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Old 01-12-2019   #121
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3D Printing offers new opportunities for camera manufacture (metallic and plastic). We have lenses, since even digital needs these. Film transport is not rocket science. Shutters are the most difficult item, and potentially could be produced through 3D printing (focal plane shutter slats, maybe even leaf shutters).

With 3D printing, each camera could be customized (I want red rubber coating on a larger grip, please).
A 3D printed film camera is just that: layers of technologies merged so consumers can have more fun.
 

Old 01-12-2019   #122
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A 3D printed film camera is just that: layers of technologies merged so consumers can have more fun.
More importantly it is a means for a new camera production industry (smaller scale and reasonable cost). We do not need Nikon or Canon. We need lenses shutters, camera bodies, film transport mechanism, exposure meters (optional), etc., and a group of people dedicated to producing these on whatever scale the market can support. We need film too.
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Old 01-12-2019   #123
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More importantly it is a means for a new camera production industry (smaller scale and reasonable cost). We do not need Nikon or Canon. We need lenses shutters, camera bodies, film transport mechanism, exposure meters (optional), etc., and a group of people dedicated to producing these on whatever scale the market can support. We need film too.
Different layers of economy merged together.
 

Old 01-12-2019   #124
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Different layers of economy merged together.
A lot of what we need are manufactured for digital cameras (shutters, exposure metering systems, lenses, etc.). Digital cameras are not going away. 3D printing (aka additive manufacturing) can supply a lot of what is missing.
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Old 01-12-2019   #125
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Dear Larry,

correct. Therefore I look at the real world outside forums to analyse the real situation. And not at forums.

Here at rff for years the mantra has been "film is dead" and "instant film will be the first film type that will completely die".
Well, just the opposite happened instead. All the armchair experts here have been wrong.

A very one-dimensional view which leads in the wrong direction. Because the phone usage has no influence on film camera usage. That are two completely different things and markets now.

The masses will use the phone. No doubt. That are currently about 3 billion people worldwide, and the number is increasing. Then we have the market of photography lovers and enthusiasts. That are about 2-5% of all photo making people. That is a relative small niche compared to phone use, but in total a big market nevertheless.

With instant film photography we have already a huge mass market. By the way a bigger market compared to even the most glorious film days!! The sales record in instant camera sales was in 2017 with more than 8 million instant cameras! In 2018 this number has been most probably even higher (data is not published yet). The numbers for instant camera sales have surpassed the sales of DSLRs and DSLMs!
The reality has already demonstrated in an impressive way that a film camera comeback is possible.

I don't expect the same huge strength with a standard film camera comeback. But it is also not necessary.
With increasing popularity of film and rising used camera prices we will see the point at which it makes sense for some manufacturers to introduce new film cameras again. Not as million unit p.a. sellers, but with the potential of five digit p.a. sales.
Such products are daily business for camera manufacturers. Cameras like the D3s, D4/s, D5, Df, several Fuji X-models etc. are performing in that sales volumes.
The camera manufacturers need additional profitable new niches. And in some years, film cameras will be that.
In some cases, we have the situation already now: In camera segments where the used prices are already on the level of former new prices like the Voigtländer Bessa III / Fuji GF670, Plaubel Makina, Mamiya 7 II, Pentax 67II, Contax 645.

Cheers, Jan
Hi Jan,

I follow your reasoning, and I know what the numbers are, but, I don’t know. We’ll see. I’ve never been one to say film is dead, but new film camera manufacturing; I’m not personally feeling that Instax is a harbinger of the future outside of more Instax until that buzz wears off, then perhaps less. Is Instax a gateway drug, or just a drug?
But, that’s only my feeling, that decent new film cameras are not going to happen, and I’d be happier if I were wrong than if I were right.
The pricing on that new French M mount digital thing, the pricing that left everyone aghast, seems in line with what the reality of niche market cameras would be, which I think would be a problem. At the affordable end you’ve got extruded plastic. I know you see a business model there, I’m just not.

If you would be willing to go out on a limb, from thoughts you may have gathered from those deep inside the bubble, what’s your time frame for this first new film camera to appear, more or less? I’m not being argumentative with that question, just sincerely wondering if you had any thoughts. Before or after I’m dead, I’m wondering.

