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  1. #1
    Rolleiflexible's Avatar
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    Sic Transit Gloria B+H

    I heard sad news from a B+H sales clerk
    on several fronts.

    -- B+H is out of 135 Tri-X and down to 70
    rolls of 120 Tri-X, and will not be restocking
    it any time soon due to "disagreements" with
    their distributor.

    -- In the next two months, they will be
    closing the darkroom section and halving
    the size of the film counter (which was
    already shrunk when it was relocated).
    Darkroom supplies and equipment will still
    be available by special order or by retrieval
    from the warehouse, if stocked.

    -- They will also be removing MF and LF film
    cameras and equipment from the shelves
    (again, to be sold by special order or from
    the warehouse if stocked) to make room for
    equipment intended to produce still photographs
    from motion picture equipment, believed to be
    the next wave in digital photography.

    Moving their darkroom department off the retail
    floor, in particular, strikes me as shortsighted.
    While I am sure it does not pull its weight in
    generating revenue/ft2, it is part of B+H's core
    identity, that distinguishes it from Best Buy.

  2. #2
    white.elephant's Avatar
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    "-- They will also be removing MF and LF film cameras and equipment from the shelves (again, to be sold by special order or from the warehouse if stocked) to make room for equipment intended to produce still photographs from motion picture equipment, believed to be the next wave in digital photography."

    Ignoring for the moment the implications of this, how would this work? Frames captured at 1/24th or 1/30th of a second as a substitute for still cameras? Seriously?
    Chris Klug
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    My photo life story: http://patternsoflightndark.com/wordpress/

  3. #3

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    chris

    people cherry pick still frames from a digital stream.
    the commercial world has been doing this for a while now.
    the camera-operator shoots dv (for the web) and then stills ... from the image stream.

    kind of makes still-camera-operators nearly obsolete!

    gotta love it!
    john

  4. #4
    white.elephant's Avatar
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    Oh, you mean that, using the same camera that mainly shoots video at 1/30th, you could choose to expose a single image for 1/1000th of a second. Sort of like the 5DMk II in reverse (camera that mainly shoots video used for stills instead of a camera that mainly shoots stills used for video)?
    Chris Klug
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    My photo life story: http://patternsoflightndark.com/wordpress/

  5. #5
    Colin Corneau's Avatar
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    Chicken and egg...you can't sell film/darkroom if it's not on the shelves -- you can't justify it on the shelves if you're not selling it.

    It takes a retailer taking a stand, ultimately.

  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Scaling back medium and large format doesn't surprise me. High-end studio photography in many ways hasn't seemed to have been their market for some time, except in the lighting department. They don't sell some lines of medium and large format digital backs either, I think because they aren't set up to offer the kind of service that the manufacturers want. Studios in the NYC area with Sinar equipment are probably dealing directly with SinarBron, who can send reps to make studio visits. PhaseOne dealers offer training as part of the package, and in some cases financing and lease arrangements. These kinds of practices wouldn't appear to fit the current B&H business model.

    Another reason to support Freestyle.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  7. #7
    Barry S's Avatar
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    They're not even keeping a small darkroom section? Does that include paper and chems? I don't know about MF, but B&H has basically been out of the LF business for a long time. They carry some token offerings, so it's no big loss on that front. I suppose we're seeing film photography moving to the niche retailers, but it still stinks and it's hard to think of not going to B&H when I'm up in NYC. Oh well, long live Central Camera!

  8. #8
    Rolleiflexible's Avatar
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    David, I had the same reaction. I can
    understand a decision to remove MF and
    LF cameras from the shelves (although
    they take up a tiny fraction of the camera
    display shelving upstairs). The rest of it
    makes little sense to me, though -- B+H
    is transitioning to a business model of
    selling boxes near cost, and "extended
    warranties," and away from its former
    reputation of being a photographer's store.

    I'm already looking to Freestyle for my
    papers -- I guess I'll join you in sending
    my film and chemistry business to them
    as well.

  9. #9
    Rolleiflexible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry S View Post
    They're not even keeping a small darkroom section? Does that include paper and chems? I don't know about MF, but B&H has basically been out of the LF business for a long time. They carry some token offerings, so it's no big loss on that front. I suppose we're seeing film photography moving to the niche retailers, but it still stinks and it's hard to think of not going to B&H when I'm up in NYC. Oh well, long live Central Camera!
    My understanding is that you will make
    darkroom purchases at what's left of the
    film counter, and if it's in the warehouse,
    they will bring it into the store for you.
    But there will be no display space devoted
    to darkroom equipment or supplies, including
    papers and chemistry.

  10. #10
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    Don't forget that Freestyle doesn't go into conniption fits about putting wet chemistry in some delivery service. B&H would carry lots of stuff but you had to go to the store to get it because they wouldn't ship it.

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