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View Poll Results: For which format will film be available longest?
120 will outlast 135 65 39.16%
135 will be the survivor (for a while) 101 60.84%
Voters: 166. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-29-2012   #41
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Originally Posted by dabick42 View Post
I have been an amateur user of film (120 and 135) for nearly 50 years.
I've never owned, used or even handled a digital camera.
For me, photography is using an all-metal precision instrument that has good quality clock-work inside it, with a service life measured in human lifetimes.
Am I concerned about the future availability of film ?
Damn right I am, because for me there's no alternative that suits my old-school, old technology mindset and skill level.
When I can no longer feed my Leicas, Nikon F's, Canon FD's, Pentax M42's, Voigtlander Prominents and Rollei TLR's, my photographic journey will be over and I'll take up sketching and/or painting.
I believe HCB did the same when he became disillusioned with the ''dumbed down'' direction that photography was taking...
But isn't photography more about the image than the equipment? I understand loving older cameras, they do feel different. But this seems extreme to me.
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Old 11-29-2012   #42
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Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
But isn't photography more about the image than the equipment? I understand loving older cameras, they do feel different. But this seems extreme to me.
More, yes. Solely, no. Different media produce different results.Many artists feel passionate about their chosen media.

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Old 11-29-2012   #43
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Film will die when the investment bankers, and fat-cat CEO's worrying about their stock options say it will.

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Old 11-29-2012   #44
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1. There will be film so long as there is a demand
2. Manufacturing film will be a specialist 'craft' process, just like other kinds of artists materials.
3. 'Toy' cameras are a fad.
4. Demand for single use cameras will not survive long now practically every phone has a camera.
5. As mediun format has some advantages in terms of resolution etc it may have better prospects as an artists' medium.
6. Sheet film will last even longer.
7.Wet Plates will be an artists medium long after the last film factory has closed
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Pertaining to film sales...
Old 11-29-2012   #45
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Pertaining to film sales...

I really believe it will all survive, but it really does come down to a question of economics. It would take a major downturn in the U.S., European, and Asian economies, let's say to the point of depression, or at least a very bad double dip recession, before you'll most likely will find shortages or production stops in the two least sold formats, unless of course you can cut all the formats out of one roll, which I believe is not so. It's all about energy really. If energy prices can maintain a level and perhaps roll back a little bit thru increased use of natural gas, solar, wind and other means, and chemicals (or silver) can maintain their prices without big increases again due to energy costs and shipping, we'll probably see continued supply with perhaps small coaters (hand to mouth firms) stopping because of equipment failures, or wage increases that tax their bottom line to the point of closing. Since we are in the midst of a renewed tightening of budgets (recession) we should at least see it's effects by the start of shooting season next year. Already according to the article posted at the top of the RFF page, digital sales are down pretty big over the last year, so we should expect film to follow downward to some degree. At this preliminary point, and looking at the worst U.S. response to their (b.s. fiscal cliff adage) or budget, I might say the percentage of sales loss will track double the loss of jobs percentage, at least. This depends obviously on the European response to their budget problems as well. I'm mostly positive tho on the U.S. resolving the budget, but too big or too little a response will be bad. If the markets hit the skids (go down) from now to the end of March, you'll know what affect it will have on film sales and thus availability next year.
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Old 11-29-2012   #46
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Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
Film will die when the investment bankers, and fat-cat CEO's worrying about their stock options say it will.

