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The ongoing mystery: how long will 35mm film be available?


s._usary
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<p>I realize this question has been asked repeatedly over the last several years, but opinions seem to change by the month and I haven't checked this out in a good while. What are current, informed opinions or facts as to how long 35mm reversal/slide film will be available? I have a mint Nikon F100 as well as a Nikon P7000 as my digital, so I would like for obvious reasons to think that E-6 emulsions will be available for the F100 for years to come. Thanks for any responses, Shane Usary.</p>
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<p>You need to stop worrying about it. Anyone who says that they know is either delusional, lying, or has an overly inflated self of self worth. We can all guess, but that's all it is...a guess. The major companies will deny that they will discontinue a product until the day they announce it, so I just use my film until I can't get it anymore. Once I can't get it anymore, I will adapt.</p>
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<p>Well since Kodak's venture in China failed, and the chinese bypassed large-scale use of film technology.....<br>

And since Hollywood and Bollywood and Hollyweird as well is moving whole-scale to digital media at this very moment (even full featured movies now shot with Canon Digital SLR's as I understand), the movie undustry demand for kilometres of film have vanished.<br>

This has been a backbone for amateur film for many years and was the sole source for 35mm film at the very beginning.<br>

Now as this market vanishes, we better prepare for film to go the way the dinosaurs went, or pay premium prices for the privilege!<br>

Unbelieveable? Not really I have several friends that worked as radio officers in our merchant navy, and made a good living. Today there are nearly no "sparks" anymore, and everyone and his grandmother expect to use their cellular phone in the middle of the ocean, a phone btw that also doubles as a radio, TV-set, walkman AND a camera!</p>

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<p>I used to worry about this but now I just dont for the following reasons, If the many manufacturers of film keep packing in, there will one day be only one or two left. Those one or two companies will have so much work on keeping up with demand making the entire film needs for the whole planet I am fairly sure they would be making nore money than ever they are now.<br>

I understand one can still buy oil paints, parchment, fountain pens and vinyl records. Even now, with the advent of photography, paper, ball point pens and cds.<br>

My mate uses 4 star petrol (very leaded) in one of his bikes, I use monograde non synthetic oil in mine. No problem getting either.</p>

<p>Of course, as we all know, the best way to keep film in production is buy some of it.</p>

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<p>Kodak made glass plates until at least 1999 (B&H listed Tmax 100 4x5 plates), and you can still get them through some European manufacturers. Kodak or Fuji might stop making film (or sell off their film divisions), but I feel comfortable saying that film will be available for the rest of your lifetime at least, through Ilford, Ferrania, Agfa, Maco, etc.</p>
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<p>There are no facts, just opinions.</p>

 

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<p>And since Hollywood and Bollywood and Hollyweird as well is moving whole-scale to digital media at this very moment (even full featured movies now shot with Canon Digital SLR's as I understand), the movie undustry demand for kilometres of film have vanished.</p>

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<p>I don't think so. A few big name directors have stated that they will not use digital capture and in any case, it's not the initial shooting that uses lots of film, it's the copies made for distribution.<br>

The Red camera is the digital movie camera of choice for some, not a Canon DSLR.</p>

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<p>On a small scale, B&W film has been, and can again be a cottage industry. As long as there is some demand, I think it will be made somewhere in the world.</p>

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<p>Luis G has it.</p>

<p>Just as already today, former Second World producers, especially, will continue to make film so long as there is even a niche market for it. They can survive without the economies of scale necessary for the larger, still-going producers.</p>

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<p>Ilford is not dependent on the movie industry for scale. Kodak very definitely is. Fuji is to some degree as well.<br>

Every 3-D movie is another movie with no release prints. That's pummeling Kodak's volume. The ECN negative film for a movie is maybe one master roll. The ECP release prints for one film are many master rolls, many times more than the camera film. Master rolls only make about 50 4000 foot reels of film, a print is several of those reels.<br>

I suspect the next "major event" will be the end of E-6 film from Kodak. They'll probably punt before Fuji, since Fuji has the market share lead there. But the continuing demise of E-6 labs will eventually force Fuji's hand.<br>

I have no idea if Ilford could start making color film if Kodak and Fuji pack it in. (They are providing emulsions for Impossible Project.)</p>

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<p>I use transparency film almost exclusively, and I say don't sell off the F100.<br>

There will be E-6 for at least a while yet, Shane. You will not recover the value of your F100 now; you have already suffered the greatest depreciation. The F100 will not lose much more value in years to come, as B+W will be available for many years, probably color negative as well, and an F100 in good condition will continue to be desirable.<br>

E-6 is consolidating, as is C-41, and for Kodak, B+W. I don't expect E100G to disappear anytime soon (so long as Kodak survives), and expect Fuji to be making E-6 longer yet.<br>

All you can do is use it while ya got it and whatever happens in the future, happens.</p>

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<p>Gratz on your aquisition. The F100 is a great camera. You better go and buy another before it runs out, so you can use with 2 different kind of film. And just go out and shoot! Stop worring about nonsense things. I'm sure the world will run out of Oil before film! Fuji produced more film last year then in the last decades.</p>
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<blockquote>

<p>Jim Gardner - If the many manufacturers of film keep packing in, there will one day be only one or two left.</p>

