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Author Topic: When is the film going to die?  (Read 8481 times)
Erik M
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« on: October 10, 2002, 06:55:35 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Bob,

You make some excellent points. But I just want to assure the original poster that all those millions of film cameras throughout the world will continue to click away and consume film for at least the next two decades. So go ahead and purchase additional film and lenses for your camera without fear--equipment won't define your talent if you have any. Film will only disappear if everyone who owns a film camera stops purchasing film. This is a long shot; even Kodak continues to make its Kodachrome 200 film. Sure, it's 23.50 a roll. But there are photographers and clients that for one reason or another demand this film; and thus it is available.[/font]
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dfourer
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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2002, 01:00:13 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']If you are buying a lense for an older camera, check the used photo exchanges on the internet.  They sell internationally and with so many people trading in their older camera for digital there is no shortage of supply.  I'm buying used film-camera equipment untill the digital technology finds it's standards.  I need my equipment to give me five years minimum--I'm in this for a hobby.

--David[/font]
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David Fourer, Chicago
MatthewCromer
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« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2002, 03:38:31 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Xiaoding,

I know a lot of people with digital cameras and not one of them prints all their digital pictures.  In fact, I don't know any who print 10% of their digital pictures.

I shot 14,000 frames with my Sony DSC-F707 over the past 9 months, and printed probably 300 of them.

The difference is that I now have 300 top-notch prints, instead of 3 pretty nice prints, 30 ok ones, and 100 prints worthy of the bin (which is what my photography was like before getting a digital camera).[/font]
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robertwatcher
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« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2002, 11:05:42 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Just think about how many decades agoprofessional video came into play. Even now it is mainly used for Tv shows and weddings. Music videos and nearly all the major movies are still produced with film for that analogue feel. Digital has never had the algorithms to produce a totally film look. Even though I produce digital prints for my clients, there is a digital pallet and depth (that I happen to like) that many profeesional photographers and clients won't favour for a while yet.

THE COST: yes prices are dropping (that is compared to tens of thousands of dollars for a body a few years ago) but the major investment of $3000 to $10000 per body - times 2 or 3 - and a handful of $500 storage cards will keep them out of the hands of many professionals stratching out their living (most freelance photographers) for awhile.

Many pros and serious amateurs are happy with hibrid methods (scanned film) for now. In likelihood film will keep the pace of movie film and continue to give us options of simplicity and purity with film and creativity and brilliance with digital.[/font]
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Doug_Dolde
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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2002, 02:17:57 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I think it is interesting to note that flexible film actually became available around 1900 to replace glass plates.  But some people kept using glass plates for 20 years thereafter.[/font]
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2002, 10:55:10 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Dale, what's interesting about your point is that music is now beginning to transcend it's physical medium. What was first distributed via radio, then vinyl, then CD is now becoming MP3 -- a format that can be store on CDs or harddrives, or players. The file format is the final medium. I subscribe to an MP3 music site, and download nearly all the new music I hear -- it has been a quiet revolution in how I interact with music.

With photography, I find the same: the file format is becoming my standard. Right now, there are too many standards: When scanning film it is PSD (Photoshop), when shooting digital it is RAW, and for casual shooting with my Sony it is JPEG. But all of my photography finds its way into a file -- and that is it's *true* state for me. I'll be interested to see the next stages of this.[/font]
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MartinGM
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« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2002, 06:52:41 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Hi everyone,

I have a question concerning the life expectancy of film as a medium for photography. Sooner than I expected, the 35 mm digital seems to have surpassed the film. There is no doubt that the ongoing migration of the professionals toward the digital is going to decrease the demand after (professional) film and related products. Sadly, this will make the manufacturers raise the prices and, some time later, the film as an affordable and medium will disappear altogether. When do you think this will happen?

I am rather new to photography, having purchased my first camera just a year and half ago. Since I wanted to learn to make good photographs and not just take snapshots, I decided to buy a modern manual camera with a prime lense (Contax Aria), being aware of and accepting its limitations. Recently, I have decided to add one wide-angle and one telephoto to my normal lens. This is going to be a considerable investment for me, since young university teachers like me unfortunatelly have a very low salary in my country (Czech Republic). Naturally, I am quite concerned with the expected demise of film, since I am afraid that in a decade I will have no quality film to shoot with these expensive lenses. I am quite satisfied with the technical quality of the pictures I am getting, so I am not jealous about the possible higher quality of the latest digital slr's.

What are your predictions of the developments in this area? I can only hope that Kodak's Photokina introduction of new Royal Supra film is a good sign.

Thanks,

Martin

P.S. To get more feedback, I have posted this issue also on the photo.net[/font]
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bobtrips
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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2002, 04:42:16 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']In the parts of the 'developing world' that I travel cell phones rapidly achieved popular use. Lots of the developing world skipped the stage of stringing phone lines and went straight to cellular.

The same potential for digital to rapidly spread through the developing world exists. If one looks at the digital/film printers (i.e., Fuji Frontiers) that are now becoming common in the US and other western countries, one can see how much would be saved by never purchasing the film developing part of the system.

As sub $200 (and soon sub $100) 2 meg digitals become more available it is easy to imagine a time when one drops by the local picture printing shop, inserts their memory card, and walks out a few minutes later with their prints. (You can do that here right now.)

The cost of film and developing quickly eats up the initial savings of buying a cheaper film camera.

