colours (but not too intensive). It’s definitely a film for the best prime lenses you have.
Kodak reported quite robust sales of professional films. Their sales of BW films are even significantly increasing! TMY-2 is a success. It was the right decision at Kodak to invest in R&D and develop this film. With improved films you can achieve higher sales figures.
Kodak confirmed their commitment to film. They will continue R&D and intend to update their film portfolio. They are making good profits with film. Futhermore Kodak has signed some long term contracts with important clients for analogue photo and film products. Due to these contracts film production at Kodak will be secured for the next ten years.
@ Kodak UK: You can be very happy to have such enthusiastic and committed employees like Shona Mead. As a customer I have to say she did an excellent job at Photokina. Shona, thank you very much for your help! Very nice and informative talk with you.
Kodak organised a panel discussion there: Pro Photographers: What’s film got to do with it? Four professionals explained their reason for their film usage. Very interesting, because the four pros have different working focuses. So their reasons for using film and mostly prefering film are sometimes different, but interestingly the same in most cases.
It was a good marketing for film. But Kodak should make such informations available online (a summary of the most important points), so that much more interested photographers can read it.
Maco/Rollei-Film: They introduced some new films: Superpan 200 will now be available worldwide (35mm, 120). So far only prototype film was available. Furthermore they introduced Rollei Retro 80S. A high resolution film made by Agfa-Gevaert (Aviphot Pan 80) with ISO 80/20°.
Rollei ATP is now available even in 120 format as well! If you want a 200 Megapixel sensor (or more, it depends on your lens; I’ve got 160 Lp/mm system resolution with this film and a Zeiss Makro Planar ZF 2/50 with tripod, but without MLU; Rollei ATP DC developer was used), this is your film.
The Rollei Digibase film is now available in 120, too.
Besides they announced a new infrared film without anti halation layer, very similar to the well known Maco 820 IR Aura. This film will be made by Fotokemika.
And they presented the slide film Rollei CR 200. The emulsion is the original Agfa RSX II emulsion, although it is not coated on triazetate, but on PET.
They reported significantly increasing film sales of their Rollei-Films.
Lucky: They presented two new colour negative emulsions with 100 and 200 speed.
Fotoimpex: They offered first test samples of the Adox MCP (smaller scale coating run by Agfa-Gevaert), and promised to try to make MCC next year.
They told me that they see an increasing number of photographers returning back to film, due to negative experiences with digital (data losses, time consuming post production at the computer, low quality at higher magnification etc.).
Ilford Photo (Harman Technologies): I’ve missed them. They had no booth (I know the reasons why, but nevertheless, it’s a pity). The Ilford managers met their distributers in a hotel.
Freestyle: They reported increasing sales numbers. They are watching an increasing interest especially by younger photographers. They think one reason are lots of committed photo teachers at high schools and colleges. They encourage the young to use film and traditional darkroom.
They think the worst lies behind them, and they are quite optimistic for the future.
The largest austrian distributer of analogue photo materials explained to me that similar developments are taking place in Vienna. His sales numbers are also increasing due to rising interest of young photo students.
Leica: Sales numbers of the film based MP and M7 are stable. They say that they will offer these models for many years to come.
Franke&Heidecke (Rolleiflex): The demand for the TLRs and the med format projector is stable. Furthermore they presented a new 6x6 film magazine for their Hy6. And some new lenses and gold covered TLRs for the 80. birthday of the TLR concept.
Zeiss: They introduduced their new Z line lenses for SLRs (Distagon 2,8/21, 3,5/18) and the new ZM 4/85.
Recently I’ve made intensive film tests, especially the new films of the last two years. With these Films (e.g. Provia 400X, TMY-2, Rollei ATP), but with “older” ones as well (TMX, Acros, Delta 100, APX 100, Provia 100F, Velvia 100F, Sensia 100, Kodak E100G, Elitechrome 100) , I’ve got very high resolution with my best prime lenses. System resolution of 100 – 130 Lp/mm with ISO 100/21° BW and slide films are no problem at all. With films like Rollei ATP, Rollei Ortho, Kodak Imagelink or Spur Orthopan UR (= Adox CMS 20).
The physical resolution limit of a 22 MP sensor (24x36mm like Canon Eos 1 Ds Mk III) is only 80 Lp/mm. More is not possible.
I had a very interesting talk to Dr. Hubert Nasse, senior scientist at Zeiss and chief optic designer. He confirmed my test results. At Zeiss they even got higher resolution with film in some cases (look at their website, camera lens news 17, 19, 20, 22, 24 and their magazine ‘innovation’).
Dr. Nasse said that it is very sad that there are so much wrong statements about resolution of digital sensors on the worldwide web. His statement due to the intensive scientific tests at Zeiss was very clear: Most Films, especially modern BW films, have much higher resolution than digital sensors.
Lomo: The Lomographic Society was the great surprise on this years photokina. They had two (!) very big boothes, much bigger than most of the boothes of digital companies. The complete ground of both boothes was covered with real color prints, all of them lomo pictures, overall more than 100.000!! They needed some days for gluing these pictures side by side by hand.
Their biggest booth was on the boulevard between two great halls, at a strategic point, because all visitors had to pass by, see the booth and the very big logo above: “the future is analogue”. Very lovely to read such a statement at a digital dominated fair.
They held lots of workshops every day to teach photographers the art of lomography. Very interesting: They addressed these workshops especially at very young people (in the 16 – 25 year old range). And the young (often grown up only with digital photography) were interested!! There booth was full with visitors. They sold lots of Holgas , Dianas and Lomos.
They told me that their business growth rates were 50% p.a. in the last years! Even if you don’t like this photography concept, you have to admit it is very good for film, because young people or digital photographers get in touch with film.
I have always explained to the pessimistic, that there can be a good future for film if you make an excellent marketing (and keep on improving films like Kodak and Fuji do).
Increasing film sales nowadays? Yes, it is possible.
If you need evidence, look at Lomo (and Kodak, Rollei-Film).
This is only one possible way, there are lots of others. Experts already have developed clever marketing strategies for film, but film manufacturers have to use this knowledge.
I hope this short report about film on this years Photokina was interesting for you. And sorry for my bad english, I am German .
Very nice summary, thanks!
Thanks for the field report, I can't wait to try out Kodak's new Ektar 100 C-41 film.
"Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might just miss it."
"Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."
- Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)
Sponsored Ad. (Subscribers to APUG have the option to remove this ad.)
Encouraging news thanks for sharing.
An excellent summary Henning!
Thank you very much.
As for the quality of film vs. current digital ... people who shoot film already know.
The issue is to convince the rest of the world so the market for film remains viable. Sounds like we're not do too badly!
Thank you for the summary and great news!
Very well written and interesting read. Thank you!