What is the future of 4x5 film photography?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by markus_albertz, Feb 19, 2003.

  1. Hi all,

    I am very interested in what some of the advanced 4x5 amtateurs or
    professionals think about the future of 4x5 film. I dare to
    consider myself something like an advanced amateur and have recently
    invested into a 4x5 field camera outfit. My primary interest is
    fine art landscape photography (have done 35mm mostly). I am aware
    that digital backs for 4x5 view camera cost really big bucks, so
    this is certainly no alternative to film anytime soon for me.
    However, I wonder what the lab support (film processing,
    availability of chemicals for personal darkrooms) will look in say
    ten years from now. I guess it is hard to tell how this will
    project into the future, but I am curious to hear what the LF folks
    think that have been around in this area much longer than myself.
    Thank you very much for your thoughts on this...Markus
     
  2. Markus- I get this question a fair amount in the classes I teach
    at my local community college. I feel like this: It'll be what we
    decide to make it. By that I mean that Kodak, Ilford, Agfa etc. will
    always have film ends, and there will always be LF shooters who
    value this enough, that someone will step up to the plate and
    become an outlet for odd sized films. Take Michael Smith as an
    example. Kodak says they're done with AZO and Michael loved
    this product enough to buy enough to fill Kodak's minimum to
    keep producing it. Now he's the distributor and I suspect has
    generated more interest then Kodak ever did. A win-win . I hope
    that the same thing happens to LF films when the need arises.
     
  3. Markus,
    You raise some very good questions. I can understand your concern. My feelings are that it will be far longer then your and my lifetime before film ceases to be used. In fact quite the opposite seems to be occuring with many of the older alternative means of photography seeing a greater then ever resurgence. I am speaking of Carbon, Albumen, Platinum-Paladium, Salt prints, Cyanotypes etc. These means of printing seem to benefit the most directly and, I might add, most inexpensively from negatives which are generated in camera and on photographic film. The availability of chemistry will be an necessary supplement to the use of film. In fact, I have within the past year turned to mixing my chemicals insofar as developers, stop bath, and fixer from the raw materials. There is an enjoyable increase in satisfaction, for me, in the return to what once was the norm. While I do not have a crystal ball, those are my honest feelings. Good luck to you in your photography.

    Best regards,

    Donald Miller
     
  4. Markus,

    You will probably get many different points of view on this. I was where you are about a year and a half ago, and decided at that time the future for 4x5 wouldn't go black any time soon. By soon, I mean 10 or more years. I think film, processing and chemicals will be available for at least that amount of time, but predicting the future is anybody’s guess. The degree of uncertainty did not stop me from buying my system and learning the format.

    Welcome to LF, and enjoy the ride, make some photos, and don't worry about film going away anytime soon.
     
  5. Hi Markus. Wait....let me look in my crystal ball. Serioiusly I work in a film dependent job. I have a walk in freezer with $100,000+ worth of Kodak High Speed Ektachrome 35mm/ 1200 ft rolls. I have been poo pooing digital right along until they made that movie the other day. Star Wars. The one that never saw an ounce of film from inception to theater playback. I consider that a wake-up call. If the movie industry follows that path rapidly I predict Kodak will abandon all film at some point. Even in the quantities I use I'm like a fly speck on the Titanic compared to the movie industry. I don't think LF film will evaporate overnight, but I'll tell you what. I've got a little over 1000' of 5" aerial recon roll film in the deep freeze so that I can pursue my passion at least until I'm 88. I'm also collecting glass plate holders in the ULF sizes so that when that day comes, I can turn the clock back to 1865 and coat my own. Every one will say I'm a nut case but we'll see in 20 years. The real truth is that as long as there's a market somebody somewhere will make the stuff. (More parts available for Model A Fords now than 50 years ago) The Eastern Europe mfrs like Efke are examples of that. Color? Another story. And perhaps rightfully so. The computer is the logical place for color.
     
