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Author Topic: Photos of film's demise  (Read 4602 times)

gmrza

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Photos of film's demise
« on: November 08, 2012, 05:07:44 PM »
While film doesn't really occupy front of mind for many of us any more, this is an interesting view into the last days of the film industry:

http://www.wired.com/rawfile/2012/11/robert-burley-disappearance-of-darkness/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+wired%2Findex+%28Wired%3A+Top+Stories%29&utm_content=Google+Reader

Personally, I only started my migration to digital just over 12 years ago, so I still have boxes full of negatives packed away.

It also makes me think of the fond memories of slide shows, which formed the central event of many get-togethers with friends when I was a child. - My father still has an entire cupboard full of slides, covering a period from the early 1960s to the late 1990s.

What is also interesting is to see a generation growing up who have never known film.  One thing I do hope to show my children when they are a little older is how my wife and I used to take photos before the arrival of digital photography.
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Photos of film's demise
« on: November 08, 2012, 05:07:44 PM »

sandymandy

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2012, 10:13:52 AM »
I still hope there will be film available in the future too :( Im mostly using digital but film is nice also sometimes and more exciting and produces less snapshots. I dont care what kind of crappy cheap walmart film will be available as long as there IS one :)

p.s.

i dont think having ONLY digital will be a big difference. Its 95% like that already anyway. Plus i also print out A LOT of my digital photos and sticker them on my wall :) I know a lot of people who print out their mobile shots too...
« Last Edit: November 12, 2012, 10:16:22 AM by sandymandy »

distant.star

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2012, 11:01:00 AM »

.
Interesting -- I came to the forum to start a thread linking to this. Great minds, etc....

While film is pleasantly nostalgic for those of us who were borne along on that stream for many years, I don't miss it. The film stuff I now do from time to time just confirms it for me. This slide show also reminds me of all the complications involved -- look at some of those "dark rooms."

My fear with digital is longevity. I've communicated with several restorers, archivists, etc. who universally say the only genuinely reliable long-term storage medium we have is paper. All digital storage formats degrade far more quickly than paper.

Maybe it's just me. I think most people don't care about the longevity. For me, there are few things more fascinating than looking at pictures from 80 or 100 years ago. A while back I resurrected my old prints and negatives from 40-50 years ago and was amazed. This raggedy old man was once a quite handsome young man in a military uniform! Without that picture, I would not have known. Will young people be able to look back 50 years from now at digital images s they make today?
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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2012, 12:22:01 PM »
I think there will always be some sort of film available. Maybe nothing resembling the emulsions we have now, but something. The invention of cameras didn't kill painters, I don't think digital will kill film. I'm not going to start a film vs digital flame war, but for the vast majority of users and tasks, the cost/convenience of digital wins.

Film is fun for a hobby and for artistic reasons, just as people still do every sort of imaginable alt process. I

DigitalDivide

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2012, 12:42:04 PM »
I too hope that film will continue to be available for many years to come.  I only just made the switch to digital early this year with my "serious" camera (although I've had digital PS cameras for a while).  So the experience of film is still very fresh in my mind.  I must really miss it apparently, since I've bought two antique film cameras in the last few months.  Both are 6x7 medium format, which in my opinion represents the pinicle of (relatively) portable film cameras, and they are so cheap now that even most professionals have moved over to digital.

My family also has very recent experience of my slide shows, something I think digital has yet to fully replace.  With an old but decent projector I can display huge high resolution images in my living room, whereas with digital I am currently limited to a 27 inch monitor which cost several times the slide projector's price yet is tiny by comparison.  Affordable digital projectors just don't have the required resolution from what I've seen.  My teenage daughter is unusual therefore in having seen film in action, and indeed has used it herself extensively.  Although she now has a T3i, she is still interested in film and is planning to take one of the few darkroom photography classes still available.

I waited this long to make the switch partly because it took me a while to accept that digital was really a viable replacement for film in terms of IQ and resolution, and partly because I didn't want a crop body; the 5DII price finally dropped to the point where I considered it affordable.  I'm very happy with the 5DII and will continue to use it as my main camera, but I also plan to haul out one of the film cameras from time to time when I feel like doing something different.  Especially with large medium format cameras, photography becomes a slower and more reflective art for me.  Rather than pointing the camera at anything that catches my eye, I have to really think about the image I'm trying to capture.  I know there is nothing stopping me from doing this with my DSLR too, but the film setups inherently impose more discipline.  This makes them unsuited to sports and wildlife subjects, but I think of it as an advantage for landscapes.

