How Long Will Film Be Around?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by nicholas_siebenmorgen, Aug 28, 2005.

  1. I just graduated from school and am now in the market for a new
    camera for professional and fine art work. Because I want the elbow
    room to blow up my pieces big if needed, and because I'm on a budget
    I was thinking of buying a Canon 20D digital slr camera to prepare
    shots and get the lighting correct, and also buying a 4x5 camera to
    shoot the final image. My question is, how long to you guys think
    film will be around for? It seems like there are no digital options
    yet that can match the size and quality of 4x5 film, if there was I'm
    sure it's not in my budget. Also does anyone have any estimate of how
    much a scanning service costs for a 4x5 drum scan at top quality?

  2. Film will disappear from the planet on October 17, 2047. All film cameras will be rendered useless at that point.

  3. Yes a Ding-mao year.
  4. enw


    Robert, I don't believe you properly accounted for the intervening leap years, so I feel your date is off by a few days -- but you're certainly close.
  5. 2047 huh, I guess I have time.
  6. I thought that it was this upcoming Thursday.<p> Nick, if you do a search here, you'll find that all of you're questions have been answered many times.
  7. Don't underestimate the costs of commercial scanning of 4x5 material. For example.
    If you have a couple days, spend time reading the "film is dead" or "death of film" threads. (I think that might explain some of the responses you've gotten so far...)
    Also, cross-posting a question to various groups is considered uhmmmm... something. Don't do it.
    Look through the archives for scanning large format film threads for more information on how to do this at various price levels than you can shake a stick at.
    Film is less a problem in the near term than getting it developed (color slides) - on the other hand you can probably save money sending it out mail order to a reliable firm than paying someone local to send it to the same place. Ahem. I've begun doing my own B+W development. It's okay.
    Happy shooting...
  8. Learn to process yourself as few labs handlw large format.

    The only Q-Lab Kodak certified by Kodak in Illinois is within a few miles of my home. They don`t do 4x5 or E6. C-41 only. Then they scan it and make prints from the scan.
  9. Predicting is hard...especially the future.

    I expect that film will be available for many years, but with a decreasing selection and possibly increasing prices. I don't expect digital equivalents to LF to come down in price in the next few years, because I don't see the market forces acting to bring the prices down -- it's a specialized market. So I see continuing demand for LF film for a variety of reasons, albeit at a lesser level. Some companies may leave the market.

    People don't seem concerned about buying a digital camera that they will consider obsolete in several years (though of course, if it meets their needs today, you could argue that it will continue to meet their needs...), but they seem worried that they will lose their money if they buy a film camera. You can outfit youself with a 4x5 used camera and recent, used lens for under $1000.

    Are you considering B+W or color? If color, negative or transparency?

    Are you sure that you need a drum scan? How big do you plan to print?

    Costs of digital vs film also depend on the number of prints you plan to make per year: capital costs vs processing costs.

    Here's another site with scanning prices:
  10. A question from someone in 1848. With this new Collodion/Wet Plate method how long will painting be around?

    A question from someone in 1898. With this 4x5 sheet film how long will dry plate be around?

    A question from someone in 1912. With this new kodak 127 film how long will 4x5 film be around?

    A question from someone in 1934. With this new kodak 135 film how long will 127 film be around?

    A question from someone in 1965. With this new kodak 220 film how long will 120 film be around?

    A question from someone in 1972. With this new kodak 110 film how long will 220 film be around

    A question from someone in today. With digital how long will film be around? A long F**** time.

    Anyone who answers diffrent is chicken little the sky is falling. I invite anyone who thinks film is dead to leave you industlized nation and visit a 3rd world country oh yes they will modernize eventully and are using lots of film. So what if there will be less to choose from or it is more expensive point is it will still be around every film I mentioned or process is still avalible readily on the internet even the so-called discontined films.

    I carefully reserched the dates in the examples.

    I still can not understand why so many people subscribe to the thinking.I bought one so you must buy one because there discontinuing film next week. or I save 1000's of dollars on printing alone. If thats true good for you.just leave me and the other 2 people shooting film alone. before everyone gets there underpants in a wad I think digital is a fine median and a must for certain pros like newspapers. I just prefer film and love to work in a darkroom with chemistry. No offense meant if you are offended go cry somewhere else. It was meant to be funny while making a point.

    I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.

