Quote Originally Posted by Aristophanes View Post
Even Mom & Pop photo labs clinging to a core market may feel the repercussions from this if they need to buy a refurbished Fuji Frontier on credit and such.
We've already seen this happen once. Around 2003, when digital came along in the form of the Canon 10D (which ROCKED) and Nikon D100 (which SUCKED), the mom and pop wedding and portrait labs imploded within about a year. Their business model was, take the film from the photographer, process it, proof it, make enlargements. All of the sudden, wedding photographers were using an inexpensive 6MP camera that equalled (more or less) the quality of a Hasselblad.

Now, even if you loved your Medium Format, the advantage of a $1500 digital camera over a $20 roll of process and proof 120 was obvious: no cost of sales (except for labor, which has to be included in either equation but which digital photographers seem somehow willing to absorb without compensation). You could make 100 photos as easily and at far less cost than you could make 10. Don't like them? Hit the delete key.

So four layers of profit for the Mom and Pop portrait and wedding labs vaporized: film sales; film processing; proof printing; and, ultimately, enlargements. Their whole business model vanished inside of a year. In 1992 Atlanta, there were four color labs less than 10 miles from my house. By 1994, they were all gone. There were many, many more around Atlanta, all gone, too.

Today, Atlanta has lost pretty much all of our analog shops. The only player left in E6 is on 10th street, and they are closed on Fridays! All the various other print shops either merged or went bankrupt. Showcase Photo/Video near my studio hardly stocks 120 anymore. I complained and they said no one's buying it.

A few places now specialize in large format inkjet, but even that is getting extremely competitive and they are dropping like flies. And this is in a very large metropolitan area. Woe be unto you if you live in a small town, like John Cougar Mellancamp.

Photography is -- through digital -- becoming increasingly decentralized. All you need is a camera and a computer. You can buy a $500 Canon pigment printer that can print on a Baryta paper and knock your socks off. I love me some film, but I don't make money with film, I make money with digital. That's the bottom line.

I mean, if you can't get film, you can always shoot wet plates! They can't take that away from you.