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Could you go back to film?
Still use it regularly
Still use it, but only for important stuff
Still use it, but only for fun
Nope, I'm a digital convert
What's film?

Could you go back to film?
  
 
PhotoMaximum
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p.18 #1 · p.18 #1 · Could you go back to film?


Not sure why there is so much shouting on this thread?

If you enjoy the film based process then go for it. Photography is supposed to be fun. If you do this for a living and clients will willingly pay for your film use then go for it.

But, if you do enjoy film then be sure to USE it. Film based photography will continue to decline. Digital based photography will continue to progress. Millions will be spent on sensors but where is the investment in new scanning equipment? The Ektachrome news is news but generally film emulsions are being discontinued. Labs are fewer. Lab technicians are fewer. The lab knowledge base is in decline. New film based cameras are fewer. The really sad part is that parts and camera repair services are also in decline. Is there a new generation of film based camera repair techs coming along? I doubt it.

Film will always attract a certain base. But the economics of it all do not bode well. For example: a couple of years ago I eagerly purchased a nice Polaroid 180 Land Camera (pro model). It had a few issues so I also purcashed a much cheaper consumer Land Camera and cananbalized some parts for the 180. I wanted to shoot Fuji FP-3000B b/w film. There is no Polaroid film anymore. No sooner than my Polaroid 180 project was done and bam: Fuji disontinues 3000B. They still made FP-100C color film but that was also discontinued. Buying any old stock of these films is really expensive, especially for the b/w. As time marches on what packs of film left on the planet gets older and less effective. My camera's future will be a nice looking paper weight.



Jan 11, 2017 at 05:23 PM
rico
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p.18 #2 · p.18 #2 · Could you go back to film?


Film requiring a certain monetary investment in machinery and process will possibly become extinct, although I doubt it. The lifestyle enjoyed by the Great Yellow Father, protected by patents and aggressive behavior to its competitors, is never coming back. What is eternal, like scratching figures on a cave wall, is photography as an analog art. The wet-plate crazies are making a strong comeback, and don't require any corporate support. Even lenses can be handmade in the fashion of Vermeer. Since George started his business by offering premade wet plates, I can imagine the cycle starting all over again. Kickerstarter, anyone?


Jan 11, 2017 at 06:30 PM
PhotoMaximum
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p.18 #3 · p.18 #3 · Could you go back to film?


^^ Agree...

Even if all commercial 4x5 and 8x10 film was discontinued there would remain a small number of dedicated photographers who would embrace home brewed solutions and wet plate techniques. Simple cameras with few moving parts will live on.

But what about say your Nikon F3 or Mamyia RZ bodies? If at some point both Kodak and Fuji announced they were abandoning all film production, what then? Who is going service these cameras in that financial environment? At some point "parts camera A" feeding "usable camera B" will be a diminishing option.

The other day I took my a7RII and new 35 Ultron lens to Pike's Market in Seattle for a "getting to know you" outing. This is a very popular public space with tons of photo opportunities. I am walking around with this killer photographic setup and could not help notice just how few people had real cameras. Just about everyone there was using some sort of smart phone to shoot the musicians and flying fish, etc. One guy stopped me to admire my camera with a "I used to own a camera once" observation. Makes me wonder about development and support of digital cameras as well...



Jan 11, 2017 at 07:01 PM
George Orwell
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p.18 #4 · p.18 #4 · Could you go back to film?


PhotoMaximum wrote:
Not sure why there is so much shouting on this thread?

If you enjoy the film based process then go for it. Photography is supposed to be fun.


Absolutely. Film photography for me is massively fun. Digital, not so much.
PhotoMaximum wrote:
But, if you do enjoy film then be sure to USE it. Film based photography will continue to decline.


This is where you fall down. It's best not to comment on things you know nothing about. Film is now clearly, and I mean CLEARLY on an upswing. Kodak is introducing a NEW film. They are calling it Ektachrome 100 but it will only be related to an older film. It needs to be reformulated for use in today's chemical environment. Some of the older chemicals are no longer available.

That takes money. A LOT of money. Millions of dollars. Companies invest in growing markets, not shrinking ones.

Kodak reported that there is a clear trend in higher film sales, thus allowing this investment.

Ferrania is also on the verge of bringing back another color E6 option.

You are wrong, completely and totally wrong about film being in decline.



