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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ektagraphic View Post
    Do you think that the decline in film photography has begun to level off
    Yes. The vast majority who want to go D****** already have. The few coming back will roughly balance out the late departures.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ektagraphic View Post

    and companies will not continue to see great decline?

    They will continue to streamline. The Great Decline already happened. Although we could still see the Great Yellow Death of 2013 it will not change the overall picture.

  2. #12

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    No, it will continue to decline at a fairly steady rate but, the nose dive due to digital may be over. Toy camera market is not large enough to support probably even 1 maker if it were the lone remaining company. There may be an uptick as film makers close their doors and its customers move to the remaining makers but we'll probably get to a point that almost no dealers whether bricks and motar or mail order or internet will support any inventory so it may come down to a few makers doing direct to customer sales.

  3. #13

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    Unless someone here has access to the sales figures of at least the big three makers then anything else is anecdotal evidence based on press reports or their own experience. The latter may be interesting to read but isn't enlightening on deciding the answer to the question.

    I get around a number of places that attract photographers such as tourist areas in Cornwall and what in the U.K. is called National Trust properties. I am still waiting to see another film user anywhere although I make it my business to check out what kind of cameras users have.

    Clearly my experience can't be representative but until I see sales figures I don't know how I or anyone here can reach any meaningful conclusions.

    pentaxuser

  4. #14

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    Wishful thinking comes to mind.

  5. #15
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by pentaxuser View Post
    Unless someone here has access to the sales figures of at least the big three makers then anything else is anecdotal evidence based on press reports or their own experience. The latter may be interesting to read but isn't enlightening on deciding the answer to the question.

    I get around a number of places that attract photographers such as tourist areas in Cornwall and what in the U.K. is called National Trust properties. I am still waiting to see another film user anywhere although I make it my business to check out what kind of cameras users have.

    Clearly my experience can't be representative but until I see sales figures I don't know how I or anyone here can reach any meaningful conclusions.

    pentaxuser
    Well, "press" reports usually aren't referencing fiction. Have a look here:

    http://theonlinephotographer.typepad...f-a-cliff.html

    BTW, sales figures aren't as revealing as volume data. Kodak's sales might look better if only because of price hikes but don't say much about the amount of film sold, which could be down.

  6. #16

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    I work in a drugstore lab and the majority of 35mm film we get (I'm estimating about 65%) is from disposable cameras. A fairly high proportion of that consists of expired film from Konica cameras that people have had sitting around, and the horrifically crappy film from off-brand dollar store disposables. I worry that if/when the market for those goes digital then C-41 manufacture will decline significantly further. We already process the film for 3 stores in our area and even with that workload we still don't often turn on the film processor 'til later in the day.

  7. #17
    Klainmeister's Avatar
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    I kinda wonder if the drop of C41 and slide is also because the people who stuck with or came back to film tend to be the type that does home development anyways.

    I'm with CGW on the toy camera users and snobbery; neither will save film. Fads fade and the mightier-than-thou in comparing resolution charts and stuff will one day be squandered by technology advancements. I prefer holding my shots and the act of using film cameras and the darkroom, and I think that group will probably never fade. Probably getting near the lower end of the decline curve I would guess.
    K.S. Klain

  8. #18
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    The bottom for film demand is nowhere near close.

    The continued affordable production of film (135, 120) will depend on 2 related outcomes:

    1) Continuation of film in motion pictures as an alternative to digital, backed by some industry re-investment (money). There's more hand-wringing about film in the motion picture industry then there is here, mostly because of the high-profile artistic investments and the capacity of film to get shots that digital cannot handle. This is the bulwark to the whole industry. Its buying power is the generator of raw material demand and reasonable pricing. Motion pictures generate the only known and measurable ROI for film use currently (with some medical/dental stuff still around).

    2) A corporate entity with vision and capital to re-brand and market film as an alternative with interesting heritage and unique properties. A digital file is a digital file, and almost all digital photos are quite sterile in medium, and ritually identically similar in binary, if technically near-perfect in desired focus and exposure. Film can be marketed as a unique footprint (like Polaroid did vis-a-vis the rest of the market). Film has authenticity, history, and alchemy as marketable traits. Someone may step up to the plate to do this, but they inherit a camera market now mostly based on salvage equipment, a tiny home developing market, and over-productive capacity. The latter can be rationalized if film use continues in motion pictures. Any corporate entity to step will likely be one that inherits Kodak's current film assets in an entity separate from the digital operations.

    Some observations:

    - The toy and home development market cannot sustain a single supplier; not one, and not even if it were black and white only. Ten years before the ultimate end. Raw materials and supplies unique to emulsions and coating equipment will be too expensive to source for such a small sector, and the technical expertise to formulate the compounds, run the systems, and re-tool the machines will become too costly. The whole industry supply chain requires more volume than this and that means Kodak and/or Fuji being salvaged to some extent (probably not both). Iflord, Efke, Lucky....cannot survive on those volumes.

    - Fuji will be an issue within the next 24 months. Film culture is very strong in Japan, more than perhaps anywhere else on the planet. It's hard to say if Fuji can cost-shift film production costs from other areas out of a sense of loyalty and probably near-monopoly. Very tough to see because there is obviously a very deep commitment to film as it made Fuji as much as it made Kodak. Fuji is just better managed.

    - There may be some pip up for someone like Ilford if Kodak ceases all production, but it will be a dead cat bounce lasting less than 2 years because it will do zero to alter the trajectory of declining aggregate demand. Most people just want photos; they don't want a hobby and those who do want a hobby are not around in numbers enough to make a difference.

    - A lot of any residual consumer appeal for film will depend on the colour film market and C-41. As such, the still photo market will require a lab system to survive (like what Ilford is doing with B&W, which I heartily applaud). Scanning will be critical, as will cost (if the US P.O. goes into crisis, look out).

    - All manufacturers of motion picture cameras have ceased their analog operations for the manufacture of new cameras. They still source parts and service older equipment and are involved in the leasing market, but there is a limit to their capacities here. Whoever picks up Kodak may also have their eye on parts of this market (fingers crossed).

    - The Kodak bankruptcy will demonstrate clear figures about film consumption and projections, and, as the bankruptcy unfolds, those will be moving numbers, so a trendline will be possible to see.

    - In the irony of ironies, instant film may actually survive where roll and cartridge film do not. Bold prediction.

    - I make no observations regarding LF film because it may be possible (just) to micro-produce those films, or at least working product. Quality will be the critical issue although other, technical ones may appear (it may all need to be drum scanned, for example). Hard to say.

  9. #19
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    Silver Jelly and previous printmaking processes

    Etching and lithography (using stone) almost died with the introduction of offset lithography (not using stone)

    However, a few workers continued to use etching in copper and zink and drawing with greasy crayon on stone, the current world wide fellowship of printmakers - Manufacturers are still making paper, ink and grounds for these processes and even new etching presses are available - Later on silkscreen printing moved into the art practice arena

    My hope is that silver jelly photography will have a similar safety net of workers who will keep a few small manufacturers in business as the printmaking media mentioned have - Should film fail I doubt if I will get another etching press, but revert to charcoal drawing - Think of all that 10x8" gear I won't have to carry around any more

  10. #20
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    I think B&W is definitely either at the bottom or increasing. A company like Ilford is NOT supplying the ordinary consumer. This is already a virtually 100% specialist hobbyist market. If Ilford can make it work for B&W then possibly another small company can do the same for colour. Or perhaps if Kodak do disappear Ilford might run a couple of colour products. They already have a chromogenic B&W so I am sure they could run colour if they wanted to.

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