Best wishes,

Larry
 

Old 01-12-2019   #126
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Fujifilm Instax was the best selling analog camera last year because Taylor Swift uses one and Fuji created a blinged out model with her signature on it. It is slightly more expensive than the garden variety instax blob but it is also marketed to those fans. Many people buy the camera and an extra pack of film, shoot it all then that's it. Done. On to the next thing within sight of the adolescent attention span. Like said earlier, is it a gateway drug or just a drug? I think it's the latter because you can now get an Instax in the bin at your local Goodwill right next to a moldy SX-70.

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Old 01-12-2019   #127
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We already have Voigtlander lenses at a fair price that can go heads with Nikon or Canon lenses. There are still a few Bessa cameras on the market. Buy a system & shoot. Quit daydreaming about the impossible & support Stephen over at Camera Quest. If it wasn’t for the entry level R system a few years ago & the great price I was able to get in at with my limited income I would of had to of settled for shooting my Fed.
Is Cosina still manufacturing Bessas?

Edit: I see they’re not.
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Great Time to Enter Film Camera Manufature
Old 01-12-2019   #128
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Great Time to Enter Film Camera Manufature

There's no competition left. What could possibly go wrong?
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Old 01-12-2019   #129
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Fujifilm Instax was the best selling analog camera last year because Taylor Swift uses one and Fuji created a blinged out model with her signature on it. It is slightly more expensive than the garden variety instax blob but it is also marketed to those fans. Many people buy the camera and an extra pack of film, shoot it all then that's it. Done. On to the next thing within sight of the adolescent attention span. Like said earlier, is it a gateway drug or just a drug? I think it's the latter because you can now get an Instax in the bin at your local Goodwill right next to a moldy SX-70.

Phil Forrest
I will give up my point if someone convinces all bidders of film cameras and lenses on ebay to give up too. Do we have a deal?
 

Old 01-12-2019   #130
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I just clicked on this thread to see if Instax had been mentioned yet. It was the last one I needed in "RFF Bingo". Thanks everyone!
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Old 01-12-2019   #131
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I will give up my point if someone convinces all bidders of film cameras and lenses on ebay to give up too.
I bought most of those cameras. Cal bought the rest.
 

Old 01-12-2019   #132
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I bought most of those cameras. Cal bought the rest.
Haha........
 

Old 01-12-2019   #133
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Updated Zeiss ZM please.
 

Old 01-12-2019   #134
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I bought most of those cameras. Cal bought the rest.
I will give you 50 bucks on the lot. Film has no future.
 

Old 01-12-2019   #135
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Is Cosina still manufacturing Bessas?

Edit: I see they’re not.
No but they can still be found. Stephen I think still has some models NIB.
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Old 01-12-2019   #136
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It would be nice to hear an industry insider (market exec from Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Sony, Pentax, whomever) some real numbers instead of fantastic speculation based upon the observations of folks here on the forum. Not that your opinions don't have merit, but the only realistic statement from someone on the inside happened at the beginning of the thread where one member said he spoke with someone on the inside who essentially said absolutely not. The marketing departments of these companies have surely seen the slight uptick in used film camera sales due to recent interest, crunched some numbers and came to their decisions. I'd love to hear from those people who deal in real numbers of camera sales, real research, not just a sampling of ebay, looking out in the street where they live and dreams of Rosebud from days long gone.
I'm sorry to be this contrarian on this thread but I'm a realist. I intensely love using photography gear of all types, especially film-based gear and would love new stuff available at decent prices but it is simply not going to happen from anyone other than folks in their garages or in makerspaces, making one-offs for their own use or for sale at extraordinary prices. That's just reality.
Go out and shoot some film. Or images with a digital camera. Or a phone. Enjoy yourselves and spend time with family and loved ones, first and foremost.

Phil Forrest
 

Old 01-12-2019   #137
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I tend to agree with some of the posters above in that I don't see many, if any, new 35mm or MF cameras being developed from here on out. I claim no particular expertise or knowledge, but I'd wager that large format photography stands to benefit most from 3D printing because it's a lot easier to design and build a large format camera. You don't need a shutter, film advance mechanism, light meter, flash, or any complex mechanicals; you just need a light-tight box that can hold a lens and shutter (or a pinhole) and mount a film holder.