PhotoMaximum wrote:
Digital based photography will continue to progress. Millions will be spent on sensors but where is the investment in new scanning equipment?


Do you even look? There have been several new scanners in recent years. Plustek is one of the leaders in this area but not the only one.

PhotoMaximum wrote:
The Ektachrome news is news but generally film emulsions are being discontinued.


I get it now. Film is declining except when it's not. There are other new films. Fujifilm just released a new monochrome film for Instax. Fuji sold 5.7 MILLION film cameras just last year alone, far more than they have sold in the X series since inception!

PhotoMaximum wrote:
Labs are fewer. Lab technicians are fewer. The lab knowledge base is in decline. New film based cameras are fewer. The really sad part is that parts and camera repair services are also in decline. Is there a new generation of film based camera repair techs coming along? I doubt it.


Total nonsense. You can easily get film cameras repaired. Often it makes no sense to do so because getting another camera is not very expensive. You are just making up "facts".

PhotoMaximum wrote:
Film will always attract a certain base. But the economics of it all do not bode well. For example: a couple of years ago I eagerly purchased a nice Polaroid 180 Land Camera (pro model). It had a few issues so I also purcashed a much cheaper consumer Land Camera and cananbalized some parts for the 180. I wanted to shoot Fuji FP-3000B b/w film. There is no Polaroid film anymore. No sooner than my Polaroid 180 project was done and bam: Fuji disontinues 3000B. They still made FP-100C color film but that was also discontinued. Buying any old stock
...Show more

It's sad that Fujifilm dropped pack film. No doubt about that. But it is beyond ridiculous to project that experience towards 35mm, 120, or sheet film. Absolutely ridiculous to think that the fate of pack film is in anyway related to other films.

The evidence is clear to see now, it just takes either the ability to see it. Many cant because of their clear (and bizarre) bias against film use.


Edited on Jan 11, 2017 at 11:53 PM · View previous versions



Jan 11, 2017 at 11:41 PM
George Orwell
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p.18 #5 · p.18 #5 · Could you go back to film?


PhotoMaximum wrote:
^^ Agree...

Even if all commercial 4x5 and 8x10 film was discontinued there would remain a small number of dedicated photographers who would embrace home brewed solutions and wet plate techniques. Simple cameras with few moving parts will live on.

But what about say your Nikon F3 or Mamyia RZ bodies? If at some point both Kodak and Fuji announced they were abandoning all film production, what then? Who is going service these cameras in that financial environment? At some point "parts camera A" feeding "usable camera B" will be a diminishing option.


Your crying about film camera repairs is so very amusing. I shoot a nearly 30 year old Nikon film camera. It is going just fine. My good friend is shooting daily with a 40 year old Leica. How many digital cameras will see use after 40 years?

PhotoMaximum wrote:
The other day I took my a7RII and new 35 Ultron lens to Pike's Market in Seattle for a "getting to know you" outing. This is a very popular public space with tons of photo opportunities. I am walking around with this killer photographic setup and could not help notice just how few people had real cameras. Just about everyone there was using some sort of smart phone to shoot the musicians and flying fish, etc. One guy stopped me to admire my camera with a "I used to own a camera once" observation. Makes me wonder about development and
...Show more

Yes, you are better to place your worries on digital cameras, the traditional ones. Sales there have been in steep decline for 5+ years. 2016 was no different, with mirrorless sales -10% and DSLR's -15%. Camera companies have scrambled to get out (not into) of camera manufacturing. Canon, Sony, Fuji, and Olympus, all get the vast majority of their money from activities completely away from photography. The decline in sales continues with the bottom still nowhere in sight.




Jan 11, 2017 at 11:48 PM
Two23
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p.18 #6 · p.18 #6 · Could you go back to film?


PhotoMaximum wrote:
But what about say your Nikon F3 or Mamyia RZ bodies? If at some point both Kodak and Fuji announced they were abandoning all film production, what then? Who is going service these cameras in that financial environment? At some point "parts camera A" feeding "usable camera B" will be a diminishing option.

..



