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  1. #1

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    An excellent presentation by Ilford Photo/Harman Technologies rep Michael Bain

    I attended a talk this week by Michael Bain, Ilford Photo's North American rep. It was a fascinating and inspiring talk about Ilford's path through the changing photographic landscape over the years. The black and white film market is a fraction of what it was, but they have restructured the company around the new realities. Interestingly, 35mm film sales are flat, but Ilford is seeing steady growth in medium and large format film. In printing paper, RC paper sales are flat, but there is growth in fiber papers, which is where they've launched new products.

    He emphasized over and over that Ilford Photo is financially healthy and fully committed to black and white film photography. They are a small company facing a changing market, so they are very conservative in their operations. With sound financial management, they hope to preserve their existing product line, even the smaller-volume products, while finding new ways to grow.

    Like everyone else in the world, Michael expressed frustration that people often confuse Ilford Photo, the financially healthy black and white film photography company, with Ilford Imaging, the now-bankrupt manufacturer of digital printing paper. They actually got stung by Ilford Imaging, because Ilford Imaging was the source for the emulsion for Ilford Photo's direct positive paper. Now that Imaging is bankrupt, they are not supplying the emulsion. Ilford Photo is trying to purchase the formula, but it has proved to be very expensive to try to work through the Swiss bankruptcy system. At the very least they've learned not to rely on another company for a key component.
    Vince Donovan

  2. #2

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    Good news to hear! Ilford is the ONE reason film photographers can believe in a future. Kodak offers nothing as well as Fujifilm.

    Much praise to Ilford!

  3. #3
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I am very happy that Ilford is still around, and that they have the business practices they do. At least here in America they serve the market exceedingly well. After using up my remaining three rolls of 120 TMY-2 and four rolls of 120 Tri-X, I have nothing but Ilford films in my camera bag, and Ilford papers in my darkroom (except for the old stuff I use for lith printing). In addition, I use Hypam fixer, which I buy in 5 liter containers locally, and Harman Selenium toner.

    Their involvement with the end users and presence in the online environment is encouraging and impressive.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  4. #4
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    After over 30 years now of shooting nothing but transparency films I've injected B&W into my usage of films. Along with my normal transparency load of film I now carry 4x5 holders with B&W film along with a roll back with B&W for my RB as needed. And, yes, my move was to using Ilford based upon their apparent dedication to keeping film alive.
    "Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care"

    - Theodore Roosevelt -

  5. #5
    AgX
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdonovan View Post
    Like everyone else in the world, Michael expressed frustration that people often confuse Ilford Photo, the financially healthy black and white film photography company, with Ilford Imaging, the now-bankrupt manufacturer of digital printing paper.
    That of course had to be expected when doing that tradename agreement. It should be considered the price for Harman to gain use of "their" old name.

    Otherwise they had to pay a huge monetary price for promoting a new tradename as Orwo did in a similar situation.

  6. #6

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    They used to make cameras... if they're looking for new ways to grow, perhaps they could develop a new digital b&w (repacking someone else's with a modified sensor).... there must be a lot of people who want a monochrom but can't afford it :P. But more realistically photo books would be very cool with their print quality and paper.
    Last edited by djhurley92; 04-28-2014 at 07:04 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #7
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    Ilford gives me hope for what the world of film will be like in the future: Niche manufacturers, highly responsive to a dedicated customer base.

    It seems like the writing is on the wall with Kodak. KA's goals and management don't seem aligned with film over the long term. My hope is that when the time comes that KA exits the market, it is done in such a way that an Ilford-style company is able to take over some of their product line.

    I hope whoever that is chooses to follow Ilford's model.
    I shoot digital when I have to (most of those shots end up here) and film (occasionally one of those shots ends up here) when I want to.

  8. #8
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by djhurley92 View Post
    They used to make cameras... if they're looking for new ways to grow, perhaps they could develop a new digital b&w (repacked someone else's with a modified sensor).... their must be a lot of people who want a monochrom but can't afford it :P. But more realistically photo books would be very cool with their print quality and paper.
    They are making cameras! Three pinhole cameras.
    And they also make single use cameras with hp5 and XP2.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    They are making cameras! Three pinhole cameras.
    And they also make single use cameras with hp5 and XP2.

    Oh yeah!! I forgot about that. I actually bought an HP5 one as a gift for someone with processing included. It's a great way to get people in to film. The pinhole cameras are cool, but for special uses. In my post I was referencing their old general purpose 35mm cameras from the 60s.
    Last edited by djhurley92; 04-29-2014 at 12:36 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  10. #10
    AgX
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    Quote Originally Posted by djhurley92 View Post
    They used to make cameras... if they're looking for new ways to grow, perhaps they could develop a new digital b&w (repacking someone else's with a modified sensor).... there must be a lot of people who want a monochrom but can't afford it :P.
    How could such a small company develop a different digital camera, whilst they are not even into electronics? They could not even give their name to a bought-in camera as that is not theirs. (Digital products are traded under the Harman brand anyway.)

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