The upshot for me is that I can finally afford to own a camera that I can use to make images I could only dream about before. I've got a phone for the happy snaps, but to be able to shoot large format after all these years? That's amazing.

EDIT: I think a point that I left out is that 3D printing also means you don't have to stock cameras, parts, pay for shipping, or anything like that. Just download the files and in x number of hours, you can print the parts you need to build a camera. For the kind of volume that these cameras seem to sell in, this is a great match.
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Old 01-12-2019   #138
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EDIT: I think a point that I left out is that 3D printing also means you don't have to stock cameras, parts, pay for shipping, or anything like that. Just download the files and in x number of hours, you can print the parts you need to build a camera. For the kind of volume that these cameras seem to sell in, this is a great match.
I agree in principle with what you're saying, but from my experience 3D printing isn't quite ready for products that are expected to be durable and have a high quality feel. You can make a camera with 3D printing and it might make pictures, but with today's tech the quality is behind even basic plastic injection molded cameras.
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Old 01-12-2019   #139
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I agree in principle with what you're saying, but from my experience 3D printing isn't quite ready for products that are expected to be durable and have a high quality feel. You can make a camera with 3D printing and it might make pictures, but with today's tech the quality is behind even basic plastic injection molded cameras.
I agree with you based on some server racks that my team has printed out at work; they do the job, but they aren't exactly premium quality. 3D printing does open up some interesting avenues for camera design, though, and the technology keeps getting better. For me, it's opening up an opportunity I never thought I'd have, so that by itself is pretty exciting.
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Old 01-12-2019   #140
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3D printing is nowhere near mature enough to manufacture cameras of similar precision to those that already exist.
 

Old 01-12-2019   #141
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3D printing is nowhere near mature enough to manufacture cameras of similar precision to those that already exist.
Maybe or maybe not, but it is not far off in any case. Remember we already have a lot of infrastructure available from digital cameras (lenses, shutters, exposure measurement, etc.). 3D printing only needs to supply part of what is not in place. 3D printing is a means of manufacturing cameras on a much smaller scale than previous.
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Old 01-12-2019   #142
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... I'd wager that large format photography stands to benefit most from 3D printing because it's a lot easier to design and build a large format camera. You don't need a shutter, film advance mechanism, light meter, flash, or any complex mechanicals; you just need a light-tight box that can hold a lens and shutter (or a pinhole) and mount a film holder.

...
How about a new Graflex type camera? Flexible, easy to work on. Want roll film, add a back, etc.

I think 35mm and MF cameras will also be possible, but a new Graflex would also be nice.
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Old 01-12-2019   #143
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I agree with you based on some server racks that my team has printed out at work; they do the job, but they aren't exactly premium quality. 3D printing does open up some interesting avenues for camera design, though, and the technology keeps getting better. For me, it's opening up an opportunity I never thought I'd have, so that by itself is pretty exciting.
There a re lots of levels of technology available right now for 3D printing. The higher end is probably still pretty expensive, but this will change pretty quickly I suspect. The higher end includes metal additive, software, and of course know how. It may require some post machining to make it look nice in any case. 3D printing (aka additive manufacturing) is a technology that is going through rapid growth right now. In 5 years (which is plenty of time for now) much more will be possible.
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Old 01-13-2019   #144
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Sure, it's definitely evolving, but it's also a matter of cost. A 3D printed part that needs further machining, might as well just be machined in the first place.
 

Old 01-13-2019   #145
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Is Instax a gateway drug, or just a drug?
The dealers tell me it is a gateway drug for lots of young customers. They get in first touch with film via instant film, and then see there is even more to discover in the film world.

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If you would be willing to go out on a limb, from thoughts you may have gathered from those deep inside the bubble, what’s your time frame for this first new film camera to appear, more or less? I’m not being argumentative with that question, just sincerely wondering if you had any thoughts. Before or after I’m dead, I’m wondering.