    He said it but I mean it.
    Everyone have a great evening.
  11. Film will be around for a while... No use debating that -- it's been a dead horse for a long

    Actually, there are digital options that match the size 4x5 film... There called digital backs.
    I shoot commercially and use three different digital backs for 4x5s daily. The cost
    however, is astronomical ;)
  12. OH MY GOODNESS!!!! Boy, did I ever make a mistake! I thought film was going to disappear sooner than that and I got rid of my 35mm film cameras for pennies on the dollar. I've got my two year old Tachihara and four lenses (with accessories such as holders, focusing cloth, loupe, tripod, etc.) for sale at $25.47 (Buy It Now) on ebay! No wonder my Canon EOS 1n and EOS 3 sold for $10.28, for the pair, ten minutes after I posted the auction! What's a person to do? Can anybody recommend a good shrink?
  13. Donald... Uhmmm... I don't think anyone on the thread said film is dead yet... He kinda asked
    how long it will be around because he wanted to buy a 4x5 camera...
    I think there might be less "Film is dead - stick a fork in it" responses in the Large Format
    Photography Forum... than in say the Leica forum...
  14. Beepy, I was being lite hearted about it. The simple answer is no one knows. I still think everything I wrote is true or funny.

    Nick, I would love to see more people enter into film photography, the prices are great atm so now is the time to jump in. I bought a MF camera a few months back and love it I am in the slow process of searching for a bigger enlarger so I can move to 4x5 in the future.
  15. I was tring to prove it will be around for a long long time and not to worry.
  16. Oh, don't misunderstand me - I loved the chronology!
    Film will be around for a long time - I just bought a Graflex Super Graphic on Ebay and I
    seem to have 12 film holders loaded with unexposed E3 Ektachrome. (I found this out by,
    er, exposing one... when I opened the film holder.) I'm thinking that film was loaded circa
    1965. So, you see, right there - film is already around for a long time:) (I am going to try
    and expose it - found a place that will attempt to develop it. Call me bored. I'm just
    paralyzed trying to figure out what to shoot. Found a restaurant around since 1964 and a
    sign that says so, and some recently exposed Dutch Boy painted wall advertisements that
    look pre-1965 that seem like good test shots.)
  17. My enlarger is the only thing holding me back ATM from LF. I have a roll of Ilford MGIV 50 inches X 100 foot and my first 6x6 neg on it does not do it justice 50x50 of a tree. Don't get me wrong it looks o.k for a 22X enlargment but from 4x5 that is only 12X For laughs I blew up a 35mm shot hehe it was ugh a picture I think. 55X tends to fall apart. I am sure from 200 feet away it will look o.k.
  18. Nick,

    Is this REALLY meant to be a serious, intelligent question?

    If it is... you must have just graduated from some MBA program! :)

    Get a crystal ball and give us your prediction... it'll be as accurate as anyone else's.

  19. Nobody knows the future exactly otherwise I would be a rich man!
    But it will be for a long time around. For the next 10-20 years its very sure I think!
    But I'm not sure about 2047!
  20. Nick: I don't have a fix on the precise date. However, I think I can guarantee that the Canon 20D will be gone long, long before a 4x5 film camera becomes obsolete.
  21. Nick; Mr. Baznik is the only one with a, take it to the bank, honest answer. Not only will the D-20 be dead and gone but so will what ever it wrote on. BTW I have some 8-track tapes for sale.
  22. It will probably be "around" in the sense that there will be a couple companies making a couple different films, probably at high prices, for who knows how long, 10, 20 years, something like that. What kind of film it will be and in what formats is debatable. But the days of major industrial companies with their big budgets, excellent quality control, lots of R&D, frequent introduction of new products or improvement to old products, etc. being heavily involved in film as a staple of their revenues and growth are already over and that's not a prediction, it's a fact.

    I don't like to say it because I use 4x5 and 8x10 film (scanned and printed digitally) and plan to continue using it for the foreseeable future. But IMHO for someone your age who is planning a future in photography to become heavily involved in film as opposed to digital is foolish. I might have some trepidation saying that except that Ray McSavaney, a 60-something year old permanent film user who I greatly respect, also said it when questioned by someone in your position at one of the workshops he and John Sexton sponsor. Photography today is digital, photography tomorrow will be digital, photography for the foreseeable future will be digital. Digital is where the major companies are, it's where the money is, it's where the R&D is, it's where the growth and constant improvements are and it's where you should be IMHO.
  23. Donald: "Unfortunately" third world country people take the step directly to digital. Ofcourse, the ones who can afford it. The others simply don't make photographs.


  24. Brian, Fuji is just introduced two new color negative films: 160S and 160C.

    I think B+W film will be available for a lot longer than 10 or 20 years, but no one can know for sure. I am less sure about color film

    The problem with the LF digital is it that out of the price range of the amateur or low-volume business. So is someone who wants the print quality of LF but can't afford a $25k back just supposed to give up because "digital is the future"? Why not use what works now and is afforable now?

    Which is most suitable depends on what your goals are and what you can afford, and on how many photo you do per year vs how much you can spend on equipment, etc.

