When all of the used film cameras are gone...

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Berkeley Mike

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As our original stock of film cameras have slowly disappeared, we employ used 35mm film cameras, all donated, for the Elective film part of our Photo program. I am watching them slowly fail; exhausted I guess. New 35s are now limited to Leica (M-E, M-P) at $4500 & Nikon (F6) from $2500 and other "toy" cameras. I can buy 6 Canon Rebel T6s or Nikon D3300s with 18-55 zooms, for the price of 1 F6.

A substantial portion of new film-users enter this part of the craft with hand-me-down cameras or bought very cheaply on the used market. If my stock at school is any indication these cameras will fail soon enough. Maybe all they need is a CLA (clean/lube/adjust) but that is $80-$150.

As the used film cameras fail/disappear, what is going to happen?
 
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Ko.Fe.

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"all donated" to me indicates not in good condition. I wouldn't judge current film cameras stock by something donated to the school.
Canon made lots of EOS film cameras. Our is made in 2000-2001 and I was using it today. No exhausted sings at all. And so is our T1i after 100K+ frames taken.

Rolleicord will lasts at least one century and so is Zorki or FED.
 

BrianShaw

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Are they being maintained, or used until the fail and then disposed?
 

Luckless

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I expect that eventually we're going to see a push from open source hardware projects for new camera bodies that can be made from mostly 3D printed parts and stuff that can be fabricated in a decently equipped makerspace or similar.

There will probably be a nice little market growing around some of the better film cameras that have common faults to make service packs for them to get equipment back up on its feet.

I won't be surprised to see more higher quality "Camera repair" channels popup on YouTube as well over time. "Send it our for a CLA" gets a bit difficult if there aren't any reliable shops to send gear to. Even as it is now cameras that show up to the remaining shops can't always get fixed due to lack of replacement parts.
 

Rick A

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Well, there's always Large Format film photography. There are several companies making new cameras. Maybe you need to shift from miniature format to real cameras.
 

Nodda Duma

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If they all wore out, and there is a demand, then someone will make more. That’s how free markets work.
 

faberryman

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A substantial portion of new film-users enter this part of the craft with hand-me-down cameras or bought very cheaply on the used market. If my stock at school is any indication these cameras will fail soon enough. Maybe all they need is a CLA (clean/lube/adjust) but that is $80-$150.
Buy quality mechanical film cameras and maintain them. They are tools and require periodic repair and maintenance. All of which costs money. Not sure why this should be a surprise. Surely you have a maintenance and repair budgets for both the film and digital sides of your program.
 
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Theo Sulphate

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There will be film cameras functioning for at least the next 200 years. We will have the End of Film before the end of film cameras.

I am not referring to cameras with electronic bits or complicated mechanisms. I am referring to full-function film cameras with relatively simple mechanisms, such as my Zeiss Nettar from the post-WWII era:

IMAG8885-1.jpg


This is a 6x6cm medium format camera that delivers images superior to the typical K1000 and such used in photo classes. Winding is simple. No rewinding. No mechanical film counter (red window instead). No meter. Simple mechanical shutter, aperture, and focus. Cannot be simpler and offer this functionality. Will probably last 200 years with minor repair of bellows and shutter CLA.

There are other cameras similar or more sophisticated that will last for many decades to come.

Worry about losing film.
 

removed account4

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instead of using used 35mm or maybe mf cameras
use LF cameras. they can be made and used cheaply
 
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wiltw

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Well, there's always Large Format film photography. There are several companies making new cameras. Maybe you need to shift from miniature format to real cameras.

But alas, even large format requires SHUTTERS that function, and Copal etc. repairs will continue to be available for how long?!
 

paul ron

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sounds more like you aren't getting good working cameras donated and have an equpiment shortage. There are plenty of working cameras on the market. In fact Pentax K1000s are still in surplus on the market for a measly $50. Maybe shelling out a few bucks to purchase cameras instead of waiting for donated cameras?

ORRRrrrrrrrr use the donated money to have the old worn cameras serviced? To overhaul a K1000 is aboiut $125. That will extend the life at least another 25 years. Not a bad investment?
 

4season

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As the used film cameras fail/disappear, what is going to happen?

The world won't run out of 35mm SLRs in our lifetimes, but there's going to be an expense associated with keeping them operational, and some will prove easier to maintain than others.
 
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Berkeley Mike

Berkeley Mike

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This is great!!

Please allow me to refocus this:

1) I am not concerned about the school cameras. A fleet simply provides information about the performance of these kinds of cameras over time. Statistically they are nothing compared to the cameras at large.

2) I get the quality thing: I have 35 y/o FM2s that are crisp and accurate. But I am a pro of long experience and not all cameras are of this ilk.

3) I get the maintenance thing, but I doubt that our newer users have this understanding or will spend $100 to repair, let alone maintain, a camera they got for nothing.