  6. Like the others have stated, it's hard to say and to a large extent up to us. I would guess at some point film will move into a small, non-mainstream market and if enough of us continue to use it and make it profitable someone will fill the need. I don't have anything against digital, but I rather not drag a bunch of electronics into the woods. I work with electronics and computers all day at work. So photography is a way to get away from that to some extent. I do think the printing that's being done now like Lightjet is pretty sweet, but as to shooting I like the simplicity of shooting film.
     
  7. cxc

    cxc

    I also have a horizon of about 10 years, within which I hope that LF can be done without massive inconvenience, if at all. I can easily imagine sheet film drying up more or less instantly, due to any number of financial reasons, some unrelated to photography proper.

    My reaction was to immediately buy a 4x5 setup, and now I have an 8x10 in the mail. Now's the time to do LF, for tomorrow it may die.

    Sorry to be so negative, but I always look at the worst-case scenario, it's my software background...

    CXC
     
  8. I do mostly B&W. All of what I do is for myself so I need to please no one else. Easier that way.

    1) Chemicals? I can get most of what I need from non-photographic places. The only thing that worries me is metol. Awhile back I checked out the info given out by a chemical company on thier chemicals. The photo grade was the least pure they sell. So chemicals don't worry me.

    2) Film and paper last a long time. Worse case fill the darkroom fridge. Buy an extra freezer.


    I'm more worried about equipment but worse case I'll stock up on things like enlarger bulbs. My 4x5 camera is old. Some of my lenses even older. If I don't drop the lenses they'll keep working just fine. Worse case I go to the trouble of building my own camera to mount that lens. Not impossible in the LF world.

    IMHO worst case you'll be buying paper,film etc from art shops. Learn to do all you can yourself. Figure out ways to do things in non-standard ways. Look for sources that aren't really aimed at photographers.
     
  9. Think about it like this. Weigh a piece of 4x5 film. Now, weigh a 4x5 digital scanning back (include everything you need to take a picture, just like film). The 20 lb. difference is what's going to keep landscape people using film.

    It's not an argument about resolution, or dynamic range, or capture speed - it's about what do you have to pack into the woods. It's going to be a really long time before digital capture can deliver the information from my 4x5 negative, for the same weight.
     
  10. B & W, I don't see that going away anytime soon. B & W materials aren't that complicated. A smaller company could make B & W for the diehards and there's enough obsessives around that someone would make materials to use. Color is a bit more involved I could see it going bye-bye overnight.
     
  11. Markus, If the big boys find that film isn't turning a profit, they'll no doubt quit making it. With more and more commercial photography being digital that is likely. LF pretty much rides on the coattails of high volume users(advertising, medical x-rays, aerial outfits, military). As long as we're buying sheet film there remains a viable market, and someone will step in to fill the demand...OTOH, look at whats available now! Bergger, Efke, Foma, Forte, Fuji, Ilford, Kodak, Agfa, and who knows what else is out there? If LF is truly playing it's swan song I think the ranks of manufacturers would have started thinning out by now. Perhaps we'll be more limited as to whats available in sizes and emulsions, and the cost will probably go up, but LF will still be around. As Jim Galli pointed out, we can always go back to coating glass plates if need be. Roll with the punches and enjoy your photography! Digital will only make "traditional" photography a more rare and, I hope, more appreciated art form. Consider that the MOOG synthesizer hasn't, as far as I know, put any Philharmonic Orchestras out of business.-------------Cheers!
     
  12. Sure, stuff gets discontinued, but right now LF is a growing area. There are more new LF cameras out than there have ever been. Schneider is designing new lenses for LF. The guys at the B&H film counter seem to be remarking that sheet film and Polaroid sales are increasing. Quickload and Readyload have added convenience for users without a darkroom. Ultra-Large format is seeing a resurgence. For those who need and can afford high-end digital, it is there and fits on the back of a camera that can also shoot film, just as sheet film can fit into a glass plate holder with a film insert.

    I've got my 11x14" negs hanging on the line, and I'm not worried.
     
