Still think film is here to stay?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by bobatkins, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. Those who are still using film, especially B&W film might like to
    note that today Kodak announced that they will no longer be producing
    any more B&W printing paper. Not enough demand to make a profit on it.

    This realy isn't good news for anyone still interested in shooting

    I'm sure others will step in and fill the hole in what's left of the
    market, but it's a bad sign in general and a sign of changing times I

    What would you pick as the next product on which the Kodak axe will
    fall? Kodachrome? Any B&W film other than Tri-X?
  2. No more Azo?
  3. I suspect that the rise of decent B&W inkjet printers drove the last nail in the coffin. Anyone still printing wet is likely using something more exotic or cheaper than kodak papers.
  4. I heard the announcement was just that they wouldn't be producing the paper **BASE** in-house anymore but would still produce the papers via a 3rd party paper manufacturer under the Kodak name.
  5. See the threads in the B&W printing forum for more information.
    It's not so much the loss of the paper that's a worry, but the further indication that Kodak doesn't value the analog film business much anymore since profits are dropping (and/or losses are increasing) and anything that's not making them much money is on the chopping block. As digital continues to grow, more and more of Kodak's film products will likley find themselves out of a job, and closing down film production facilities may well result in loss of some products as an incidental consequence.
    I think it's becoming pretty obvious that whatever "mediaspeak" statements Kodak make about support analog photography are just smoke and mirrors. About the only statement you can believe is that they will fully support all existing analog film products up until the moment they decide to cut them!
    I can't blame Kodak. They're goal is to make money, not support analog photography. They're a public company, not a not-for-profit foundation to keep film alive.
  6. I would hardly call Ilford, Bergger, and Oriental more exotic or cheaper than Kodak.
  7. I even doubt tri-x is immune to it. Who shoot tri-x without printing on silverbased paper?
  8. From the Boston Herald:
    Daniel A. Carp, Kodak's chairman, said yesterday that the fate of the Peabody plant, which makes gelatin material for traditional camera film, is under review - like other units as Kodak moves more deeply into the Digital Age.
    Appearing at Boston College's Chief Executives' Club, Carp said Kodak is only halfway through a strategic transition from primarily a film company to digital photo technology - and the Peabody plant ``will get caught in that process.''
  9. The only films I've been shooting are Fuji Reala, Fuji NPZ and Ilford XP-2 in 120. As long as there's a C-41 machine in my store, I can shoot the film, process it, scan it and print it digitally.

    My wet darkroom has been gone for over a year. But I haven't used Kodak B&W papers since the late 1970s.
  10. I am really glad I bought a freezer when we built our new home in 2002. Now it will have to hold a lot more paper than film. A lot more.
  11. I do all of my prints digitally, even those from black and white film. I don't use traditional black and white paper but sometimes have a custom lab do enlargements on them. Most of my friends who I know to do black and white in the darkroom use Ilford papers, so probably they're still made for a while.

    I used to think that digital darkroom is not good for making fine black and white prints but the inkjets are now more black and white friendly than they used to be; Epson makes a 3-gray(black) printer (R2400) and the R800/R1800 have a very small drop size which helps with the results. I also got a better scanner which gives incredibly good scans of my BW400CW film (LS-5000) and basically I run ICE, and do a bit of curves adjustment to get the film (which by default has a low contrast), basically I do an "s-curve" adjustment in Photoshop and then print it, and I love the results.

    So nowadays you can get "the film look" by shooting your favorite film and scan it and print it on a nice inkjet and the results are really nice and it's easier to control dust and do minor retouching to the scans. I still don't like digital capture for black and white but maybe later I will figure out how to do it so that the results are pleasing to my eye if necessary. But having one physical hardcopy (the film itself) makes me a lot more relaxed about the future of my images. I know that optical disks are good but still I somehow like the idea of having multiple options for making the prints.

    Is there any news about Ilford paper? It seems to be very widespread in photo stores so someone has to do traditional darkroom black and white as well.
  12. Yes even if Kodak isn't.
  13. Hi,

    perhaps photography has branched out a few new mutant digital limbs and is growing 'well' now, but don't forget where it started, with film.
    There is usually a good reason for people to continue using a process which has been in place for a long time.
    So, although the media may advertise the demise of film, I can still buy film. In fact, I can still buy sheet music that was written 300 years ago, although I now prefer listening to jazz.

    I think that real B+W will become a real Art in the sense that it is so different from what most people do. Whilst people are unpgrading from the latest digital back to the next, feeding the fat cats, I will be shooting film until there is no more film to shoot.

    Film is here to stay, because it will become a valuable art form.

    Takes time to tango.
  14. Interesting! Go to this site and scroll to the bottom to read the message dated 9-1-2004.

    What now?
  15. ted_marcus|1

    ted_marcus|1 Ted R. Marcus

    I honestly don't see much point to traditional black and white film anyway. If you want a monochrome image, you get a lot more control shooting color (whether a scanned color negative or a digital camera file) and converting it to monochrome. That option provides a nearly infinite choice of "color filters," tonality, and rendition.

    Silver-based black and white film and paper indeed have their own distinctive characteristics that some photographers will always prefer, but unfortunately the demand for that isn't sufficient to make it worthwhile for any company that has to answer to the demands of institutional investors for consistent quarterly performance. That's an unfortunate fact that affects many things. But at least there are viable alternatives for those who prefer monochrome.
  16. [kodak dropping bw stuff] This realy isn't good news for anyone still interested in shooting film.
    While I do believe this bw dropping news is important (especially if co-ordinated with the other recent Kodachrome 8mm movie picture dropping) I don't fear it to the point of 35mm-film-for-the-masses disappearing anytime before 20-50 years.
    Given that bw first-hand products are disappearing one should wonder which colour product - film or DSLR - will be the best replacement (the easiest to transform in bw). And then immediately wonder which color product is the most faithfully reproducing "color". And I have very strong doubts that software of any form is able and stable enough to really reproduce "color", just like software is not able to reproduce "thinking".
    For generations peoples' minds are formed to a certain recipe of color reproduction (how amazing that relatively untrained brains easily recognize paintings of 16th century from 19th's; movies of the 60's from the 80's). But the cycles of digital software/hardware are changing much faster than that, so colors are likely to offer moods with much shorter lifespans. Well, I like impressions that last more than just a software cycle.
    Yes, IMHO 35mm film is here to stay until digital software and hardware reach a level of stability compared to physics and chemistry (which are mature sciences). IMHO. And not particularly inclined to discuss digital versus film...
  17. How about a conspiracy theory.
    That is not a conspiracy theory (like Lady D accident provoked by some insane underground group ruling the world). That is a matter of facts today - it is quite fashionable to "go digital", obviously pleasing share holders. Reminds me of talk of "dinosaur" mainframe computers killed by PCs (a pattern comically reproduced in a recent Microsoft ad where "dinosaurs" are the people not always connected to the Internet). Ok, it brings revenues in - fresh money, new action.
  18. This isn't only bad for film shooters; it's bad for digital B&W enthusiasts too. I've been
    avoiding buying an inkjet while I wait for Adorama to start doing wet B&W prints from
    digital files. Now I wonder whether Adorama will go forward with that service at all.

