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  1. #11
    Rudeofus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    Or maybe its because every single professional shooter in the GTA switching to digital capture by the year 2004.
    If consistency and run to run accuracy would be my most pressing concern, I'd be digital, too. Pro labs sold and perfected a specific kind of service that turned out to be the natural habitat of digital.

    Under all normal circumstances E6 home dev kits would have been the first product to leave the market. Instead it is pro labs followed by Kodak slide film.
    Trying to be the best of whatever I am, even if what I am is no good.

  2. #12
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rudeofus View Post
    If consistency and run to run accuracy would be my most pressing concern, I'd be digital, too. Pro labs sold and perfected a specific kind of service that turned out to be the natural habitat of digital.

    Under all normal circumstances E6 home dev kits would have been the first product to leave the market. Instead it is pro labs followed by Kodak slide film.
    Bob and I saw the same fight from different seats. When advanced amateurs who once shot between 100-300 rolls/year began dropping E6 materials for digital, it was obvious a sea change was in progress. I saw this happen in several of Toronto's larger camera clubs around 2003-04, when the high volume slide shooting members(who also happened to be among the more affluent)quickly shifted to digital. By 2004, many clubs ended slide competitions and shifted to LCD projection.Demand for E6 materials nosedived and quality E6 processing that pros once kept afloat started to shrivel up. Home kits amount to drop in the bucket relative to the chemistry volume that once flowed through busy E6 labs. The E6 lines folded because demand for slide film faltered about 8 years ago in our area. Kodak's E6 material sales volume(not $ sales which are skewed by price increases)must have been shrinking at a frightening rate over the past 5-8 years.

  3. #13

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    The problem with scaling down a decent size E6 or C41 processing line means replacing it, for many thousands of dollars. It just isn't cost effective, especially when you can see demand falling in the future. When the 1 hour giant grocery chains switch to send out two week turnaround for C41, there is no consumer demand either. Yes you can do C41 by hand or in a small processor, but not many people are willing to pay something like $20 for develop only for C41 and quite a bit more for E6.
    Bob

  4. #14
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob-D659 View Post
    The problem with scaling down a decent size E6 or C41 processing line means replacing it, for many thousands of dollars. It just isn't cost effective, especially when you can see demand falling in the future. When the 1 hour giant grocery chains switch to send out two week turnaround for C41, there is no consumer demand either. Yes you can do C41 by hand or in a small processor, but not many people are willing to pay something like $20 for develop only for C41 and quite a bit more for E6.
    Yup. My long love affair with 35mm is just about over, thanks to the demise of cheap 35mm dev/print service.There's one Loblaws in the far west end of the GTA that still runs a Frontier line. Prices are up and quality is, well, variable. Costco folded its film services a couple years ago all over Toronto. Dismal.

    Transitioning to hybrid now and shooting way more 120 C-41/E6/b&w while pro lab processing is still accessible.

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Carnie View Post
    I still expose a lot of C41 film and we batch process the film on our C41, I am hoping I am wrong about this but we are seeing a disturbing trend of dwindling fresh film, and once the marketing gurus in Kodak and Fuji decide that sales are consistently heading downwards they will cut the product sku's.
    We hope to be one of the last standing labs offering black and white processing, and will continue to process our own personal C41 as long as the chem's and film is available. But we are preparing for the future where mixing from scratch, alternative hand coated prints, and probably making the single largest purchase of Ilford Warmtone will be made by us within the next 3-10 years. At my age , there is a time coming where my clients and I will be forced to make the investment and cold storage 10 years of paper. After that I will be wearing Diapers and watching reruns of Dallas and the Price Is Right and won't give a shit about the industry that has been my friend and supplier of a place to rest my head and feed my family for over 40 years.
    I think this is the writing on the wall that we all know is there, but people on this site have a hard time dealing with. You can't blame them, it's just not what we all would have wanted. The town I live in with some 6,000 year round residents used to have two full time E-6 labs that in 1998, got flooded with work from people like tourists to big name ad shooters handing in anything from 35mm to 8x10. It was truly amazing a town this small could be so photo-centric, but it is a world famous resort. As of 2007, there are no E-6 labs in the area, only a couple in Denver. Not even the Wolf Camera has a C41 machine anymore. I still shoot some E6 but replaced it mostly with C41 since it gets scanned and output onto Endura Metallic. I have a couple hundred rolls of Ektar 100 in 120 and Portra 400 in 220, I will only stock up on that so much due to the fact it does not have good long term prospects for pro use and quite frankly, my future is in black and white, a much more stable product line with a far easier to home brew level of production.

