What's Over the Horizon for B&W (or film in general)?

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Max Power

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Hey All!
Just to situate you, I have returned to 35mm B&W after about a 15 year absence. I returned for the pure pleasure I get out of the processes I use when I putter about in my home darkroom. Pure and simple.

Yesterday I found an older publication from about 1971 which gave details on some major B&W films and papers and their respective properties. What really struck me was that at the end of the 1960s, really fast films were running about 400ASA. They included Tri-X Pan and HP4. IIRC, 15 years ago in high school, the speed of choice was 100ASA, and 400ASA pushed to 800 gave you some awfully grainy results. Today, you can push 1600ASA to 3200ASA and get some really good results.

A couple of years ago, B&W was still making great strides, and Ilford managed to further massage its Delta 400, and introduced DD-X to replace ID-11 as its 'primary' developer for the Delta line. I think that Kodak made some changes too, but I'm not a Kodak user, so I cannot speak to that.

This said, what do you see as coming on the horizon for B&W, or colour for that matter? Are faster, finer, films coming? What about developers? Do you think that the major manufacturers will abandon their R&D and simply let their products remain stable for the moment?

Cheers!
 

geraldatwork

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Unfortunately I would consider it lucky if they just continued to manufacture existing products without any new or better products. I think more likely there will be no more R&D for new products and we will see a cutback on products currently available.
 

jim kirk jr.

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In my opinion, the best insurance we can have for the long term availability of our materials is to introduce traditional photography to the next generation of photographers, many of whom don't even realize that there is an option outside of digital.[/QUOTE]

I believe this sums it up...
 

argentic

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jdef said:
Kodak has recently modified their Tri-X and Tmax films, and I doubt they did so without some R&D work.

Are you sure about the R&D ?
Couldn't it just be a new coating machine with slightly different results presented as an imjprovement?

G.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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I'm impressed with the way that fotoimpex responded to complaints about ClassicPan 400 to produce a better film, and in general the importers of East European films have stepped up to provide film for formats that most people would think of as obsolete, like 127, Cirkut, 2x3 sheet film, ULF sheet sizes, odd and custom sizes. I think that signals a place for these smaller more flexible manufacturers to provide services to niche markets that the major manufacturers are abandoning. If you want a special order from Kodak or Fuji, that's thousands of dollars in minimum order, and then they might not always do it.

Where Lisco/Fidelity is cutting back on unpopular filmholder formats, S&S, Tachihara, Lotus, and AWB are stepping in.

Wisner is making more ULF cameras and is taking orders for a new 4x5" SLR of all things.

Littman, Dean Jones and others are converting old Polaroid 110's to 4x5".

So maybe Canon and Nikon aren't doing much in the way of developing new 35mm film cameras. Do we really need them? Plenty of old cameras are out there that take perfectly fine pictures.
 

jd callow

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There are (with the exception of kodachromes) as many or more trans films available then ever before with 2 new films from both kodak and fuji, colour neg films are also numerous (although mostly bland) with new films from kodak and agfa. I think the rate of development in most fields is for faster then ever before -- thanks to the maturity of the computer industry -- which is bearing fruit for those of us who shoot film. I suspect that we will continue to see improvements, but with a much narrower scope. As in wedding , portrait and general/consumer use.

Duping, technical, interneg, graphic arts and print films are all but gone, as are the the niche films ektar 25, ultra 50, and pirn. I would also not be surprised if tungsten balanced films see little attention and or be reduced in variety.

I don't know about B&W.

As far as equipment goes. There is as David points out enough old equipemnt out there to cover us. I wish film camera development was going strong. Imagine what could be done if todays technologies were applied to yesterday's great cameras -- Light weight, 6x9 cameras with interchangable lenses and ttl metering or entirely modern graphics line (speed graphics, graphmatics, etc...) or what if we could apply the ergonomic lessons learned to those cameras or even to the blads.
 

Aggie

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mrcallow said:
I wish film camera development was going strong. Imagine what could be done if todays technologies were applied to yesterday's great cameras -- Light weight
Don't forget Jim Chinn and his new line of cameras.
 

dancqu

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I find it interesting that no mention is made of a new high speed
emulsion technology which I think is likely under development.
Apparently it has begun to appear in cine films. Other than
that the new technology must be a best-kept secret.
If it makes it to market it will be a big boost for we
roll and sheet film users. Dan
 

dr bob

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David A. Goldfarb said:
I'm impressed with the way that fotoimpex responded to complaints about ClassicPan 400 to produce a better film, and in general the importers of East European films have stepped up to provide film for formats that most people would think of as obsolete, like 127, Cirkut, 2x3 sheet film, ULF sheet sizes, odd and custom sizes. I think that signals a place for these smaller more flexible manufacturers to provide services to niche markets that the major manufacturers are abandoning. If you want a special order from Kodak or Fuji, that's thousands of dollars in minimum order, and then they might not always do it.

Where Lisco/Fidelity is cutting back on unpopular filmholder formats, S&S, Tachihara, Lotus, and AWB are stepping in.

Wisner is making more ULF cameras and is taking orders for a new 4x5" SLR of all things.

Littman, Dean Jones and others are converting old Polaroid 110's to 4x5".

So maybe Canon and Nikon aren't doing much in the way of developing new 35mm film cameras. Do we really need them? Plenty of old cameras are out there that take perfectly fine pictures.

David: Would you consider submitting an article of this subject for our future reference?
 

dancqu

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David A. Goldfarb said:
"...the importers of East European films have stepped up to provide film for formats that most people would think of as obsolete, like 127, Cirkut, 2x3 sheet film, ULF sheet sizes, odd and custom sizes."

Demand has increased. Chalk it all up to Ebay.
BTW would you like to buy an Omega C, 31/4 x 41/4? Dan
 
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