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Donald Miller

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Considering the demise of Ilford , now apparently Forte, and the shrinking of product lines, what company(s) are left that are in a viable and healthy position? Are we assured that anyone will ultimately remain?

I am wondering if it isn't time to buy a freezer and do what Michael Smith did when Super XX was discontinued.
 

Flotsam

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There is so much rebranding that it is hard [for me] to sort it all out.
Maybe J&C can give us an idea of the state of photographic materials manufacturing.
 

bobfowler

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Let's be calm...

Let's not write Forte off just yet. All I've seen is a couple of postings with the "some guy said" or "a friend of a friend told him" type rumors. Does ANYONE have any info from the horses mouth? If J&C photo is monitoring this - have you guys heard anything official from the factory, or is this just rumor mongering?
 

Tom Duffy

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In the olden days, like 6 months ago, we all figured the smaller players (I lumped Ilford into that category) would be the last to get out of the film business and we could buy there.

I was wrong. Buy Kodak!
 

Aggie

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John from J&C won't be back for a few more days. I am sure he will let us know what is happening.
 

Jorge

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david b said:
If you check the archives, I started a thread called Kodak Is King.

I might be right.

You might be right, this is one of the reasons I was opposed to digital negatives. While the technique might be good, it eats away into the film market. Without film many of us cannot do what we like. I guess I am going to have to try Efke in 12x20 at a much higher price than J&C 400, in part because a lot of people claim a digital negative is "just as good as an in camera negative".

Certainly I dont look forward to sit in front of a computer to make negatives. As a matter of fact, it might be time to rethink this hole thing a take up another hobby and leave photography well enough alone.

Seems this thread is becoming an "I told you so" thread.
 
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Make the best of the situation, is all I can say. If your favorite film disappears, you find an alternative. If your favorite paper disappears, you find an alternative. I admit it's getting harder and harder to do, and that there is an element of worry in all of this. But please don't get upset about something that hasn't even been confirmed yet. Wait and see. Something new and brilliant might pop up. Who knows?!

I hate to see the developments with Ilford, Agfa and the film business in general. But it's a fact that there is nothing we can do about it, but adapt. Either in using something different, or in trying to do something like Michael Smith is doing with the Azo paper.

Anyway, I try not to worry about it. I try hard to enjoy my newfound love for film photography.

- Thomas
Saint Paul, Minnesota
 

Jorge

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Is not that simple, how do you adapt when there is no more film left? or when the only choice is Kodak and what they want to sell you at ridiculous prices? I have no problem with changing films, I am in that process now, but the new film I had picked is made by Forte, so now what? I did not even get to try it and now it seems it is in trouble.
 

Francesco

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Jorge, I really recommend Efke PL100 - and as you know it is available in ALL sheet film sizes. It is extremely flexible and like me I know you like a film that can get you those wonderful general and local contrast characteristics that enhances, in my case AZO, and in your case PTPD prints. I have wasted a few bucks on Fortepan and I can tell you Efke is superior in every criteria, except fragility - but for me this is no longer an issue. I feel certain JC are commited to Efke and Classic films.
 

David A. Goldfarb

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Efke 100 and Forte/Classic 400 are a good pair. I like them both, and go with 400 when I want more speed.
 

Aggie

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read the thread on what is happening to forte. Seems it was a rumor only!
 

juan

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I just pulled out the first volume of Fred Picker's Zone VI Newsletter to loan to a friend. The newsletters began in the early 70s and many of the deal with Fred's concern over diminishing film and paper resources. Dupont and GAF (Ansco) got out of the photo market at about that time and there's a lot of wailing about the loss of Varigam, Velour Black, etc. The tone is much like today's.

juan
 

Jorge

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Francesco said:
Jorge, I really recommend Efke PL100 - and as you know it is available in ALL sheet film sizes. It is extremely flexible and like me I know you like a film that can get you those wonderful general and local contrast characteristics that enhances, in my case AZO, and in your case PTPD prints. I have wasted a few bucks on Fortepan and I can tell you Efke is superior in every criteria, except fragility - but for me this is no longer an issue. I feel certain JC are commited to Efke and Classic films.