    Might be time to give up and buy an inkjet.
  19. Bob;

    The strange thing about that is the fact that there is no mention of it in the Rochester paper either yesterday or today. Things like that are usually on our front page or on the business page.

    I have a hard time believing that, particularly since most B&W paper is made in Brazil. Maybe they are just dropping it in the US, IDK, not having seen anything with my own eyes.

    Ron Mowrey
  20. Ron - the word is that the are shutting down the factory in Brazil.

    A number of people on a number of websites report calling Kodak directly about this and being told that it is true, as well as dealers reporting they have received a FAX on the subject.

    I doubt Kodak is anxious that everyone hear about this ASAP, but I expect they'll make some sort of statement soon.

    I would not be amazed to find that Kodak's medium term plans are to shift everything to C-41 and do only chromogenic B&W. Then they could get rid of B&W film, paper and B&W chemicals and concentrate on the last remaining film technology that's likely to generate revenue (C-41) until interest in that drops to a point where it's not economic to sustain it. I suspect that C-41 will be with us for the forseeable future though, but with a limited choice of film.

    Presumably there will be other companies still making B&W film and chemicals even when Kodak eventually gets out of the game.
  21. They have issued a statement. As it does mention their facility is in Brazil, I can only infer that it is being discontinued world wide.
  22. Color film converted to black and white does not look at all like black and white film. You need to shoot one class of a larger film format to compensate for the grainier and softer structure of color film (than equivalent technology black and white film). It's easy to try: shoot 400UC and BW400CN side by side, and the prints from the black and white film and much sharper and more detailed.

    To be able to do high quality B&W from color negative film basically requires using at least 120, preferably sheet film. With digital converted to black and white, you don't get grain but the image is very soft.

    Yes you have some control over the weighting of the different dyes but this is not exactly the same as having a black and white film in the first place, or controlling it with filters.
  23. For 6 years now my primary black and white films have been C-41 based, just because they are easier to get good scans of, and although some might not like the low contrast it gives by default, it's easy to fix in Photoshop. I think the difficult scannability of traditional black and white film is one of the reasons it is going down in sales.

    There is also a difference between reducing the variety of products available and eliminating the last product of its type in the field. I've often wondered how Kodak can afford to keep so many iso 100 Ektachromes, Kodachromes, and black and white film types (out of different ages) but then I realize that these have loyal user bases. I suspect that this is just a question of having fewer products available ... it's natural and a healthy procedure.

    I complained a lot about Kodak getting rid of Portra 400BW which was my favourite of the black and white films. But now that I accidentally bumped into some of that film and bought 10 rolls of it, and shot it next to some newer BW400CN, I realized that the latter seems to produce less grainy and more neutral results in the digital darkroom while the Portra had a brown tint and more grain. The minilab prints from the Portra were better though. Although we might not see our favorite products continue to be produced forever, the substitute products can be quickly adapted digitally to produce the results that we need. I'm very happy with BW400CN for scanning and printing.
  24. Well I guess there are still those who print B&W negatives, so ease of scanning isn't an issue for them (not to bring up what they are going to print it on...).

    Then there are those who like to process film at home. C-41 is a pain compared to HC-110.

    Then there are those who like to shoot HIE and TMZ3200.

    Chromogenic films aren't for everyone (yet).
  25. Bob,

    Thanks for the news, but it would help you to know that KODAK is a publicly traded company, and profit margins always guide research & development, in particular for a company like KODAK which has struggled financially for the past five years. They introduced a new CEO a few months ago, who is only interested in slashing costs, which of course, leaves certain developments to be left off the wagon to keep their operation light and profitable. How knows if in time, KODAK sells their film operations altogether to a competitor. KODAK is hurting, but there are still people using B&W film with or without KODAK. There will always be B&W printing, who cares that KODAK announced they won't make B&W paper anymore.
  26. >>Well I guess there are still those who print B&W negatives, so ease of scanning isn't an issue for them (not to bring up what they are going to print it on...).

    You've hit upon another question - what is the future of scanners for B&W negatives?

    It isn't much of one, I think. The CanonScan line is already dead, and the number of products in the Coolscan and Scan Dual lines is diminishing. You can forget about scanning 120 negs in anything but the highest end models.

    Throw in the fact that the Konica-Minolta merger has been a financial disaster, to-date, and this looks less than viable for ther long-term I'm afraid.
  27. Bob:
    I would not be amazed to find that Kodak's medium term plans are to shift everything to C-41 and do only chromogenic B&W.

    Respecting all those of you who have shot B&W for decades, I can suggest - if you can't turn things back, just relax and enjoy what happens. Remember what happened when APS was introduced ? 35mm films got new blood from APS. Hail APS ! I don't need to use APS to use 35mm Reala. And Ilkka in next excerpt is continuing my thoughts:
    ...shot it next to some newer BW400CN, I realized that the latter seems to produce less grainy and more neutral results in the digital darkroom while the Portra had a brown tint and more grain.

    we can be sure that some films will disappear, but it's better to have 2 good films than 4 average, so I mean that current films may get better in new incarnations. I don't promise this, this just follows from what happened so far.
    At the end, there still are people driving antique cars and flying on aeroplanes and ballons. They could use jets or teleports in future, but they do their own. So there will be silver-based films and optical prints in future for those who will like and use (sure, pay too) them.
  28. I would not be amazed to find that Kodak's medium term plans are to shift everything to C-41 and do only chromogenic B&W.
    Be amazed.
    They're killing their RA-4 chromogenic B&W paper too.
  29. Viva Ilford! If anyone thinks a home inkjet print is anywhere near what you can get with
    even black & white RC paper, well, you need glasses.
    I could on about the DMAX of one vs the other, actually being able to consistently get a
    neutral tone from an inkjet, etc, etc. We won't even go into the archival issue.