PF
Not necessarily. Ilford doesn't have a 'fat-cat CEO'.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 11-29-2012   #47
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Originally Posted by waynec View Post
I really believe it will all survive, but it really does come down to a question of economics. It would take a major downturn in the U.S., European, and Asian economies, let's say to the point of depression, or at least a very bad double dip recession, before you'll most likely will find shortages or production stops in the two least sold formats, unless of course you can cut all the formats out of one roll, which I believe is not so. It's all about energy really. If energy prices can maintain a level and perhaps roll back a little bit thru increased use of natural gas, solar, wind and other means, and chemicals (or silver) can maintain their prices without big increases again due to energy costs and shipping, we'll probably see continued supply with perhaps small coaters (hand to mouth firms) stopping because of equipment failures, or wage increases that tax their bottom line to the point of closing. Since we are in the midst of a renewed tightening of budgets (recession) we should at least see it's effects by the start of shooting season next year. Already according to the article posted at the top of the RFF page, digital sales are down pretty big over the last year, so we should expect film to follow downward to some degree. At this preliminary point, and looking at the worst U.S. response to their (b.s. fiscal cliff adage) or budget, I might say the percentage of sales loss will track double the loss of jobs percentage, at least. This depends obviously on the European response to their budget problems as well. I'm mostly positive tho on the U.S. resolving the budget, but too big or too little a response will be bad. If the markets hit the skids (go down) from now to the end of March, you'll know what affect it will have on film sales and thus availability next year.
Big highlight: both 35mm and 120 Delta 3200 are coated on identical base. It's unusual, but possible. Cut film is different, though.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 11-29-2012   #48
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@ jsrockit ----- I probably AM a bit extreme - my thoughts on photography are certainly in the minority (but by no means unique... ) in my local camera club.
I guess I'm too set in my photographic ways to change, after a lifetime of familiarity with film and darkroom practice.
I was a late convert to computer usage (only within the last 3 years) and computer-speak and software applications etc. are like so much Chinese to me !
No, I'm comfortable with film and light-tight boxes with just a lens and a shutter.
I'm just a 71 year-old Luddite at heart... !
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Old 11-29-2012   #49
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Originally Posted by dabick42 View Post
No, I'm comfortable with film and light-tight boxes with just a lens and a shutter. I'm just a 71 year-old Luddite at heart... !
Understandable and nothing wrong with this. Hopefully you'll get to use film for as long as you want to. I don't think it's dying anytime soon.
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Old 11-29-2012   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dabick42 View Post
@ jsrockit ----- I probably AM a bit extreme - my thoughts on photography are certainly in the minority (but by no means unique... ) in my local camera club.
I guess I'm too set in my photographic ways to change, after a lifetime of familiarity with film and darkroom practice.
I was a late convert to computer usage (only within the last 3 years) and computer-speak and software applications etc. are like so much Chinese to me !
No, I'm comfortable with film and light-tight boxes with just a lens and a shutter.
I'm just a 71 year-old Luddite at heart... !
Nonsense
Coming from digital, I wish I knew film photography years and years ago.

Film photography is unique as a process, and it's integral to the way some of of us perceive photography.

To some of you here, if you don't care about the process, then fine, but don't assume that the view is universally and uniformly applicable to all of us.
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Old 11-29-2012   #51
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It may not be an issue for many manufacturers until they find themselves in the position Efke was in ... where needed maintainence costs for their plant over shadowed their output and profit potential.

Surely all the film coating lines of most manufacturers out there have been around for years and may be pretty creaky by now. I've just checked in my Yellow Pages for 'film manufacturing equipment repairers' and can't seem to find any!

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Old 11-29-2012   #52
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I say film will last forever. They still manufacture typewriter ribbons, you know.
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Old 11-29-2012   #53
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobfrance View Post
If 120 goes then I'll have to move over to making my own large format wet plates. It's not too big a loss I intend to do that someday anyway.
I've always thought that there was a certain irony in the potential fate of analog photography coming full circle to where it started. Sort of a rags to riches, to rags story.

I'll probably be right behind you. Mercury poisoning be damned...
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Old 11-30-2012   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f6andBthere View Post
It may not be an issue for many manufacturers until they find themselves in the position Efke was in ... where needed maintainence costs for their plant over shadowed their output and profit potential.

Surely all the film coating lines of most manufacturers out there have been around for years and may be pretty creaky by now. I've just checked in my Yellow Pages for 'film manufacturing equipment repairers' and can't seem to find any!

Yep, not in yellow pages but you are still able to contact them if you want a new film coater:
http://www.tse-coating.ch/

They make both Kodak and Ilford's state of the art 54" curtain coaters.
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Old 11-30-2012   #55
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Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
The clerk in one popular store in St. Louis said that 120 film will live after 135 is gone, because of the detail 120 can capture. In another store, one that serves both amateurs and Pros, the opinion is that 135 will last longer, because there are so many 35mm cameras.

What do you think?
Well, fact is that the 135 market is much much bigger compared to the 120 market. For example:
In 2001 about 28 million 35mm cameras were sold (excluding single use cams), but only 37 thousand medium format cameras (all data from CIPA).
Due to PMA in US alone 2010 36 million single use cameras were sold. That was more than the complete global 120 film market.

But nevertheless both formats will survive and outlive all of us.
This year we have even seen the rebirth of this strange (and superfluous) 110 format!
If there is a market for such a format, than there will be definitely a future market for serious formats like 135, 120 and sheet film.