I know Francesco, but let me put it money wise....25 sheets of J&C 400 is 94 bucks or there abouts, 10 sheets of Efke is 64 bucks. I was also looking at the film speed, while I dont mind using 100 speed film, ( I use the 125 now for the 12x20) I was thinking the extra speed would be nice to have. Using Pyrocat HD I think I would not have had a problem controling contrast with the 400 J&C film. Now it seem that is no longer an option and I have to buy Efke.

What really chaps my hide is that I was called a "strident anti digital" person, well, here are the results of my stridency. The popularity of this site with analog people has given more exposure to the digital negatives to people that otherwise might have chosen to go the film route than any other site. I dont see Smith having a forum for digital negatives, people at the LF forum are already doing that and most have become comfortable, so here we have a person who hails digital negatives just as good as in camera negatives, and people who might have at least tried film first decided to go the dgital negative route. As a result, less film is bought and we are now seeing the results.

Hopefully Forte can weather this, but I assure you, prices will go up. I am sure the same people will say "ah, dont worry you can always use digital capture and print it on pt/pd or Azo"...well excuse my french but I dont fu*king want to do that. I enjoy the process of photography, I enjoy taking out the camera, spending a day or two outside, looking at things....seeing that big humongous image on the ground glass.

I am sure if I wanted to, I could make a good digital negative and a good pt/pd print, but I would loose all the things I like, I am a phtographer not an "image" maker, I enjoy the process of phtography, the time in the darkroom, etc, etc. Digital capture? Please!! having to look at that tiny screen? no thanks, I left 35 mm because of that.

Ok, rant mode off.....bottom line, seems I am forced to follow your advice. Even if I dont want to, the only consolotation is your recommendation for Efke, if you like it, I am sure I will too....
 

Francesco

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Jorge, as far as I know and as far as I can throw my opinion around, contact prints from digitally enlarged negatives have yet to (and in my opinion will never) achieve the same 3-dimensionality as that from contact prints from in-camera negatives. I am convinced it is this reason that will keep ULF film alive for may years to come. That plus the fact that collectors really do care when I (stress on the I) tell them that the final print size was decided in camera and not post ink jet.

By the way, I never noticed that price difference before. Efke 12x20 10 sheets 70 bucks, Classic 400 25 sheets 120 bucks. IMO Efke is definitely worth the 55 buck difference. Why quibble? Use both!
 

photomc

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Jorge, et al..I have been giving this very sad possiblity quite a bit of thought lately. And like Jorge, I DO NOT want to make digi Negatives to print, even for alt. processing. The one thing I would consider is tintype or glass plate...just don't know anything about them. Would still rather learn that process and deal with all of the short comings, than do digital.

Changing film is one thing, having to change a process after finding your muse is another - that is what I hear Jorge saying...why not just walk away.

That said, I'm still not ready to walk away..I have hope the JandC, Kodak and even Agfa will still be there. Heck, I'm still not ready to give up on Ilford...If I had a freezer, I would stock up on film.

While I am still learning how to do all this, I think it is just as furstrating as it must be for those of you that have mastered your craft and are making prints.

Some times this just s__ks!!! Sorry!
 

Jorge

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photomc said:
Changing film is one thing, having to change a process after finding your muse is another - that is what I hear Jorge saying...why not just walk away.

When the time comes that my only choice will be digital or nothing...most likely I will choose nothing.

Francesco, I agree, I have yet to see a pt/pd print from a digital negative that has the same "feel" as an incamera one, but tell that to the strident pro digital camp. I will use what I can for as long as I can, but it really is starting to suck, like Mike says.
 

Aggie

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I don't think it is as bad on the long term as being paniced over right now. Durst USA didn't have an enlarger to show at the LF conf. Why? They had sold out and were so busy out in the filed installing the enlargers, that they had to send Jens Jensens daughter to man the booth. Good choice to send her. She would have made a drop dead goregous model.

J&C has been expanding at an ever increasing rate. Look at apug, it's numbers are growing at that also ever increasing rate. Slowly the pro's are finding without corporate sponsorship that digital and keeping up with the newest gee whiz whiz bang thing is to darn expensive, and it just is not really giving them the quality they want. Galleries are beginning to find that what sells is the genuine hand made old fashioned luddite chemical process prints. New kids are finding analog in spite of the digital tsunami.

