Pentax to end production of 35mm film cameras

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by stemked, Jun 6, 2004.

  1. stemked

    stemked Moderator

    Not this is likely to be news to anyone, but Pentax is apparently
    the first of the major camera companies to phase out film cameras.
    My understanding is that it will be a slow phase out. Digital is to
    be Pentax's future as I'm sure other film SLRs makers will likely
    follow too. As someone who likes to lay slides on a lightbox I may
    ultimately end up being the last person who will hold onto their
    film SLRs. I realize that film will not disappear overnight.
    However the other day I saw a beautiful 'Grey Baby TLR' (Rollicord,
    I believe) I thought about getting it, but becasue film for this
    format is already so hard to find it would be essentially a dust-
    gather. 20 years from now I imagine there will be piles of beautiful
    unused film SLRs too.

    I had wished that one day I would pass my equipment off to my
    daughter (not yet 1 year old), but now I suspect by the time she is
    old enough to get into photography film will be in the rhelm of just
    a few nuts (like me).

    Not that I don't see the value of digital; the thought of only
    having to bring one camera when one is traveling and then change
    ASAa at random is appealing, as is the thought of not having to
    travel with tons of film that you are afraid will get messed up in
    an X-ray is very appealing. And I know it is nice to know that
    image you just took is the one you want rather than the black-box of
    having to wait until the developer is done with it.

    But I don't know, I feel with film I get that sence of satisfaction
    over a longer period of time. The thrill of catching the orginal
    image the thrill later of seeing that it worked (or the
    disapointment that it didn't) and the long term satisfaction of
    having a physical represenation of the image. It's like the feel of
    a well used baseball mit.


    Well, here's to the Blacksmiths and Milkmen of old.

  2. As much as I like digital photography I still think there is plenty of space for the old analogue way. For once, negatives will outlast any digital copy by far. If you know that commercial DVD's and CD's are starting to rot after 5 to 10 years, I fear the worst for the writable cheap stuff they produce for the consumer market. That and the fact that a photo is more then just bits and bytes, a real physical something, makes me a firm believer of the analogue way.

    For the occasional shot I use a digital camera but for the serious work I stick to film. That's my view on things...
  3. Olympus might be leading the way... Remember the OM SLR system is history, with nothing to replace it, and the current lineup of Olympus film cameras is pretty thin.

    There are a LOT of film cameras out there in the world, and it strikes me that the challenge, for those of us who would like to continue using them, is an increasing difficulty in finding repairs. There SHOULD be a good niche market there for "legacy" camera repair, as there are still those who happily repair mechanical clocks... :)
  4. It is an ironic twist, Douglas. Film is very nice (in practice) and digital is great (in principal) today. I expect that repairs will be an issue for 35mm, but for MF and LF it may be the eventual price of film that does it. I guess when I have to pay $20 for one sheet of 4x5 or for a roll of 120 Delta or TMX, or perhaps when I can't find the chemicals, then the game will be well and truly over. That however, is still away in the future.
  5. i'm sorry, where are you getting this from? There's nothing of the sort on the Pentax website.
    <br>btw, I agree with you 100%, this instant gratification of seeing a picture right away is not worth not having a permanent record of it being taken in the first place.
  6. Rumours of this sort have been circulating for the last year, and so far have not been born out by the facts. Nikon had to issue an official denial after similar rumours about them got out of hand.

    Usually they come from sales people in camera shops.

    I think you will find that Pentax do not want to run a vast range of products, so as you get more digitals some of the 35mm will go away.
    But right now their US web site lists 13 digital compacts (although I think at least 4 or 5 of these are out of production) 1 digital SlR,
    27 film compacts, 9 35 mm SLRs, and 3 Medium format cameras.
    Interestingly not all of these are on the UK web site. (5 compacts, 6 film SLRs - all except one of the SLRs show up on the UK's top retailer's site ).
    Realistically I think Pentax will slim down its range of film cameras over time; but they have been able to turn a profit with relative small numbers of devices. But they can stay in the film market longer than most rates of change in film are pretty small, so they don't need to keep bring out big updates to film cameras. I can see derivatives of the *IST film camera being on sale in 10 years, when the *ist-D (which I have, and like) is doing service as a paperweight.

    Doesn't the Rollicord take 120 film ? You can walk into any good photo store and buy that. There are more 1 hour processing labs in both the major towns near me than 2 years ago. More places sell black and white film than when I started doing photography. I don't see a problem getting 35mm film or having it processed for a while yet. Maybe in 20 years you'll have to order your film on line because retailers won't give it space, and high street printing won't offer development (you'll have to send film off for processing).

    Then again, I still have a milkman, and there is a working blacksmith in the next village but one to mine; our village blacksmith became "forge garage" some time back, but my wife had her car done there last week :)
  7. stemked

    stemked Moderator

    The rumor, and that's what I picked up on, was through the web from someone (dealer I belive) who claims that Pentax contacted them to reduce prices to move out the film cameras.