  13. Regarding the personal darkrooms, I agree with the earlier posters that black and white will be around for years to come. As far as color is concerned, paper and chemicals for printing from negatives (RA-4 or equivalent) will continue to be available for quite a few years because of the commercial processing for the many 35mm and disposable cameras in use. My understanding is that the Fuji Frontier processors scan slides and use that digital information to control lasers that expose their RA-4 compatible paper. This is another reason that color negative printing will continue. Kodak has discontinued the R-3000 chemistry which was used for direct reversal printing of slides. I have been unable to find any of the R-3000 equivalent chemistry being currently manufactured. (The minimum size for the R-3 is 12.5 gallons and it requires a re-exposure to light for the reversal.) At least for now, if you want to make a print directly from a slide the only process that I am aware of is Ilfochrome.
     
  14. Well, I shoot color transparency, and I agree that I am more endangered than B&W shooters. On the other hand, you can still buy 5x7 film pretty readily, so clearly small markets can hold on. Given that I print digitally, as long as I have one good transparency film available I am OK. I don't forsee any problems, other than rising costs for the next 5 years, and I believe that 10 years from now, there will be at least one color film still available in sheets. Before that, I will be shopping for a 25-40 MP digital system. It won't be LF, I suspect the sensor will be no larger than the current high end Sinar and Fuji sensors, about 40x50mm, so I will need a very different camera and lenses. But it will be small and light and won't consume any more of my retirement funds than my 403B has in the last year.
     
  15. According to an article I just read, Kodak noted that film sales
    were down 3% last year and they expect a further reduction of
    5% this year. I think the only thing you will find is film getting
    more expensive as sales turn down. Now I wonder what Kodak
    is going to do with those old coating machines?
     
  16. Kodak sales for disposable cameras and film were down 9% for January alone... Analysts and research groups are reporting Kodak as a take over target.... so M&A may be beginning... it is a matter of which companies are left standing at the end of the day... Yikes I have only been photographing for 6 weeks and soon it will be time to hoard Tri-X... which incidentally I had only been using for 2 weeks before I found out it was the OLD Tri-X
     
  17. Thought provoking question.

    Personally, I separate the LF issue from the film question. I think there will always be demand for a camera with tilts/swings and superior (LF-like) resolution. If you accept this then the question becomes will we get a reasonable LF digital back before the reduced volume causes the price of film to rise prohibitively?

    Personally, I’d love to see a 4x5 or even an 8x10 digital back. It would be a lot easier to skip the scan. But the technology has a long-long way to go before we get to an affordable 4x5 digital back. As I see it, the best digital technology today at several thousands of dollars is not yet as good as the resolution of a $500 35mm set up. I don’t even know where the physical limits are to improving the technology but if you project a 2x improvement in density every 2 years and (less frequently) an improvement in sensor size... Do the math. How long will it take before we have a back with 15 x the area of today’s state of the art sensor? In 8 years we get 16 times today’s density but the sensor size has to grow too. Then there are the weight and battery factors. I think the manufacturing limits for this and the market size are going to make this an unprofitable endeavor for a long while.

    So will there be sufficient demand to support LF film manufacturing and processing? Yes. I think that the most likely scenario is that the price of film and processing will go up—but film won’t go away. I sure hope that’s the worst-case.
     
  18. Unlike Bill, I don't think that (at least for color) you can separate the future of film from the future of LF.

    Single shot digital backs are NEVER going to be 4x5 inches. There is absolutely no need to make them that large to achieve the equivalent quality of 4x5 film. Pro's are already using both 6MP and 11MP 35mm digital sensors to replace MF film. I have seen stunning enlargements up to 20x24. While the finest detail of MF isn't there, the smooth tonal scales and lack of grain actually look equal to or better to the eye than equivalent MF. Sure, there will be scanning backs that image 3x4 inches or so, but single shot, portable digital sensors aren't going to need to get bigger than 6x4.5 cm or so. They don't need to be bigger and nobody could afford them anyway. Fuji is already developing a 4x5cm imager that will produce about 5Kx7K output pixels. That will make a stunning 20x24" print on a LightJet. At the present, half of those pixels are interpolated, but in a year or two there will be 40M real pixels and 80M interpolated. At that point, 4x5 color film becomes dispensable.