Best wishes,

Larry
We already have new film cameras: In the last years mainly lots of new pinhole and large format cameras and all the lo-fi stuff (Lomo). Intrepid is making more than 1,000 large format cameras p.a. now! And that just after their start four years ago. Other new LF camera makers like Chroma started, too. There are meanwhile more than a dozen LF camera producers. And of course all the new instant cameras from Polaroid Originals, Fujifilm, Lomography, MINT, Leica.

For future 35mm and 120 format cameras: I expect that in about 4-5 years to start.
It is not so difficult to start film camera production again for several manufacturers:
- Nikon is still in this business with the F6. Making a F7 is quite easy and cheap: Take the (almost) perfect F6 and just put the D5 (or then D6) autofocus system in it. Done. Extremely small investment needed. And they could start the FM3A again. No costs with R&D, only implementation costs of a small production line.
- Same with Canon: Take the EOS 1V and put the AF system of the 1DX II in it.
- Pentax: They should take the 645Z, take all of it but the sensor, and make a body with changeable backs for film and digital, just like the Hasselblad H system and the former Mamiya 645 AFDIII. That means also quite low R&D costs.
They also could take all the "non-digital" parts of the K1 MkII and replace the sensor with a film chamber.
- Cosina Voigtländer: Start Bessa III again, and the R4M / R4A. All the R&D costs have been written off for years.

There is not so much new capital / investment needed for future 35mm / 120 film camera production.

Cheers, Jan
 

Old 01-13-2019   #146
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I's all so simple!

 

Old 01-13-2019   #147
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There are lots of levels of technology available right now for 3D printing. The higher end is probably still pretty expensive, but this will change pretty quickly I suspect. The higher end includes metal additive, software, and of course know how. It may require some post machining to make it look nice in any case. 3D printing (aka additive manufacturing) is a technology that is going through rapid growth right now. In 5 years (which is plenty of time for now) much more will be possible.
For now 3d printing is good at showing what a molded part could look and work like if you actually molded it properly. And 3d prints today can be the final product too, assuming you don't expect much out of it. I saw recently someone was 3d printing spacers that allow 35mm film to be used in medium format cameras, and that strikes me as a good fit for current 3d printing tech, which is to say parts that are designed to do little more than take up space. Printing spacers? Yes. Printing a camera? No, at least not today.

The challenge is making 3d printing robust and attractive, like injection molded parts that are processed at very high pressure, optimized temps, with specialty resins designed for the job. It's unlikely that 3d printing will approach that for quite some time, but there is a lot of effort and investment currently with that aim in mind.
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Old 01-13-2019   #148
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For now 3d printing is good at showing what a molded part could look and work like if you actually molded it properly. And 3d prints today can be the final product too, assuming you don't expect much out of it. I saw recently someone was 3d printing spacers that allow 35mm film to be used in medium format cameras, and that strikes me as a good fit for current 3d printing tech, which is to say parts that are designed to do little more than take up space. Printing spacers? Yes. Printing a camera? No, at least not today.

The challenge is making 3d printing robust and attractive, like injection molded parts that are processed at very high pressure, optimized temps, with specialty resins designed for the job. It's unlikely that 3d printing will approach that for quite some time, but there is a lot of effort and investment currently with that aim in mind.
There are 3D printed parts in production already in aerospace for instance (where the cost can be justified, and of course not primary or even secondary structures). A lot of dental lab work is getting done with 3D printing already. Things are moving along pretty quickly.

Again, I would not propose to print a whole camera. Components of a film advance assembly? Maybe. A camera frame? Maybe. You can buy the shutter and the lenses. I am also considering metallic additive manufacturing here. This is of course much more expensive than plastics at this time. The cost needs to come down a bit most likely.

Much of the tooling needed to build a camera could also be 3D printed as needed. This is another current area of use (printing tooling). I would not propose printing injection molds, because of course surface finish becomes a major issue.

In any case, producing cameras with the aid of 3D printing probably is already possible now with some ingenuity, but I suspect will be very possible in the near term. Other technologies will be needed besides 3D printing of course.
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Old 01-13-2019   #149
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Just look at film workflow: labs are small. Either BW, C41 or E6. Itīs done by a few people in a smal place. There isnīt a big investment to have a photo lab.
Even if comercial labs shut for any reason, film can be developed by enthusiasts in their bathroom. Chemistry for mixing your own BW developers is available.

