Good news or bad news for classic camera users?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by steve salmons, Aug 10, 2009.

  1. I have recently noticed more people in the 20-30 age bracket out and about with film cameras. Last week a young guy in town with an M series Leica and 90mm Elmar, a couple of weeks before a girl in her late teens using an Olympus OM10. Also last week I saw a twenty something at my local (classic camera) dealer's debating the pros and cons of a Leica M3 over a Leica M2. He eventually bought the M2. Even my mum has gone back to using her autofocus Minolta compact film camera recently!
    Is there something new happening here or is this just wishful thinking on my part? A dealer that I know has told me that good medium format gear and high quality 35mm equipment, especially Leica M is flying off the shelves at present.
    For collectors and users of classic gear this is bad news in terms of getting our regular fix of "bargains", as we may be seeing more competition in future. However from the future of film standpoint it has to add to what has been recent heartening news in terms of film sales levelling out.
    I may be quite wrong but it would be interesting to know if any one else has picked up on this.
  2. No, it's definitely happening (to the degree where The Onion did a joke news article about it). Prices seem to have been creeping up recently on film gear.
    If this keeps film production and processing services viable, it's got to be a good thing in the long run.
  3. haha, that onion article's hilarious!
    steph, i too seem to notice more and more folks unexpectedly returning to film and their old cameras. i ran into a gentleman at a vintage vw show shooting on a 60's voigtlander 35mm rangefinder and a kid at a wedding this weekend with a pentax me super and apparently a host of other pentax's at home. sure these two are probably like us but i've even run into folks like a pair of high school girls at an ice cream stand taking photos of each other with a k1000 for class and a girl in a boutique holding an olympus om-1 who looked at me funny when i complimented her on it. i am sort of glad she was rude. it seemed to imply that it was only natural she be toting this 1972 machine alongside her new designer purse.
    honestly though, i think that when you are involved in a hobby or interest you will see what you want to see. i am into vintage vw's and land rovers and i spot them all over the place now. but in previous years before i was into them, i didn't notice as many.
    i meet very few folks who actually don't prefer film or the cameras to digital. they are just swayed by convenience. so i think that if we keep doing what we're doing and keep spreading the idea that it's actually not impossible to keep doing this, people will pick up on it and at least try it.
    btw, my girlfriend has been putting down her d80 for a nikkormat i refurbed for her recently. i'm optimistic!
  4. It's a good thing. As recent news from Kodak confirms, if people aren't buying the film, companies will stop making it.
  5. It's real and it's a good thing in terms of film production. I taught a Photo I class this summer (darkroom) and several students went out to buy good 35mm used gear and found the prices high and supply low. Our local camera store said they cannot keep good used Nikon, Pentax and Olympus etc bodies in stock. They also said lots of young people are buying darkroom supplies too.
    Our local camera store chain just did a big TV commercial and they mentiioned that they have both FILM and FILM CAMERAS along with the usual digi-rot. Let's hope the trend continues...and the boneheads at Kodak buy a clue.
  6. I may be one of them as well! "Just" 29 years old and shooting classical manual cameras for just a year...(no designer purse to go with them however ;)).
    However, I've been shooting film non-stop since I'm 19 (but with plastic AF film SLRs). Only after my plastic-fantastic EOS 300 broke down and I decided to replace it with a digital SLR, I soon found out the joy of the classical film cameras.
  7. Something is definitely happening. Although I haven't personally seen more people using film cameras where I live (people really aren't all that much into photography in general where I live), I have definitely noticed that the prices for vintage film cameras are going up. Back around 2006 or 2007, I could go on eBay and buy pretty much any vintage camera I wanted for dirt cheap. Usually, I was the only bidder. But now, it seems like every time I try to buy a camera, it turns into a bidding war. I've even seen the Argus C3 sell for around $20 or $25...and people are actually bidding on it! It's gotten to the point that I usually just look for "Buy-It-Now" cause I just don't want to deal with that crap anymore.
    Also, when people see me shooting with one of my vintage cameras, no one makes any sarcastic remarks anymore. They actually are genuinely curious and ask me questions. The really funny thing is while I was downtown taking pictures with my Yashica A recently, a kid came up to me and started asking questions, and he specifically asked "what kind of film does that take?" He recognized that it was a film camera, and was curious about what kind it used.
    By the way, I'm 31. I first joined when I was about 28, and I posted a question about my Argus C3. So I fit into your age group, if that answers your question about more young people using vintage cameras ;)
    Heck, all my film cameras were made LONG before I was even born.
    I also posted a question a while back about young people here who use antique cameras. There were a lot more than I thought. We're out there. It's not just teenage emo kids running around with a Holga. There are getting to be a lot more people in their 20's and 30's are shooting with film, and especially vintage cameras. I know several people on Flickr who shoot pretty much exclusively with film, and they're around my age too.
    I also develop my own B&W film and prints (in a darkroom in my garage, with an enlarger)
    And here's the topic I posted a while back...
  8. Based on the level of business that used camera dealers are doing (and the higher prices they are paying for good gear) it does appear that there is a resurgence in popularity for film equipment. It's not a Tsunami, but there is a definite uptrend. I don't think film is making a huge comeback, but rather is reaching a level of stability in mindshare and starting to level off in usage, which is great news.
    Among the younger film shooters I've spoken to, there is a "cool factor" that seems to be developing for retro gear. Their friends and associates no longer treat film users with derision as they did in the earlier days of the digital takeover. That has to be helping.
  9. What a great response! And just what I hoped to hear. My experiences on Ebay lately have been much like yours Chris to the point where I mainly just use it as a vehicle to sell now. I too cannot be bothered with the dedication and effort required to save a few pounds/dollars and have gone back to using one or two trusted dealers for major purchases or Buy it Now for accessories.
    One of the two remaining photographic outlets in my city has for a while now had a classic camera section but only over the last three or four months have I noticed the stock turning over to an appreciable extent.