    I DO suspect that LF, and ULF will continue in B&W where small runs of film are possible by small companies, but in a decade, I can't see where there will be any significant demand, outside of nature/landscape photography, for color sheet film. At that point, supply and diversity will shrink rapidly as prices climb.

    The digital color landscape camera of 2015 won't be 4x5, but probably something along the lines of the late Hasselblad ArcBody or Silvestri cameras. Digital lenses from Schneider and Rodenstock, some movements. But with the much shorter focal length lenses, use of tilt will become much less important with wide angle lenses, as some signifcant DOF will be available.
     
  19. This pertains to film in general, not just 4x5 but I thought it was intresting. It is a snip from another forum .....
    "Strange, but I've met many students raised with digital cameras and Photoshop that switch to film SLRs in college. It appears they've had enough of computers and electronics and enjoy getting their hands "wet" in the darkroom. I've also noticed a similar trend among workers stuck on a computer all day at work. It's nice to have a hobby--photography--away from the dad burn computer screen. Thus, they'll keep buying film cameras too."
     
  20. I can agree with Dan's response. I've had to delve into
    computers, (2 systems), software ( don't get me started) and
    html, and it is at the point that that I am totally tired of it. I feel like
    I'm doing more computer work and less real photography. If only
    I had the funds for someone to do it for me. What I find is that
    there is no anticipation factor in the digital end of things like
    there is in traditional photography which seems more enjoyable.
    Has digital photography turnd you off as well?
     
  21. "The guys at the B&H film counter seem to be remarking that sheet film and Polaroid sales are increasing."

    I don't doubt that they're taking sales from other shops. B&H is simply prospering in the global marketplace. (And bully for them.)

    But there's no evidence that overall sales of film are up, let alone that existing LF users are shooting more.
     
  22. If you shoot color neg or chrome you will find, or maybe starting to find that pro labs are either closing down, limiting operating hours, or simply selling their Refremas, Hopes, or whatever line they have running. It will become like Kodachrome, where you will have to ship your film to one of the remaining processors. How soon? Who knows, but it will happen.
     
  23. Well, both US and UK Ilford people have responded in this forum before, so what about it guys? If it's not a commercial secret, how are sales of LF B&W film holding up these days?

    Cheers,
     
  24. The PC made my typewriter obsolete. The Global Positioning System made my sextant obsolete. Digital will make my Nikon F/N80 obsolete within, at most, a couple of years. I spoke with someone at Really Right Stuff yesterday who told me that they won't be making an L quick release plate for the Nikon 80 because they have to concentrate on "the rapid move to digital". For medium and large format, it's just a matter of time, and I suspect less time than many people would like to think.
     
  25. I think there is definitely a digital backlash already building. People are getting sick of spending their lives on their butts in front of the puter. Now puter advances could obviate this by automating much of what is done on the puter ... editing ... but when you go out for a weekend and take 500 shots as opposed to say six or eight rolls and the digital shooter is faced with hours and hours of downloading/uploading, manipulating etc while the film shooter can edit an entire roll of slides on a light table in a few minutes ... I think there will always be a lot of people who stick with film.

    Now whether or not that's going to keep Kodak afloat? Who knows?

    The other factor is the retirement years of the Baby Boom generation. I think the hobbyist and fine-art section of the photography world will be cooking along at a good clip for the next twenty years. Still this may not be enough action to keep all the film manufacturers up and running.

    I don't think film will ever go away for the same reasons that oil painting, saxaphones and theater performances will never go away. Do we actually think that animation will fully replace the Katherine Zeta Joneses and Mel Gibsons of cinema? It WILL be expensive though.
     