Agfa is not down and totally out yet. The new buyers have yet to announce what is what with them. Ilford may be downsizing, but in the end, someone will buy the equipment and formulas. It is a market shake out of a shrinking market. Most need to rethink size. There is still a viable market. The market is lost to most Governmental agencies that have the funds to switch to digital with the highest resolutions that the normal everyday person can't begin to afford. Medical field uses are going bye bye. Other major industries that supported film have left or are going. What is left is the everyday person like us. We are a small share of what was once available. We are not one to be forgotten though. Starbucks started with one shop. Ben and Jerry's was a small operation. As people catch on to something it grows. That is what is happening now. Those that see the real size and market are making it. those that think they must produce for the large governments and medical interests are not.

It is sad that a lot of employees connected to the large companies are losing their jobs. It is harsh no matter when it happens to lose your job. It is the nature of the beast. Not just film industry, but look at computers (think dot. com's) Look at the auto industry. Look at farming. Each of these have had the shake out due to technology. People adapt and go forward. Hard to do, but it can be done.

It is the support of the growing small players that will ensure that we have product to use. support J&C, freestyle, durst, and many more. They are the ones standing by us and supporting us.
 
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ann

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recently i had to take my receiver into my audio dealer and lo and behold what did I find but huge stacks and racks of vinyl records, tube amps ,10000 dollar turntables.

as it has been a couple of years since i had stopped by their store and at that time they had a few tube amps, no vinyl records and a 2000 dollar turntable.

Obviously there is a market for "old fashion" materials. I thought vinyl recordshad gone away and knew there was a market for tube equipment, but 10,000 dollar turntables?
Well, what do i know (?) except i am sure there are more of us interested in real film and traditional methods than vinyl records. (these were not just old releases from the 70's , new recordings as well).
Gave me some hope as i have been worried as my business is teaching traditional darkroom methods and I am not ready to ride off into the sunset.
 

photomc

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As Aggie said it is a change...besides Durst not having an enlarger, what about the new film cameras that have been introduced lately? Would new camera R&D be going on with film going OUT? It looks like a storm is coming (actually I think it is hear) after the BIG BLOW is over, the sky is clear, the strong are left standing and in just a year or so, you really can't see the results..some favorite site may be gone (favorite film/paper/etc), there may not be as many places as there were. Change is hard, but change is always there...no matter what we do. If we throw up our hands now and say sh__t forget it, there will be no film, etc...if we say we will keep doing this until the last batch of film is run..well, I hope they can use the last sheet/roll/batch of film to shoot an old headstone...mine.
 

Flotsam

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I like having all the choices and combos that are available today but, as long as someone is making film and paper I'll keep making photographs. If Kodak stays in the game and keeps making Tri-X and a Fiber based paper as nice as Polymax, I'll be a happy fellow. If Lucky is the last one standing, then I'll use Lucky. As long as there is film, I'll do photography. If film ever does disappear in my time, I'll look for something else to satisfy my expressive needs but it will be something tactile and analog and hands-on like ceramics or woodworking or painting. Running a computer program that mimicks photography just doesn't light me up.
 

TPPhotog

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Flotsam said:
I like having all the choices and combos that are available today but, as long as someone is making film and paper I'll keep making photographs. If Kodak stays in the game and keeps making Tri-X and a Fiber based paper as nice as Polymax, I'll be a happy fellow. If Lucky is the last one standing, then I'll use Lucky. As long as there is film, I'll do photography. If film ever does disappear in my time, I'll look for something else to satisfy my expressive needs but it will be something tactile and analog and hands-on like ceramics or woodworking or painting. Running a computer program that mimicks photography just doesn't light me up.
Neal I'm with you on this one and although I'm stocking up on Ilford stuff, I'm also trying out others such as Tmax whilst I have a choice. There again although it's good to be prepared we haven't lost any of our suppliers yet or at least I don't remember a funeral for Ilford, Agfa or anyone else.
 

Jorge

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Flotsam said:
I like having all the choices and combos that are available today but, as long as someone is making film and paper I'll keep making photographs. If Kodak stays in the game and keeps making Tri-X and a Fiber based paper as nice as Polymax, I'll be a happy fellow. If Lucky is the last one standing, then I'll use Lucky. As long as there is film, I'll do photography. If film ever does disappear in my time, I'll look for something else to satisfy my expressive needs but it will be something tactile and analog and hands-on like ceramics or woodworking or painting. Running a computer program that mimicks photography just doesn't light me up.

I am with you Neal, I am starting to stock up on woodworking tools. I might try the dry plate route, who knows?
 
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