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02-10-2011, 08:58 AM   #1
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How Much Longer Film Will Be Available?

I brought a roll of exposed film to Costco the other day, but they told me that they no longer process films. It makes me wonder how much longer film will be available. Now only few die-hard film enthusiasts still use films. A point will be reached when it's not economical to produce/process films, then the vast majority of film cameras would be destined to landfill.

02-10-2011, 09:46 AM   #2
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I expect black and white film will be available well into the future, as ordering supplies online and developing at home is a fairly straight forward process (probably even more so than when many people bought their supplies by mail order out of catalogues and camera magazines). There are enough people out there who want to continue using 35mm and medium format film cameras that I really don't see black and white film disappearing.

Minilabs will continue to disappear, especially from small markets. There will probably be a point in the next few years where anybody outside of a large city who wants C-41 film developed will have to mail it out, just as mailing film for development was relatively common before minilabs became available. I'm too young to remember mailing film out and receiving prints or slides back, but that's how my parents and grandparents got their film developed from the '40s through the '70s. I expect that C-41 film and developing chemicals will continue to be available on some level for at least as long as the movie industry continues to shoot on film but I don't know enough about movie production to guess a time frame.
02-10-2011, 09:49 AM   #3
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B&W film will endure for a long, long time especially as it can be developed relatively easily and the film itself is inexpensive to manufacture.

Colour film is another matter. A lot will depend on the fine art/hobbyist/nostalgia economy-of-scale as this requires send-away processing. As a mass consumer item film is done, but as an art medium it has life.
02-10-2011, 09:56 AM   #4
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I too think BW will outlast color film. So shoot it while you can!

02-10-2011, 10:05 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by violini Quote
I brought a roll of exposed film to Costco the other day, but they told me that they no longer process films. It makes me wonder how much longer film will be available. Now only few die-hard film enthusiasts still use films. A point will be reached when it's not economical to produce/process films, then the vast majority of film cameras would be destined to landfill.
It depends where you live. Some cities may loose quick processing places like Costco and others have a strong film presence. Vancouver, Seattle and Portland all have numerous labs for E6, C41 and b&w development.

Film isn’t going anywhere just consolidating. There may be fewer places developing film and less types of film for sale, but there has been an increase in the number of film shooters in the past couple years. You just may have to send your film somewhere else for processing.

Phil
02-10-2011, 10:09 AM   #6
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Kodak believes film sales are still strong, picking up even. How much longer Kodak will be in business is another matter.
02-10-2011, 10:13 AM   #7
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This question comes up from time to time and I've wondered myself about it. I am now shooting film again both 35mm and 120/220 film for fun and learning. In fact I'm taking an Art class in basic photography which is entirely film based.

There are lots of pages on the internet on this as well:

http://ezinearticles.com/?Is-Film-Dead?&id=2767353

A Workshop by Jonathan Canlas - Film is Not Dead

Film Is Dead. No Really! JMG-Galleries – Jim M. Goldstein Photography

Is Film Dead?

Hey, even Ken Rockwell has an opinion about this...
Why We Love Film

Those were just a few links I turned up.

I can still get C-41 processing at my local drug store. My local photo shop can do specialty films either in house or sent out. There is a local Lab which does custom and even slides! With a 2 day turnaround. It's clearly not like it was 10 years ago but I think film is going to be around for a long time to come.
02-10-2011, 10:23 AM   #8
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Living in a major center processing is not an issue we have close to a dozen pro labs and numerous smaller places with mini-labs.
I too believe b/w will outlast any colour process. the film itself is much easier to make and the processing is easy as well. the Fine art pjotography market is heavily invested in the b/w process as well.
Colour production still relies on the movie industry. Kodak has introduced some new emulsions and still believes in it, but i think they really only keep developing the tech for the film industry and those of us shooting film still are the gravy for them. when movies revert to full digital for projection and shooting i think colour film will be gone (how long that will take who knows, there are a lot of good artistic reasons to keep shooting on film or they would be digital already since so much of the post production is now digital anyway)

02-10-2011, 11:42 AM   #9
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personally, i think that film still have some time...

I'm the begining of the generation that growth with the start of digital photography, but i love to have some real pictures, made in real paper, glossy or mat, i love the felling of a picture betwwen fingers, i truely does. So yes Digital photography is exploding, but i'm sure that film and process will still be available for quite long time. Maybe not everywere, like before, but at least in all cities that are big enought.

That makes me think of that : how do you develope your own digital photography at home without a damn printer ?
02-10-2011, 11:45 AM   #10
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Quite possibly the future is similar to that of the LP -- once the majors abandon it, niche players take up the slack, and there's some fine connoisseur stuff available -- and if this scenario comes to pass, I would guess slide film will also continue -- commercial developing will be at a few specialists and more expensive than today. B&W chemistry will continue to be available. Before that, the majors, as we've seen with Fuji lately, will be eliminating products and sizes to 'rationalize' their offering.

I also note that a part of the delayed reaction to digital audio has been a new hipsterish appreciation of analogue, and various processors and mic amps and vintage microphones have made a comeback to 'humanize' digital.
02-10-2011, 07:43 PM   #11
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We'll run out of silver and then film will be dead!
02-10-2011, 08:11 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by violini Quote
I brought a roll of exposed film to Costco the other day, but they told me that they no longer process films. ...
It must be a localized thing. The Costco by my house still does film.

QuoteOriginally posted by Steinback Quote
.... I expect that C-41 film and developing chemicals will continue to be available on some level for at least as long as the movie industry continues to shoot on film but I don't know enough about movie production to guess a time frame.
QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
.... when movies revert to full digital for projection and shooting i think colour film will be gone (how long that will take who knows, there are a lot of good artistic reasons to keep shooting on film or they would be digital already since so much of the post production is now digital anyway)
You guys might want to re-evaluate your positions - movies are shot on slide film, not print film.
02-10-2011, 08:16 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
You guys might want to re-evaluate your positions - movies are shot on slide film, not print film.
Yep Kodachrome was a good example and also Fomapan R100 b&w reversal film is only available now in the 16mm cine version.

Phil.
02-10-2011, 09:41 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steve Beswick Quote
You guys might want to re-evaluate your positions - movies are shot on slide film, not print film.
I thought that movies were often shot on negative film, scanned, digitally processed, transferred to an intermediate film as a duplication master and then moved to a slide film for projection?

Kodak still lists quite a range of colour negative camera films in its motion picture catalogue, many of them available in 65mm, 35mm, 16mm and 8mm.

Kodak cinema catalogue with prices: http://motion.kodak.com/motion/uploadedFiles/QA_MotionPictureCatalog_June30_2010.pdf
02-10-2011, 10:52 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Steinback Quote
I thought that movies were often shot on negative film, scanned, digitally processed, transferred to an intermediate film as a duplication master and then moved to a slide film for projection?

Kodak still lists quite a range of colour negative camera films in its motion picture catalogue, many of them available in 65mm, 35mm, 16mm and 8mm.

Kodak cinema catalogue with prices: http://motion.kodak.com/motion/uploadedFiles/QA_MotionPictureCatalog_June30_2010.pdf
That was my understanding as well. Traditionally, commercial motion pictures were shot on negative film (non-C41) and printed through for distribution. Positive film has also been used, but primarily for home and hobbyist use. About 28 years ago I used to buy my film from Seattle Filmworks. They marketed 35mm cine negative film bundled with processing. For about 2/3 the price of a roll of Kodachrome with processing, you got negatives, prints, and slides. Woo! Hoo!

These days there are many different paths to the final product.


Steve
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