    And I don't mean to be disparaging in any way about people in their 20s and 30s if I give that impression. At the venerable age of 55 I can't help thinking of you guys as youngsters though! A few years ago I posted on this forum that quality construction and design will always eventually find a section of the population that will embrace it irrespective of age and gender. Maybe we are just starting to see it happen. Fingers crossed anyway.
  10. Steve, I think you're right and in a way I also think it's a rebellion. You have to remember that for people my age, we were kids in the 80's and 90's, and we have grown up completely surrounded by electronics and cheap plastic junk. From the time I was born, everything around me was made of plastic. I've always loved taking pictures, but until I became more seriously interested in photography about 2 or 3 years ago, the only thing I knew how to use was plastic point and shoot 35mm and 110 cameras. (And later on, digital cameras). I always had a curiosity about antique mechanical cameras whenever I had seen them when I went to antique shops and thrift shops with my parents. But I had no idea how to use them.
    When I finally discovered antique cameras and learned how to use manual exposure, it was like I discovered something completely new and foreign to me. An all-metal mechanical camera has such a nice, solid and precise look and feel to it. It's so completely different from the plastic junk I grew up with. I love using vintage cameras, and I love shooting film. But part of the reason is also because it's a rebellion...we're yearning for something different and something more substatial than the plastic, throw-away consumer junk that we grew up with.
    So you're definitely right. People are beginning to appreciate the better construction of classic cameras. But specifically, for a lot of young people, we are attracted to them because it's so different from what we grew up with. It's a refreshing experience.
  11. As i have no viable alternative to the Bay, i have noticed it is getting more expensive and with less choice. It does seem to much hassle to chase an item by Auction now.
    I am pleased to know it isnt just me!
  12. It might just be a sign of things to come... I was out recently with my "new" Moskva 2, and the first thing one fellow asked me was "what kind of film does that thing take?" Of course, I explained it to him that 120 film is still available, but you have to go to places that provide professional service. You won't find 120 film at Walmart anymore.
  13. Rob, when was the last time you could find 120 film at places like Walmart though? I don't remember ever seeing it there. I've always seen 35mm, and when I was a kid, I remember seeing 110. I faintly remember seeing 126 and even disc film when I was a little kid. But I don't remember ever seeing 120 roll film in places like Walmart, Target, K-Mart, etc.
    But yeah, it's available from any decent photo supply shop, for fairly cheap.
  14. People are into vinyl records too. Some record labels are issuing new releases on vinyl as well as optical media.
    I think the Onion article has hit the core of the issue though. ;)
  15. The Onion article is funny because we recognise from it some fad that we have all had in the past. People have always done this with photography; bought a "good" camera, used it for 6 months and then moved onto the next thing. The good thing is that the option of trying a camera with film will (with luck) still be there for that percentage of new photographers that end up staying with it long term.
    Confession time: I spent some time and money putting together equipment and materials for making my own picture frames. In the 6 or 7 years since I did this I have made a grand total of two frames!
  16. Being 20 doesn't mean they are stupid. This is a very very good thing! The only "bad" part is prices going up, which is good if you have too many classics and need to scale back! Back at the beginning of this recession, I remember many many people commented that the recession was going to permanently kill film. Except that it has had the opposite effect. Even the Canon digi shooters have to admit it's nice to be able to pick up a spare Elan body for a few hundred and shoot slides or B&W film that would otherwise require massive amounts of post processing to emulate in any kind of effect way.
    JDM... there has been alot of press recently about the 10 year life span of CD's. It's too bad nobody thought to say that 15 years ago. :( Records have a dramatically longer life than CD's and will continue to be playable even after massive amounts of abuse and neglect. And that's the biggest problem with a lot of digital media. It has an almost zero tolerance for neglect and abuse, which have been the corner stones of the human/tool relationship since the first stone ax was dropped in the mud.
  17. It's up and down....and back up and then down again. This past April I went to a Photo show and watched as a mint Omega B-22 with lens and neg holders didn't move for $20 then $10 and then it was put in the free box and still wasn't picked up. Bet it wound up in the dumpster outside! So sad. But, it seems that popular SLR's from the 70's are on the way up. Metal-mechanical-manual-not battery dependant-marvels with simple direct interface between the photographer and his machine. Except for pure stupidity I don't see why DSLR's can't have a aperture dial on a lens, a shutter speed dial on the body and a manual, distance marked focus ring on the lens when AF won't/can't work!
  18. I actually see people carrying and using film SLRs now, which is something I didn't see a few years ago. More of them are classic style than newer stuff, though I've spotted a consumer Rebel and an N75 recently. Today I was buying film at Calumet and they had a mint F3 HP with motor winder and a slow zoom lens - for over $400! I've had to start buying cameras in thrift stores, the days of the SRT with 50/1.4 lens for $11 are gone. At least the thrift store recently yielded a Pantax H3 with lens for $10 and a Minolta XG-M with lens for $15.
    I think that though this makes it harder to expand our collections, it's a good thing for the market. In addition to keeping the film selling, I think it would be great if a used camera in good condition were worth more than the cost to CLA a used camera. Right now there are a lot of cameras not getting serviced because it's cheaper to replace than repair them, which takes the cameras out of circulation, makes it less profitable to be a camera repair pro, and reduces the number of actual working cameras to choose from. If prices go up another $10 or $20 I bet that will make more people want to have old cameras serviced, and maybe some of the Ebay resellers will eventually be able to improve their profit margins by CLA'ing cameras instead of selling them "as is".
    BTW, I'm 30 and I shoot a lot of film, but my father only shoots digital and thinks it's awesome that he "edits" his photos on the computer (by pressing the Auto Levels and sharpening buttons). Meanwhile I'm thinking about using a community darkroom to print B&W.
  19. Young people grooving with film cameras has been a 'happening thing' in Japan for some time already. Check this site,, then scroll down until you see John Sypal's "Tokyo Camera Style."
