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03-16-2010, 09:47 PM   #1
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Film EOL

What are you thoughts/predictions on photographic film's End of Life? Ie. when do you think film will no longer be manufactured? If ever?

Now that I have got that out of the way, I don't believe it will be any time soon. At this stage I am really enjoying shooting film in 35mm and really hope that it will continue to be available for a long time - say 20+ years or even for the rest of my lifetime (I'm 25).

I assume there is currently sufficient demand to keep it in production in general, however perhaps not for some specific types (eg Kodachrome and other discontinued films).

cheers,
Jason

03-16-2010, 10:33 PM   #2
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Although I think that film will survive it's already becoming tough to get developed. It'll soon become hard to find locally.

It may just become a specialty order item only, or even mail order only.
03-17-2010, 01:29 AM   #3
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What I think we will se is the continued thinning of the herd. Eventually large format sizes will start to disappear. I'm betting 5x7 will be the first to go. Then 8x10, and then 4x5. Im not sure if 120 or 35mm will be first to go, but I have a feeling that color slide is already in big trouble, and color print isn't much better off. Of course the film sizes that remain has a lot to do with the cameras that remain - and that is the area that worries me the most.
03-17-2010, 02:27 AM   #4
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I'm going to take a slightly different view. I think that film will make a bit of a comeback. I think that affordable, good quality DSLRs have increased the number of people interested in photography and that after a while, a lot of them will get into film, particularly b&w.

Thats what happened in my case. I have noticed something interesting. I bought all of my b&w darkroom equipment on ebay here in the uk about a year ago. It was very cheap at the time but now it seems that prices and demand have risen.

03-17-2010, 06:54 AM   #5
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Film EOL

Although I expect the variety of available films to decline and the prices of those that remain to rise, I do believe film will be with us for a long time. Some formats may disappear, APS, for example, but the commonly used "Pro" formats like 120, 4x5, an perhaps 8x10 will be around. The people who use these formats are serious about their work and thus likely willing to pay the price premium required to keep them in production.
03-17-2010, 07:23 AM   #6
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Original Poster
Thanks for your thoughts... Vendee, interesting thoughts. I definately fall in the category of getting into film (mainly B&W) only after getting an affordable DSLR and getting into photography.

cheers,
03-17-2010, 08:29 AM   #7
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My local store still does about 20 rolls a day colour C-41. I know that London drugs has just bought brand new mini labs too... it seems that consumer film will live on in combined analogue/digital minilabs for quite some time yet.
03-17-2010, 09:04 AM   #8
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I think BW film will out last color film. But who knows. And any one who likes BW should not convert digital color to gray scale. For one, you will be supporting its continued existance and, two, why shoot immatation BW when you can shoot the real thing (queue the excuses).


Last edited by tuco; 03-17-2010 at 09:34 AM.
03-17-2010, 09:52 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
I think BW film will out last color film. But who knows. And any one who likes BW should not convert digital color to gray scale. For one, you will be supporting its continued existance and, two, why shoot immatation BW when you can shoot the real thing (queue the excuses).

I agree with you but the big reason is that it could be developed by the C41 machines. Now that they are disappearing, that becomes a different issue.
03-17-2010, 09:53 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vendee Quote
I'm going to take a slightly different view. I think that film will make a bit of a comeback. I think that affordable, good quality DSLRs have increased the number of people interested in photography and that after a while, a lot of them will get into film, particularly b&w.

Thats what happened in my case. I have noticed something interesting. I bought all of my b&w darkroom equipment on ebay here in the uk about a year ago. It was very cheap at the time but now it seems that prices and demand have risen.
In late 2008 I would have agreed with you but it may collapse beyond a sustainable point kind of like an endangered species when the gene pool becomes too small.
03-17-2010, 09:54 AM   #11
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Yeah, I'm not pessimistic at all about film surviving: if anything, there really is that resurgence of interest out there: as people do *so much* of their lives on computers, they want their hobbies to be something more tangible.

As it's much less of a mass-consumer thing, (I do think that market's already bottomed out: if anything, it's rebounding a wee bit.) Big companies may lose a lot of interest in producing a lot of films, considering it small change, but *someone'll* pretty much always be able to make a living making it, is my opinion.
03-17-2010, 10:16 AM   #12
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im still positive. i see many young people, like student in university got their self interest in Lumography, things you cannot achive in digital. Based on that I think the demand of film will still be there. it will getting hard to process film, especially for specific purpose like slide process. But it will take years to come until film really2 gone.
03-17-2010, 10:17 AM   #13
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I would expect that film has a long way to go before it disappears entirely. Its future is less a consumer item and more as an art medium.

A few observations:
  • Large format 4x5 is experiencing a renaissance of sorts even to the release of new camera designs/models
  • Film as a consumer item is big in much of the third world
  • Disposable cameras are still a huge convenience item
  • Figital (film/digital) expression is becoming increasingly popular along with alternative printing
  • New materials are still being developed (e.g. Ektar 100) even as old friends (e.g. Kodachrome) disappear
Granted, things are changing, but as much as you can still buy artist's oils and canvas, film will probably endure.

Steve
03-17-2010, 10:45 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
I agree with you but the big reason is that it could be developed by the C41 machines. Now that they are disappearing, that becomes a different issue.
I think developing your own BW will eventually be synonymous with shooting BW. Those that are into BW will not even be interested in C-41 BW. That is only for those sticking their feet in the water.

Last edited by tuco; 03-17-2010 at 11:44 AM.
03-17-2010, 11:23 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
It think developing your own BW will eventually be synonymous with shooting BW. Those that are into BW will not even be interested in C-41 BW. That is only for those sticking their feet in the water.
I tried a couple of rolls of XP2 when I first got into film. I was very disappointed with the colour casts in the final prints so I develop and print my own now.

Going back to what you said earlier about not converting digital shots to b&w.... thats what got me back to film. My photo printer makes a wonderful job of printing digital colour shots but just like the C-41 film, its almost impossible to print a digital greyscale without getting a slight colour cast.
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