I don't see the production of b&w film ending. Here's why. Think of all those millions of highly collectible Leicas, Rolleiflexes, Nikon F, even Kodak Brownies! There is a very healthy and growing group of people who buy film. You left Ilford off your list and they are doing quite well. I just don't see b&w film production ending in our lifetime. As for parts, the cameras are very well made. I have roll film cameras from 1914 that work like new. I see no reason my 1904 Kodak Brownie shouldn't be working three hundred years from now! They used to make cameras with high quality! I think the answer to parts will be 3D printers. I already have had a brass flange made for my 1864 Voigtlander Petzval that way. I think parts will soon become very easy to make for these vintage cameras. Parts for electronic/digital cameras, not so much.


Kent in SD




Jan 11, 2017 at 11:54 PM
George Orwell
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p.18 #7 · p.18 #7 · Could you go back to film?


Two23 wrote:
I don't see the production of b&w film ending. Here's why. Think of all those millions of highly collectible Leicas, Rolleiflexes, Nikon F, even Kodak Brownies! There is a very healthy and growing group of people who buy film. You left Ilford off your list and they are doing quite well. I just don't see b&w film production ending in our lifetime. As for parts, the cameras are very well made. I have roll film cameras from 1914 that work like new. I see no reason my 1904 Kodak Brownie shouldn't be working three hundred years from now! They
...Show more

Very good points. Especially with regards to 3D printing. Many classic cameras will have no problems getting fixed. It's the ones from the 70's that might eventually die off. But again, not anytime soon. I have no problems buying used film gear. None at all.



Jan 12, 2017 at 12:06 AM
coogee
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p.18 #8 · p.18 #8 · Could you go back to film?


Personally I find it nirvana to finally get to play with the greatest film equipment from the last 50 plus years! If anyone simply prefers digital or even finds film absurd, that's absolutely fine by me.

I love the craft aspect of film, it's a never-ending learning process, it takes time and effort to achieve results, it opens doors to new worlds of alt processes. Making a print is enjoyable to me.

Everyone on this thread has already passed some kind of threshold of 'obsession' with photography, enjoy where it takes you! Don't forget to take a few pictures on the way!



Jan 12, 2017 at 12:38 AM
George Orwell
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p.18 #9 · p.18 #9 · Could you go back to film?


coogee wrote:
Personally I find it nirvana to finally get to play with the greatest film equipment from the last 50 plus years! If anyone simply prefers digital or even finds film absurd, that's absolutely fine by me.


Beautifully put. I dont care in the slightest if someone enjoys digital. Too often film shooters dont get the same courtesy.

You are right, today's film gear is just wonderful! I have shot with so many classic cameras, many of them I could never afford back in the day. Today is truly the golden age of film cameras.

coogee wrote:
I love the craft aspect of film, it's a never-ending learning process, it takes time and effort to achieve results, it opens doors to new worlds of alt processes. Making a print is enjoyable to me.

Everyone on this thread has already passed some kind of threshold of 'obsession' with photography, enjoy where it takes you! Don't forget to take a few pictures on the way!


+10000



Jan 12, 2017 at 12:43 AM
PhotoMaximum
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p.18 #10 · p.18 #10 · Could you go back to film?


I donít hate film or its fans.

I am just being realistic. Shooting film can be fun and totally rewarding but for many the inconveniences are a deal killer.

I went to RIT in the early 1980s. Back then Kodak was the largest employer in Rochester. It was a huge global company. As digital evolved Kodak dwindled into a sliver of its former self. Only a desperate bankruptcy saved it. Kodakís future is anything but guaranteed. The number of Kodak chemistry, film and paper products has dwindled. Bad things can happen to big companies. Look at Polaroid for example. By the way Kodak has a horrible track record of figuring out market demand and how best to spend its capital.

In my home town all the major professional labs closed. Just too expensive to make a high end operation of maintaining a technical staff, equipment, and chemistry work in the digital age. Most of the quickie photo labs are gone as well. Increasingly people have to send their film through the post to get processed.

I used to be able to walk up to a counter and discuss my professional scanning needs with a highly trained pro who would facilitate my images using high end drum scanners. Those days are gone.

I am sure owners of 1904 Box Brownies and other old kit never need repair work, but come on, who actually runs a lot of film through these systems? Most film cameras still in use were made in the 1970s and up. Parts and service for these cameras is a declining business. The market for repair work will match the dwindling number of cameras and lenses. Your local camera repair shop might still be hanging on but what happens when technicians who know these cameras retire or close shop due to hard economics?

