Would you consider going traditional if...

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Jim Chinn

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After the previous discussion i thought i would share a recent experience. i was driving about when saw someone using a LF camera photographing a new building recently constructed. I stopped to say hi and the photographer had recently graduated from a technical school where he spent about two weeks in a traditional darkroom and the remainder of the school learning about digital image capture, photoshop, digital printing technologies, etc.

He was using a Sinar 4x5 with a digital back and had a small calibrated monitor where he could preview and review his efforts.

As we talked he told me he had recently bought an old 8x10 camera and was building a pinhole camera for 11x14. He said with all of the technology at school and 90% digital imaging used by his employer, he was still enthralled with the two weeks he spent n the darkroom. He said he planned to "revive" his employers darkroom in the future.

So I guess for those who think traditional is going away, there is hope for the future!
 

2F/2F

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There is hope for the future of analog photography. Certain personalities (a vast minority, though) will always be drawn to it, I think. I just wish there was a way to get it back into the professional mainstream, which is what I believe it needs to survive on a large-scale commercial level.
 

photomc

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Interesting, but who's Galli? Think you have the wrong Jim, the OP is Jim Chinn...another long time APUG member and all around good guy.
 

chimneyfinder

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I'm split on the future useage of film (of course having recently come back to 95% film use after 50% usage in the past 4 or 5 years, I wish to see it thrive), partly because each 'new crop', for example, of students use it and it's cool and different and fun, but, I'm not sure they will invest in it through their thirties and forties. However, I'm pleased that, at least, it has a significant place in the discovery and expression of photography by those learning it and hope that this will help it retain a niche as a commercially viable art medium. My other thought is wether this will be enough to maintain and foster the expertise, development and availability we have benefited from as fewer people dedicate themselves to it.
Regards, Mark Walker.
P.S. My 10 year old daughter is delighted to be using my Pentax film compact so she can collect photographs without having seen them first, whilst through my work I have encouraged a number of people to continue with or take up film. Perhaps it is up to us to discreetly campaign for film and, maybe, enlist one new user every 6 months ? (Partly kidding).
Regards, Mark Walker.
 

Steve Smith

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P.S. My 10 year old daughter is delighted to be using my Pentax film compact so she can collect photographs without having seen them first

When my daughter was about twelve, she noticed that I had 'accidently' bought two Minolta SRT cameras from Ebay and claimed one as her own. She is now fourteen and last week went on a school trip to London. She turned down the use of her mother's digital compact and took my Nikon L35AF instead.


Steve.
 

Klainmeister

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Perhaps it is up to us to discreetly campaign for film and, maybe, enlist one new user every 6 months ? (Partly kidding).
Regards, Mark Walker.

I know that in the last 4 years I have converted 11 people to film. I'm currently working on 3 more right now here in SFe. It's doable!
 

wogster

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There is hope for the future of analog photography. Certain personalities (a vast minority, though) will always be drawn to it, I think. I just wish there was a way to get it back into the professional mainstream, which is what I believe it needs to survive on a large-scale commercial level.

I don't know if we even need film on a large scale commercial level, is film something where it's okay if you have Joe's film manufacturing company in some little town producing 500m² a year spooling that onto rolls, when the orders come in. They can produce emulsions that a company like Kodak or Ilford couldn't dream of, because they can't justify producing only 100 rolls a year....
 

michaelbsc

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I don't know if we even need film on a large scale commercial level, is film something where it's okay if you have Joe's film manufacturing company in some little town producing 500m² a year spooling that onto rolls, when the orders come in. They can produce emulsions that a company like Kodak or Ilford couldn't dream of, because they can't justify producing only 100 rolls a year....

I think the issue with Joe will be that that it is impossible to make 100 rolls of a particular emulsion a year. Perhaps 5,000 is a reasonable lower number, but the scrap rate is going to be killer for the price model.