Film is still readily available even in 120 roll format, although the range of choices is shrinking.  At any sign of that changing I will likely order a large bulk shipment and freeze it for my future needs.  But my hope is that it will remain available to those who appreciate its qualities.  I expect the price will climb as the volume drops, and the most likely outcome to me is that high quality film will continue while any cheap stuff that remains (Wallmart film as sandymandy mentioned) will be discontinued.  Low-end digital is so inexpensive now that there really is no need even for the cheapest disposable cams, and film will be produced in low quantities to satisy conoseurs and weirdos like me... :D


crasher8

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2012, 01:05:02 PM »
Ilford is doing it's part to keep film alive and available. I don't need Kodak any longer. Delta 100, HP5, RC and Fiber papers, etc etc.

NOTHING like a properly crafted darkroom enlargement. I actually have a perverse satisfaction that it's a dying art. I still do it and feel it produces my best work. Caveat: for B&W only. My 5d3 and L lenses are pretty sweet lol.

V8Beast

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2012, 01:32:35 PM »
I'm glad I started out shooting color slides, which served as an excellent learning tool. In fact, to this day I still try to emulate the look of Kodak E100VS with my digital files in post production. A big reason why I switched from film Nikon bodies to Canon digital bodies is because I felt they more closely produced files that looked like film.

That said, I don't miss spending $5 per roll, the $15 it cost to process that roll, and the 2-3 turnaround time for processing one bit. All that for 24 exposures! I love the flexibility in post processing that digital files allow.

Good riddance, film :)

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2012, 01:32:35 PM »

dr croubie

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2012, 03:59:31 PM »
I suppose there's a bit of a distinction to be made between 'film is dead' and 'kodak is dead', and also between 'film is dead' and 'film for the masses is dead'.

The demise of Kodak is more a lesson in kodak compltely cocking up almost everything they've done in the last 20 years, as a company they could be thriving, even in a purely digital world. They killed off kodachrome a few years ago, ektachrome just went this year, all that's left is TMax and BW400CN. They also used to make good Digital Sensors, and their paper and printing was really nice too. But they managed to cock that all up too. Ilford may have gone bust a few years ago but they're back and not doing too bad, and fuji is just mopping up all of kodak's old customers too.

But yes, 'film for the masses' is dead, no doubt about that. But as niche and as collectible it's thriving. I saw an ebay auction end yesterday, for an Exacta 66, the 'ultimate upgrade' to a Pentacon Six, fully mechanical with coupled light-meter, it was always the 6x6 of choice for those who couldn't afford Hasselblad. $500 for the body, $500 for the lightmeter seperately. $600, $700, $800 for three lenses. I see it all the time, film camera prices are actually up a bit on a few years ago. Maybe for collectors? I don't know. There's gotta be a lot of users out there too. The two 6x6, the 6x45, and the two 35mm film bodies i've puchased in the last year are all getting used.
I just shot my first roll of Velvia the other day, on 6x45. All I can say is wow. Being able to look at the images, the colours especially, I'm wondering why I never shot it before. They're about the size of my 7D's LCD screen, but they look so much better. And I scan them to 40MP, and they still look great. All on a camera/lens that cost $300. It may cost $1 per photo for the roll and processing, but I reckon it's making me a better photographer because of it, I only use 'spray and pray' for birds on my 7D, I used to use it even for landscapes but not anymore.
I don't think I'll mount slides into a projector, I doubt i'll ever mix my own chemicals in my own darkroom, or create an 'optical print' with an enlarger, once scanned it's all GIMP. Some things you just can't beat in a digital workflow, like contrast/colour curves and unsharp mask (yes I know unsharp mask was a film invention but it's so much easier on digital). And the best part is, I don't need to backup and worry about hardware failures. Worst case, I have to store the negatives somewhere safe, if I lose the whole lot I just re-scan.
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gmrza

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2012, 04:34:09 PM »

My fear with digital is longevity. I've communicated with several restorers, archivists, etc. who universally say the only genuinely reliable long-term storage medium we have is paper. All digital storage formats degrade far more quickly than paper.

Maybe it's just me. I think most people don't care about the longevity. For me, there are few things more fascinating than looking at pictures from 80 or 100 years ago. A while back I resurrected my old prints and negatives from 40-50 years ago and was amazed. This raggedy old man was once a quite handsome young man in a military uniform! Without that picture, I would not have known. Will young people be able to look back 50 years from now at digital images s they make today?

You've hit on a point which isn't considered very often.  It is very interesting to see how few people actually consider the longevity of digital media. - For files stored on a hard drive, you essentially bargain on copying everything to a new hard drive every 5 years or so.  Good papers, depending on how they are stored, can have an archival life of up to 200 years.  - Try explaining that to a client who only keen on a digital package.

I suppose there's a bit of a distinction to be made between 'film is dead' and 'kodak is dead', and also between 'film is dead' and 'film for the masses is dead'.

