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  1. #1
    lensworker's Avatar
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    Will film become extinct?

    We've all heard that Kodak is on the ropes and Ilford is foundering, and that Leica (God forbid) is having difficulties thanks to the digital "revolution." This makes me wonder if film will disappear altogether at some point, although the soothsayers claim that film will be around for "quite a while" or for "the forseeable future."

    IMO, the fact that people are still using view cameras is a good sign - these so called relics of the past have endured in spite of all the innovations in photography over the decades. If E6 and B&W film disappear, it will truly be a black day for those of us who prefer making images "the old fashioned way."

    Does anyone out there have any information or thoughts to share on this issue?
    "My idea of a good life is that I wake up in the morning, go out and look around and make four rolls of film a day." - Josef Koudelka

    "There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are." - Ernst Haas

    "Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment." – Elliott Erwitt

  2. #2
    Alex Hawley's Avatar
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    Well, I still haven't seen a digital, camera or print, that can match an 8x10 contact print. I'm sure they will get there someday, but I'm not worried about it.
    Semper Fi & God Bless America
    My Photography Blog

  3. #3
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Nope, no thoughts at all, this issue has been discussed to death, does not need to happen again, if you want to see what has been posted, use the search function read through all of the preiviously posted thoughts, good information there.

    Dave

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinsnow
    Nope, no thoughts at all, this issue has been discussed to death, does not need to happen again, if you want to see what has been posted, use the search function read through all of the preiviously posted thoughts, good information there.

    Dave
    I agree with "Satinsnow"/Dave

  5. #5
    Aggie's Avatar
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    Well this is a monthly even here on apug asking the same question in differnt ways. No film is not dead. No tradtional analog cameras are not disappearing. Yes the future is starting to look a lot better now that the manufacturers have downsized to the current market size. No, none of the film manufacturers are gone and are going to disappear.
    Non Digital Diva

  6. #6

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    In addition, Kodak is not on the ropes, Ilford appears to be recovering nicely and Leica will surely bend to the will of the consumer and make a digital camera on the future. Other than that, nope film will not dissappear.

  7. #7

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    No, film will never become extinct. Availability of emulsions may become more limited (right now we have maybe the greatest selection of film emulsions in history) and costs will no doubt increase. But the market for film use by artists, professionals and hobbyists will always make it a profitable concern for someone.

    Here are a couple of reasons:

    Necessity is the mother of invention. There will always be some enterprising individual who will come up with a way to coat sheet film with modern emulsions for a niche market in a small production facility.

    The cost of labor, and production are so much lower in Eastern Europe, China and emerging African and Southeast Asian economies that film operations will either be moved to these countries or facilities by Kodak, Ilford etc eventually sold off and re-established there. There are numerous examples of very old technologies being manufactured overseas. For example, the only manufacturer of vacuum tubes is either in Russia or somewhere in Eastern Europe. A friend of mine who restores old short wave sets from the 30s and 40s says that tubes are always available, some of designs not having been produced in the US since the 60s.

    I think one needs to also realize that a switch from huge manufacturers to smaller ones is actually a good thing. Smaller companies understand the ups and downs of the market and can adjust production accordingly. They are not working on a dozen different products, but focused on a few. Smaller producers are much better at responding to the needs of the market and welcome input from consumers. Business models that focus on one product (film and paper) will often take more chances on innovation. Many times when the one or two giants leave a particular market it provides an opportunity for many new players to enter, helping keep the overall costs to consumers reasonable. Operations are much more streamlined and decisions based on making a few products well is always better then making many mediocre products.

    One argument I would like to dispell is the notion that only a company like Kodak has the technical and financial resources to come up with new products. To put it nicely, BS. That simply buys into the myth that it takes a huge company to innovate. A study of American history will show time and time again that individuals on a small scale are the true innovators. Traditional photography is no different. We can see examples all the time by varoius participants on these forums who have developed new techniques, products and chemistry to better the craft for all of us.

    One thing APUG has been doing a good job of is to keep information flowing about availability of products and status of various companies. One thing we can do pro-actively is to send our individual concerns and thoughts on the industry to the various manufacturers and let them know that there is a strong market for analogue products and that we support companies who continue to have an interest in us.
    "Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
    Robert Adams

  8. #8

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    Film is going to become extinct no matter what anyone thinks. You and I are also going to pass one day, as well as our children's children. The earth's orbit as well will eventually dacay making life on this planet impossible. What I'm trying to say is that creation, life and technology will always move on. Nothing is forever except God, (and that is an opinion of my faith), and that you can always expect changes. The most important thing is to take advantage of time and enjoy what you have now, or what you want while it is available. Film is here now so shoot it. If we support it, it will be available for us. This forum is a very strong voice for film and traditional methods and the last I saw, there are still ads in various catalogs for traditional items. Enjoy now. When things at last change, enjoy the changes. The adventure doesn't stop at death, nore will photography stop when film passes. Make the picture, more important than the technology. Don't make the changing technology more important then the eternal message thru your photography.

  9. #9
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    I checked my extinction meter, pointed it at an average daylight scene, adjusted the dial, and it didn't point to "film" so I guess I don't need to worry about film becoming extinct today.
    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

  10. #10
    kwmullet's Avatar
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    Hey -- maybe APUG could use an Eliza feature! Next time someone asks "Is film dead?", "What does Analog mean?" or some other such monthly or weekly FAQ, the Eliza-bot could just drag any number of duplicate responses into that thread, but make it ONLY visible to the person who posted it.

    Threads like that make APUG seem like a bridal magazine -- same stories, only the date at the top changes. (*then again... maybe I just haven't had enough coffee yet*)

    Does anyone else think that perhaps an appropriate collaborative project would be an FAQ witih pointers to threads containing common issues? We'd just need somewhere where we could share and revise a document before submitting it to Sean for his consideration.

    -KwM-

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