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  1. #1

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    Why Film Makes Business Sense

    Well, sitting here contemplating a new year ahead, a very likely difficult one at that, I found myself realising that maybe the world has changed. In our past boom of technology development, where disposability became the credit card of capitalism, people bought the next camera that bought them the next Mpix's, that gave them the street cred, but most likely all the time kept the same Flash Card or SD card. The single most fundamental principle of digital technology, is the fact that the technology for quality and resolution resided in the camera, not so much the lens or that CF card.

    Now, people won't be buying those camera so much. They will think...well you know maybe 10Mpix is enough for my 6x4 print, i'll save and pay the gas bill...but film...well, you don't buy film, then you don't make pictures with a film camera. The margin does not reside in the camera, but in it's sustainable use in the form film. No upgrade necessary. What upgrades are needed will occur simply becasue the markets are now niche for film cameras. There will always be buyers and limited competition. But film...we all need that!

    So over the next year, the users on this site have the opportunity to demonstrate to the major brands that film makes business sense...so just like I intend to, make a New Year resolution to work out what you can afford and give your favourite brands a big order for 2009, and remind them that we are out here if they need us, because we definitely need them.

    Wishing you all a happy and inspired new year...

    Kal

    PS Had no idea where to post this thread...but philosophy seemed just dandy...

  2. #2
    2F/2F's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shangheye View Post
    Well, sitting here contemplating a new year ahead, a very likely difficult one at that, I found myself realising that maybe the world has changed. In our past boom of technology development, where disposability became the credit card of capitalism, people bought the next camera that bought them the next Mpix's, that gave them the street cred, but most likely all the time kept the same Flash Card or SD card. The single most fundamental principle of digital technology, is the fact that the technology for quality and resolution resided in the camera, not so much the lens or that CF card.

    Now, people won't be buying those camera so much. They will think...well you know maybe 10Mpix is enough for my 6x4 print, i'll save and pay the gas bill...but film...well, you don't buy film, then you don't make pictures with a film camera. The margin does not reside in the camera, but in it's sustainable use in the form film. No upgrade necessary. What upgrades are needed will occur simply becasue the markets are now niche for film cameras. There will always be buyers and limited competition. But film...we all need that!

    So over the next year, the users on this site have the opportunity to demonstrate to the major brands that film makes business sense...so just like I intend to, make a New Year resolution to work out what you can afford and give your favourite brands a big order for 2009, and remind them that we are out here if they need us, because we definitely need them.

    Wishing you all a happy and inspired new year...

    Kal

    PS Had no idea where to post this thread...but philosophy seemed just dandy...
    I certainly hope so, but in my heart of hearts I know not to hold out much hope for the death of conspicuous consumption. 90% of the population are zombies who are told what to buy not by logic or sense, but by the other 10% of the population.

    I try do do my part by never buying anything digital new, and by using film for what little paid work I do outside of work, where I must shoot digital due to sheer volume, cost, and speed issues. I shot a Grammy Foundation red carpet spread for the Musician's Union on HP5 and a pair of F-1s. (See my pic to the left.) I usually do headshots with a Mamiya TLR and transparency film if there is no rush. I prefer this viewing method and format for headshots. The few weddings where I have been *the* photographer and not the assistant, I shot on 645 color neg. for the portraits, but my 35s were not reliable enough at the time to shoot the candids on film. (They have since been fixed.) The goal is to use film whenever possible, as it makes things much easier, less time consuming, and better quality. Try explaining any of that to Joe the Consumer or Joe the New Wave Commercial Photographer, though, and you will end up red in the face.
    Last edited by 2F/2F; 12-27-2008 at 07:56 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    2F/2F

    "Truth and love are my law and worship. Form and conscience are my manifestation and guide. Nature and peace are my shelter and companions. Order is my attitude. Beauty and perfection are my attack."

    - Rob Tyner (1944 - 1991)

  3. #3
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Fuji has been promoting this idea already.

    Shoot on C-41 film, hand the shot film to a lab to color correct and print proofs, then go back to shooting.
    When the proofs come back form the lab, sit down with the client and sell the prints or album.
    Take the money and send the print order to the lab, go find more clients.

    No in house back end processing work for the photographer makes a lot of business sense. It does though require a lab you can trust and the willingness to spend a little cash on processing.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  4. #4
    nsouto's Avatar
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    Just ordered another bulk roll of pan-f, and another screen for the f6.
    And I am going to use the cameras a lot more in 09, if that is possible!
    Particularly the rb67, which hasn't seen much light of late: been too busy with 35mm
    and the Arax 6x6 and its gorgeous CZJ lenses...
    Cheers
    Noons (Nuno Souto)
    Gallery here

  5. #5
    Slixtiesix's Avatar
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    You opened my eyes Shangheye!
    From a capitalist´s point of view, digital cameras are nonsens.
    The use of film reminds me somehow of my double-blade shaver:
    When I bought it many years ago it only cost a few bucks, but every
    package of razor blades I buy seems disproportionally expensive to me,
    but they are necessary to use the shaver :o
    I assume Mr. Kodak had the same in mind when he selled his cheap
    Box Cameras nearly a century ago.
    Indeed this epiphany won´t stop me from buying more film
    Greetz, Benjamin

  6. #6
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    Modern technology allows the best of both worlds. The lab I use in SLC will process the film and provide low res scans that upload to an online picture service. The client peruses the online gallery, and places their order. The lab receives the order, collects the money, times and prints the order, sends it to the customer, and sends me a check for the mark up.

    So much easier than doing it all myself, making an arse negative in front of a puter, and if I count my time as money, I'm way ahead.

  7. #7
    marsbars's Avatar
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    As long as people are willing to pay for something no matter the cost things stick around. The selection may dwindle, but it is still there. I only shoot photos for myself, not for profit. As the norm goes I am the perfect candidate for a digital system. Most of the time I can't afford to develop and print what I shoot. So my stuff goes to the lab in batches when I have the cash. Every year I think, maybe I should cash out of the film end and get a digital and just be done with it. But then I have someone comment on a print that I finally had the money to make. The first thing that they say is how many mega-pixels was you camera. And the look on their face when I tell them that it was on a 20 year old camera with film. Usually they will look at me in disbelief until they look at the grain and notice that it isn't perfect. That there are imperfections and actual shades and tones. That is enough for me to keep spending my few extra dollars on a few more rolls of film.
    I suppose that one day I may have to switch but that day hopefully will be a long time coming. Hopefully never.
    "There is something about the mystery
    of what is on a roll of film that keeps
    me shooting, none of that digital
    instant gratification for me."

  8. #8
    Ken N's Avatar
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    When the economy is questionable and your sales projections for 2009 are an unknown, changing to an expense-base business model makes a lot of sense rather than committing to a fixed cost model by buying new digital cameras and computers this winter in anticipation of the new business year.
    http://www.zone-10.com

    When you turn your camera on, does it return the favor?

  9. #9

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    Excellent point Ken. I do not claim to be a soothsayer, but I'm gonna love the 2009 profit reports for all those Digi camera companies. In business school I was tought that the real test of a business model is how it does in a downturn....I think some film companies are going to find they do OK....digital camera companies? Film is now a differentiated niche business, limited competition, and a loyal fan base. I don't actually want it to compete with digital...I just want film companies to get positive re-inforcement that their model makes sense...becasue if it makes sense in 2009...when does it not make sense? K

  10. #10
    david b's Avatar
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    Panasonic and Sony are saying their 4th quarter numbers are going to be way down and have already started to lay off people.

    2009 is going to be an interesting year.

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