Opinion? Agfa, Ferrania, Fuji, Kodak, Konica

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by tony_duda, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. The color negative/slide film manufacturing world is in a much different place than it was just a few years ago. Agfa still makes a few color emulsions for Rollei, but it's out of the consumer film business, at least under it's own name. Ferrania (if it still exists) no longer makes film. Konica-Minolta abandoned all photography-related business. That leaves us with an extremely ill Kodak and a fairly healthy Fuji still in the game.
    I remember reading a comment some years ago that Agfa, Ferrania and Konica were considered second-tier manufacturers. In other words, their film technology was always a few years or more behind Fuji and Kodak. In retrospect, I am wondering if that actually was the case, or just public perception because they didn't have the global market share of Fuji and Kodak? I know some members on this site have worked for these companies, and I assume they occasionally had to take a closer look at competing products as part of their jobs. I'm asking for opinions or thoughts, whether you were on the consumer or manufacturing end of the chain.
    Thank you.
     
  2. History is weird. I loved Agfa e6 films and I still have a *X&$#**X&$#**X&$#**X&$#* load frozen but Kodak lost it all letting Fuji be the last e6 other than a few strange rolls that Rollei now sells. The thing is the machines are king.. I do hope Agfa Bq keeps the plants running.
     
  3. Given that Kodak has pretty much pushed Fuji out of the "Professional" (portrait) C-41 film business, based entirely on technical innovation in the Portra films, I think the quality tiers remain very real. It's just that there's barely two tiers. Kodak is top tier for C-41, Fuji is top (and only) tier for E-6.
    But, Kodak also got their market dominance through the incredible efficiency of their highly automated production line. So long as it was running at capacity, they could make superb films more cheaply than anyone else. However, their quality was so high that they could still make great profits. But now sales of Eastman Color Print film have dropped greatly due to digital movie projection in theaters, and the line is nowhere near capacity.
    Kodak's film factory will remain in operation as long as the movie studios want them to remain in business. Plain and simple, they are the life blood of that business, and they call all the shots. They just signed a long-term contract with Kodak for supply through 2015, which I'm sure involved renegotiating the large amounts of money Kodak owed them for rebates. (Sony Pictures was one of Kodak's largest creditors!) We still film consumers are just along for the ride. When the studios decide they only want to ship digital prints, Kodak's factory closes.
    Whether any other part of Kodak survives is a real question.
    Kodak is smart to look for someone better than their own marketing and distribution arm to sell consumer films. They have been extraordinarily inept at that. They had MBA's who thought that the packaging design of Portra films was the reason that they did or didn't sell well.
    Obviously Fuji could start making any of their C-41 emulsions again if Kodak's production shut down. But they are a healthy company that would only do that if they thought it could increase their profit.
    Ilford is a very technically capable company. They have the smarts for making color film, and are almost certainly helping Impossible Project make their emulsions. (Impossible has a waterfall coater.) But it's not clear that they would dare make the capital investment in a 24-layer waterfall coater in order to be able to make C-41 films if Kodak and Fuji exited that business. If they didn't make that investment, their existing coater would take two to three passes to make a color film, and that would make the cost per roll very high. It's a hard question whether Ilford could sell C-41 film for $15 a roll.
     
  4. Does it really matter now? Agfa made store brand C-41 films for Costco.ca 10+ years ago. Truly awful stuff that no one bought and Costco sold off cheap. The color print film market was so big in the late 90s that off-brand, trailing edge, store brand, discount emulsions had a place and sold.

    Kodak bailed on E-6 simply because demand all but vanished after pros ditched transparencies for digital almost a decade ago.

    The cine film "contract" with "Hollywood" isn't that meaningful, especially given steady tech advances in digital capture, along with the possibility Kodak could fold next year. Fuji's already done with mp film.

    You'll get lots more bites on this at APUG.org.
     
  5. Yes, it matters to me, and possibly many other members of this site. This is the "Film and Processing" forum and, just as
    some members still post (and rightfully so) about Kodachrome, we do not have to limit ourselves to films that are still in
    production. I thought is was an interesting question, and that other members, with their many years of insight as both
    consumers and in the film manufacturing end, could shed some light on. Every industry has a history; I'm very sorry that you disagree.
     
  6. Aside from compiling a scrapbook of reminiscences about bygone film materials, what's your aim here, Tony? As I mentioned, APUG.org will likely be more responsive because it's analog-only and possibly better attended than this forum.
     