  20. Well, I am 14 and I shoot with classic cameras. Believe it or not, I shot my dad's AE-1 Program at age 10. I just love film. I don't own a digital camera, and I don't intend to.
  21. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Is there something new happening here or is this just wishful thinking on my part?​
    There isn't any hard data in this thread, but it's out there.

    Fujifilm says film sales dropped 42% in the most recent quarter ending June 30.
    Kodak says film sales dropped 28% in the most recent quarter ending June 30.

    Gear prices and casual neighborhood observations are not reliable sources.
  22. I feel like the younger people are going for the older SLR cameras is absolutely true. Heck, I am 17 and I started using my fathers' Olympus OM-10 when I was about 15. I have been hooked on photography my entire life though. I just recently got my first two SLR cameras. I think that more and more kids want to know more about "digital-less" photography, and how to manipulate photos to have different effects. The High (secondary) schools might have a roll in this too. I am going to be taking a Photography and Illustration class in my schools art department.
    I think that this is good for the future in photography.
  23. Film sales will drop even if more people do use film cameras, because those that are using them are not using them for snapshots, but are taking photography somewhat seriously. Meaning fewer shutter presses. (I am over and over again hearing that students should use film because then they will put more care into each shot. Fewer shutter presses per unit time.)

    As for eBay prices, I'm not sure the anecdotal evidence here is valid. I have just recently bought a perfect OM-1 for $49 (with lens), and several other cameras for even less, all functioning well. In fact, cameras in roughly 1975 - 1995 period are ridiculously cheap. It's the pre-1970 and pre-1960 cameras that tend to cost much more, but these are mostly for collectors, not shooters.

    I should mention, though, since we are collecting anecdotal evidence, that I just bought on eBay a functioning 1936 Kine Exakta for something like $85.

  24. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    because those that are using them are not using them for snapshots, but are taking photography somewhat seriously. Meaning fewer shutter presses​

    Any statistics on that? I don't mean to be a pain here, but it seems that this is all about "feelings" and not much about facts.
  25. Fujifilm says film sales dropped 42% in the most recent quarter ending June 30. Kodak says film sales dropped 28% in the most recent quarter ending June 30.​
    Yes but pretty much every consumer good has dropped in sales at least that much the past year! You fail to quote the huge drop in digital camera sales as well; so much so that Canon actually had to lay off workers for the first time ever. Anecdotal Evidence isn't reliable when you load the dice either.....
  26. I'm a one store survey but if I'm any indication it is happening. Two years ago in a fit of something I now regret deeply I sold a very nice, small collection of old rangefinders and "went digital". IMHO the digital SLR's are feature filled, produce fine images and lack something indefineable. I just bought a Spotmatic F, a bunch of Fomapan R and even some Kodachrome 64 and am having a ball. I'm reading this forum again and visiting all my old vintage camera websites.
  27. Yeah, I think most of us have seen clear signs that a lot more people are interested in film and vintage cameras. I think it's great news.
  28. Statistics lag behind facts, economic reports are all over the place these days, anecdotal evidence can be viewed in 50 different ways and people believe what they want to believe. All of these things will cause legitimate arguments to be able to be made for either side of this argument. Making it a useless argument to have.
    If people want to think that film interest is up, so be it. If people want to believe that film is about to fall over on it's nose, that's fine too. But there's no point in fighting about it. Because really, who cares? Go shoot film or go shoot some 1's and 0's. Photography doesn't care how images are made. Neither should you.
  29. It didn't seem like anyone was fighting about it though. Steve was simply saying that he has noticed more people in their 20's and early 30's using vintage film cameras. And I have to agree, being in that age level myself, and being more drawn to vintage cameras in the last couple of years.
    This was similar to a topic I posted a while back, and it is nice to hear how young people are interested in classic cameras.
    It's great to hear how more people in general are interested in vintage cameras. I personally think we had a great discussion going, especially from the regulars who post in the Classic Camers forum frequently.
  30. Back down off the soapbox Chris. I said it was useless to argue about this stuff, not that it was useless to talk about it. There's no winner in the "film is dead vs film is alive" argument. It's a waste of life for anyone to involve themselves in. I think I've made my feelings on that pretty clear .
    A bunch of you want to sit around and talk about how you think the second coming of film is happening because there are fewer film cameras on ebay? More power to you. A bunch of digital guys want to sit around and talk about how 1's and 0's rules the world because film sales are sinking? More power to them. But one group arguing with the other is a waste of time. That's something I won't hesitate to point out whenever I get the chance.
  31. Is that what's called irony?
  32. I think there are several things going on here:
    First you have the enthusiast photographer who has had a go with digital and decided to go back to film (that's me) or who uses it alongside digital.
    Then you have the youngsters, some of whom use it for the retro look of the cameras and others who have perhaps done a photography class at school and got hooked on it.
    Then there is the general consumer. I think many people have realised that it's easier to drop a roll of film off at a mini-lab and pick it up the next day than it is to spend hours messing about on their computer and then make sub-standard prints on their average consumer grade inkjet printer.
  33. I hope this isn't considered spamming. But does anyone here ever go on Flickr?
    Don't let the number of members fool you. I literally just started that group 2 days ago :) There are HUNDREDS of film groups on Flickr, and some of them have over 30,000 members and over 800,000 photos in the searchable Pool (all from film). LIke this one:
    and oh yeah...I just saw a banner ad at the top of the page for Kodak Ektar 100 film, which is very cool. But I also got an ad for Netflix and flowers for my anniversary...except that I'm not even married. Is anybody else seeing this, or is it time for me to run Ad-Aware again?
  34. I notice there are plenty of youth playing with Film SLR in Hong Kong. I don't know why but it seems it won't stop right now.
    I don't mind if the classics become popularagain. It is good for the new generations to learn more about the camera's history. It can matain the market and the production of film too. But I agree Steve's word that they will prefer computer editing instead of actual shooting.
