Photographers are blaming everyone and everything when they are responsible for the demise of Plus-X. Not enough people were buying Plus-X. Eventually Kodak will stop making all film because of lack of demand.
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Wade D, Fuji Acros 100 is a great film. I've warmed up to it after trying out the re-branded Legacy Pro 100 from Freestyle when it was available. Now it's my favorite medium speed film in 120 and 135. I use Rodinal 1+100 and I really like the results I get.
Not enough people were buying Plus-X but that's true for all films I would bet. From what I've read, the trouble with Kodak is that it's so huge. It has to sell an awful lot of product just to break even. Ilford is a smaller company, Fuji has other products that are doing well, and there are even smaller companies like Adox that are trying to get new films out into the marketplace. Many people say that if Kodak had stayed committed to the film market instead of putting all their bets on being competitive in the digital realm, they might not be dying the slow death that they are. I cannot speculate on this since I'm no expert on big business, but I'm sure the shareholders of Kodak might not have liked to hear Kodak say they are putting their money into keeping their analogue film business alive and pouring more money into r&d. All I know is Ilford, to the best of my knowledge hasn't dropped any of their products while Kodak continues to do so.
Plus-X is/was a great film, but it isn't that huge of a loss. FP4 is an even better film at box speed. I miss it, but I mainly shoot B&W in 120 where it's been gone a while anyway. Happily using FP4+ and Tri-X. If Tri-X goes away I'll go to HP5+ but while Tri-X is available I slightly prefer it to HP5+.
Plus-X is my favorite black and white film. I never used Panatomic-X or Verichrome Pan since I was quite young in those days and didn't appreciate B&W. So when I finally did, it was Plus-X for me.
But we needn't fear for black and white if Kodak dies. The real loss will be color. Who will make color film when Kodak and Fuji stop? Will Lucky ever be a viable alternative?
I absolutely agree. But we must also agree that the term "Demand" in the film world has greatly changed and it has to be understood and reflected upon differently.
Back in the day, the Demand for film-per-photographer was something like 2-rolls-a-day where the average photographer (pro and amateurs alike) was consuming 800 films a year. Good year, bad year.
Nowadays, the same concept of Demand has to be down to something like 20 films a year. I'm certainly giving false fantasy figures but I'm sure I'm not far off.
The new reality is very hard but there was still a share to be had with Plus-X, there was still some demand for it. I am 100% sure that the TMAX100 client wasn't the Plus-X client and Kodak had some work to do to scoop the HP4 clients back home. I personally believe it's Kodak's business model that's at fault. The market is the same for all the players.
I still have a huge stash of films: Plus-X, APX100, Tri-X and my favorite, HP5!! I'm good for a few years.
Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch
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Seems like its time to start hoarding your favorite films.
Originally Posted by NB23
All analog manufacturers have faced the same worldwide conversion to digital, not just Kodak. All analog manufacturers have faced the same worldwide reduction in demand for film, not just Kodak. This part is old news. And it was old news five years ago, in spite of the attempts of some around here to continually beat us over the head with this argument as if we were stupid and didn't notice it. Quite the never-ending one-note tune, I'm afraid...
The issue these days is no longer the drop in demand for film. Everybody realized that reality long ago. It's now all about how are the analog manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, retailers, and users dealing with that drop. Who has the will and business acumen to survive? And how are they - or aren't they - doing it?
Each time Kodak drops another product line their public refrain is the same. "Due to a continuing drop in demand for film..." Which is true. Except that it's a drop in demand for Kodak film they are referring to. Other surviving film companies are continuing to hold their own. Some are even introducing new - or resurrecting old - products lines. New films, papers, and chemistries have all been offered within the last year or two. This includes both color and b&w.
Recently Kodak shares have been trading in the 60-70 cent range. Penny stock from a company that not all that long ago was a prestigious member of the Dow Index. Their CEO was just selected in one business analyst poll as one of the top five worst CEOs of the year. He's managed to piss off everyone who thought Kodak should go digital, as well as everyone who thought they should stay analog, and everyone else in between. That's amazing.
Recently Ilford was described here by one of its managing partners as having turned a modest profit last year. And they have so far discontinued none of their mainline products. And have introduced or resurrected several others, including a new specialty 4x5 camera - which, if reports are correct, they can't keep in stock due to demand.
And the same goes for Adox with the former Agfa/AgfaPhoto product lines, including resurrected b&w papers, films and chemistries.
Like the saying goes, it's not about getting knocked down. That happens to everyone at some point. Rather, it's about getting back up. Sadly, that doesn't always happen for everyone.
And for the record, not just Ansel's, but also some of my most memorable photographs were made on Plus-X...
"When making a portrait, my approach is quite the same as when I am portraying a rock. I do not wish to impose my personality upon the sitter, but, keeping myself open to receive reactions from his own special ego, record this with nothing added: except of course when I am working professionally, when money enters in,—then for a price, I become a liar..."
— Edward Weston, Daybooks, Vol. II, February 2, 1932
It must be a marketing trick: whenever a film is discontinued and not easily available there is a lot of weeping and gnashing of teeth - and prices skyrocket, especially for 120 rolls.
Of course it was a nice film, and every film that goes out of production is a loss, but Kodak did not discontinue a film that was overly successful in the last years... well, they are in a situation where they will most probably not discontinue products that help them to make some money.
As others said, FP4 is a very good alternative, but there are others, too. Tmax 400 is actually better than Plus-X, offers two extra f-stops and does not have the old Tmax look, so that's a very good alternative, too.
The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands smell like fixing bath.
They weren't buying enough given Kodak's production methods.
Originally Posted by Gerald C Koch
I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.
i thought 35mm/135 was still available .. and it was 120 that was discontinued.