  26. "I think there is definitely a digital backlash"

    I think the marketplace clearly suggests the reverse.
     
  27. "I think the marketplace clearly suggests the reverse."

    I think the real world suggests you're wrong.
     
  28. This has been a very interesting read for me - I'm looking to move to an ultra lightweight 4x5 system for backpacking - landscape - B&W mainly although I expect to shoot some colour as well.

    I think there are two markets for 4x5 film - those who do it as a business and are always looking at "the bottom line" and those who do it purely becuase they enjoy the mechanical process of chemical photography.

    Not saying pro's are all about the bottom line - but if it can be done faster and cheaper with digital I fully expect them to jump - it simply makes good business sense.

    As an IT proffessional the last thing I want to do is fiddle with a digital camera , batteries and adapters. So I pretty much will be staying with chemicals. There is something wonderfuly tactile about dealing with chemicals and film and enlargers after dealing with computers all day. It feels more to me like an art and a craft when it's a manual chemical based process.
     
  29. Sales in the marketplace accurately the real world, Robert.
     
  30. Did Kodak note that all film sales were down, or their film sales? To me this makes a big difference. I think LF is doing better than it was just a few years ago when I got into it, Bergger is a good example of this. I'm sure 35mm film sales have plummeted, but I just find it hard to believe that sheet film sales are declining as well. Yes, Kodak may stop making film, but I think there are other manufacturers that have and will fill that void.

    Someone else raised the point that there are other professions that use film, medical radiology comes to mind. And, until there are tools out there that replace a good old chest x-ray, I can't see film manufacturing completely going away.

    I suspect color is in much more jeopardy that B&W.

    It will be interesting to see what happens, but I am enjoying it now and have no intentions of giving it up any time soon.


    -Jen
     
  31. "Did Kodak note that all film sales were down, or their film sales?"

    Benjamin A. Reitzes, imaging technology analyst at the Union Bank of Switzerland was interviewed by the NY Times for an article three weeks ago. He said, "Film demand peaked in early 1999."
     
  32. LF sheet film will be around for a long time. Digital marketing hype, notwithstanding.

    For me, digital is good for only one thing: crappy instant snapshots.

    At some big photo show at Helix, some digital salesman (with about 6 months experience in photography) bragged and showed me their digital output. Took me about all of 1/2 second to point out the jaggies and digital artifacts. His response ignored the faults completely "Ya, but all the pro's are going digital and leasing because it pays for itself!"

    If you shoot film, you can always have a great shot drum scanned and made into a picture. That seems to be the best way to get any digital results that I've seen.

    At least you'll have the neg or slide to project or make darkroom prints too, if you are inclined that way too.

    My .02cents.
     
  33. Wayne said 'Now I wonder what Kodak is going to do with those old coating machines?' What is also interesting is what may be happening with the NEW coating machines.... The AMICAL (Association of Industrial Metalizers Coaters & Laminators) has a interesting little press release by Kodak in relation to it's formation of it's Global Manufacturing Services Unit, that seeks to take advantage of the company's manufacturing expertise to produce a variety of coated materials and chemicals for others on a contract basis. These 'others' are emerging industries and don't appear to be 'photographic film' based. Kodak's sales stats are on it's web site in the on line Annual Report.
     
  34. The history of photography is littered with processes that were rendered obsolete new processes that were more efficient/cheaper. The new processes relegated the virtues of their predecessors to the dustbin but also opened up new possibilities of their own. Why should film be any different?
     
  35. For me, digital is good for only one thing: crappy instant snapshots.

    Roger,

    Digital capture and file processing is as sensitive to proper methodology and technique just like film. Perhaps you were shown some poor examples. Have you ever seen quality light jet prints made from a Betterlight scan back or a Phase One H20 single capture back? The increased dynamic range these backs have, when used with proper raw file processing, produce an image that can exceed films characteristics. They can be indisinguishable from a 4x5 chrome that was drum scanned. I cannot say better because that is subjective.
     
  36. “The Global Positioning System made my sextant obsolete”

    Silly statement.