  35. One point not noted so far is that, except for a dribble of cameras from Cosina (with various labels) there are no new 35 SLR's coming to market. The major producer of medium format, quantity wise, seems to be the Holga manufacturer. So.....I don't know, but, it would seem that without a stable supply of new film cameras what we have is all that we'll ever have and that could be a factor in used prices.
    Pentax is also to blame, now that those old wonderful M42 Takumar primes have found new life on their digital bodies. :)
  36. Just to clarify; be assured that I wasn't trying to prove anything. To try to do so would be a colossal waste of time as Josh has intimated. What I was trying to do was to establish whether what I have been seeing and hearing lately was just the effect of a rose tint in my spectacles. It would appear that a large number of us have been seeing a similar change in behaviour. Whether this "anecdotal" evidence has any significance for future developments both technical and behavioural in the history of image making only time will tell. From a purely selfish point of view however I am very pleased to see any evidence (anecdotal or otherwise ) that indicates that the skills required to fully understand and exploit the analogue photographic process will continue to exist alongside those demanded of our digital brethren.
  37. More, and more people that I talk to seem to be pining for the days of film. I personally think that the "novety of digital has lost some of it's lustre. An awful lot of folks have hundreds of photos in their cameras, or their computers, but rarely have prints to show any one. When I tell people that I still have a dark room, and that I do my own B&W work, they always seem impressed, and nostalgic about it. I'm lucky to live near a great photo store where I can get all my film, paper, and chemistry. Maybe I'll start teaching again, I can always use some extra $$$. Who knows, we may go back to family slide shows. Who's got the popcorn?
  38. I'm quite surprised the tone of this discussion has was just a happy little post that some of us (my position as a college photo instructor DOES give a bit of perspective on the resurgence of film) made about the small resurgence in film camera use.
    To an extent I agree with Jeff Spirer that anecdotal evidence can be used by both sides to support claims. Sure it's pointless to argue which is which. But it seems the tone of the film and classic camera forums is getting rather stuck up. Comments such as:
    If people want to think that film interest is up, so be it. If people want to believe that film is about to fall over on it's nose, that's fine too. But there's no point in fighting about it. Because really, who cares? Go shoot film or go shoot some 1's and 0's. Photography doesn't care how images are made. Neither should you.​
    This sets a tone for the Classic Camera Forum which is less then friendly. I don't think any of us live their life for this argument. In fact the Classic Camera forum is a fun place for me to visit during breaks in work. I could spend my online leisure time at Facebook, Twitter,, or any number of Photo related sites. But I chose this forum because it's a friendly and supportive fun place to burn a few minutes during my hectic day. I don't mind when people try to poke holes in the film resurgence debate so long as it's done in an informative spirit. But the implication that some discussions are a waste of time by someone in a position of authority puts a nasty spin on the whole forum....
    We all have bad days. Hopefully it was just a cranky Monday for us all.
  39. Oh wow, seems I'm a bit late. Oh well, here's my 2 cents anyway...over here in my neck of the woods (Malaysia), there is a DEFINITE increase in the number of people using film cameras...and I'm not talking about the plastic fantastic ones. I'm talking about real vintage & classic gear. I recall reading a previous post about how medium format & quality 35mm gear are flying off the's the same here! And surprise surprise, from what I've seen, approximately 75% of the film camera users here are under the age of 35 :)
    It's a pity then, that pro films are quite hard to get here. The ones that can be found in shops, are damn expensive. And processing is a PITA too...there's only one (read: 1!) lab in this whole country that can do E6! :(
    IMHO, all this increase in the purchase/usage of classic cameras is good news. Of course, prices will go up...but at least film will still be 'alive'. That's what counts. Hmmm, I do have to admit..I wish I had gotten into this classic cameras stuff way back then, when they were real bargains. Oh well... :)
  40. Then you have the youngsters, some of whom use it for the retro look of the cameras...​
    Then they have them cameras as a fashion statement and not to take photographs? How sad for them...can you explain how the retro look makes the photograph more interesting?
  41. Russ,

    I fail to see how encouraging people to get away from the historicaly belittling angry and downright nasty "film vs digital" arguments
    does anything to bring down the forum. In fact, given the amount of email I get from film users who feel that these
    arguments are detrimental to and the "yes let's get past that crap" response to my vivafilm article, I would say
    your opinion is in the minority by a wide margin.

    But again, lest anyone read to much into it, allow me to state this: As far as is concerned, you are welcome to
    argue about film/digital, ford/chevy, or apple/orange until the cows come home. Keep it civil and within the site's guidelines
    and you can post all day long on the subject.

    But as someone who has to listen to how alienated and attacked film
    users feel and who would like to encourage as many photographers to
    try film as possible, I maintain that worrying/arguing/etc about
    film/digital is a waste of time and accomplishes little. That's my opinion
    and it's as valid as anyone elses. As is my option to state that opinion.
  42. Russ, I've always enjoyed your posts. Maybe we both learned from this, not to take bait from trolls.
  43. Don't lose heart Russ/Chris, just note that all of the responses by the classic forum regulars are in the good-natured spirit that was intended.
    I concer with the observations, especially on ebay. Ebay, by the way, is the most efficient, dynamic, and responsive price-setting mechanism ever created, reflecting the economic preferences of some 84 million users, for items that were previously the subject of thin, local markets. You would have to be profoundly uneducated in economics to dismiss its prices as merely "anecdotal" evidence of demand. The upward trend that we are seeing in classic camera prices is meaningful; it's "hard data". Of course, that is entirely consistent with a continued decline in film sales, because even today, nobody pretends that classic camera hobbyists are the primary market for film. The real point, as again I think the regulars all appreciate, is that increasing mainstream interest in classic cameras may be establishing a demand floor for film at which production and processing will continue to be sustainable.
  44. That is very well put August. One cannot dismiss the response of the market and Ebay is a very pure market mechanism: "red in blood and claw" as they say.