We all remember the prognosis that instant film will die first, because with digital imaging delivering an instant picture on the camera monitor, there is no further need for instant print pictures like Polaroid.
But what happened despite this prognosis of all theses "experts"?
Instant film photography see a big revival with increasing sales.
Impossible project has huge success.
And Fujifilm has introduced new cameras for their Instax line. At this years Photokina they said there is a real boom for their Instax instant film and cameras. And they will increase their production and marketing.
The demand for instant film is coming especially from younger people.
If even instant film can survive in a digital age, than the other formats will also do.
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Old 11-30-2012   #56
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I think it is stretching things to call Impossible Project a "huge success." You've got to give them props for getting folks to spend lots of money on a poor quality product, but they are a tiny niche at best. "Instant Fuzzy Art" film clearly is a concept with a limited sell by date. They surprised me, though, by finding a market for a pale reflection of Polaroid film.
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Old 11-30-2012   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
I think it's a toss up. The speculation depends on who's talking and their particular biases.

I suspect both film types may be around for about the same amount of time, despite the fact that with "full frame" digital, 35mm film is well outstripped by dynamic range, sensitivity, and resolution.
I've tested the latest DSLRs like Nikon D800 against film:
DSLRs have the edge in sensivity, that is right.
But not in dynamic range. Here film is still king and significantly surpass all current sensors.
Resolution: It's a mixed bag: Slide film, some CN films and lots of BW films have significantly higher resolution at medium and higher object contrasts. The D800 has a bit higher resolution at low object contrasts (excepetion: High resolution BW films like Agfa Copex Rapid and Adox CMS 20 II, they surpass the D800 even at low contrasts).
You may have a look here:
http://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2011/12...ra-comparison/
Another excellent scientific test summary (four tests by different test labs):
http://www.aphog.de/index.php?option...d=401&Itemid=1
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Old 11-30-2012   #58
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"But not in dynamic range. Here film is still king and significantly surpass all current sensors."

DXo says the dynamics range of the D800 is 14.5 EVs. That exceeds almost any film made.
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Old 11-30-2012   #59
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Originally Posted by Pickett Wilson View Post
I think it is stretching things to call Impossible Project a "huge success." You've got to give them props for getting folks to spend lots of money on a poor quality product, but they are a tiny niche at best.
You don't know the facts: They are already selling some million films. And their films are getting significantly better from version to version. Their latest version introduced this autumn is quite good and almost on the level of the former Polaroids. If they hold this pace in two or three years their films may be even better than the former Polaroid material.
In contrast to you I've used the films and know how they are.
And they are expanding their distribution worldwide. Tomorrow they will open another "Project Space" shop in Warsaw.

Last edited by Skiff : 11-30-2012 at 02:28. Reason: typo
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Old 11-30-2012   #60
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Like I say. Their marketing is spot on. Digital killed Polaroid, who already produced the real thing. Impossible Project aimed their product squarely at the young "arty photographer" market. If they get too good with the product, though, they will kill the golden goose. The appeal of the product to their market was its quirkiness.
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Old 11-30-2012   #61
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Originally Posted by Pickett Wilson View Post
"But not in dynamic range. Here film is still king and significantly surpass all current sensors."

DXo says the dynamics range of the D800 is 14.5 EVs. That exceeds almost any film made.
DXo's typical marketing nonsense.
No current sensor get real 14 stops dynamic range, all are much below that.
But there are some films with more than 14 stops dr.

DXo also say that with their film simulation software you can get pictures identical to the specific film type.
That is simply a big lie.
If you compare their film simulation results side by side with the specific films, they look significantly different.

In this digital age too much photographers are brainwashed by marketing. And by "tests" where the testers are paid by the manufacturers to get the results the marketing wants.
I prefer to do my own tests.
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Old 11-30-2012   #62
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Originally Posted by Pickett Wilson View Post
The appeal of the product to their market was its quirkiness.
No, the appeal is that you get a tangible photo in your hand, a real picture independent from electronics, which is unique.
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Old 11-30-2012   #63
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So why weren't these same people buying Polaroid's stuff, if the appeal was a photo you could hold in your hand? Was Polaroid just a failure at marketing?
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Old 11-30-2012   #64
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135 has potential future issues as the required anti-light-piping substrate has no other application. If film volumes get too small to absorb the minimum amount that can be produced at a reasonable price, we might be out of a suitable acetate or polyester base,
No, definitely not. Triacetate base production is no problem. And even it it would be in the future, you can always coat on PET base. Currently we already have some films on PET base.
PET is one of the most widespread chemical products, used in lots of different products which have nothing to do with photography. So coating on PET will always be possible.
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Old 11-30-2012   #65
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The reality is that the future of film will not be determined by any of this stuff we debate, but by business folks in a boardroom. Kodak didn't quit making B&W paper when they did because it wasn't selling, but because it wasn't selling enough, and it didn't fit into whatever plan they had at the time to move forward.
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Old 11-30-2012   #66
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So why weren't these same people buying Polaroid's stuff, if the appeal was a photo you could hold in your hand? Was Polaroid just a failure at marketing?
Polaroid did some major marketing mistakes, yes. The company was run in a quite bad way in the years before they decided to stop production of their Polaroid instant film.