    If you buy a LF camera now, you can make photos with film, then someday, when you you have a lot of money or LF digital backs finally come down in price, put a digital back on it.
  25. Michael - Yes, I know about Fuji's new color films. Of course a much longer list of films and film-based products that have disappeared or are being offered in fewer formats could be compiled. But that's not the point. I didn't say there would never be another new film or that no existing film would ever be improved. I said that the days of major companies like Kodak, Agfa, and Fuji relying on film as a major source of revenue and growth, and therefore devoting lots of R&D, capital, and other resources to it, were over. I don't see how that's even debatable.
  26. I saw it on CNN this morning. All film supplies are now GONE, as you should know that all films go through New Orleans, and Katrina has taken care of that. The film import warehouse for USA, Canada, and Mexico was adjacent to the Superdome, which is also now history....Please send all LF equipment to me, and I will give you pennies on the dollar.
  27. Hi Nicholas,
    asking a question about the medium before plunging into a whole system is certainly understandable. But from the way you asked the question, I am assuming you value the quality of your final image for enlargement (? and maybe a few other things like camera movement ?). If that's the case, you have little choice but to go with a film LF if you are on a budget. So the conclusion is: just go out and get a LF and shoot film. The end of the world could come before the predicted lifetime of a film so I wouldn't spend my time worrying but have fun shooting meanwhile! Take care.
  28. What is this FILM you speak of??? ;-)
  29. Sorry people, I take back the question.

  30. 'I don't like to say it because I use 4x5 and 8x10 film (scanned and printed digitally) and plan to continue using it for the foreseeable future. But IMHO for someone your age who is planning a future in photography to become heavily involved in film as opposed to digital is foolish.'.........................................but then again you can get a 'bare bones' system for not a helluva lot of money, certainly nowhere what you'll invest in digital, you can learn exposure, lighting, you'll get a tremendous amount of experience and value out of shooting film and scan your best work.

    You could get a fairly nice 4x5/lens/tripod/meter for approx. a grand, what's that compared to the cost of some of these Dig. camera/backs?.........................$5-$8K?................$10-$25K?

    I just don't see how you can lose in terms of the now very small cash outlay for a 4x5 system and scanning film into the digital loops as opposed to the whole Magilla, they were having these debates about the demise of film in '95 Nick, some folks then were adamant that film would be gone in 5 yrs, that due date was 5 yrs ago, the price is right for film, why not get the film gear if that's what you want.
  31. Its not film you have to worry about, its the chemicals needed to process it. Once they are gone, it wont matter how much film you have in the freezer.
  32. My local photo school, the New England School of Photography in Boston, saw a drop in enrollment in the zone system workshop this past winter. Enrollment surged during the spring, however. So who knows?

    FYI, I used non-lnear forecasting methods with parametric optimization to arrive at my forecast of October 17, 2047. I also accounted for leap years by assuming that a year is, on average, 365.25000000001 days long.

  33. I was talking to a colour lab owner a few days back and he mentioned that ALL his professional customers are on digital 100%. They get their images on CD or other storage devices.
    However, apart from professional photographers, there are others who are still on film. Plus if we also factor in the analogue camera population, film will still be around for quite some time. No doubt, film sales are falling but then new film markets are also being added. I would hazard a guess and say that film would still be around for another 15 years....
  34. Let's consider the last question on drum scanning.<p>
    Have you any idea of the file size for a quality 4x5 scan ?<p>
    eg, a quality scan from my MF 645 neg is in the order of 250 MB, so now multiply that up for a 4x5 scan, and that gets you 1 Gb or more.<p> Which leads to the next question, what size computer do you have to process that file ?<p>
    Let's assume you have solved that and have a top-of-the-line PC/Mac with as much RAM (2Gb or more) and clock speed (2GHz or more) as you can/can't afford.<p>
    Then instead of getting drum scans done of your favorite negs, (those scans are not cheap and the dollars will soon mount up), read some of the reviews on the latest flat-bed scanners (for example Epson 4990), and you'll realise the latest flat-beds are more than sufficient, and will soon pay for a few drum scans.<p>
    That's my 2 cents worth.<p>
    And BTW, I suspect MF film will be around for a lot of years to come, though I'm not so sure of 35mm.
  35. The permanent Solution of Film
    Richard A. Garcia

    When data solutions are compromised by current trends in magnetic storage, analog film seems to be the superior winner for long-term archiving. Magnetic solutions such as CD, DVD or Hard drive peripherals cannot compete in a market that is compacted by false advertising, which perpetuates data storage as the eternal solution for saving your precious photographs or hard earned images.

    The life expectancy of magnetic storage is about five years, at which time it must be duplicated to sustain its magnetic tolerance. This is an impractical method of storage when negatives can be printed 100 years in the future with no loss of image content.

