Opinion? Agfa, Ferrania, Fuji, Kodak, Konica
I don't like to cross-post, but I asked the following question on another website and, as APUG is strictly analog, was told that I may get more input here:
The color negative/slide film manufacturing world is in a much different place than it was just a few years ago. Agfa still makes a few color emulsions for Rollei, but it's out of the consumer film business, at least under it's own name. Ferrania (if it still exists) no longer makes film. Konica-Minolta abandoned all photography-related business. That leaves us with an extremely ill Kodak and a fairly healthy Fuji still in the game.
I remember reading a comment some years ago that Agfa, Ferrania and Konica were considered second-tier manufacturers. In other words, their film technology was always a few years or more behind Fuji and Kodak. In retrospect, I am wondering if that actually was the case, or just public perception because they didn't have the global market share of Fuji and Kodak? I know some members on this site have worked for these companies, and I assume they occasionally had to take a closer look at competing products as part of their jobs. I'm asking for opinions or thoughts, whether you were on the consumer or manufacturing end of the chain.
I got my hands on a bunch of Konica Centuria Super 100 in 120 expired in 2008.. damn it is really nice film. Beautiful for nature shots, sharp as well. Wouldn't use it for Portraits though.. also got some Centuria Super 3200 colour neg in 120... but obviously wont be like it was new unforunately.
Originally Posted by TonyD58
Agfa do not make colour emulsions for Rollei. Rollei (Maco) buys out of the Agfa range, and converts itself.
Originally Posted by TonyD58
After the merger in 1964 Agfa became No 2 in worldproduction. (This is western world, the only available figures.)
The advantage Kodak had was that it always had the largest R&D team, due to its sheer size.
Due to both Kodak in general was the one to make the pace from the 60's onwards. The competitors then had to react on.
Public perception is very much dependent on the market the public is in. This even comes true for professional users.
By the way: Welcome to Apug! I hope you'll find here help and information beyond this topic.
Last edited by AgX; 11-28-2012 at 04:32 AM. Click to view previous post history.
One reason Agfa oand Ferrania weren't considered on a par with Kodak and Fuji was because before C41 and E6 became the standards they used their own proprietary processing formulae which were less common.
Personally I preferrred Aga's colour materials to Kodak's E3/4 and C22 films but there weren't many professional processing labs compared to Kodak/Fuji.
The Konica/Sakura E6 slide films were just not in the same league as Agfa, Fuji and Kodak in terms of colour, contrast, grain etc, Ferrania/3M were about the ssame but some of the C41 films were very good.
I remember 3M - Ferrania trying to break into the professional market in the early 1980's and they had made significant improvements in their films and RA4 paper, I had a sample pack with various films and some paper to try and was reasonably impressed but the labs we used preferred Kodak or Fuji materials.
In the UK the Fuji E4 films were slightly better than the Kodak films in terms of contrast and colour fidelity and when the switch to E6 came they began to increase their market share very rapidly. Their film batches (E6) were more consistent than Kodak professional films which still needed slight filtration if you needed good colour matching, each box came with a recommended filtration and varitaion in EI. This was importnat were part of a job might be shot on different formats or even different batches of film.
Agfa in the UK had lost potential market share because Kodak's processes C22 and E3/4 had vbecome the de facto standards and when they did switch to E6 and C41 it was to late to catch up.
I'm sure AgX could tell us how thinhs were quite different in (West) Germany. The Soviet block (inc East Germany)were different still with a total reliance on older Agfa based colour systems, many of us remember using ORWO CT18 which was much cheaper than anything else
Yes, bring back ORWO CT18 -- all is forgiven !!
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Ferrania is now mainly a manufacturer of solar panels.
They probably were a bit behind Kodak and Fuji but having a palette of their own some people preferred them on taste ground.
I think they have always suffered from bad distribution, even in Italy.
In the eighties they produced some record setting films for sensitivity, e.g. a slide film for tungsten light at ASA 640 and IIRC later another one for daylight at ASA 1000.
Konica-Minolta sold their photography business to Sony, which rebranded it "Sony", and their light-meter business to Kenko, which rebranded it "Kenko". There is no solution of continuity between Minolta and Sony. Minolta photographic business is alive and well, under another name.
The perception might have been due to the fact that most printers used Kodak paper and I suppose that the best results from one negative are obtained when using paper and film of the same manufacturer (which presumably "matches" paper to film). Besides, Kodak made a huge amount of advertisements in the eighties even on TV while Agfa or 3M - Ferrania barely bought a page on some photographic magazines.
I recall that in the mid 70's when ORWO (which was I believe an anagram for 'ORiginal WOlfen')** was still in production I was serving in Germany with the Army. We got a security warning about this film and asked not to use it. The reason being that it was sent off for processing and eventually finished up in the old East Germany where it could have been looked at by the Eastern Bloc Security Services. How true this was I never put it to the test.
Originally Posted by pentaxpete
As it happens, after leaving the forces I went back to Germany on holiday and did use a cassette or two and still have most of the slides. The colours, although warm the are still perfectly preserved with very rich saturated colours. There is no fading visible
**Wolfen is a town in what was Eastern Germany
Interesting aspect. However, the marketshare of Orwo films was small. More important, Orwo films were sold in West-Germany rebranded. The warning you got would not cover those films. I don't know of Orwo films sold by West-German retailers being processed in East-Germany.
It would have taken some effort by an intelligence service to spy fruitfully by this means. And there were better alternatives.
As we are speaking about intelligence: in the 50's a US photographic company spied, aided by US authorities, on a West-German competitor.
Last edited by AgX; 11-28-2012 at 07:16 AM. Click to view previous post history.
US authorities, and naturally not only them, have always being suspected of practicing industrial spying against their "allies", exploiting the copious amount of information they can gather from their formerly extensive presence in Europe and Japan.
Originally Posted by AgX
The "ECHELON" interception system is another notorious suspect of industrial spying. This is a system put in place by the US and several English-speaking allies throughout the planet (in particular UK and Australia). It officially only exists with the purpose of counter-terrorism or whatever, it goes without saying, and suspecting some different purpose can be reduced to a "conspiracy theory", it goes without saying.
Any newer Agfa film that says Agfa is going to be relabelled Fuji, Ferrania IIRC went broke a few years ago, Konica merged with Minolta, then sold their photography business to Sony, some of the high end innovation in a Sony's digital cameras are actually Konica innovations, I called the Alpha 1 a Konioltony when it first came out.... Like Ferrania any Konica film out there is expired by now. Agfa's industrial branch may coat some film, probably as a contract coater now though, because the photography division is long gone.
Originally Posted by TonyD58
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