    As far as the earlier point goes regarding the tone of some of the replies, I would say it behoves all of us to proof read our posts a couple of times before hitting that confirm button. It's so easy to convey a unintended impression where there are no visual or audible clues.
  45. Steve/Russ
    Pertinant thoughts, stated with clarity. I've noticed more and more folks, getting out the old cameras that were considered retired. The two best stocked film sources in my area are now seeing an increase in sales, sufficient to justify keeping more available, as opposed to ordering on demand. The technician I use for service on my classic cameras confirms a substantial increase in business, just a couple of years ago he said work was "just trickling in now."
    I have hopes that enough of the professionals will use film and digital combined, so as to warrant continued support in manufacturing film for them and amateurs like me. The 35mm SLR's that I donated to high schools offering photography courses are much appreciated and being used regularly. I have been invited a few times to attend classes and show some of my work, demonstrating TLR's, LF and rangefinder cameras. I really do believe there exists considerable interest in film photography, there is surely room for both film and digital, neither is at all better than the other. Even though as has been stated, "a photo is a photo regardless of the medium," they are different both in how they are captured, and to some extent the final product.
    If I do upgrade to the full frame sensor camera I'm lusting after of late, it will have to make a little room and co-exist with my lovely old Retina IIa and Rollei E-2. For whatever reason, I still give the nod of favor to a good B&W that just makes me happy to have taken it. Best regards, all.
  46. Steve, From my observations over the last six months, of the 4 people I came in contact with in that age group that mentioned buying a camera, all wanted film cameras. One boy bought a medium format body right in front of me, and, both he and his buddy were also looking for Nikon F-4's or similar. Then, about 6 weeks ago, I met a couple of nice young women expressing their desire to get film cameras when they saw my film body and lenses. I thought it must be some sort of fluke until reading this post (and a few others in the recent past). I do know one person who bought a digital camera, but it was in the point and shoot category, and she'd never had one up to this point; she is in her mid-forties.
    The 4 younger folks all had been brought up with digital cameras, but voiced dissatisfaction with digital photography. I don't know too much more about their motivations, but that much was clear. Also, yesterday, one of my middle aged brothers called out of the blue, and told me that he'd just bought a Nikon n6006 film body because he missed the slides he used to make, and he has a D80.
    Fwiw, I virtually completely agree with Russ and Chris' take on this discussion. I read all the way through, and couldn't quite believe those interjections as I thought it was a completely pleasant discussion.
  47. I gave a co-workers teenage daughter a roll of Tmax 400 for the mint Yashicamat 124G she inherited. I showed her how to load the camera, advance the film and gave her a bit of metering advice. Later I developed the film of which only 4 were printable. One shot was very cool. Funny her favorite photographer is Diane Arbus as well. This young lady seemed to have no interest in digital.
    Attached is what I think is a pretty cool shot from a teenager using a TLR for the first time.
  48. As my late mother would say, 'This is a tempest in a teapot." Meaning it is really not worth arguing about.
    I do agree with what Josh Root said, any data can be used for or aganist a subject that is being discussed. Some people will say a glass is half empty and others say it is half full.
    So can we all agree to disagree and still be friendS?
    I am one of those who is/has gone back to shooting film, but will still shoot digital when needed. I just can not get use to the limitations my D40 has and besides, I love my N80 camera.
    Please, lets all be civil on this , my favorite forum.
  49. Then they have them cameras as a fashion statement and not to take photographs? How sad for them...can you explain how the retro look makes the photograph more interesting?​
    If the look of something draws you into it and you end up using it then why not. I will admit that some of the cameras in my collection were bought for looks rather than function.
    Not a particularly valid reason for buying something but it is common.
  50. I just supplied my 30 yr old daughter with her second film camera, a GAF L-17 (Chinon), chosen because it will use her existing M42 lenses and has a dedicated multiple exposure capability. She uses her Canon P&S camera for color snapshots and the film cameras for B&W film. She is taking photography courses in Portland and has intermittent access to a darkroom.
    Nostalgia? Rebellion against digital-everything? I think this resurgence is mainly B&W oriented as she has the belief that digital won't produce the best B&W images.
  51. The good news or bad news comes down to individual preferences. I have a daughter that insults my collection of junk. Her perfect camera is automatic everything digital even though the vast majority of pictures that she takes are just awful. Meanwhile, an old friend that I haven't seen for a number of years came by, saw the cameras, and got all excited about getting back into film photography. He got out of it a number of years ago because developing films was more expensive than it is today and money was tighter. He loved some of the medium format shots I had as they had much more detail to them. I know at least one person that will be looking for a classic camera.
  52. Personally, I am going to buy an Olympus OMG, even though it is not a great camera, just because the letters of its model designation have taken on a new meaning in the cyber world that I think is cute/stylish. I wish I could find a Pentax WTF or a Canon LMAO, but those are harder to come by.
  53. August, you are a treasure. I can't stop laughing.
  54. did you guys see my infamous "OMG" post in the Film and Processing forum, when I shot my first roll of Kodachrome? That was a really fun thread...but oh man, a few people wouldn't let it go and kept teasing me about the 'OMG' thing the whole time. I got excited, and what else can you say when you hold a Kodachrome slide in your hand for the first time...except "OMG" ??
    If you ever do find a Canon LMAO, I'll buy it from you!
  55. It's possible to have too many bells and whistles. Those who opt to enter the classic SLR + film world today are probably looking for a cheaper, simpler, more understandable path to good photos. Other attractions may include the workmanship and materials in older cameras, and the fun of using old technology.
  56. I have noticed some prices creeping up, and although eBay is a good guide in the longer term, caution should be taken in interpreting day-to-day prices fetched on eBay. I've seen the same lens go for widely different amounts within the same week, with lately the 20mm Flektogon fetching three times what I paid, and the 35mm Flek has quadrupled ; though it's possible that a fair deal of that increase is due to demand generated by dSLR users.