New films are coming from eastern europe. It doesnīt take much for a bunch of guys w/ an entrepeunerial attitude to look for companies in europe which could produce stock.
The so called film rennaissance happened outside of the big corporations marketing departments. It happened on the outskirts of industrial production. Social media blasted the news. Cameras were cheap on ebay. People need comercial opportunities outside the usual trap.

Digital looked cheap but when we found out 3k cameras were disposable trash in 5 yrs since their sensors were outdated, film looked like the real deal.

Not everybody wants to shoot bursts of frames. NOt everybody wants 12000 asa.

Mechanical machines have sweetnness electronics canīt give. Film, BW paper, have sweetness digital canīt give.

Itīs doable. Itīs here.
 

Old 01-13-2019   #150
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Just look at film workflow: labs are small. Either BW, C41 or E6. Itīs done by a few people in a smal place. There isnīt a big investment to have a photo lab.
Even if comercial labs shut for any reason, film can be developed by enthusiasts in their bathroom. Chemistry for mixing your own BW developers is available.

New films are coming from eastern europe. It doesnīt take much for a bunch of guys w/ an entrepeunerial attitude to look for companies in europe which could produce stock.
The so called film rennaissance happened outside of the big corporations marketing departments. It happened on the outskirts of industrial production. Social media blasted the news. Cameras were cheap on ebay. People need comercial opportunities outside the usual trap.

Digital looked cheap but when we found out 3k cameras were disposable trash in 5 yrs since their sensors were outdated, film looked like the real deal.

Not everybody wants to shoot bursts of frames. NOt everybody wants 12000 asa.

Mechanical machines have sweetnness electronics canīt give. Film, BW paper, have sweetness digital canīt give.

Itīs doable. Itīs here.
To me the key issue is keeping a supply of film alive. Your points are correct. I suspect B&W has the best chance of staying around, but if we ever do lose color film, B&W will become very expensive. Losing color is a sign of a terminal state for film. Kodak bringing back Ektachrome is a positive sign.
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Old 01-13-2019   #151
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To me the key issue is keeping a supply of film alive. Your points are correct. I suspect B&W has the best chance of staying around, but if we ever do lose color film, B&W will become very expensive. Losing color is a sign of a terminal state for film. Kodak bringing back Ektachrome is a positive sign.
Nothing is terminal at this point. Companies which are producing BW, Ferrania, Ilford and brands like pan street, they donīt have color films. They just do BW.
 

Old 01-13-2019   #152
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Just look at film workflow: labs are small.
There are all sizes of professional labs: Small ones, medium sized ones, and even very big ones with several hundred employees (in Germany we have several of the big ones).

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Either BW, C41 or E6.
Most professional labs are doing C41, E6 and BW. And silver-halide prints.

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New films are coming from eastern europe.
No, not really. There is only one ortho film made by Micron and offered under Silberra brand which is new. All other films from Silberra are just repackaged Agfa (Belgium) films. Films which are offered for years by Maco under Rollei film brand.
New films (really new films) have been introduced by Kodak and Adox (Germany). And Fujifilm (instax monochrome). And Impossible / Polaroid Originals.
And maybe in the future by Film Ferrania. But Adox is much more succesful in implementing their new small photochemical factory. They already have lots of excellent products: films, photopapers and photo chemistry.

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The so called film rennaissance happened outside of the big corporations marketing departments. It happened on the outskirts of industrial production. Social media blasted the news.
Yes, concerning standard films. But in instant film both Fujifilm and Polaroid Originals as bigger companies have been very active and successful in marketing.

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Digital looked cheap but when we found out 3k cameras were disposable trash in 5 yrs since their sensors were outdated, film looked like the real deal.
For an increasing number of people: yes.

Cheers, Jan
 

Old 01-13-2019   #153
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To me the key issue is keeping a supply of film alive. Your points are correct. I suspect B&W has the best chance of staying around, but if we ever do lose color film, B&W will become very expensive. Losing color is a sign of a terminal state for film. Kodak bringing back Ektachrome is a positive sign.
We will not lose color film, the demand for color
- is much bigger compared to BW
- increasing.