  7. Why so defensive? I do not have to explain my motivation to you regarding my question. There is no motivation other than
    I find it interesting. Please, if you do not like my question, just ignore it; you do not have to participate in the discussion. If another member asks a question that is within
    the context of a particular forum, how does that negatively affect you? Apparently, some members have found it an
    interesting question, as they have already shared their thoughts. True, this is an analog and digital photography website,
    but my question was posted in the correct forum.
     
  8. Regardless.
    For a while it looked like the only film industry players that were still standing (aside from Fuji) were the former Warsaw pact producers, but that seems to have been ephemeral as well.
    The only film not in a prepackaged disposable camera that I found a couple of days ago in my local Walgreens was Kodak Ultramax 400. I hope it's temporary, but every time they shift the location a little, the space allocated to film is smaller.
     
  9. I tell you I have been giving my money these days to ORWO. I don't shoot much color anymore so B&W is where I keep my eye in the manufacturing world.
     
  10. zml

    zml

    If the Twinkie is gone, film beware...
    Sadly Fuji is the only full-line film
    manufacturer still standing with Kodak being
    a big unknown. Other manufacturers are
    either b&w only or simply repackage.

    As for the tiers, if Agfa is/was second tier,
    wher does it put orwo, foma, foton, and
    countless other film makers?
    Agfa had a huge following in Europe back
    when, and some Kodak products of that eta
    were considered bad (Kodak Pathe as an
    example...)
     
  11. Agfa vista was a great film. I used to shoot it almost exclusively. I used to buy grey market kodak from a photo lab/store and had no problems with it. Konica mad a great film called centurian. The colors were very saturated and puchy like Fuji film. I will shoot any brand of film. I always cross process my slide film. I even use/like Lomography film
     
  12. Currently we still have Portra Pro, Ektar, Provia and Velvia for color films along with the consumer color films such as Superia and Gold.. B/W films are still abundant. I have a couple rolls of Provia with Fuji mailers ordered to try it out. I loved Elitechrome as it had a perfect balance of skin tones and natural color but Kodak is finished with E6. Kodak in general looks like it's finished to me.
     
  13. If only the shelf life of film was as good as Twinkies!
    Film I love, like most, Twinkies? Eh!
     
  14. In my opinion, the film market finally got straightened out. Honestly, nobody wants slides. How many jokes have you seen in countless movies and tv shows bemoaning the vacation slide show, etc.? If anyone ever used slides it was the so called professionals and the industrial sector. The real world wants to take color photos and the real photographers want to do black and white.
    Anyway, as for Agfa, they didn't make film. Gavaert of Belgium made all the Agfa film. I'm amazed that few people know this. Actually, the company is Agfa-Gavaert.
    But the big question is what happened to Perutz? Has anyone ever shot Perutz film? Or, does anyone here remember Dupont film?
     
  15. Tom you are only partly correct. AGFA had the German plant that was dismantled when they shut down. That is where the APX line was coated. and some of the C-41 film. As for old films I still remember using/shooting and selling GAF E4 films in the 70s. I still shoot E6 film and I do this because I like the saturation and colors when it is scanned. BTW I do have a projector and Screen I pull out because my Grand children ask me to show them the huge pictuers of them. Ages 6-10.
     
  16. Larry: I second your opinion on E6. The images of projected slides look amazing and second to none. They look much much better than whatever digital shots displayed on high-end computer monitors. My kids always look forward to a real slide show I sometimes do on a old beat-up Kodak projector.
     
  17. I third Larry's response re.slides. My kids love a slideshow too. It's different. I also resurrected an old turntable and they thought it was "Cool how the arm lifted up all on its own at the end" One of them even preferred the sound of vinyl......
     
  18. It is not accurate that slide films sole function is for the projector. Fact is that the scanner loves the positive trans, and done properly, and printed properly using lightjet, the impact to the viewer from paper from slide, is second to none.
     
  19. Don that is why part of my last post addressed the fact I love how it scans.
     
  20. Larry, I got that, I was referring to the earlier post. Honestly, nobody wants slides.
     
  21. Well someone must as there was a bunch of crying when Kodak stopped production of E6 and when Fuji cut their line. :) Any thread that says nobody or no one tends to get passed over by my brain. :)
     
  22. One of the best photographs I ever took was on ASA/IS0 10 Sears brand SLIDE FILM. Yes, a raging film speed of ten. I've been weepy-eyed for years that it has not been on the market for many, many years. Color neg is a knobbie-kneed kid sister and digital is for sissies.
     
  23. Wayne...That was my first good laugh of the day. I am impressed with every roll of Elitechrome 100 I run through my Voigtlander Perkeo.
     

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