    A Yashica zoom lens I bought a fortnight ago for GBP 16 sold the following week for GBP 19, and yesterday an identical example sold for GBP 4. Some film bodies don't fetch a lot, yet the second-hand prices of others have in a number of cases crept close to the new price, and that for recent film cameras, like the CV Bessa R3A, which was GBP 385 new. Robert White has one for GBP 350, and I've seen them elsewhere for over GBP400. CV lenses for this camera are around 20% dearer than when I bought my assortment around two years ago. Inflation in a recession doesn't account for this. I noticed two Yashica FX-Ds go for wildly different prices, one below GBP 25, the other at over GBP 100. The only difference was the cosmetic condition, which could only account for less than GBP 10. I'm looking at a 50mm CZJ Tessar currently fetching GBP 50, when a couple of years ago mine cost me GBP 2.50.
    As has been pointed out, these observations are largely anecdotal. I do know of people who have taken up film use again, one a die-hard digital user who is also a professional photographer, and who for recreation has taken up film years after saying he'd shot his last silver halide frame. I'm not sure how this would be reflected in film sales, at a time when the global recession, deeper than it's been for the best part of a century, will be depressing sales right across the spectrum of luxury and recreational goods. Film kit prices dropped dramatically over the last couple of years, and have perhaps rebounded off the bottom. Las
    Someone has already touched on one of the reasons I find film, almost paradoxically, convenient. Whatever photographic problems I have, processing speed is not one of them, so the immediacy of digital solves a problem I do not have. Dropping a film off for processing and picking it up three days later (it saves money over the one day or one hour services) is ideal for me, and even gives me time to do scans on the previous film. I can't afford to shoot thousands of frames with my dSLR, not from the economic perspective, but because I haven't the time to process them, nor the space to hang them. I have to have a good reason to put a picture on wall space, or in an album in an album set that runs to scores and scores. Film photography matches my photography rate at a level I can manage.
    I see and understand what Josh is saying about the independence of image-making from the technology employed. It doesn't work quite like that for me. Though it may seem irrational to some, the process is part of the product for me. If going from A to B were the only consideration in travel, I'd have no need to choose a high-end car over a clapped-out but working Ford, but I like to journey in comfort. I like to take photographs with cameras that please me and feel right, and I like the process of using film. That this means nothing to anyone who views a photograph I took doesn't matter, it only has to matter to me, although I know Josh recognises this.
    The frustration with the digital vs film debate is understandable. It's a tired debate, which exhausted itself (and us) a long time ago. This debate only has something useful to say when the perspective is 'digital and film' instead of 'digital or film'. Otherwise, it begins to become indistinguishable from creation/evolution debates, or climate change/denial debates.
  57. You guys have no idea what's going on out there. Trust me, there IS a definite interest building in classic film cameras. Do you ever go on Flickr? There are literally HUNDREDS of groups just for people who like to use film. And there are more being added every day. The "I Shoot Film" group is one of the most active groups on has over 30,000 members and over 800,000 photos posted in the searchable pool.
    I am in 15 groups, just for FILM.
    Then you have people like Patrick Mont...he's only 14, but he shoots with vintage film cameras. (The funny thing is that he has been shooting with slide film a lot longer than me).
    I just created a new film group on Flickr, and I'm already getting new members joining every day. We already have about 30 pictures posted in the group pool...all from film.
    And today, I just got a bunch of comments in my pictures on Flickr from a 17 year old kid who uses 35mm and Polaroid cameras. I looked at his photo stream, and probably 80-90 percent of his pictures are from FILM. Don't believe me? Here's one of his sets, showing his cameras. They're ALL vintage film cameras, including a Brownie.
    I never would have expected this a few years ago. To me, it would just be silly to ignore all this and say that SOMETHING isn't happening. If it wasn't true and this was all just anectdotal, then I would expect that those film groups on Flickr might have maybe 100 members or so. It would be dead. But on the contrary, the film groups are becoming some of the MOST active on the entire website.
    Sure, the Film VS Digital debate is tiring. But who says we have to debate? Why can't we just look at things at face value and notice that there IS some kind of a pattern and a trend. All we're saying is that it appears there does seem to be an interest growing in film and vintage cameras. What's wrong with that? It's not a statement against digital...all we're saying is that it appears more people are becoming interested in classic cameras and film, including people who you wouldn't think would be interested. And I think that's great.
  58. I'd just like to clarify the use I make of the word 'anecdotal'. I am pretty sure that film is attracting more use than it did a couple of years ago. At least, that concurs with my experience, but I have performed no rigorous or semi-rigorous examination by trying to find out things like trends in film sales, so I can't quantify my feelings with any numbers of any kind. 'Anecdotal' in this context doesn't mean a 'just so story' that's as likely to be untrue as true. I'm merely cautious about trying to pin more on my opinions than I can produce in justification.
    A friend I have known for many years is one with whom I have a running tongue-in-cheek thing about digital/film. I am a film chap, and film to him is stone-age stuff. He is a Nikon digital man, who must have the latest gadget, this being the reason, he says, God invented disposable income. Neither of us can resist the opportunity for a dig at the other.
    He had been interested in trying to achieve a film look in monochromatic portraits, specifically that of Tri-X developed in Rodinal, using Photoshop. I made the obvious suggestion. Despite having said many times that he would never return to film, and had not had a film camera for decades (he started with the first Sony Mavica), he got hold of an old Zenit and had a play. He sent the film to me to process, and I did that and sent him the negatives and a CD of the scans. He confessed to being surprised that he preferred the Tri-X self portrait to the digital one he had also taken, and to this day he uses it as his 'avatar' picture. A short while later, he got hold of an old Lubitel to try medium format. Then his aunt gave him an old Ikonta. Then he tried one of those plastic cheapo things for the Holga effect. It gave me the opportunity of a sweet coup de grace to observe, with feigned casualness, that this digital-only photographer who'd never shot film for over twenty years and who uses his digital kit professionally now had more film cameras than digital.
