I don't really know the answer--I've been thinking a lot about it lately, and at work we have some rough proposals we're hashing out looking at what it would cost to pursue both angles--scanning or capture back versus replacing analog equipment & cost of chemistry, materials etc. there are pros & cons for each option, and in the end it comes down to just taking a guess almost, about how it will play out.

I just don't know--all I see is decline, sad to say, with at least E6--and that will be what pushes us over, since it used to be that b/w film was our mainstay, only now almost all our publication work and outside services revolves around 4x5 chromes or scans. The only reason why we shoot 4x5 is for the resolution and camera control. everything we used to do on small format has been done with digital since about 2000.

As to the local product--well, we never bought that much locally, because we dealt with gov't contracts. Most of the vendors I never heard of as far as being a consumer. We got materials, and even cameras, at below wholesale prices. This past year, is the first where we actually don't have a contract. I'm not sure what that means to be honest--I think it means no vendors bid on it, which isn't really good for the longterm outlook.

We did support the local labs though, and had some close ties with a few as well. This is how we accumulated so many 2150s, because those labs were going out of business and the machines are basically worthless now. we've actually passed up all sorts of free equipment like forox duplicators, marron carroll cameras, MP4s etc--that had nothing wrong with them, only because we had no use for them either and have our own "obsolete" stuff now to get rid of as well.

Locally--I support the camera store that stocks film & paper. I have my own darkroom and everything I use comes from them pretty much. We have an account there for work as well, but it's limited what we buy, to mainly last minute stuff when we run out. Right now they sell a box of 100 sheets of paper for what we can get 250 sheet box for. I know why there are price differences, but that doesn't mean much to the purchasing system.

I wish I knew the answer. February was a crappy month--spent trying to fix the ilford machine, and then coming in one day and finding that the color developer tank had cracked overnight & fried out the circuit board on the E6 and almost started a fire more or less. The machine was toast. The company was unresponsive--no more. We're stuck with almost a 1000 bucks worth of chemistry ready to go out of date and no outlet to get rid of it, becuase almost all these labs are gone, and we can't surplus it either.

oh well--it's saturday, I want to think happy thoughts, not doom & gloom.