    When I was in the Army, I set up land navigation courses for field testing. I can still navigate by compass and topo map today. No need for satellites or batteries. Did GPS make my orienteering skills obsolete? NO. And I doubt many relying on GPS could cope as well as I if they lost their precious batteries or satellite links. This is not a good analogy to the current changes taking place in film/digital.
     
  37. I'm very new to LF. I just printed my first 16x20 from my second outing with my 4x5 camera. I am absolutely in love with it. I will be doing my part for film sales for a long time.

    I think one of the biggest reasons for me that I didn't get into it before, was that I didn't have anyone to give guidance to me. I lucked into a class that a local photographer taught and he has turned out to be a great mentor. He has been willing to answer many questions for me and show me very generously what he knows. I think it is people like him who will be the key to sustaining film and large format photography. I don't think I would have had the nerve to try it without his help.

    As far as digital, my mentor has clients who when offered a choice, generally prefer film. There are still a lot of people who haven't seen good enough quality in digital to want that in his business. For me, I just think it is sad that the digital users that I see seem to substitute quantity photography for fewer shots, but ones that are well thought out. They also are very willing to delete shots pretty quickly that may end up being important to someone in the future. I recall that the famous "beret" picture of Monica Lewinsky w/Pres. Clinton was taken by a film photographer. He said that everyone else there was shooting digital and had deleted the images as unimportant. When she became newsworthy, he was able to look through his negs. and find the shot that then became very well known.
     
  38. Jonathan,

    Don't take my comment so seriously. I'd be the first to say that mastering the use of a sextant gives one a sense of accomplishment in a way that pushing a button on a GPS unit does not. But the sextant is in fact a perfect example of a technology that was overtaken, in the space of about five years, by something new. Lots of people fought the transition. They defended the history and craft of navigation by the stars and astronomical tables. They said "What will happen if the satellites go on the blink or if your GPS unit fails?". In the end, those arguments crumbled before the reality, which is that you can buy a GPS unit and a few backups for the price of a sextant, and you can get precise navigational information at the push of a button. When I hear people talk about film and digital, I am indeed reminded of the great sextant v. GPS debate that took place between sailors, and I think that for many people concepts of tradition, etc. are indeed at the heart of the debate. My prediction, for what it is worth, is that tradition will be overtaken.
     
  39. From the Kodak Web site.

    "Worldwide consumer film sales to dealers (including 35mm film, Advantix film, One-time-use Cameras) in the fourth quarter increased 1%, reflecting a 3%volume increases, negative 4% price/mix, and a 2 %favorable exchange. U.S. film sales to dealers decreased 5%, as a result of 1% volume declines, and negative 4%price/mix. Outside the U.S., film sales to dealers increased 7% with 5% volume increases.
     
  40. Jennifer states:

    "I suspect color is in much more jeopardy that B&W."

    I think this may be true. Only a few companies know how to make quality color films. Once these companies have decided that it is not cost effective the "secrets" of making these films will probably be lost.

    B&W is much easier, there are more companies making B&W films, and the "secrets" are not as deep.

    Ken
     
  41. PC sales down or flat for four straight years.

    Every survey showing PC and internet use down.

    On going stories about helpless computers being attacked by baseball bats.

    Anybody who doesn't believe that a digital backlash exists needs to get away from the glow of thier monitor and talk to people. Who is the last person you heard say they wanted to spend more time with thier computer?

    Oh and I suggest people actually spend a few minutes reading the statements put out by companies like Kodak. Makes the claim of soaring digital sales and falling film sales seem at best marketing hype. Don't look at dollar amounts look at the number of square feet of film shipped. Need I also mention that the travel industry is a lit slow lately? That the worldwide economy isn't too great?
     
  42. Digital Backlash. I've never heard it before and it sort of just appeared on my keyboard. Maybe I heard it somewhere and just didn't remember.

