View Poll Results: I will be able to buy FB paper for the next X years.
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How long do you think B&W papers will be available?
The reality of our lives these days seems to be the shrinking supply of available B&W papers. Especially quality FB paper.
Put your googles on and stare into the future. Realistically speaking just how long do you think we will be able to purchase B&W FB paper?
The optimist in me says forever.
Ain't nothing like the real thing baby
Just looked at a list of available papers from the early 80s-the range of choice now is much bigger than it was then, thanks to the efforts of dedicated importers like Retro and Silverprint. Of course there have been some notable casualties, like Ektalure (still have 80 sheets of 11x14-wo!!!) and blue label Record Rapid, but I'd go so far as to say you're almost spoilt for choice (but yah boo to you Kodak).
"He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.
Till 11PM on Tuesday of next week.
Actually, after the scares we've been through of late with Ilford, and Forte and Kodak, I've gotten pretty relaxed after those 'storms' have seemed to blow over. Plus the assurance from JandC that there'll be an adequate supply of traditional materials for as long as anyone will want them. Not to worry, I think. If I were about to decide whether to build a darkroom or not, I'd have no hesitation about going ahead with it. (My darkroom is only a year old and I was scared for a while, but no longer.)
I have a complete set of Zone VI Newsletters, begun by Picker in, IIRC, 1972. I pulled them out to loan to a friend a couple of weeks ago and glanced through them. Picker is wailing throughout about this or that paper disappearing. That was 30 years ago. I miss Kodabromide, Medalist, Brovira, Portriga, Velour Black, Ilfobrome, Seagull, Brilliant, etc., too.
But, thanks to the Internet, we have available more film and paper than ever (those of us away from the big cities anyway.) I can now order a variety of paper from a number of sources. 30-years ago, I had to take whatever the local camera store happened to decide to stock. In many ways, it's better now.
There will be B&W paper as long as someone can make a buck. Thank goodness.
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When I started, Agfa Brovira was the only paper I could get hold of. Then some Kodak papers appeared in the local shops, but I never used them. Ilford was next, first Ilfobrom and next Ilfospeed - with Ilford Multigrade soon to follow.
Then we got Varycon and Emaks. I still hate these papers, perhaps unjustly. Varycon can at least be used for lith prints from extremely contrasty negatives, while Emaks still turns a ghastly greenish red in Viradon.
Last time I checked there is Ilford MG, Agfa equivalent, outdated Tetenal, and... The rest I get from other sources: Bergger, Forte, Maco, Kentmere, Oriental, Retrophotographic POP and what have you.
POP, by the way, hasn't been a "mass item" for almost a century, but is still available. I find that promising.
-- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
IMHO, B&W silver printing paper will be around as long as there is a demand. Right now, black and white prints done on silver paper have the capability to be technically superior to the best black and white prints done with digital media. Most of us can attest to the fact that many people find the production of a B&W analog print a much more enjoyable experience than the corresponding digital process. Conceivably, ten or twenty years from now, a b&w digital image might reach the quality of a good b&w non-electronic print, but I'm confident there will still be a market segment that enjoys doing things the wet way.
I used Kodak Medalist and Kodabromide and Agfa Brovira and Portriga Rapid when I first started printing. They are all gone now. More recently I've used Ilford MG IV and Ilford MG WT exclusively. I decided I shouldn't get used to working with only one paper since Ilford is having problems so I ordered several packages of different brands to try out. This weekend, for the first time, I tried some Forte Polywarmtone, Oriental Seagull Warm Tone and Bergger Warm Tone paper. All nice stuff. I'll be trying other types of the same brands and other brands in the future. I'm sort of amazed at the choices currently available. It's not as bad as it seems. I think we'll have choices in both photographic papers and films essentially forever. I'm personally willing to pay more money for better materials to keep them available.
While I'd like to share your optimism I'd like to see my orders for paper come through.
Originally Posted by jovo
It's not a time to be relaxed when as a photographer you commit to printing a large body of work and need consistent paper supplies, which can't be met. Not talking small orders - in excess of 500 sheets 12"x16" and larger each time.
As I approach "Old Fogy-dom" I am confident that anaolg/traditional materials will be available for as long as I need them - and beyond. Traditional (wet/chemical/film etc) will become like oil and arylic painting, more of a niche market.
Which reminds me... I better order some film and chemicals soon. Gotta get some prints made for the print exchange.
Long live Ed "Big Daddy" Roth!!
"I don't care about Milwaukee or Chicago." - Yvon LeBlanc