Even on a miniature line, like Joe instead of Kodak, you have to run certain minimums to make a batch. Film manufacturing (and all process manufacturing - toothpaste, antifreeze, film coating, paper towels, mono-filament line, drawn wire, etc.) is fundamentally different from discrete manufacturing. In discrete manufacturing you can "make one" of a product, even thought you may not be able to "make one" cost effectively. For example, if you had all the parts for a piano in a box, you could assemble "one piano" at will. But for a process line you have to get all the materials ready at the same time (or usually some of them go bad) and you have scrap during the both the start up and shut down portions of the process.

Small runs? Sure, EFKE excels at that. Microscopic runs? That's going to be a cottage industry, like Mikey pouring his own plates.
 
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Ya know, I am just not sure about this.
It is possible to engineer thin film products without large scale process equipment. Kodak was working in a large-scale cost-sensitive world when they developed their processes for production. Today is much different. Microcontrollers are used at every stage of manufacturing. I do hope for small-batch film products soon.
 

michaelbsc

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Dave Pritchard said:
Ya know, I am just not sure about this.
It is possible to engineer thin film products without large scale process equipment. Kodak was working in a large-scale cost-sensitive world when they developed their processes for production. Today is much different. Microcontrollers are used at every stage of manufacturing. I do hope for small-batch film products soon.

Of course you can make thin film coatings on x small basis. That's what vacuum sputtering is. But that's not appropriate for photographic film.

I'm not saying that you need Kodak's scale to make it practical. But I will say that you can't make 100 rolls of TMX. I suspect that one *COULD* make 5000 rolls of TMX if the process is scaled down.
 

michaelbsc

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Ok. Point taken. Bit by that reasoning I can make just one if I'm willing to accept "any cost" for it. This is where it makes sense to Make my own plates at home.
 

Aristophanes

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There is hope for the future of analog photography. Certain personalities (a vast minority, though) will always be drawn to it, I think. I just wish there was a way to get it back into the professional mainstream, which is what I believe it needs to survive on a large-scale commercial level.

I am getting over the phrase "vast minority"!

There may be large enough craft, nostalgia, art, and hobby market for (pick one) a Kodak, Ilford, Fuji to profitably manufacture. Distribution costs have nearly vanished and other supply constraints and costs as well (competition, advertising, pro samples and support, etc.)

The issue may not be with film. The pinch may be with the supply of cameras and developing/printing.

The home-based darkroom is far too small a market for sustainability, especially with a looming demographic of vision challenged yet nostalgic seniors! Large volume development and printing will be necessary, so we pray for Dwayne's. Again some costs have been ameliorated, so the economics of a 35mm market bolstering other formats may still be viable. Lab equipment may be a challenge, but so much capital is in sunk cost IP and manufacturing know-how there is hope there as well. Without large scale development and printing all emulsion production is in peril. The market has always required substantial cost-shifting to work.

Camera and lens development is a concern. There is no film market without the light box and eBay recycling can only endure for so long against entropy. Luckily small scale, discrete manufacturing may be viable. If the market goes all Leica prices, it eats it's young. Again sunk cost IP readily available may save the core elements of a niche industry and keep viable emulsion production volumes.

The whole analog photography supply chain is an issue.
 

Roger Cole

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Ok. Point taken. Bit by that reasoning I can make just one if I'm willing to accept "any cost" for it. This is where it makes sense to Make my own plates at home.

Well the real point, when I'm not being annoyingly literal :wink:, is that lower volumes become possible with increases in cost. How much higher cost can be tolerated at what volume becomes a question, and we really just have to see how it settles out.

I'm not sure that the home darkroom is too small a market to sustain the black and white film world. My guess is that most black and white film now is developed and printed either in home darkrooms or school ones that remain. I know there are labs still doing black and white but I doubt they do the majority of it. I could be wrong, though.

I'm not too worried about cameras and lenses as they can last essentially forever if cared for and repaired, or at least long enough that this generation needn't be too concerned. Darkroom equipment, I don't know. New enlargers and lenses are available, but at rather absurd costs so no one buys them when you can get used ones practically given away. I'm concerned how long the supply will last before the remaining stock deteriorates or gets into the hands of folks who will never give them up. Jobo is already, lamentably, gone, though someone on here (don't feel like finding the thread now) is already talking about making a replacement in kit form.