    I love making images. Especially color images. I like to talk to people on my computer. I do not like to do long laborious technical tasks on my computer. I like to look at my images hanging on my walls and might actually try and sell them someday. If it's financially feasible I will pay someone to do the puter stuff as I don't want to invest the time to learn it. I can sharpen and clone and resize and a couple other things in PS and I really don't care to do much more. If I come up with half a dozen great images a year I will be more than happy. For this I'm going to invest two hundred hours or so of study to master PS? Don't think so.

    When I'm plugging quickloads as fast as I can into the back of my camera and praying what my eyes see can somehow make it onto my film ... I'm happy. I'm at the lab next morning first thing and I get back there exactly two hours later so I can get em on the light table asap. I'm even happier then. I've got my first image I think worth printing and when it goes up on the wall I will stare at it for hours. I will be happy then too.

    I'm not trading all this in for the heartburn of trying to figure out how to do it on a computer screen. When I get the REAL keeper it's going for a drum scan. I'll let the professionals do all that stuff.

    I've followed what Alain Briot has gone through figuring out how to make his Epson 9600 pay off. NO THANKS.
     
  43. Dear friends

    If film was invented after the digital, then every body would rush to film.


    20 years ago when I bought my first 35 mm film camera, one of the first moviecams if you will know, every body told me I was a moron because high definition Video would run over film.
    Film is still actual and although the most of the post production is done digital the origination is still film negative and after the post production they go back too film.

    The problem with electronically generated image material is the time it will last.
    There is still good film material and photo material available off the first world war.
    But the British have most of the Falkland war filmed on video and there is not much left any more of that material. Not only due the deterioration off the magnetic signals recorded but all so due the evolution of the hardware.

    Who off us have still a computer that can read 7” an 5” floppy disks?

    I have at my home the family photo archive. The oldest dated from 1885 there are some Daguerreotypes some auto chromes and over the 5000 glass plates of different formats.
    All that material is in very good condition.
    Now before you panic, answer this question: Would a digital picture that you take to day still be there for the next generations?

    As for the supply off film material. The major companies will still produce film in different formats the next 10 years. If they stop because they find it no more profitable, smaller players on that market are too willing too take over.
    For example Berger is producing very nice black and white film in the most exotic formats you can imagine.
    Actually I don’t know any small company that produce color film negatives or reversal. But I am sure that as soon the big giant drop the production of color film the smaller players will jump in the gap. The consequence probably will be that there will be more different brands and film types than ever.
    An other consolation is that although I am photographing 48 years there was never so much LF film and equipment available than too day.

    So LF as never been so lively than too day.

    So don’t worry and buy that camera, Your grandson will take still photographs with it as we all will be at the eternal darkroom.

    Francis Verbeeck
     
  44. "PC sales down or flat for four straight years."

    Incorrect:

    http://news.com.com/2100-1001-984863.html

    "Every survey showing PC and internet use down."

    Not accoriding to a quick search:

    http://www.centredaily.com/mld/dailytimes/2003/01/05/business/4879147.htm

    http://www.ethoseurope.org/ethos/lit1.nsf/738e36a82abcd3e1802567b3004de520/8a8df60165029f8c8025681200591ca7?OpenDocument

    If you have evidence to prove your assertion, please provide it.

    You may feel that there is a 'digital backlash' but the evidence is lacking.
     
  45. I wouldn"t fear going into LF , it is a rewarding format and hobby, I have been doing camera repairs since 1965 and the only fear is that some chemicals will be regulated to death. As far as equipment goes the old stuff keep going, just cla and keep a camera boneyard for parts, or better yet get repair manuals, I got started by buying broken cameras and selling, just in case I broke something, also I got many of the Ed Romney books on camera repair. I just got fed up with how short of a time my printer lasted, I went to push the cardridge lock down and the whole transport broke off,,so much for plastic..."Also check up on the permanence of ink jet prints..I have some 16mm movies I shot and they look as good as the day I shot them. So in summary get the gear you want and stock up on paper film and chemicals and you will be doing fine...Good Luck ..Don
     

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