The demise of Kodak is more a lesson in kodak completely cocking up almost everything they've done in the last 20 years, as a company they could be thriving, even in a purely digital world. They killed off kodachrome a few years ago, ektachrome just went this year, all that's left is TMax and BW400CN. They also used to make good Digital Sensors, and their paper and printing was really nice too. But they managed to cock that all up too. Ilford may have gone bust a few years ago but they're back and not doing too bad, and fuji is just mopping up all of kodak's old customers too.

But yes, 'film for the masses' is dead...
It is unfortunately true that Kodak has messed up almost everything in the last 20 years.  I will miss Endura papers, although, as you say, Fuji has done a pretty good job of mopping up Kodak's customers.  I think actually Fuji already started mopping up Kodak's customer base in the 1980s, well before the advent of mass market digital.

Film manufacturers will need to learn to live on in a much smaller scale - the mass market heyday of film is over.  The future is more niche - like the "Impossible Project".

I also certainly don't miss film.  I think digital has made photographers of all walks more productive and helped them to be more creative.  While one of my father's friends, who was a commercial photographer in Frankfurt decided that he could not make the leap to a digital workflow in his business, and rather retired - he could afford to, for my wife, starting up a studio from home, digital has been a major enabler.  With film we would have had to have dedicated another room to photography work for a darkroom.

Digital also reduces the cost (especially in terms of time spent) when you use an external lab for printing. - Now you only need to make one visit to the lab - to collect your products.

Aside from the specific technology involved, this is a great narrative about how important it is for (especially large) organisations to change in order to stay relevant.  Those who don't change with the times get consigned to the junk pile of history.  Fujifilm was one of the earlier adopters of digital, and benefited handsomely from that.  AGFA and Kodak stuffed it up.  I would say Canon and Nikon have benefited from Digital more by luck than design, purely because the move to digital has favoured camera manufacturers against producers of photographic consumables.

As much as I do hate the process of getting film developed, I am itching to go down the road and get another spool or two of Tmax or Tri-X, and see how the EOS 650 fares with the 24-70 f/2.8 II. ;-)
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distant.star

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2012, 05:06:03 PM »

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I never made the link, but now that you say it I see it for certain.

That's one of the reasons I like you images so much -- they have that same color reversal look I always got and loved in slides!



I'm glad I started out shooting color slides, which served as an excellent learning tool. In fact, to this day I still try to emulate the look of Kodak E100VS with my digital files in post production. A big reason why I switched from film Nikon bodies to Canon digital bodies is because I felt they more closely produced files that looked like film.

That said, I don't miss spending $5 per roll, the $15 it cost to process that roll, and the 2-3 turnaround time for processing one bit. All that for 24 exposures! I love the flexibility in post processing that digital files allow.

Good riddance, film :)
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crasher8

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2012, 05:38:53 PM »
I just simply cannot think about the cost, and for me it's not that expensive. I enjoy the process and since I dev my own negs and print my own enlargements I simply look forward to one great negative to work with out of 36. That is not too bad a keeper rate in any format. Usually it's about 6/36 that I use but one great film print can capture my attention over and over for it's tonality, contrast and 'feel'. It's rare that a digital photograph does that for me. Creating a one of a kind  image that I made by myself start to finish has a unique feeling to it. Keyboards and mouse clicks just don't elicit that kind of emotion.


bycostello

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #11 on: November 12, 2012, 06:20:32 PM »
Interesting link....   Don't mss film days though, nostalgic to look back though..

Hillsilly

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2012, 08:36:15 PM »
Ironically, Kodak has started to steal customers back from Fuji after putting some R & D money into their films.  It started with 100vs and more recently Ektar 100 and Portra 400.  I understand Kodak are still making Ektar and Portra.  With Black and White film, there are still several small players continuing on.  Admittedly, a very small niche in the photographic world.

One of the annoying things about the film market is that it is almost impossible to buy quality and/or medium format film in a retail shop without paying excessively high prices. Instead, it is largely internet based.  On the positive side, by having a handful of larger suppliers, I'm hoping that this makes distribution easier for manufacturers and will help keep them in business longer.  Plus there are also some smaller suppliers out there trying to keep things alive.  Blanco Negro Supplies in Sydney come to mind with their Foma products.  http://www.blanconegrosupplies.com.au
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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #12 on: November 12, 2012, 08:36:15 PM »

sandymandy

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2012, 02:16:16 PM »
My fear with digital is longevity. I've communicated with several restorers, archivists, etc. who universally say the only genuinely reliable long-term storage medium we have is paper. All digital storage formats degrade far more quickly than paper.

Thats my thought too :( Floppy disks are kinda unusable today so i dont wonder if the same happens to other digital mediums.
I think the really best long-term storage medium is STONE :D Couple it with laser engravement and u can put a lot of detail into it. Sadly only B&W is available ^^

crasher8

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2012, 02:32:20 PM »
Print it, mat it in an archival manner, frame with Tru Vue glazing and enjoy.

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Re: Photos of film's demise
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2012, 02:32:20 PM »