    The Baby Grey, unfortunately, does not take 120 film. I'm having a hard time recalling what it does take (127?) but I was told at a show many years ago that there were a couple of speciality places that still make the film. Sounded too limiting to me then, seeing that beautiful little camera re-ignited that interest-with the same caution hanging over it.

    By the way, I really like Olympus film equipment too. I thought it was a pitty to see their line die out, but it will be the true end of an era to see Pentax do the same.
  8. The Baby Rollei does indeed take 127 film. I use one all the time.

    See my page on the Baby Rollei at:
  9. I'd be really suprised to see pentax get rid of all their film cameras, maybe keep one or two, namely something like the mz-s and a low entry line camera, but market force and focus groups rule here and I got a feeling that techno will be the name of the game for a few years.

    I wish a small camera company would focus on making manual focus, manual exposure, robust metal cameras that can be had in different manual lens mounts just so luddites like me can continue to shoot on new cameras, but it sure won't happen. I am glad to know that I can still get my mx's and leica cameras serviced to like new condition. Cheaper than buying new too. I love going out and shooting and the only battery I worry about is the one in my handheld meter.

    With regards to film, I honestly don't think it is going to go away, even in 20 years. Yes, there will be less and it might go up in price, but for me, the ability to keep that neg (black and white here) for my lifetime is still worth the price. Maybe if somehow everyday digital prints will last 100 years plus and the cameras can be ran on batteries that I only have to change every year or so, and they retain aperture rings and shutter speed dials, the change to digital for me won't be so extremely painfull.

    By the way, Douglas, I do agree with you about the satisfaction of a film image somehow being streched over a period of time. I don't know how many times I go over my old negs and find an image that I didn't print because it didn't appeal to me, but now a few years or a decade later makes a great print. It would be a shame to delete that image, never to return, because I wasn't in the "right state of mind" while looking at it.
  10. Kieth makes a very good point about coming to appreciate later a picture not valued at the time. I've seen the same re-evaluation even in a span of weeks. It's worth going back and looking over contact sheets and discarded test prints. Probably too many digital images are deleted that might have been appreciated in the fullness of time. :)

    On the "never happen" robust metal mechanical cameras with manual exposure and manual focus, worth noting what small company Cosina is doing, moving up-market under the Voigtlander name, both in rangefinders and the M42 mount Bessaflex SLR. They also offer a series of premium non-AF SLR lenses in half a dozen mounts.
  11. On the Pentax Discuss Mail List, this was also posted.
    Seems the source was the German Pentax distributor, who
    decided no longer to carry film bodies. Pentax Japan,
    apparently, then announced it has no intention of dropping
    film bodies as a response to the German distributor "decision".
    Whether the distributor announcement is a leak, or Pentax is
    telling the truth is anyone's guess.
  12. Well, if its on the internet it must be true. ;-)
  13. Doesn't change the fact that 2 months have gone by since the Russian distributor said that and there has been no sign of it being confirmed, or even of Pentax reducing prices to the retail channel.
  14. Keith you have some cheek posting in these forum's - you have scammed
    several people out of money and continue to post here like nothing ever
    happened.... Check out the feedback in the seller ratings!
  15. Why would Pentax confirm something they didn't mean to get out? Why would you
    expect proces to fall? It didn't happen when Canon abandoned its FD mount cameras
    and lenses....
  16. Well, they didn't mean news of the new DSLR to get out and they confirmed that. You'd expect Pentax to be trumpetting the fact they had gone all

    And if the Russian story were correct you'd also expect to see dealers clearing stock. That's not happening either.
  17. Which dealers? The ones who were informed, or the rest of the world's dealers?

    How do you define "clear"? Are you presuming that there would be clearance-sale prices
    on Pentax gear? That didn't happen when Canon dead-ended its FD-mount gear in
    favor of EOS....
  18. Prices in British dealers haven't dropped.

    You can take the Russia statement as fact. I'll wait for confirmation thanks.
  19. Did Bronica prices drop significantly when the GS-1 and SQ systems were recently
    discontinued? No. Did Fuji rangefinder prices take a dive when they were recently
    discontinued? No again. No one -- besides you -- seems to expect them to drop. If
    production is progressively decreased, and dealers buy less, there's no inventory to
    clear and no reason to drop prices. It didn't happen with Canon, and there's no reason
    to expect it to happen here.
  20. The price of silver could be a way to tell of the nearing end of silver base photography.I must say this,the price of the printer cartridges alone is enough to keep the average photo enthusiast from anything on the order of an 11x14.I ask a good friend how many color 11x14's he can get out of a cartridge he said about seven.So this figures out to be 5 times what it cost me to print a regular color photo and about 15 times as much as a B&W..GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

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