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<p>Since the OP was talking E6 transparency film, you pretty much described the situation today.</p>

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<p>Those one or two companies will have so much work on keeping up with demand making the entire film needs for the whole planet I am fairly sure they would be making nore money than ever they are now.</p>

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<p>And yet, they aren't.</p>

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<p>I understand one can still buy oil paints, parchment, fountain pens and vinyl records</p>

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<p>None of those are E6 film and chemistry. I have made oil paints before. It's a cottage industry. I know someone who has a record press in his basement. I've coated alternative process papers in my own shop. Cottage industries. How much machinery do you think ti takes to make a pen nib? There's people on the APUG forum making their own B&W emulsions and coating clear plastic film. More cottage industries.</p>

<p>Color reversal film is a lot different. Get a B&W print film 10% too sensitive, and the odds are, no one will notice. If they do notice, mark the film speed different, or tweak the development times. (Kodak has changed the development times of TMAX at least 4 times). But get the cyan layer of a color slide film 10% too sensitive, and you've got a film that makes all your people bright red. Picture the Foma or Efke color slide film with a different recommended filter pack each time you order. "Gel this roll 30M", "Gel this roll 20Y". Eeeep!</p>

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<p>I will shoot film until it is all gone then quit.</p>

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<p>That's about how I look at it too, Larry. I've no inclination whatsoever to jump through the digital photo hoops.</p>

<p>Sometimes, I think that all of this paying attention to "consensus", as Mr. Usary refers to it, is a meaningful part of the potential problem; potentially a self-fulfilling prophecy; monkey-see-monkey do, follow the crowd... But I suppose it is a legitimate concern, and one that we all may worry about to a certain degree. However, in my travels, though admittedly limited, I was under the impression that in the last two years or so, film photography seemed, if anything, becoming more popular, not less. I do know that many people expressed a positive interest in it when they realized I was shooting film (exclusively) on newspaper assignments for our local weekly. I remember a recent individual expressing nostalgia for the days when she didn't have to fuss with computer software just to get some good pictures. And I know that the quality was high, as evidenced by my editor's opinion, comments from other photographers, as well as recent and present exhibitions of prints made from music oriented assignments.</p>

<p>I cannot help but think that many people would be so much better served if they had kept their film cameras, along with their good lenses, concentrated on craft, and had their film developed and burned to cd. They could then have selective prints made from a roll, if desired, and the cd would give them images plenty good enough for emailing and web usage. I was quite happily surprised a few months ago when I didn't have time for scanning a specific job on my Coolscan IV, went to our local drug store (national chain) and requested this product. Cost: around seven dollars for a 36-exp roll, and it included an index print. Images were way more than adequate for newspaper publication, and the service is available same-day, 7 days a week. Wouldn't that suit many amateurs and serious amateurs better than what so many have invested so much money, time, and effort in, often to produce the same result? And if one's interest goes beyond this, a quality personal film scanner could really open up the options. And I know someone will point out the time needed for scanning, but my answer is that it's simply not that bad unless you need to do volumes. And for most people, how many images are really worth a high resolution scan? I think if we're honest and the goal is a nice print, perhaps a handful at most, per roll? And if one is lucky enough to have a Coolscan 9000, or maybe the 8000, up to 12 images at a time can be scanned, and the time involved becomes even less of an issue. But of course the sellers of digital cameras stopped selling scanners so they can sell more digital cameras to the "informed" <em>consumer</em>.</p>

<p>I am thrilled with current Kodak films, E100g, definitely included. Tried substituting negative films this fall for color nature work, and they're simply not in the same class, qualitatively. For people, and anything inside though, the modern negative films are very amazing.</p>

<p> </p>

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<p>Usary-san, as others pointed out, all we can do is "guess". But since my guessing includes technology forecasting experience, and since I did a report on this not too long ago, 6 more years. The last E6 should be about 2017. However, the big problem is going to be finding processing, unless you want to run it at home. In about 4 years, we're going to hit a point where you have pretty much one lab, per continent, running it.</p>

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<p>Steve Smith - in any case, it's not the initial shooting that uses lots of film, it's the copies made for distribution.</p>

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<p>True.</p>

<p>Screen Digest says that, worldwide, we hit 36,242 screens in 2010. They project 100% of the world's screens will be digital by 2016, but the highest volume screens have already been converted, and that accounts for almost half the distribution media.</p>

<p>Can't happen soon enough for me. I saw "An Education" last year, on film. It was a smaller run "art film", the AMC 20 still has a couple of film capable projectors for that kind of stuff. I've been dealing with film jitter at movies for most of my life, as well as dirt and scratches, but the last couple of years of digital has spoiled me. Having the movie on film basically ruined it for me, I'd forgotten how really bad it looked.</p>

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<p>Larry Dressler - When was Technical pan discontinued?</p>

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<p>I thought it was 2004.</p>

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<p><br />I still have a few 100 rolls. :-)</p>

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<p>Whacha' gonna' develop it in, Larry?</p>

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<p> Slide film will last 6 more years, C41 will last 27more years and B/W film will last forever. I asked my cat and she told me. I have a smart cat. She also said that buying a new F100 a year ago and selling it now would result in the loss of most of your funds. </p>
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