I also agree with Brian.
Commercial E-6 & C-41 may/is be becoming unprofitable. With no color labs there is no demand for color film. With Champion/Tetnal etc making kits available again small scale non-commercial processing becomes possible and demand for film will rise, or at least stabilize. I'm thinking home, education and community darkroom type use.
Or so says economic theory. The idea of boutique suppliers is nothing particularly new. The idea of the "long tail" well documented and with modern manufacturing and retailers and distribution chains such as Amazon it has gone from concept to solid reality.
B&W film & processing is already a boutique market and appears to be stabilizing. Harman, for example, have realized they are not in the film business. They are in the coating business. They stick emulsions to substrate, be it film, paper, inkjet or whatever. This allows them to amortize the coating machinary across a number of product lines. The result is they can keep film alive since it is not film alone that pays for the maintenance of the coating machines. If they had a machine dedicated to coating film only Ilford film would, I wager, be a fond memory only.
If this will carry over to color materials in the long run remains to be seen because of economies of scale. But the actions of Tetnal, Jobo and Champion indicate that they see it as probable. You are not going to invest in new product and distribution channels when all you see is failure.
I am very encouraged by this.
Last edited by lensman_nh; 09-26-2012 at 09:11 AM. Click to view previous post history.