    Now, that's an anecdotal story. It doesn't prove more people are returning to film, but it certainly adds to my sense that it's true when I hear others tell similar stories.
    I have one criterion that will convince me fully that there's a film revival, and although it's only half-serious, and more in hope than expectation : it's that Kodak wake up one day and re-start Kodachrome 64. Ah, a chap can dream. But if Fuji can do it...
  59. It has to be noted that stastics on film sales don't say anything about the popularity of classic cameras. I'm 100% positive that the bulk of the film market is currently and has always been PNS/disposable camera users. There is also a percentage of that market that is movie film and there is a highly anticipated drop in that sector of the market. You've also got to factor in X-rays, police evidence, and various other professional services. It is very likely that many of these non-consumer sectors have been continuing to use film well into the current era only to be forced to drop it now in attempts to save costs in the shrunken economy. I'm sure even the "disposable, personalized, wedding camera" market has been hit by people scaling back on the scope and size of their weddings. All of these factors effect film sales and absolutely none of them have anything to do with young people going on trips to graveyards with K1000's. ;)
    Armchair critics of film like to pretend that no-one is using film at all, but apparently they haven't been "in the field" and had to wait longer for processing, or found empty shelves where film should be because stores are stocking less and running out. This is another factor that has actually made me mad for some time now. The department stores and drug stores are helping to kill film sales because they are basing their stocking on armchair critic perception instead of actual sales. Thus, almost every store I go into has empty film shelves. Logic would dictate that if people are buying the stuff, the stores would continue to stock it. So here is the hidden factor in statistics about film sales... how many people stopped buying film because they stopped SEEING in the store? This has to have a profound psychological effect on the buyer, seeing empty shelves is frustrating and depressing. How many people went to the store, saw no film on the shelf and that day went out and bought a digital camera, the rumors of the death of film "confirmed" by their own eyes?
    It has been like this for about 4 years now, ever since film was declared dead. The stores stock less in anticipation of the day when they won't sell anymore... they don't want to be caught with their pants down with hundreds of boxes of film they can't sell... but all they are doing is shooting themselves in the foot by not having enough on stock to SELL to the people who would still buy it! Then those numbers trickle back up to Fuji and Kodak showing less and less film sold... without the corresponding numbers that show that the shelves were understocked. As I said, this process has been happening steadily and steadily for years now.
    If you don't stock an item, people can't buy it.
  60. Alex and Patrick, you guys both make excellent points.
    Alex, no worries...we actually agree and you're right that we can't "prove" that more people are using film, or that more people are interested in classic cameras. I was just saying that sometimes too many people discount personal observations, especially earlier in this discussion. (Although I can tell you at exactly which point the discussion changed, and some of you already know what I'm talking about). I think that if we take all the signs and our personal observations - vintage cameras selling for higher prices on ebay, more young adults using vintage cameras, all the film groups that have sprung up on Flickr, and the fact that Kodak has also made a NEW film available in both 35mm and 120 - then I think putting all that together, you can safely conclude that there does seem to be a very real pattern.
    Patrick also made a great point...that sometimes things are self-fullfilling. If a store listens to rumors and decides to stop carrying something, then the next person who comes to look for that product is going to be very disappointed and they might stop looking for it out of frustration. I'll give you an example. There's a local camera shop where I live (about maybe 15 minutes away). It's a small shop, but they usually do a pretty good job of stocking film, paper, and chemicals. When Kodak started selling Ektar 100, this place did NOT have it...and at first it seemed like they had no interest in it either. I asked the clerks about it, and they hadn't even heard of Ektar. So for a while, I just ordered it online from Freestyle Photo Supplies. Well, on my birthday, my parents decided to go back to that camera shop and my mom knew that was one of the films I liked (I talk about it all the time) so she just decided to check with them just in case. (I'm easy to shop for now...everyone knows just to get me something for photography!) Anyway, lo and behold on my birthday one of the things my parents surprised me with was a bunch of rolls of Ektar 100. It turns out that apparently someone had the good sense to look into it, and that camera shop had finally started to carry Ektar. Now, they also have the 120 rolls.

    But what if they hadn't done that? I would have lost out, and they also would have lost potential sales. I've probably bought around 10 rolls from them. I've also talked with the manager at the photo lab where I take my color film now, and she liked my pictures so much that she has started using Ektar 100 too. And she buys it from the same camera shop.
    So yeah, sometimes it isn't that people won't use's that a store arbitrarily just decides to stop selling it because they listen to bogus rumors. I think I personally have contributed to that place selling at least 20 rolls of Ektar...between me and the people I have recommended it to.
    And guess's some more good news. Since I first started going to that camera shop a little over a year ago, they are doing an even better job of keeping film and chemicals stocked. I used to just see a few bottles of developer and fixer. Now the shelf is always full. And it's not the same stuff sitting there for months. I come in one time and it's almost empty, I come back in maybe a couple of weeks or a month later, and they have ordered more. So people are obviously buying and using the stuff. Every time I go there, I do see people coming and buying film. Sure, there are a lot of people looking at the digital cameras...BUT, I also see people buying film.

    There is plenty of good news out just have to see it.
  61. Digital cameras are nice when you want to post a quick photo of your film classic in this forum. :). Seriously, I'm pleased to see a revived interest in film cameras among younger photographers. My oldest son, who has a digital, has gotten interested and already has a Minolta SRT 200, Yashicamat 124G, and a Maxxum HTSI Plus. He is also interested in learning black & white developing from me.
    The days of the small town mom and pop camera shop are mostly over,so we have to be a little more patient in obtaining supplies, but as I explain to young people new to film, it is worth the wait to order supplies.
    I am fortunate to have grown up in a family where photography was important. My dad kept a darkroom so I learned B&W processing while still in grade school. I also learned a lot from him using 35mm, medium format, and 4x5. Sharing what we know with others is one of the good things members at do well.