Impossible Project and Fujifilm are doing a much better job and now have a very attractive market with double digit growth rates.

Ilford and InovisCoat are benefitting from IP's success, because they produce some major components of the IP film.
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Old 11-30-2012   #67
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Originally Posted by Pickett Wilson View Post

The other factor will be the general decline in people over the next 10 to 30 years who are able or interested in repairing film cameras, and parts to repair them.
Someone who can repair a mechanical watch is also able to (learn) to repair a camera.
Old watches, decades old, are now repaired by mechanics which are much younger than the watches they are repairing.
We see the same with classic cars: 70,80,90 year old cars are now restored and repaired by 30, 35 year old mechanics.
And to repair a classic car is much more difficult than repairing a camera.
Besides: There are more than 500 million analogue cameras out there in the world. Even if 90% of them broke and will not be repaired there will much more cameras remaining than needed to keep film alive.
And there are also more than 20 manufacturers of film cameras worldwide who produce new cameras for film.
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Old 11-30-2012   #68
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Originally Posted by Pickett Wilson View Post
This from 2011 for total rolls:

"A report by The Associated Press suggests that within the next 9 years film may be going the way of the Dodo. Film sales have been declining by 20% each year, with sales as low as 20 million rolls of film expected this year. Sales of film cameras are expected to be similarly low at 100,000 this year, compared to the peak of nearly 19.7 million in 2000, despite new film cameras being announced, such as the Lomo LC-A Wide. "
That is only a small part of the market: This report refers to PMA data of the US market only. And they forgot to say that in the same period in the US market 36 million single use cameras were also sold.
For 2012 the worldwide market is estimated to be 330 million rolls of CN film (BW and color reversal excluded). Here is the report:
http://www.showdailys.com/E-publishe...kina2012_day2/
(page 19 if I remember right)
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Old 11-30-2012   #69
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Skiff, good on you! Keep spreading the gospel. We need more cheerleaders for film, that's for sure.
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Old 11-30-2012   #70
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Originally Posted by Phil_F_NM View Post
What dictates the availability of our current form of film in 120 and 135 formats is the motion picture industry.
No, absolutely not.
That is a myth circling around in photo forums for years. Lots of people copy that without critical thinking about.
It is so easy to see that it is wrong:
Just look at the different film manufacturers and see what type of films they are producing. And then you see that most of them do not manufacture motion picture film at all!
Only Kodak is more dependent on that market. But not the others, which either have never produced movie film, or have already stopped production of it some time ago, but continue to produce other types of film, or only have a very small percentage of movie film products in their portfolio.
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Old 11-30-2012   #71
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It may not be an issue for many manufacturers until they find themselves in the position Efke was in ... where needed maintainence costs for their plant over shadowed their output and profit potential.
Fotokemika is a special case and not comparable to the other film manufacturers:
Their coating machine is completetly different to all others in the industry: It's a single layer dip coater (all other are using multi-layer slide hoppers). A technology which was already outdated 50 years ago. This machine was built for the former Adox factory, and when this factory closed, the machine was moved to Croatia.
And since then they have not invested in it.
They even fired the last remaining QC engineer.
One reason why this factory so often produced crap. Big variations from batch to batch, emulsion holes, scratches, lousy roll film converting......I've so often had problems with their products.
They simply could not compete anymore against the much much superior quality of Kodak, Fuji, Ilford, Agfa-Gevaert, Foma.

And now investing money in their coating machine would not make much sense, because with this completely outdated principle they cannot reach the quality level of their competitors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by f6andBthere View Post
Surely all the film coating lines of most manufacturers out there have been around for years and may be pretty creaky by now. I've just checked in my Yellow Pages for 'film manufacturing equipment repairers' and can't seem to find any!