    Kodak is being killed off in small degrees. I'm sure the CEO's goal is to sell it and get a fat
    golden parachute from the shareholders and new execs. The sad thing is that Kodak has
    been synonymous with photography for so long, the uninformed will believe this is the
    death of all black & white paper. Without a doubt, Kodachome. Plus-X, TMAX 400 & 3200,
    HIE and other niche films will be gone by this time next year. Within 5 years the "Kodak"
    brand will also be a thing of the past.
  30. whole lotta cluckin' goin' on. guess we just have to wait and see
  31. >>I'm sure the CEO's goal is to sell it and get a fat golden parachute from the shareholders and new execs

    You're sure? Care to reveal your sources?

    You'll forgive me if I'm tempted to prematurely accuse you of not having any?

    Also, debt-laden corporations engaged in massive restructuring aren't attractive acquisition targets. Or do you presume to know more on the subject than EK's leadership?

    As for Ilford? Yes, they've behaved *much better* what with having flirted with oblivion with nary a warning...
  32. >>I could on about the DMAX of one vs the other

    You could. But DlogH curves will confirm that Polycontrast IV can reach a higher DMAX than Multigrade IV RC. Is there really a point to your assertion?

    Assuming, of course, you can read the tangled mess of curves on an Ilford Tech Sheet.
  33. i would be willing to bet that most folks using film think it is here to stay.....or, guess what? they would have switched to digital. mainly it seems to be more of a worry to digital users which is kind of puzzling since film supply will in no way affect them. or, might the fact that some people prefer film be the real issue? i don't lose any sleep at all over whether film is here to stay. if it isn't it would be the first time in history a demand (no matter how small) was not filled.
  34. I understand that people also want to use traditional black and white materials. But in the current situation some product consolidation is necessary. Let's hope that the ones that are most useful survive. I am lucky in that my needs are well served by BW400CN although it's not perfect. It doesn't give good results at high ISOs (I shoot it at iso 200 to get really smooth tones), and it probably doesn't print well in the traditional darkroom (I have not had access to a traditional darkroom since 2000), and it's difficult to process at home.

    So people who want their favorite traditional black and white films and papers to survive, remember to use them! I shoot a lot of those films which I like ... although I do my printing digitally.

    Portra B&W paper probably didn't take off because enough people who used Portra 400BW and were picky enough to want an absolutely neutral result made using a traditional enlarger didn't exist to support it. I never saw a lab use it. Maybe it will be revived if the traditional black and white films don't make it. Variety must be compromised to some extent to support the existence of traditional products.

    I think a lot of people look at C-41 chromogenic results from minilabs and say "blah" because the contrast is low. But this can be magically changed in Photoshop if needed, and it's a blessing when you shoot in high contrast lighting. The chromogenic films are incredibly good in direct undiffused sunlight or in concert light. And in flat light you just apply a curves to increase the midtone contrast and wow, nice prints. :)

    Still, I imagine that by looking at sales volume alone, many "wrong" decisions are made on which products to discontinue. I certainly would have liked to play with Technical Pan, but I was always scared off by its incredible price and special developer.
  35. I also think that much of this "film is soon gone" talk originates from people who use only digital and are insecure about their choice. Perhaps they are afraid that some people get nicer results using traditional methods? Or that some people prefer to see prints from traditional methods and they want traditional materials to disappear so that digital (which is their choice) is the only choice available?

    For me, I am satisfied in that none of the materials which I use have been discontinued without a suitable replacement. Perhaps I just use such mainstream materials.
  36. Well, nobody is expecting film to be made in current quantity for ever.
    If I can get film and process it, I'll shoot film, when I no longer can buy or process film, I'll have to switch to the alternative.

    But I'm not going to follow any trends, or listen to what Kodak thinks I should shoot with just for the sake of it, as long as I do have a choice
  37. Does anyone know what a fountain pen is? Long before ball point pens, people wrote with fountain pens. Then Biro invented the ball point pen. In many ways it was easier and more convenient to use. It came to dominate the market for pens. Over time many manufacturers turned their productive capacity to producing ball point pens. Many gave up manufacturing fountain pens; there was not enough demand to sustain many companies producing them.

    But go looking in your favorite office supply store, and you can still find fountain pens and ink to fill them; at a premium to cheap disposable ball points, but still at reasonable prices. In fact the workmanship that goes into them can be quite extravagant. The ink is still very available and in a variety of colours; again at a reasonable price.

    If you want a more recent example, we can look at the explosion and implosion of internet companies. There are fewer now than a few years ago, but there are still many around.

    With the mass production of digital cameras, several suppliers of traditional photographic supplies are going to disappear. The remaining suppliers, given less competition, may be able to raise prices. But all this will leave the remainder stronger. In the mean time, the weak, ineffiecient suppliers will be culled. Either through voluntary exit from the market, or through painful bankruptcies in which the creditors decide that the assets are better sold for scrap and the proceeds invested elsewhere.
  38. I'd say that the "there's no problem, film will be around forever" people who are whistling in the dark.

    It's not a good thing that film is going away. I do shoot mostly digital now, and I'm very happy with it. FAR more convenient in many ways than film. Last week a shot a roll of Delta 3200. Took about 4 hours to process and scan it. Might have taken 4 minutes to do 36 RAW conversions to B&W from digital files. But the film does have a different look, not easily emulated and there were other (practical, non-photographic) reasons why shooting film was better than digital in that case.

    I'd love it if film stuck around. I have Tech Pan, HIE, Agfa 25, Agfa Ulta, Kodachrome 25 and even a roll of Ektar 25 in my freezer, but once it's all gone, that's the end of it. I have no illusions that it will be replaced by something "just as good" (well HIE is still here, but who knows for how long...). We'll have some generic looking 100/400 speed color/chromogenic negative/slide film around for a while, but I can do just as well as that with digital, so why bother messing with it.

