Here is an experpt form my post about recent experiences from Photokina 2012 all about C-41 E-6 and BW chemicals!
About 2 years ago, Tetenal withdrew from the US market its popular and easy to use C-41 2 bath kit, and E-6 3 bath kit in all sizes , along with its powder 1L press kit leaving many users scrambling for replacements which were not readily available. Some smaller re-breanded kits from smaller companies emmerged, but did not offer the same quality and consistency users were used to with the Tetenal kits. A few months ago Tetenal re appeared in the US market, and the full line of its color and slide film chemistry is readily available in the US one again.
It appears that Tetenal and Jobo will once again be marketing their products in some form of cooperation, though it was not entirely clear what that would mean for the end user at this time, aside from the wonderful news about a new film processor that will enjoy a regular supply of chemistry from a venerable manufacturer.
At photokina we learned the Champion photochemistry is resizing its commercial use chemicals for C-41 to meet lower demands, and the new smaller kits and containers will be a much more viable option for the home user then before. Due to the fact that all Champion chemistry has no haz-mat rating in the US it is easy and safe to ship around the country.
Maco Photo, a company distributing a plethora Foma and Rollei branded films, in BW and IR, as well as AGFA formulated BW chemistry such as rodinal and nuetol replacements offers several C-41 and E-6 kits, along with a plethora of specialty BW chemicals and films.
Indian photochemistry manufacturer Convex is looking in to US distribution for its line of RA-4 chemistry.
Another bright point at the show - the Adox booth was swamped and it was nearly impossible to get near it.
All in all, in a mega show like Photokina, where digital photography dominates over all, it was wonderful to see so many companies offering film based products. From old time camera companies such as Linhof and Rolleiflex now offering a whole new line of film based cameras (albeit with digital conversion options) to newly emerging companies such as the employee buy out AGFAphoto which is now offering APX100 and CT precisia (E-6) films, and many small and specialized darkroom and other high end analog product manufacturers. Many other companies have re invented them selves to match the demands of this new market, creating a market specific product and adjusting their service and production towards a specialized nieche business model. Though this means the universality of film based photography might have been diminished, it is amazing to see the level of dedication this new business model has created.
It seems that not only is film after all not dead, but in fact it is supporting a whole new commercial segment. One which commands the respect of many dedicated users, some of whom were not even born when companies like Agfa went in to receivership for the first time. This is a new world of film users, with new demands and needs, new standards and a whole new view of the world through silver based imaging.
The future of film and film processing has not seemed to bright in a long time.