There are several coating machine manufacturers. Coating is used in other industries, too.
And by the way inkjet papers are also coated, and the machines used are the same used for film and photo paper coating.
Therefore there will be no problem on the machinery side.
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Old 11-30-2012   #72
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Well they seem to be still making 35mm cameras .
Here`s a new one from Vivitar.


http://www.ag-photographic.co.uk/viv...kit-3436-p.asp
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Old 11-30-2012   #73
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Originally Posted by Skiff View Post
And now investing money in their coating machine would not make much sense, because with this completely outdated principle they cannot reach the quality level of their competitors.
It was not a failing coating machine that eventually made them close, but a breakdown of the air condition...
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Old 11-30-2012   #74
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Originally Posted by sevo View Post
It was not a failing coating machine that eventually made them close, but a breakdown of the air condition...

Ahhh! So they were no longer able to make really 'cool' film?

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Old 11-30-2012   #75
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It was not a failing coating machine that eventually made them close, but a breakdown of the air condition...
I've been told there have been several issues, and yes, the cooling system was one of them.
But all could have been solved in the end. But the major problem nevertheless would have been still there:
They could not / can not compete with the much better (quality wise) and much more efficient production technology of their competitors.
No one is producing cars on a production line from the 50ies anymore.
And it makes not much sense to produce film on a production line from the 50ies like Fotokemika has done.
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Old 11-30-2012   #76
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Well they seem to be still making 35mm cameras. Here`s a new one from Vivitar.

http://www.ag-photographic.co.uk/viv...kit-3436-p.asp
That kit is sure to keep film photography alive!
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Old 11-30-2012   #77
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Well they seem to be still making 35mm cameras .
Here`s a new one from Vivitar.


http://www.ag-photographic.co.uk/viv...kit-3436-p.asp
Well of course.
Nikon is still producing its flagship 35mm SLR F6:
http://asia.cnet.com/crave/what-goes...y-62213402.htm
Cosina / Voigtländer ist still producing 4 RF models for 35mm.
And for Zeiss they are making the Zeiss Ikon ZM.
Leica is producing the M7 and MP.
35mm autofocus compact cameras are offered by several companies like AgfaPhoto.
And Lomography is offering more than 20 different 35mm cameras. They sell about 500,000 cameras p.a. worldwide.

120 and 135 cameras (several models) are made by Holga. They recently made the statement in an interview that they sell about 200,000 cameras each year. Demand is growing , especially in China.
Several 120 cameras are also made by the Lomographic Society, they just introduced a new model (Belair) for 6x6, 6x7 and 6x12.
DHW Fototechnik is producing a whole line of high-end medium format cameras www.dhw-fototechnik.de.
Mamiya is producing the M 7II, RZ 67 and 645 AFD III.
Cosina the Bessa III / Fuji GF models.

And there are some others I am too lazy to list....
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Old 11-30-2012   #78
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Film will die when people stop shooting it because they're too busy arguing over when it will die on internet forums.

Too snarky?

Fine. 35mm, 120, and large format (up to 8x10, maybe larger) will be readily available in black and white pretty much forever. Film will not go away because of digital in the same way that canvases, oil paints and brushes did not go away because of photography.

Color will be a different thing, because the main thing keeping black and white around is the darkroom process, and that is kind of lost when you do color. Color film may be around for decades in both formats, but it will likely eventually sell poorly enough that the extremely complicated coating and developing process for color film will make it impractical.

However, 100 years from now, all the digital cameras I ever bought will have died and been recycled. My film cameras will still be shooting. My Leica M2 will have probably had 3 more CLA's at the reccomended quarter century interval.

That said, why are we sitting here with our doom and gloom predictions, instead of going outside and shooting some film to keep it alive?

Well, I mean, I'm sitting here because I'm at work. What's your excuse?
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Old 11-30-2012   #79
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It's really cold today, and I haven't been able to get a good pair of gloves that balance keeping my hands warm enough vs allowing enough dexterity to manipulate controls :-/. A poor excuse, I know...
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Old 11-30-2012   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unixrevolution View Post
35mm, 120, and large format (up to 8x10, maybe larger) will be readily available in black and white pretty much forever.
The rising cost of silver could have some impact on forever.

Quote:
However, 100 years from now, all the digital cameras I ever bought will have died and been recycled. My film cameras will still be shooting. My Leica M2 will have probably had 3 more CLA's at the reccomended quarter century interval.
You've discovered the secret to immortality?

Quote:
That said, why are we sitting here with our doom and gloom predictions, instead of going outside and shooting some film to keep it alive?

Well, I mean, I'm sitting here because I'm at work. What's your excuse?
Work... and the fact that I don;t shoot every minute in every day.
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