This reality is not just applicable to old 1970ís cameras. Sports shooters are nervous about buying a EF 200/1.8 these days. Not because the lens is not a stunning performer, but rather due to the lack of support and dangerously low supply of parts needed to keep these lenses alive. The whole arena is littered with similar quandaries.

We are still in the early stages of digital. Some brief trends might flourish and wither. Phones look like they will continue to kill off consumer digital and film camera demand. This might impact the development of more expensive camera technology. Nikon never made real money selling 400/2.8 ED lenses. They made money selling tons of cheap zooms to regular shooters who liked the idea of shooting with a cool black Nikon.

Some of the big names in camera manufacturing are gone. I fear this will get worse? Who knows? Maybe we will see more Chinese choices at the expense of the old guard European and Japanese companies?

I really donít care if someone loves or hates film or digital. Photography presents many ways of enjoying the journey. Photography is a great mix of art, expression, technology and process. For me there is nothing quite like it. But change is there in the mix too. Change seems to happen faster these days. These days the vast majority of images captured by folks are done with a phone. Long live the phone! Or until something else comes aroundÖ



Jan 12, 2017 at 01:37 AM
 

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Gunzorro
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p.18 #11 · p.18 #11 · Could you go back to film?


PhotoMaximum wrote:
I donít hate film or its fans.

I am just being realistic. Shooting film can be fun and totally rewarding but for many the inconveniences are a deal killer.

I went to RIT in the early 1980s. Back then Kodak was the largest employer in Rochester. It was a huge global company. As digital evolved Kodak dwindled into a sliver of its former self. Only a desperate bankruptcy saved it. Kodakís future is anything but guaranteed. The number of Kodak chemistry, film and paper products has dwindled. Bad things can happen to big companies. Look at Polaroid for example. By the way
...Show more

So true!

Nothing wrong with film as a hobby or for artisan approach. It is rewarding and fun, if that is one's thing. The "wet side" was never my thing at all. I wanted "to shoot", and that became expensive, which lead to my pursuing photography as a "career". Otherwise, I couldn't pay for the gear I wanted, and certainly couldn't make any money without proper equipment for architecture and real estate development.

Digital played into all my wants and needs, but I don't regret my 25+ years film experience, most of it professional.

Whatever your artistic medium -- enjoy creativity!



Jan 12, 2017 at 02:13 AM
Two23
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p.18 #12 · p.18 #12 · Could you go back to film?


PhotoMaximum wrote:
1. I am sure owners of 1904 Box Brownies and other old kit never need repair work, but come on, who actually runs a lot of film through these systems? Most film cameras still in use were made in the 1970s and up.

2.Parts and service for these cameras is a declining business. The market for repair work will match the dwindling number of cameras and lenses. Your local camera repair shop might still be hanging on but what happens when technicians who know these cameras retire or close shop due to hard economics?
Ö



1. There are quite a few people who regularly use Brownies and other pre-WW2 cameras. It's not just the Lomo crowd either. There is an active international group of people who just love shooting these all mechanical classic cameras. The prices on the all mechanical cameras are more solid than the electronic (post 1960s) ones, generally speaking. The newer cameras are just too similar to what we use today.

2. Most of these cameras are very simple to fix yourself, and there are Youtube videos. There will always be people who will fix Leicas, Rolleiflex, and Nikons. As a clue, I have a 1920 Compur shutter and a 1937 Voigtlander Bessa sitting in two different shops. Six month backlog on the Compur and two months on the Bessa. I've been thinking of learning how to CLA the older shutters (Compound, Compur, Volute, Optimo, etc.) to do part time as a retirement job.

Below photos taken with a 1942 Leica IIIc, 1932 Leica Elmar 5cm lens, Ilford HP5. I had my Nikon D800E and some state of art Sigma lenses in my car, but the image just wouldn't have looked the same.


Kent in SD











Jan 12, 2017 at 04:31 AM
PhotoMaximum
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p.18 #13 · p.18 #13 · Could you go back to film?


I sort of understand your post. But you state that these older pre war systems are easy to repair but then highlight how two of your units are stuck in a repair shop with lengthy delays ahead of you? Moving forward do you think this will get easier as these cameras age and the technical services decline?

I am not arguing here. I love that these old cameras and lenses get real love and appreciation. I own a bunch of this stuff myself. This month alone I have purchased several cameras and lenses ranging from 1916 onwards. I get it. But this kind of pursuit is a tiny fraction of photographic image output today. Some writers still want to create thier novels on an Underwood typewriter but the numbers of people doing this is tiny. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you recognize the numbers involved...