    It's the oddball films that were interesting and offered some alternatives to digital, but they're exactly the films that are vanishing fast.
  39. I am not too worried about film going away myself. From April 1st to June 15th (today) our small lab has processed 1,130,424 sq. inches of E-6 film, 637,488 sq. inches of B&W film and 836,874 sq. inches of color negative film. If that was all 35mm film (which of course it is not) that would be a TON of rolls. I already know of far more then the amount of film we have processed that will need to be processed this summer (which is traditionally slower for us because of clouds).

  40. Kodak announced the closing of the Brazil plant for making color paper about 2 or 3 weeks ago. They stressed that B&W production would still continue.

    They also announced that they will no longer manufacture their own paper support, but would buy it from a German company. The last I heard the switch was not yet finalized, and no one seemed to know if they were going to buy just paper stock, or have the stock made into Baryta and RC coated photo paper by the German company.

    I have not heard anything here about it yet. I expect it will be a headline in tomorrow's newspaper. I missed the evening news, being out most of the afternoon and early evening today. I have been unable to contact anyone to verify anything.

    But then, I don't care. I can make my own emulsion and coat my own paper. As I just said in an e-mail, are you interested? I may just have to teach a course on it.

    Ron Mowrey
  41. My take is that Kodak was closing ther own paper BASE manufacturing line; not the end product of paper base plus sensitive coatings.
  42. Bob, just a question, why do you find it so important that you impress upon us
    that film is dead, I mean, whats up with that. While digital photography shows
    great promise, compared to film, it is a still a young puppy pissing on its leg.
    Lighten up. Many photographers are bummed at the fact we are loosing great
    films and papers and left with a technology we are either unfamiliar with or not
    interested in learning. I just get the feeling you get some type of glee at seeing
    the dismantling of decades of traditional photography.
  43. there is another interesting angle to this too. some have said on similar threads that they were forced to switch to digital because the films they like were no longer made. well. if it is the photographer not the camera, isn't it also the photographer not the film? so far, the only real advantage to digital seems to be speed and convenience. until there is a large body of "great photography" in museums digital is the new kid on the block. if there is only one hard to find type of BW film on the market i can guarantee some people will prefer it and this might be disturbing to some. just look at how the question above was phrased and you will find it quite revealing of Schadenfreude (a German word that means joy in another's misfortune.) this is all rather transparent.
  44. As for Kodak continuing to make B&W and other printing paper via other routes, here's what KODAK have to say about that:
    June 15, 2005 Due to the significant declines in market usage of papers designed for Black-and-White printing, Kodak is discontinuing the manufacture of all KODAK PROFESSIONAL Black & White Papers.
    This announcement has no impact on the production or availability of Kodak's portfolio of Black & White Films and Chemicals for processing Black and White Papers or Films.
    Most of the Black & White Paper products will remain available through the end of 2005 - although depending on demand, some specific formats or products may be exhausted sooner. The paper products affected are:
    KODAK PROFESSIONAL Digital Black & White Paper RC base - For Digital Exposure -Traditional B & W Process,
    KODAK PROFESSIONAL POLYCONTRAST IV RC Paper RC base -For Optical Exposure - Traditional B & W Process
    KODAK PROFESSIONAL V-PRINT Paper RC base -For Optical Exposure - Traditional B & W Process
    KODAK PROFESSIONAL KODABROME II RC Paper RC base -For Optical Exposure - Traditional B & W Process
    KODAK PROFESSIONAL PANALURE Select RC Paper RC base -For Optical Exposure - Traditional B & W Process
    KODAK PROFESSIONAL POLYMAX Fine Art Paper Fiber base - For Optical Exposure - Traditional B & W Process
    KODAK PROFESSIONAL AZO Paper Fiber base - For Optical Exposure - Traditional B & W Process
    KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA Black & White Paper RC base - For Optical and Digital Exposure RA- 4 Process
    KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA Sepia Paper RC base - For Optical and Digital Exposure

    If they'd just drop Kodachrome and E-6, I'd make so much money, I could retire...
  45. Oh.. No.... please don't drop Kodachrome.
  46. Bob, I still think the more mainstream films such as 100UC, 200UC, 400UC, BW400CN, Elite Chrome 100, E100G(X), Tri-X, yes and Ilford Delta products also have their distinctive looks which are far more likely to be preserved than the ISO 25 stuff.

    No one likes to expose film at iso 25. It practically prevents you from shooting a moving subject while that thing is in your camera. The quality difference between iso 25 and iso 100 color or black and negative films, while it may be there, is difficult to transfer on actual prints, and the whole process requires more dedication which just isn't present in the photographers of today (except a few).

    I love to shoot iso 100 films. If they stop producing them I will just throw my F5 and F100 into river Charles or whatever is available to use as a dump. However, other than Kodachrome 25 I never cared about any of their slower stuff, although I have seen superb photographs made on Agfa 25 and Tech Pan. I just think that they were too inconvenient to use. But I am sure a landscape photographer would love to have them around.
  47. Anyway, we can expect that Kodachrome will be discontinued any time now, but that doesn't mean that C-41 film (color or black and white) or E6 don't have life in them. I'd expect some reduction in the variety of E6 films pretty soon. I can't for the life of me understand what is the rationale of producing Elite Chrome 200 and 400.
  48. >>The quality difference between iso 25 and iso 100 color or black and negative films, while it may be there, is difficult to transfer on actual prints, and the whole process requires more dedication which just isn't present in the photographers of today (except a few).

    Not true, IMO.

    I find that the difference between ISO 400 and 100 isn't the difference between making a smooth 11X14 enlargement vs. a smooth 8X10 enlargement in 35 mm. But the difference between ISO 100 and 25 does make the difference.
  49. Which specific films are you talking about?

    I do wish I could try Agfapan 25 and Tech pan 25 now that they are gone. But it never interested me when they were available. This is because they were not practical for the applications which I most shoot.

    Have you guys tried Gigabitfilm (see It is a version of Agfa Ortho (I believe) made into panchromatic by a special process. It is iso 40 and apparently has very, very fine grain and high sharpness. What do you think about it vs. the iso 25 films?

    If we consider that the volumes of these products for Kodak are too small, why not give a small manufacturer a try?
  50. I was referring to Maco ORT 25 and Efke R25.

    Gigabit is nothing more than AgfaPhoto Copex. And, therefore, just as dead...

    Kodak ImageLink film is still available. J&C Photo markets a special developer designed to give it pictorial gradation. Haven't tried it.