Cheers, Jan
 

Old 01-13-2019   #154
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Nothing is terminal at this point. Companies which are producing BW, Ferrania, Ilford and brands like pan street, they donīt have color films. They just do BW.
Important for BW are Ilford, Kodak, Foma and Adox. Film Ferrania has no product yet.

And "pan street": You probably mean JCH Street Pan. That is a scam: Very old, long expired former discontinued Agfa (Belgium) film with lots of quality degradation: Very high base fog and decreased film speed. At insane prices. It is a rip-off. Very bad for the film scene, because every buck wasted for this crap cannot be spent anymore for fresh film from the real and dedicated film manufacturers.

Cheers, Jan
 

Old 01-13-2019   #155
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Quote:
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Nothing is terminal at this point. Companies which are producing BW, Ferrania, Ilford and brands like pan street, they donīt have color films. They just do BW.
If color goes this is a bad sign. The B&W companies can exist as long as color exists. I fear that if color disappears it would be harbinger for the death of film, but I could be wrong. It has not happened, and hopefully will not. As I said before, Kodak reintroducing Ektachrome is a good sign of a growth in color film.
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Old 01-13-2019   #156
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We will not lose color film, the demand for color
- is much bigger compared to BW
- increasing.

Cheers, Jan
I hope you are right (and for the moment, with Ektachrome being reintroduced, not to mention Fuji promoting their color films), your statement sounds correct.
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Old 01-13-2019   #157
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I hope you are right (and for the moment, with Ektachrome being reintroduced, not to mention Fuji promoting their color films), your statement sounds correct.
Both Kodak Alaris and Fujifilm have reported increasing demand at last Photokina.

Cheers, Jan
 

Old 01-13-2019   #158
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The assumption is that there is a resurgence of interest in film.

What is the evidence for this?

It’s one thing to see old film cameras go up in value, does that mean people are actually buying more film?

The case of the Contax 645 increasing in value is directly due to wedding shooters following the lead of Jose Villa and Jonathan Canlas, and there was great business value behind that professional decision of moving to film.

Is there commonly available (reliably independent) sales figures for film stock?
 

Old 01-13-2019   #159
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There are 3D printed parts in production already in aerospace for instance (where the cost can be justified, and of course not primary or even secondary structures). A lot of dental lab work is getting done with 3D printing already. Things are moving along pretty quickly.

Again, I would not propose to print a whole camera. Components of a film advance assembly? Maybe. A camera frame? Maybe. You can buy the shutter and the lenses. I am also considering metallic additive manufacturing here. This is of course much more expensive than plastics at this time. The cost needs to come down a bit most likely.

Much of the tooling needed to build a camera could also be 3D printed as needed. This is another current area of use (printing tooling). I would not propose printing injection molds, because of course surface finish becomes a major issue.

In any case, producing cameras with the aid of 3D printing probably is already possible now with some ingenuity, but I suspect will be very possible in the near term. Other technologies will be needed besides 3D printing of course.
I like the way you're thinking about it. Maybe source shutters and other mechanical bits from digital cameras and improvise the rest. It could work.

I've had a lot of experience with 3d printing, SLS, rapid tooling etc and have tried to be productive with it. It's been a frustrating and rewarding ride in equal measure, and I look forward to the time when a reasonably priced 3d print can do everything I want it to. It will happen eventually. For now I use the high end of rapid prototyping and the parts are fragile but amazing too.
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Old 01-13-2019   #160
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Quote:
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Is there commonly available (reliably independent) sales figures for film stock?
No.

If there is, let’s see it.

It’s like Sasquatch, many people have seen it, but it was too dark too get a good picture, so you’ll just have to take our word for it.

It is however, safe to assume that Fuji knows exactly how much film (not Instax, film) they have been selling, and has acted accordingly.
If people feel better believing that Fuji has been discontinuing film stocks in the face of rising demand, well, okay. I’ve seen some convoluted explanations, with no evidence, attempting to explain just that. The most obvious explanation is usually the correct one.
 
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