Jan 12, 2017 at 05:07 AM
rico
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p.18 #14 · p.18 #14 · Could you go back to film?


When all the film cameras made before 2017 are irrepairably broken then, at that point in the future, we'll make some more. Humans are inventive that way.

You can make a pinhole camera with a shoe box, and a simple lens makes it even better. No, it won't be as well crafted as my Leica IIIb but, then, nothing is. And the passing of Peter Carl Fabergť hasn't stopped the production of expensive tchotchke. Demand for something or some service will create a market, however small. Economics 101.



Jan 12, 2017 at 06:01 AM
AmbientMike
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p.18 #15 · p.18 #15 · Could you go back to film?


I think I could go back to it. Not sure I'd want to, but I've been softening on my stance on film lately. Mostly it's not as good, except B&W in a darkroom. Never have been able to match it. But I've learned a few new tricks lately, so we'll see


Jan 12, 2017 at 06:01 AM
marko1953
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p.18 #16 · p.18 #16 · Could you go back to film?


PhotoMaximum wrote:
Interesting thread.

I am of the generation that has seen the entire trasnsition...

Staff newspaper journalist: b/w TriX developed in HC110, prints made in Dektol and Kodak Rapid Fixer, prints made in Kodak Ektamatic machine, prints made by tossing regular photo paper in a large tray of Ektamatic Developer, processing positive Fujichrome 100 in Wing-Lynch machines (mixing E6 chemistry), C41 in Wing-Lynch machines, etc, etc.

Did a ton of film scanning using all kinds of film scanners.

I then used just about every major early Kodak, Nikon, and Canon DSLR that came on the market.

I had a great time in the darkroom.
...Show more

Yeah but Eugene Smith reportedly used to drink the developer!!!



Jan 12, 2017 at 07:27 AM
marko1953
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p.18 #17 · p.18 #17 · Could you go back to film?


Two23 wrote:
1. There are quite a few people who regularly use Brownies and other pre-WW2 cameras. It's not just the Lomo crowd either. There is an active international group of people who just love shooting these all mechanical classic cameras. The prices on the all mechanical cameras are more solid than the electronic (post 1960s) ones, generally speaking. The newer cameras are just too similar to what we use today.

2. Most of these cameras are very simple to fix yourself, and there are Youtube videos. There will always be people who will fix Leicas, Rolleiflex, and Nikons. As a clue, I
...Show more

What;s with the dummies?




Jan 12, 2017 at 07:28 AM
marko1953
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p.18 #18 · p.18 #18 · Could you go back to film?


To all those who have bagged out film totally ...I know digital can produce technically superior images now but I am disappointed that so many on here have never taken the time to consider the other qualities that film can give. There is another thread on this forum called "Post your recent film shots", http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/658112
it has about 600 or so pages. Have a look at some of the photos on there and then come back and criticise film and then show us your superior digital images... anyone?



Jan 12, 2017 at 10:53 AM
Two23
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p.18 #19 · p.18 #19 · Could you go back to film?


PhotoMaximum wrote:
I sort of understand your post. But you state that these older pre war systems are easy to repair but then highlight how two of your units are stuck in a repair shop with lengthy delays ahead of you? Moving forward do you think this will get easier as these cameras age and the technical services decline?

.


Compur shutters are fairly complex and rather than take the time to learn how to fix them, it's easier for me to just send it off to someone who regularly does it. Same for the Bessa. It just needs a rangefinder adjustment. I have done that on another camera without a problem, but it is time consuming as you have to adjust, reassemble, test, and repeat until it's spot on. I'd rather be out taking photos.


Kent in SD



Jan 12, 2017 at 01:47 PM
PhotoMaximum
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p.18 #20 · p.18 #20 · Could you go back to film?


I have used our local repair shop for more than 20 years. The main guy is getting older but still seems to enjoy it. After a semi long absence I have visited the shop on several occasions lately. The owner has a new young guy working for him, super enthusiastic, seems eager to absorb it all. This is great to see on so many levels. The rents in this district are skyrocketing though. This is the kind of thing that can just break a small business like a camera repair shop. Fingers crossed...


Jan 12, 2017 at 02:10 PM
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