    Here's the problem with smaller, non-public companies...

    ...they tend to vanish without a trace.

    At least Kodak gave us 6 months notice before they are to cease production.

    By contrast, Ilford, Forte, and AgfaPhoto all lapsed into bankruptcy with nary a whimper. Few other choices, though, at this stage.

    Incidentally, I was also going to post an inquiry (on regarding a rumor that Mistubishi had discontinued Gekko B&W paper. That was about an hour before the EK statement was released. But in light of circumstances that would be too cruel to post now...
  51. Midevening local news made no mention of this but did note that Kodak stock went up slightly today.

    Ron Mowrey
  52. Ilford and Agfa haven't actually disappeared. Ilford was bought by their management (or that's how I understood it). Agfa's fate is uncertain.

    Anyway, the only thing we can do is watch and see, and use those products which give the best results in those applications which we are interested in. The rest will just take care of itself (supply and demand, right?)
  53. why would start a new forum- Alternative Cameras- (95% film users) if the nails are already nailed into film's coffin? maybe they didn't speak to Bob. pity.
  54. Did anyone besides me find any time to take photos today in between all the handwringing?
  55. jmc


    Eh, no need for handwringing. If Kodak only does digital who cares? There will be enough other companies left who'll do film. Even if Ilford and Agfa will fold (very unlikely) there are quite a few of smaller niche companies that will continue doing film - and there will be more than enough people who know that digital just doesn't cut it.

    Right now, if you go to any museum and look at older b/w prints you simply can't get that kind of quality (richness and tones) digitally. It simply doesn't exist, and if you think digital b/w prints can compete with good standard ones maybe you've never seen an actual master b/w print.
  56. Claudia - much as you'd like to stir up trouble, you will fail.

    The alternative camera forum was partly my idea. There's still a minority interest in film, but it is a very dedicated minority. As long as some sort of film is available in some sort of format there will be some users who will seek it out and use it.

    Of course you knew that. You're just being difficult. It's not becoming, though some think it's becoming annoying.

    The next forum will be for Daguerotypes. Some people think they're dying out, but we know different. I think they're making a comeback.
  57. Sorry Bob...i asked for it several times and then you got on board as willing to moderate an Alternative Camera forum. but the idea came from me and other toy/alternative camera freaks. and for the record, not trying to stir up trouble. just commenting.
  58. Bob, just a question, why do you find it so important that you impress upon us that film is dead
    Why do you lurk in digital forums responding to posts you have no technical clue about, and like most film worshipper, refuse to provide any sensible photographic content? This thread is like most others in the same category in that the digital bashers and film worshippers not only have no frikken clue how to use digital, they can't shoot film either.
    I'm always wondering why Bob has to be so hateful to film users
    Not film users, film bigots who belong in the category I mentioned above whom the moderation staff at likely wish would go elsewhere. The real irony is those of us like myself, Jeff Spire, Bob Atkins and a few others who are actually pretty good with conventional B/W materials *and* digital aren't having spasms over what Kodak does because we've learned not to rely on film to think for us. I'm not speaking for Bob, but I'm guessing we are having the same frustration over the topic. You go play with film and fiddle in your darkroom while the rest of us practice photography and adapt to the changing (and improving) technology.
    so far, the only real advantage to digital seems to be speed and convenience.
    We all know who this alias is, but in reference to that dumb comment I'd like to honor it with the attached upload taken with my 10D. Five minutes in Photoshop and basic levels adjustments in PS and I'm emulating the classic tones of my 6x7 Tri-X/Rodinal pretty damn good. So once again I ask why take seriously a bunch of whiners who blame all their faults on digital and refuse to post supportive uploads?
    When I took my first photo class in college I had it drilled into my skull that classic B/W photography with conventional B/W materials was true 'fine art' and everything else was of lower order, my response at the time being to resist the brain washing as much as possible. With Kodak now killing off conventional B/W materials....hey, I hope the reality check hurts.
  59. For the most part, you can't get those deeper, richer tones from modern film, anyway.

    The old masters shot on v*e*r*y slow emulsions. Those went away many years ago. Can't even find pan-x, or plus-x, anymore. The current 'standard' is tri-x which was known -- in the old days -- for its high grain and lack of detail.
  60. Tri-X sold today is not the same quality film which it was when it was first introduced, it has been gradually improved.
  61. >>Anyway, the only thing we can do is watch and see, and use those products which give the best results in those applications which we are interested in. The rest will just take care of itself (supply and demand, right?)

    I agree 100%. The best course of action is to continue to use the available materials in the manner we normally would.

    As regards to AgfaPhoto - it's true they are in bankruptcy. But German law is designed to protect creditors and their siutation is really closer to what in the USA is referred to as Chapter 11 - liquidation. That doesn't mean that their assets couldn't be purchased by somebody else willing to make a go of it but that seems unlikely in today's market climate.

    Ilford did succeed in a management buyout but to do so they have had to sell most of their plant, property, and equipment and lease it back. It's going to be difficult to make that work long-term.
  62. >>Five minutes in Photoshop and basic levels adjustments in PS and I'm emulating the classic tones of my 6x7 Tri-X/Rodinal pretty damn good.