We will now return to our regularly scheduled program...
 
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Arthurwg

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I understand that no one is making new large format shutters these day and that many of the older ones can no longer be repaired. For example, old reliable SK Grimes now only services Copal shutters. They no longer repair Ilex, Compur, Prontor, Betax, Alphax or others. But looking at the vast amount of used and working film cameras still available I'm simply astonished. The so-called digital revolution has to be seen as a triumph of marketing and little else. Digital is VERY expensive if you consider the computers, external hard drives and quality monitors needed to make quality pictures, not to mention the quick depreciation of high-end digital cameras.
 

removed account4

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3) I get the maintenance thing, but I doubt that our newer users have this understanding or will spend $100 to repair, let alone maintain, a camera they got for nothing.

We will now return to our regularly scheduled program...

that is the problem people have NOW LOL
 

David Brown

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The world won't run out of 35mm SLRs in our lifetimes, but there's going to be an expense associated with keeping them operational, and some will prove easier to maintain than others.

Please allow me to refocus this:

3) I get the maintenance thing, but I doubt that our newer users have this understanding or will spend $100 to repair, let alone maintain, a camera they got for nothing.

OP is absolutely right about people that have been given cameras will (probably) not spend anything on them to have them repaired. However, this does not mean we are going to run out of cameras anytime soon. There's still more supply than demand. I have 6 - 8 fully functional SLR bodies that no one will give me more than $20 for, so I keep them. I know gear heads that have dozens! At some point, the supply demand curve will change enough that these $20 cameras will be worth selling, and people that wish to use them will pay to have them maintained. But, given the current state, I don't think we'll run out anytime soon.
 

mgb74

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People don't want to spend $100-150 to repair a "free" camera because they're not serious about using it and/or they feel there's always another one around the corner.

I worry more about the loss of qualified repair people than I do about the availability of cameras.
 

4season

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I get the maintenance thing, but I doubt that our newer users have this understanding or will spend $100 to repair, let alone maintain, a camera they got for nothing.

Not your responsibility.
 

erian

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instead of using used 35mm or maybe mf cameras
use LF cameras instead. they can be made and used cheaply

If you do not have bread then eat cake. :smile:
I do not think that it is possible to get very affordable LF system (lens + camera) compared to the used 35mm cameras.

I think that the most sustainable solution is to use existing cameras with respect and make repairs when necessary (even when it might by more cost effective to throw away and buy a new one).
 

wiltw

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I understand that no one is making new large format shutters these day and that many of the older ones can no longer be repaired. For example, old reliable SK Grimes now only services Copal shutters. They no longer repair Ilex, Compur, Prontor, Betax, Alphax or others. But looking at the vast amount of used and working film cameras still available I'm simply astonished. The so-called digital revolution has to be seen as a triumph of marketing and little else. Digital is VERY expensive if you consider the computers, external hard drives and quality monitors needed to make quality pictures, not to mention the quick depreciation of high-end digital cameras.

The digital revolution was caused by the fickle buying public.
When digital wristwatches came out, folks abandoned wind-up mechanism watches, then digital phone clocks came along and the buying public abandoned wristwatches completely. Interesting to see the resurgence of wristwatches (especially the giant sizes!) now in stores.
When digital cameras came out, folks abandoned film cameras, the digital phone cameras came along and the buying public abandoned cameras completely. Interesting to see some attempted 'resurgence' of film cameras in light of the disappearing emulsions and chemistries and competent quality labs to process film.

Since so many folks already need to own computers and harddrives and printers, the expense of same is 'that does not count' in regard to photography...only the cost of post processing software is incremental cost of hobby/profession. And just maybe someone might think of the incremental cost of cloud storage subscriptions to store those 30 MPixel files acquired at 6 fps.
 
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Sirius Glass

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When all the used film cameras are gone, I will still have my Hasselblads, 4"x5" Graflex Model D and 4"x5" Pacemaker Speed Graphic.
 

MattKing

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When all the used film cameras are gone, I will still have my Hasselblads, 4"x5" Graflex Model D and 4"x5" Pacemaker Speed Graphic.
Only if they are buried with you!
Most of us here haven't a chance to see the last one going, because there is a very great likelihood we will be gone first!
 

paul ron

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I get the maintenance thing, but I doubt that our newer users have this understanding or will spend $100 to repair, let alone maintain, a camera they got for nothing.


what will happen with that camera, it will wind up on ebay for $10 and some handy guy will repair it. either that handy guy will sell it to turn a nice profit or use it.

those mechanical cameras will be around a very long time.

and yes, professional repairmen will become sparce but so many people are learning to DIY since repair manuals are now free PDF downloads. parts arent a problem either with so many broken cameras flooding the markets. wouldnt you try to repair a broken camera you got for almost nothing? be surprised how many DIYers are out there... they will eventualky replace the retiring pros.
 
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