  62. I've watched ebay for a few years. Prices are definately dependent on what is being sold. high quality glass like an Canon or Minolta F1.2 lens are going to skyrocket, as is a mint F-1, but I picked up a near mint SRT 102 (with mirror lockup) for a song and got a MC Rokkor 50/1.4 for a good price as well.
    Problem is the few items i'm really looking for are the high priced L or aspherical Canons and a black Pellix!
    I have a mini digicam that black Canon 14.7 MP job, haven't used at all out here because i don't want the dust to kill the lens motor / gears. Can't buy film here either so not much action on my end until i get home or go on R&R to Aruba, where i WILL take a mint Lake Placid F-1 and a few FD lenses with me.
    I use film cameras (mainly F-1s) for nearly all important events that i go to. My wife will shoot 200 images on her little Canon SD1100 but it's always my enlargements that everyone wants!
  63. I'm in my 20's and I own nothing but film cameras. I started out in junior high school with a then-new Canon Rebel G and what was in the photo magazines back in the mid 90s were the EOS-3, and the EOS-1 series cameras. That was all I lusted after in my early days. As I grew older, I bought a Canon F-1, a few FD lenses and some rangefinder cameras and I never really wanted a digital camera. I'm sure when people see me on the street with my vintage film cameras they must think I'm being "retro" but the reality is I have always shot film. I love it and I can't picture myself letting go of film...
  64. I've been a forum browser for a couple years now, and registered on just so I could weigh in on this discussion...
    I'm a 30 year old hobbyist who got into photography about 6 years ago. My first camera was a Canonet. I went with the Canonet for two reasons: one, the pictures from my childhood were all taken with my parents' Yashica Electro 35, and they all had a "look" (that I now recognize as quality compared to the all-auto-everything p&s film and digital cameras I was used to) that I wanted to emulate, and Google pointed me in the direction of the Canonet; and two, I couldn't afford a nice digital SLR. It was so much cheaper to buy a fixed lens rangefinder and then shoot film as I went along. 6 years ago it wasn't very trendy, and truthfully, I lusted after a D40. But I did just fine with the Canonet.
    I've been shooting and collecting a lot of Olympus OM gear lately, as well as an E-410 that I got for super cheap used, and it's dawned on me...for people interested in photography, the shortest, cheapest way to high quality photos is shooting with used film gear. There are some wonderful photogs who use all modern gear (the guy who shot my wedding was AWESOME), but the difference in price between a high end digital lens and a "vintage" quality manual lens that is 30+ years old is astounding. For me, $200 is expensive for an old used manual focus lens made for a film camera. My most expensive Zuiko was my 85/2 that I got for about $100! However, that same lens can give me quality that is similar to some $1000+ lenses on the latest Nikon and Canon DSLRs. That's a big driving factor behind the use of manual lenses on DSLRs--high quality at a relatively low price point. Just like me, there are a number of young people interested in photography who want good quality at a low price. And spending $100 on a CLA'd Canonet (like I did) is a much better investment than spending $300 on a 15 megapixel autofocus p&s digicam that will be obsolete in 6 months. Guess what? There is BOKEH in pictures shot with a Canonet; bokeh doesn't exist in a Sony p&s digicam.
    I also like the point made earlier about film being a more manageable medium; for hobbyists like me, film is much more enjoyable to shoot, and easier to catalogue and enjoy. However, when I shoot assignments (mostly for my church) I only use digital. Much more convenient. If I were a pro photog, I'd stick to digital.
  65. Earlier Josh Root said: "Statistics lag behind facts [...]"
    Truth is so classic.
    --Louise Bridge
  66. Reading this thread helped me feel a little better today. I just tried to drop of a roll of B&W 35mm to get it developed in the store and discovered that WalMart no longer does this. I found one Walgreens and I know that there's one camera shop in our town (about 40,000 people). Otherwise film has to be sent out to be developed now.
    I just started to get into photography purely as a hobby. I've always loved it, but never really got into it too much until taking a photo class in grad school about 4 yrs ago. I doubt I'll ever have more than an occasional, and accidental, great shot. So I've been trying to buy the old, original point and shoots - as in box cameras. It's my goal to have all the colors of the Rainbow Hawkeyes, Sabre 620 and Brownie Starflash. I know they don't have great lenses, but the effects are just fun for me - that's why in my early 30s I'd rather use those. AND, even though technology doesn't scare me, I really like the idea of having to compose my pictures without using all the settings, so I have to pay attention to the natural light more and I like the way that I've become much more aware of my daily surroundings because of this. There are no flashes on the 50th anniversary Brownie or even more than one aperature setting. It really forces me to think about the photograph.
    Yes, I'd like a nice Mamiya or Yashica, but I can't afford those right now - meanwhile I've amassed a nice display of workable, useable and just plain fun $10 cameras!
    Now - I just gotta move into a bigger place so I can set up that darkroom...!
  67. actually an Ilford rep told me that their film sales have skyrocketed. As I've said many times to many people, film is going become like vinyl records. In the 80's record companies started to make vinyl thinner, it warped easier. So the consummer would think they were getting an inferior product. (compare a vinyl record from the 60's to the 80's, you'll see the difference.)CDs started to come down in price and become affordable as did the players. Everyone rushed out sold their players, and vinyl collection. In the early 90's you could get an original Bob Dylan album used for about 5 bucks in mint condtion. Now, it's 50.00 dollars. Record companies have also started to put more releases on vinyl again. The demand is there, the supply isn't, at least for the records. The same thing is happening with film and digital. The fact is marketing was/is ignoring the demand film. Personally I prefer film because I like hard copies. I'm a hybrid photogrpaher. And in reality I'll shoot anything. I'm also sick of camera companies marketing and fear mongering. (if you don't have the newest and best you won't be taken seriously as a professional photographer, etc.)

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