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
-- 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.
"-- 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?
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!
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)?
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.
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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.
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!
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
My understanding is that you will make
Originally Posted by Barry S
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.
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.