    Congratulations, then, on satisfying your own unambitious criterion for success. My monitor (Adobe Gamma of 2.2 - if you're curious) suggests you have some way to go still. I've shot 6X6 Tri-X in Rodinal 1:50 and your results suggest a thiocarabamide print gone somewhat awry.
  63. i still think there is an interesting point to be made about this decision. before digital, there were no real distinctions between consumer and other lines of products except the designated "professional" on films and papers. consumers could buy the professional films and professionals could buy consumer was all film. with Kodak apparently dumping photo paper and perhaps film in favor of digital they are in essence pronouncing that the digital medium is a consumer medium. how will serious photographers feel about this designation? how can they differentiate themselves from those at the kiosk printing out their snaps? no wonder some want only one choice of media. as long as film is available and serious photographers choose it over digital there is an (pardon the pun) image problem. we have to look at the psychological issues in these technological revolutions for a complete understanding. film is threatening as long as it is available.
  64. how can they differentiate themselves from those at the kiosk printing out their snaps?
    By producing better images?
    no wonder some want only one choice of media. as long as film is available and serious photographers choose it over digital there is an (pardon the pun) image problem. . . . film is threatening as long as it is available.
    I don't understand. Threatening to whom? The folks printing out the happy snaps from their digicams aren't interested in the particular media involved.
  65. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I've never known a serious photographer who cared about the designation Kodak chooses for products.
  66. excuse me...but another related thought... the title of this post is Still think film is here to stay? the implication is that film is going to go POOF and disappear. what in the history of man has totally disappeared? there is some nut who has something he uses that is a total antique. there is the organization The Society of Creative Anachronisms. and they have people producing armor for them! they joust just like in the days of King Arthur. so if armor can be made, film can be made. this entire thread was started on a false premise. crocodile tears for something that is not going to will continue. and those of us who love it will buy it and use it. i can get and use a digital cam anytime i want to. i may someday have to. but not, yeah, i think film is here to stay.
  67. I don't understand why everyone is making such a big deal about all this, photography is about having fun and and challenging yourself to attain personal goals and not be bogged down by what everyone else thinks. even if you are making money at it, in my experience (unless the photos really are horrible) the only people that end up criticizing something are all of us shutterbugs, not the millions of consumers who honestly could care less. i will continue to shoot black and white film because i have fun with the experience, not with the technicality of all that other crap. many msny more consmers shoot digital because it's fun, it makes you smile. i guess just do what you feel like you have the most fun or get the most enjoyment out of.
  68. what in the history of man has totally disappeared?
    That's a very interesting question, because we don't know the answer, do we? Can you prove there wasn't an Atlantis? I can prove there were entire civilisations that once existed here in the southwest US that we know almost zero about.
    More to the point, of course all of the film equipment and supplies are not going to vanish in a week. But some people believe that chemical photographic technology will endure forever against the technological March of Progress, and this Kodak annoucement is more evidence that it will not. Fifty years from now, if there is one custom lab in Kansas that can still produce chemical prints from celluloid negatives for a hefty fee, that might be fine for the people preparing a Smithsonian exhibit but it will do me little good as a hobbyist. If that is indeed the future, the people that still use film because they believe digital storage is too impermanent will have made an expensive mistake.
  69. "...what in the history of man has totally disappeared?..."

    well, that's not quite the question to ask...the correct question is, in relation to B&W Paper being "PRODUCED", is "what in the history of man is no longer produced?"

    the answer, THANK GOD, is eight track tape! Now, hold on you say. People still use and buy 8-track tapes (yeah, believe it or not), is all old stuff. The difference is, even though 8track is not longer produced, it is of such a nature that you can still use it for it's main purpose, and if you happen to have an 8track recorder (which are also no longer produced) you can re-record something new over the old. But, you can search the 4 corners of the earth and you will not find a 8track producer of the raw product anywhere. 8track could concievably go on forever by re-using old materials.

    Try re-using B&W paper! That's the difference, photographic paper and film is NOT reusable, and when the manufactures stop making it, thats the end. Will there be cottage industries..........who knows........will there be hobbyists who make their own emulsions and what not...........who knows. IF there is, it aint gonna be cheap.

    BTW - anybody want to buy an 8-track recorder and a bunch of blank (but previously used) 8-tracks.........I think I still have them up in the attic somewhere......
  70. i never seen any digital camera that can produce color and skintone that is as good as film, and digital camera always produce washed out image and hot color.

    if you want the best qaulity prints, nothing can beat film
  71. Keith Laban Photography
    Did we need the potentially contentious and inflammatory title to this thread? Perhaps a simple announcement would have sufficed.
  72. John Happy,

    You should actually look at some good digital prints. Most people that complain about digital cameras and their inferior quality are usually just revealing their sloppy digital darkroom techniques and lack of computer skills.
  73. Very good news. Digital printing has just become "gallery archival standard". I hope that in a few years I will be able to buy an affordable 4x5" digital back for my LF. Till then, I will be scanning E6 and C41. Hope that it will drive prices of Lightjet printing down.
  74. "Most people that complain about digital cameras and their inferior quality" may just be the ones that take good photographs in the first place and do not have to spend ages correcting their mistakes.

    Do "Sloppy digital darkroom techniques and lack of computer skills" bar people from having an opinion about the quality of photographic images ? I do not have to know all about the make up of an oil paint to appreciate the works of Turner, Da Vinci et al.

    Reverting back to the starting point - there are so many film cameras out there already and more still being bought (new and second hand) that I find it hard to believe that there will not be a demand for a very long time to come - and where there is a demand there will be a supply.

    It has to be accepted that the product list of films and papers is so vast that a lot is superfluous and would not be missed.The fat days are over for the manufacturers and some of them have responded too slowly to the changes and Kodak seems to be a classic case in point.It is possible that in going from one mindset to another some organisations throw the baby out with the bathwater.
  75. "Do "Sloppy digital darkroom techniques and lack of computer skills" bar people from having an opinion about the quality of photographic images ? I do not have to know all about the make up of an oil paint to appreciate the works of Turner, Da Vinci et al."
    I think you missed the point: that alot (most?) of the complaints you hear about digital have little to do with the capture medium. Post processing skill and aesthetic choices have a far great effect on what an image ultimately looks like.
    I have a bias for film but every day I become less convinced that digital is "bad" and more convinced that the world is filled with people with bad taste.
  76. Lex, you must have "one tame" owl. My guy said, "you can't get the tripod, don't use 'fill' and I'm out of here when that T70 'spasms'". This one really fills the 'wall' when projected. Computer screens 'suck' IMHO.
  77. Even now in 2005 discussions about film vs. digital are one of the longest threads and hottest debates. That means film is still alive. When a discussion about film vs. digital turns into a short thread with a few people stating the obvious choice of digital, then film is really dead in the mainstream.
  78. As we move ahead with mutant consumer technology all around us there will also be a demand for things made by hand, ie. film.
    The difference is that there will be fewer people practicing traditional photography. Of course it is not always impossible to predict the future precisely, but then I don't have shares in it.
    My satisfaction in life comes from doing things for myself and not for others, the fact that others may appreciate what I do is the selling point and the point of Art. I do not like commercial art because it is for consumers who shop in Bloomingdales for fun.

    Ikka: I can still find 120 Tech-Pan here in Ireland, but I have to send it off to U.S. for proccessing in special labs who know how to use Technidol. I hope to get some resluts back sometime.

    Turtles have been around for a very long time as have fountain pens, violins, watercolours, etc. Digital camera's haven't.