Best we can probably do is enjoy it while we can, try to keep it alive, and try to spread the word to those who might be interested.
 

CGW

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More here:

(there was a url link here which no longer exists)
 

2F/2F

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I am getting over the phrase "vast minority"!

So, you are getting over it. But what did you really mean by your statement?

Not only was it was a purposefully chosen phrase, with tongue-in-cheek humor intended, meant to communicate the grimness of the situation, but even when used 100 percent seriously, it is still a perfectly acceptable use of the word vast. It can mean more than just a literal description of physical space.
 

wogster

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Oh I guarantee that someone COULD make 100 rolls of TMX. It might cost just as much as 1000 or 5000 rolls, though.

That may be okay though, if there are so few people using film, that we are down to producing 100 roll batches, then they will not care if it does cost $400 a roll instead of $4 a roll, as long as someone is making it. What I can see though, is that online manufacturer/sellers will increase the minimum purchase, so maybe instead of being able to buy a 1, 3 or 5 roll pack you need to buy a 20 roll brick. It only takes 50 customers to use 1000 rolls, so maybe we don't get to the point of a 100 roll batch.
 

Roger Cole

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I think in the short to intermediate term black and white has a pretty good future. I'm less optimistic about color, particularly color transparencies, and just when I discovered how superb E100G is. Thankfully it's still available - for now.

Longer term I'm more concerned about the lack of new cameras as the old ones wear out and are rendered un-repairable or cost prohibitive to repair. There are still a few 35mm cameras being made new, and a large selection of large format, but I don't know how long the former will continue and I think medium format is just about gone. Is anyone still making new medium format film cameras? I think you may be able to buy a new Rollei but it's made from old parts still in stock and at an outrageous "collectors only" price.
 

trexx

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Is anyone still making new medium format film cameras?

The Mamiya 7 II and Fuji GF670 both are still made and not yet in the collector pricing range
 

wogster

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I think in the short to intermediate term black and white has a pretty good future. I'm less optimistic about color, particularly color transparencies, and just when I discovered how superb E100G is. Thankfully it's still available - for now.

Longer term I'm more concerned about the lack of new cameras as the old ones wear out and are rendered un-repairable or cost prohibitive to repair. There are still a few 35mm cameras being made new, and a large selection of large format, but I don't know how long the former will continue and I think medium format is just about gone. Is anyone still making new medium format film cameras? I think you may be able to buy a new Rollei but it's made from old parts still in stock and at an outrageous "collectors only" price.

Your right about film, I think colour transparency film is just about dead, and colour negative isn't far behind it, B&W on the other hand, I think will probably always be around, at least in large format, because we can always make an emulsion and spread it onto sheets of acetate and make our own film.

For 35mm, many of the old mechanical cameras were made for professional use, but were purchased for home use. Even though they are 40 years old, they haven't even seen half the exposures they were designed for. About all they need is a good cleaning, some fresh lube and some adjustment and possibly new door seals, and they can easily go another 40 years.
 

Roger Cole

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The Mamiya 7 II and Fuji GF670 both are still made and not yet in the collector pricing range

Good to know, thanks.

And for the hundredth time, why is this the only vBulletin site I use that doesn't support multiquote or, if it does, I can't see how? So...
 

Roger Cole

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Your right about film, I think colour transparency film is just about dead, and colour negative isn't far behind it, B&W on the other hand, I think will probably always be around, at least in large format, because we can always make an emulsion and spread it onto sheets of acetate and make our own film.

For 35mm, many of the old mechanical cameras were made for professional use, but were purchased for home use. Even though they are 40 years old, they haven't even seen half the exposures they were designed for. About all they need is a good cleaning, some fresh lube and some adjustment and possibly new door seals, and they can easily go another 40 years.

Good point about the 35s, and a lot of MF was used lightly by amateurs too.

I think color neg will last a lot longer than color transparency but neither is all that promising - unfortunately. Shooting Kodachrome last year reminded me what awesome stuff it was, and casting around trying out E6 films for my "restart of photography" after being out for more than 10 years lead me to Astia, which went away in 35mm after one roll on my part, and then to E100G which I really, really like. I should probably stock up on it.
 
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