    My concern is now for silver gelatin paper prices, by far already the most expensive part of the equation of being a professional fine art photographer preferring film. When I hear about you making a sizable investment in Warmtone, I am on exactly the same page, cover my rear so I can continue on and I think this is how most of the established pros I have talked to think as well. The thought of investing some 20-30K+ on paper in the next 2-3 years is a daunting one, but what choice do we have, we are still in the game and will play until the fat lady sings...

    Honestly though, I am impressed color film in any form has survived this long, Kodak's Portra and Ektar product line is simply amazing stuff...

  6. #16

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    CGW, I think the Loblaws C41 setup is the last one in the country. I started doing my own C41, works out to under $2 for the Kodak chemistry listed in the sticky post if you extend the dev times. Results are excellent.

    BTW, those C41 chems are available from Kodak Canada, thru any photo dealer that sells Kodak stuff.
    Bob

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob-D659 View Post
    CGW, I think the Loblaws C41 setup is the last one in the country.
    Around here (Vancouver, BC area) there are still a few Walmarts doing C41, as well as a Shoppers Drug Mart or two.

    In addition, several London Drugs still process film (including two apparently who will process 120!), although they have transitioned totally to Fuji inkjet for printing.

    There are three pro labs as well, although since their move, ABC is no longer doing their own E6 (CustomColour does it for them).

    Costco does a huge business still printing from digital files onto RA4 paper.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  8. #18

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    "CGW, I think the Loblaws C41 setup is the last one in the country."

    I meant it was their last one in the country.

    But yes, C41 processing is disappearing quickly.

    The odd thing is that RA4 prints are less expensive to produce than inkjet, but the backroom costs of fixer disposal and handling chemicals goes away with the inkjet process. The drylabs are approx half the cost of a RA4 unit, which makes sense if your printing requirements are maybe just a couple of hundred prints per hour.
    Bob

  9. #19
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    Bob:

    I was speaking the other day with someone who has worked in the photo department of London Drugs for a long time.

    He was saying that in the heyday of film, their returns from recycling silver were enough to update or replace all their equipment every 3 - 5 years.

    Everything is changing
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  10. #20
    Rudeofus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CGW View Post
    Bob and I saw the same fight from different seats. When advanced amateurs who once shot between 100-300 rolls/year began dropping E6 materials for digital, it was obvious a sea change was in progress. I saw this happen in several of Toronto's larger camera clubs around 2003-04, when the high volume slide shooting members(who also happened to be among the more affluent)quickly shifted to digital. By 2004, many clubs ended slide competitions and shifted to LCD projection.
    When I look in our local photo club, there are lots of older members who switched to digital in that same time frame. These folks loathed dark room work and saw digital as an easy way out. While there may be some folks on APUG who shoot slide film purely for resolution and quality reasons, a sizable number of them enjoy dark room work, and going to a pro lab would take some of the fun away. When new folks show up in our dark room, they may have a few rolls of already developed neg film which they had done by a lab, but as soon as they get the hang of it they develop for themselves.

    Conclusion: people who were served well by a pro lab are served even better by digital capture. People who want analog today may use pro labs once or twice as a jump start but won't come back often. Right now pro labs offer nothing I would want, and I spent four digit numbers on materials last year.
    Quote Originally Posted by CGW View Post
    Home kits amount to drop in the bucket relative to the chemistry volume that once flowed through busy E6 labs.
    While in most areas the slow movers were the first ones to be out, I see some anomalies: Plus-X went away while Efke/Foma/Adox are still around. Pro labs go away while E6 home processing kits are still around.

    These are two trends which you can't just explain away with "declining demand".
    Trying to be the best of whatever I am, even if what I am is no good.

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