  79. For some reasons this topic is always boring and hectic at the same time.

    But it made me (an inexperienced photographer, no DSLR experience) wonder whether an image shot by two neighbouring generations of same-class same-brand DSLRs under the same lighting conditions look the same to the eye, colorwise, leaving the pixelcount effects apart. My immediate presumption is that the pictures are obviously different, but I may be wrong. If I had access to, say a new Canon 1D and a new 1DII (both uncalibrated, out of factory), I'd shot two pictures at same aperture/speed/iso/raw, a unique lens, and then compare the colors. If they are indistinguishable to my eye on a computer screen then I may have many things wrong about stability... just learning...
  80. Like all niche market products - including buggy whips - black and white materials will be made far into the future. Let's look at some "dead" products.

    Tube audio products - still made (including tube cd players).

    Vinyl records - still made.

    Turntables - still made.

    Buggy whips - still made (the ubiquitous canard).

    You may not be able to get your current "favorite" B&W material in the future - I've never found a substitute for Super XX - but I didn't stop making photographs.

    Kodak out of the B&W business - others will fill the niche void. It will take awhile for the market to sort itself out, but products will be available.

    All the while, digital will be getting better so in the future you will have even more imaging choices - fine by me.
  81. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Note from Moderator:
    As is to be expected, we have gone from facts to opinons to personal attacks. Facts and opinions based on experience are welcome on this forum, personal attacks are not. I've wasted a good deal of time editing this thread already and would appreciate not having to continue to do so.
  82. Steve, any pics yet from that new digital Leica? Regards.
  83. Digital Leica...yep, still working with it. I hope to have time this afternoon to try it out in some difficult lighting situations.

    So far I've shot some stuff at ISO 800 to see what kind of noise would show up, but I haven't looked at it. The card in the camera is only 512mb - that's 24 photos in RAW mode, so I've been shooting & just dumping the stuff to a directory on my computer.
  84. Steve your point (above) is well taken, but surely you're not denying that formats of media can, and do, die all the time?

    Also consider this: is the production and processing film closer to the manufacture of buggy whip or a fountain pen, or more akin to Betamax, laserdisc, and 8-track audio?
  85. << Did anyone besides me find any time to take photos today in between all the handwringing? >>

    I did, but it was with a Canon A80. Mostly because it was my first time visiting the place, visited, so I didn't feel like "wasting" film. But I will be heading back with a film camera next week (Polaroid's at that!) :)
  86. This was a very well kept secret at EK up till the last minute. In fact they were assuring everyone that only color would cease production in Brazil and that B&W would continue.

    Today's Rochester Democract and Chronicle has an article, byline Ben Rand, that describes the closing but ironically EK stock went up yesterday just a bit.

    I guess I would have to say I DONT CARE. I use Ilford Multigrade mostly, having found it to be almost identical to Polycontrast. The only difference is that the Ilford product seems to be a bit more pressure sensitive.

    In any event, I'm working on making my own B&W paper, so in the long run it won't matter to me. I've already made a grade 2 contact speed paper and have begun making contact prints.

    As long as I am able to work in my lab, I will never want for B&W materials. Color is the one I'm worried about.

    I agree with James, we are photographers and supposedly have a common interest that can make us friends, not enemies to take jabs at each other. I say that both digital and conventional have weak and strong points. Used appropriately, a good photographer can emphasize the best of either, and used inappropriately, you will see the bad points of either.

    You can look at the bright side. Kodak has given a gift to Ilford. They have handed them a major portion of the B&W paper market.

    Regards to you all.

    Ron Mowrey
  87. Bob, do you honestly believe that with film slowing down, the film industry will NOT alter their business model as demand for film decreases ? Don't you think that the industry is adjusting to decrease demand ? If you don't believe this, then yes film is dead. But in business sense - as long as there is demand.....there is money to be made, thus film will continue.
  88. John: Yeh, I dunno how tame that owl was but it sure liked to pose.

    It was in an enclosure at the Fort Worth Nature Center. Besides having to shoot through a chain link fence, there was a green plastic corrugated roof over the pen. I tried to overpower the unfavorable color problems with flash, and not entirely successfully.

    It was too hot that day for any real wildlife. The buffalo, prairie dogs and almost every bird except for some white egrets were hiding.

    Still, a day taking photographs beats a day arguing about photography.
  89. >You should actually look at some good digital prints. Most people that complain about digital cameras and their inferior quality are usually just revealing their sloppy digital darkroom techniques and lack of computer skills.

    I keep looking up all kinds of magazine that shot with digital camera, and many famous fashion wedding photograhers that use digital camera, they all have poor skintone and look weird when compare to film/slide.

    I do publishing in a small company, so I have seen many digital image that sent to us, none has good skintone, they goes from pink skin, red skin, purple skin, grey skin and green skin, based on the file info, some were even shot with a 1ds, we based these result on cmyk values, so don't blame on mis-calibrated monitor.
  90. I cannot argue . . . definitely film will be king for me. I'm at a point that I adapt to the
    changes instead of whining and going digital. I am so pissed at my digital P&S! 3&4
    second cycle time due to memory & battery issues - at a wedding! Great! I have no
    trouble getting really good, well-timed shots with film! Digital is a different paradigm
    and I'm not there yet. Others can do it and more power to them! Does paper freeze
    well? Hey, Ron, do you teach B&W paper making? Some these concepts of doing it
    yourself will flourish and I would not hesitate supporting it! Long live small
  91. I have a question and a comment for MD:

    Question: Where can I read more about digital printing becoming the "gallery archival standard"? What kind of printing are we talking about? (I'm not trying to be sarcastic. I want to know.)

    Comment: There have been digital backs for view cameras for several years. They are scanning backs suitable only for still life shots in a studio. Most catalog shots are done this way.
  92. "I do publishing in a small company, so I have seen many digital image that
    sent to us, none has good skintone"

    If this is true then you should really start hiring some better photographers.
    The key to the rapid success of digital in the professional market is the fact
    that you have - if you know what you're doing - a staggering amount of control
    over the "look" and color balance of the final image.
  93. 1. Never happened to you that a gallery owner tried to persuade you that a digital print is not archival enough therefore not good enough? Now, with this news it seems to me that digital printing is or will become standard. This is my private opinion. There are still many galleries that would not accept any other print than classical BW print. I think this is going to change now. I think that even digital color prints become more archival than best BW prints. Kodak Endura paper has "color stability" of up 200 years as per Kodak product info.<p>

    2. I said AFFORDABLE LF digital back. One that I can carry with me. I think using 4x5" film is still cheaper.
  94. I have to agree with John that the skin in many published wedding photographs from digital originals does look weird and unnatural. however, I seem to do okay in natural light with my inkjet prints from the D70, so it's probably a problem with the magazine reproduction people learning to process digital originals without a hardcopy color reference.