    The immediacy of what digital provides, has in effect, circumvented the conventional method of picture taking, by allowing us another way to take photographs. The savings of processing film is not that practical when you must invest in a computer to see the images you took on your new digital camera. If you measure the cost of $2,000.00 in film and processing it would take an average individual shooting (4) rolls of film a week approximately (1) year to make up for the cost of a computer. In effect, your cash outlay doesn?t really return itself that quickly and when it does, your still stuck with paper and ink costs, which are currently astronomical. There is no free lunch for switching. Films resolution and ?bright white forgiveness? is what makes film different than digital. Film sees more comfortably the transitions that digital abruptly captures.

    Years ago we used to complain about how video looked so crummy and film appeared so good. We adjusted ourselves to see the soft transitions of film and dislike the cold inert images of video. Video camera engineers strived to make the cameras more film friendly by offering the capture more film like.

    The truth is that digital cameras, in the same effect, are nothing more than high contrast video stills. We can argue than film has already approached the resolution of film, but the underlying truth is that film is a superb medium that cannot be duplicated by digital capture. The chemistries reaction to capturing light cannot be cloned by CCD?s or conventional capture electronics. The race has been on to perfect the cells so that the truest ambiance of color and resolution can be imitated by what you see in real life.

    Film does not possess the practical possibility of rendering life as we see it, for the rendition of films available only portray, through their chemistry, the results that we enjoy. Film is a philosophy, as practical as the human mind, discerning the fragments of life that inspire our intellectual senses. We had created a palette, that by the application of familiar use, we found the medium of our creativeness.

    Digital synthesis does not provide these degrees of satisfaction. The manipulated image, will only Photoshop ourselves into something that approaches these incredible films.
    We always try to outdo ourselves by doing the same thing fancier, quicker, but not necessarily better.

    When one walks into an art museum, you see the greatest works ever created and perhaps never duplicated. These artists used a minimal amount of primary colors in which their palettes were born.

    Today we offer hundreds if not thousands of pre-mixed colors, which stunt the artist from learning how to mix them to get the same result. Removing the individual from the application removes the science of it all. If we proceed into the future, glazed by our perfections we will never know the truth of its creative existence.

    Just because a button is there, and when applied the effect is given, we feel we can spend more time creating the image, but in truth, the consequence is getting from point A to point B, almost unconscious.

    We must be responsible for our endeavors as artist and approach the artistry as a practical and simple solution. Film is photography, because it was born so. We cannot re-invent the wheel. Unless you believe a BMW or Ferrari will change the distance from where you are traveling.

    Digital has its place in science, because it is necessary. What makes photography so captivating is in the portrayal of the idea. We can change the common saw to a chain, but the definition of the conclusion remains the same.

    You can say, if only Leonardo had a computer, what would he have done then.

    Leonardo would have not abandoned his creative spirit, which traveled from brain to hand, or heart to head, which ever sufficed, for the mere explanation of the self-dependent human tool, known as the inner self.

    I believe that science can put itself on a collision course with practical simplicity. It takes and idea which is transformed by the will, to endure with the tools of our century. It is our prerogative to chase these concepts with whatever tools are available to us. Others seeking to find something of importance in an image can translate the sterility of art.

    We should never be offended by the conclusion of our thoughts. I for one understand the creative importance of the process. It is the ladder that one must stand on to permit the obstacles to become plastic, so that we may form them. The credentials of creative freedom are different to different people.

    Film will never disappear because the results are part of our plotting. We must teach others the value of film by comparison and through the workshop.

    Even if we move into a millennium of 3D Holographic capture, we will still scribe our benefits in art by the very nature of its simplicity. Picasso strived to draw as if a child, searching for the naﶥ vein of his perpetual drive.

  37. Its not film you have to worry about, its the chemicals needed to process it. Once they are gone, it wont matter how much film you have in the freezer.​
    The formulae for developer and fixer are hardly a secret.
  38. I seems that the digital revolution has made information itself (news, music, images and more) very inexpensive while the delivery systems vary in quality and price. The 'mystique' of digital photography is gone, digi-photography is so much a part of society that it is no longer marketed to a specific market and is in-fact advertised at the new American standard of "lowest common denominator". The film market is an different market made for a different kind of machine that will not be going away anytime soon. Yes, the price of film is surely to rise as the digital world gets cheaper and cheaper. But because those who shoot with film, like myself are looking to create long lasting print images, the longer they stand the test of time, it makes film not only more affordable, but adds to the re-emerging mystique and other alternative photography methods.
  39. One of the nicest things about using film is that the quality of my work is entirely MY responsibility. I use the same kind of materials over and over without a care or worry that "maybe I need a better printer? More plug-ins? New ink catridges? Better software? PhotoShop MCMIX ? The latest camera model? Which storage device is going to go first? Which icon (the sun? the moon? the mountain? the face? the running guy?) on the dial should I set?
    Digital photgraphers are the best thing to come along for the computer industry since the Jpeg. Thanks for keeping the economy moving forward!

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