Kodak's down? Tri-X will survive...
(I have posted this also in the Rangefinder forum.)
The Tri-X is a feasible product to invest on for it can be regarded as lucrative production for a small establishment, not for a conglomerate running with excessive overhead. Reasons:
- Last year Ilford was offering the HP5+ twin-packs for as low as $5.00 and triple-packs recently for $9.79 (Freestyle); meaning despite of the rising silver prices and shrinking demand they are able to make some profit by offering a 36-exposure roll for less than $4.00 retail.
- Small quantities seem to be not much issue for small companies: Adox even in the ‘70s was a minor manufacturer with a very limited range of B&W films and still surviving today more or less with the same products. (Even a 20ASA CMS20 has survived, think about how many rolls sold in 2011!! Why concern about the fate of the Tri-X!)
- As far as film is concerned, our income level/buying power has never been so convenient during the last half-century as it is today. In 1977 a 36-exp. Tri-X was $1.35 and the HP5 was $1.19, whereas the Summicron 35 was $208 and the Summilux 35 was $262 (and the black M4 was $749.50 :) ). Taking into account that the Summilux 35 then was costing as much as 200 rolls of Tri-X, you be the judge. (For long years many of us had to use 100’ rolls to spare cost)
- Finally, the new owner do not need to employ an R&D team to improve the Tri-X for the great majority of the users are happy with the present quality of the ISO400 films. (Meaning least overhead...)
Film is not anymore for the masses.. So what? The automatic watches too are not for the masses. Why do some people still buy the fountain pens or vinyl records? Is art also for everyone? Some things are irreplaceable; spending four hours in the kitchen to prepare a splendid dinner may not be for everyone too.