    I do prefer film (even 35 mm) for people photography, but I realize that digital is improving and it should be fine after a couple of decades of development. :)
  95. Jeff Drew, you would have no problem "getting really good, well-timed shots" with a digital camera either if you used a decent digital camera. Any current generation DSLR from Nikon or Canon will be about as fast as an equivalent film SLR from the same company. As a bonus you won't have to change film every 36 exposures. Get a DSLR and dump the digicam toy.

    I have both a film SLR and a digital SLR and ironically the only kind of film I still shoot is B&W. Shooting digitally in color and convertin to B&W is convenient but has one major disadvantage over B&W film, exposure lattitude. Ilford XP-2 seems to have about 9 stops, way more than any digital camera. The other nice thing about XP-2 is you can scan it easily or print it in wet darkroom on B&W paper just as easily as a conventional B&W film (just not Kodak paper for much longer).

    I am surprised that B&W materials are disappearing faster than color though, I would expect B&W photographers who do their own printing to be the last people to switch to digital. OTOH color film is a PITA. If you shoot slide you need a different film for each type of lighting and you have the same narrow exposure lattitude as digital without the histogram. If you shoot color negative, chances are you will have to get someone else to process and print it. That will either be expensive or the colors will be wrong.

    I guess sales of color negative film are being propped up by the sale of disposable cameras and color paper will still be widely used in those digital minilab machines for some time.
  96. Jeff -- I feel your pain as regards poor performance of digital cameras. I have found that a
    digital SLR is more responsive than smaller digital cameras. Give one a try before you
    write off digital entirely.

    To the person who pointed out that Kodak's stock went up -- yup, Wall Street sure does
    love layoffs. Blecch.

    I really hope that Ilford and others are able to take up the slack. Inkjet may or may not be
    as good as traditional wet prints, but it's *different*, and it's better to have more options
    than fewer.
  97. You don't really need to have a different E6 film for each lighting condition as much as you used to in the past. For example, E100GX and Elite 100 handle people photography in the outdoors very well, and they also do fit architecture well. If it's really sunny then I tend to lean towards the Elite and if it's cloudy or shady then the GX. Two films for different light isn't that bad. But what you get is the option of punching up the colours with Velvia or VS, and so on. If your contrast range is high, you can use color negative or C-41 black and white negative film which handles extreme contrast well.

    In the past, the films were such that you *had to* apply filtration in sunlight or cloudy, the sensitivity to this was stronger than with today's films IMHO. Of course, you can still apply filters, but it does take a bit of time. What is nice is that slides take almost no space at all to store, and you can project them or scan them for prints, and modern iso 100 slide films scan with much less grain than negative films do. And there is so much emotion and "being there" with a projected slide, it's hard to replicate the feeling with other methods.
  98. Like most serious photographers these days I am straddling the film / digital divide, trying
    to cobble together cost-effective solutions that work for a variety of situations. Also like
    others here, I
    have found the squabbling between digital and film zealots tiresome and unhelpful.

    As to the original question: who can say? Seems logical that for the mass consumer, digital
    would supplant color film / transparencies before it would kill B&W, which is more often
    the preserve
    of the afficionados. Is most color film sold to folks taking vacation snaps? I don't know,
    but if so then it'll be toast in the mass market in five to ten years as digital cameras
    continue to get cheaper and better; they are now more than good enough for snaps as we
    all know.

    I'd love to be able to afford a MF digital back for my Contax 645, but until then I'll
    continue using TMax 100, HP5, and TriX, and seque to the next one remaining if/when
    those are discontinued. I have lately started using T400CN and XP2 with good results, so
    maybe that'll hold me for a while. Don't see myself stockpiling Tri-X out in the root cellar
    like some crazed film survivalist. Part of my enjoyment in photography is sort of a
    McGuyver thing (go ask your parents :) )--try to take what is available and learn to get the
    best possible results from it. I enjoy the challenge.

    While the toned digital image of a leaf someone posted here is good in its own right, I also
    like that certain texture, feel, and presence that I see in scanned B&W film, and which I
    have not seen convincingly emulated in the digital realm. If someone can direct me to the
    means by which it CAN be done, I'd love to have that information.

    Just my opinion. I guess, in keeping with the spirit of this thread towards the end, I should
    call someone a name or throw a pie or something! :)

    Mike Sebastian
  99. the problem with most of the digital/film arguments around here is that everyones opinion is based on their own standards (and abilities) of quality.

    I've noticed that the "loudest" usually corresponds with the lowest quality.
  100. oh yeah, here are my "supportive uploads"...
  101. and this...
  102. I think if you look at the following link, you'll get an idea of where digital printing is today in the proper hands. When roaming around this website, if there is no obvious menu selection, just click on the lens.
  103. Looks like Agfa is in fact still alive and kicking - so where does that take us ?
  104. had very good scans...what scanner was used ?? Thanks
  105. Peter,
    thanks for the comments,
    imacon flextight precision 3

  106. I can't help feeling that the more appropriate title for the thread is "still think Kodak is here to stay?". Slash and burn is not a business strategy. No reason why they shouldn't follow Polaroid into oblivion, leaving film to Fuji, Ilford et. al., DSLRs to Canon, Nikon and ANO, the digicam market to whoever else survives, and ditto for sensors. Let's hope that they manage to sell their intellectual property to those who can make better business use of it.

    Imaging markets are in turmoil (both digital and film based), and there will be more casualties to come on all sides.
  107. Kodak cannot do everything competitively. Before, it had parts which were so profitable that they could do things which don't make money. Now the situation has changed and they (like every other company in the field) have to find specific areas where they can do well.
  108. f_p


    If film leaves....then So will I.
  109. Does anyone know where film is actually going to? Maybe we could all just go there with it?
  111. Russ, looks like those Kodak films are still here...

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