In many towns that are too small to sustain a printing service one is likely to find an internet shop where one can rent time on a computer hooked to the net. With the addition of a $20 card reader the net shop becomes a terminal for a printing service. Just like using Ofoto or Walmart. Upload your pictures, get your prints in the mail.[/font]
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Marshal
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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2002, 09:50:11 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']$23.50 a roll?!?! Where do you live and where do you have to buy it at that price? I don't think I've ever paid more than half that for K200.[/font]
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Gannet
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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2002, 12:34:33 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']$23.50 a roll is, in fact, close to the going price.  Even B&H gets $19.99.  This is for PKL, i.e. Kodachrome 200  *Professional*.  It's regular KL that's less than half the price.[/font]
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bobtrips
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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2002, 07:15:04 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I don't think digital will "find it's standards" as did film. There is no need to adopt a universal size (or sizes). Film needed to settle into a few sizes in order to have some economy of scale in production and shelf stocking.

Digital cameras will most likely continue to shrink in size over the next several years. We're now seeing SLR sized digitals infringing on the medium format market. Digitals with sensors smaller than 35mm film are equaling (more or less) 35mm film.

If the Foveon chip turns out to match its initial promise there will be a further shrinking.[/font]
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SurfKid
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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2002, 09:36:25 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']
Quote
$23.50 a roll is, in fact, close to the going price.  Even B&H gets $19.99.  This is for PKL, i.e. Kodachrome 200  *Professional*.  It's regular KL that's less than half the price.
As far as I know "professional" films have a much shorter life time and as their tonal range is much longer so under ordinary conditions they give much flatter images than amateur films. They are most useful in studios where the lighting is under the complete control of the photographer. In all other cases it is usually better to use amateur films.[/font]
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Xiaoding
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« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2002, 01:59:26 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I can't agree that the cost of film and printing is more with film than it is with digital. If anything, digital printing costs more! 50 cents a print is much more than film, and so is 29 cents. When you consider that most people print every single photo they take, so that they can pass them around to their friends and family, it is much more expensive to do that digitally. I won't even mention the cost of a computer and printer, and ink and paper! Until costs come down for digital, it will remain...dare I say it..a niche market! Film will be around for awhile, if not forever. Digital printing costs need to be the same as film for it to compete with the mass market.[/font]
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Xiaoding
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« Reply #13 on: December 24, 2002, 09:23:03 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']My point was, the mass market prints all their shots.  What hobbyists do is irrelevant to that.  If you shoot 10 million shots, it does not matter.  If you were using film, you never would have shot 10 million shots to begin with.  The topic of this thread is "When is film going to die?", not "How many times can I press the button on my digital cam".  Smiley

The mass market also wants prints they can pass around the table, not images on a screen in some back room somewhere.  So, expect film to be around for awhile.[/font]
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Robert Roaldi
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« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2002, 01:01:14 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']My concern is not whether or when film will die, it's when the processing will become too expensive.

When I returned to photography as a hobby about 5 years ago I was shocked to discover that getting a roll of TriX with 4x6's developed cost around double that of colour. It used to be the other way round, if memory serves.

Transparencies are still reasonable though, and I hope they remain that way.

As for casual digital use, I can't judge how it will go. It's convenient to email a jpg to someone, no doubt, but I don't  foresee 2 rolls per year snapshooters going to the trouble to calibrate their workflow to get believable colour out of an inkjet print. Most people cannot set their vcr's. They'll probably email the jpg's to photo-printers for final output, unless the digi world streamlines print production to be far less error-prone that it currently is.

Indeed, I'd rather have easy-to-use reliable print-making technology than more pixels.[/font]
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BJL
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« Reply #15 on: December 24, 2002, 06:03:02 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']On the subject of whether the mass market prints all its photos, I have been suprised to hear so consistently in the mainstream photo press the view that people want to print every digital photo, and it got really funny when a survey showed instead that only about 20% of digital photos get printed. (So the mass market does not print all its shots.)

Did the person reporting this change his opinion about the typical camera user printing every photo? No, he just suggested that the future will involve dropping of your memory card at the drug store for film-priced prints of every photo, forcing the new technology to fit the usage patterns of the old.

In the short term maybe yes, habits take time to change; but I expect a lot of other options even for those without computers: selectively printing either at a self-serve photo kiosk or at home (with a "direct from camera" photo printer if you have no computer); writing to CD, perhaps at a kiosk; TV viewing from CD via DVD player or such; showing ephemeral snap shots like party photos on the TV and then deleting most or all of them, etc.

Interestingly, 20% or less is about the fraction of my photos that get more than transient viewing; the rest never make it out of the filing boxes into albums.


The persistent mass market for film is people who take too few photos to cover the initial cost of digital. They will probably move to "single use" cameras, and a single use digital can be imagined; one that must be returned to the photofinisher or kiosk in order to extract the photos.[/font]
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Bob Wallace
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« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2002, 04:00:09 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I'm even more extreme...

I've made between 18,000 and 20,000 digital pictures.

I've printed essentially none. (OK, I printed some shots for visas.)

I'd rather look at my pictures on screen than on paper. I post some of my best pictures on the web for friends and family to see. I email pictures to people. When friends come over it's easier to show pictures on the screen than by handing around an album or a stack of prints that not everyone can see at the same time.

I think that we're in a shift away from paper prints and to an electronic medium. People are going to find it easier to carry their kids pictures on their PDA or a pocket sized viewer. HDTV is going to be a major viewing vehicle. It's just a matter of time before LCD 'picture frames' that you restock via a memory card are affordable.[/font]
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bobtrips
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« Reply #17 on: December 24, 2002, 11:48:35 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']"The mass market also wants prints they can pass around the table, not images on a screen in some back room somewhere. So, expect film to be around for awhile."

At this moment, in our small town of about 9,000, one can walk into the camera store with their memory card and slip it into a kiosk, select the pictures that they want printed, and walk out with the prints.

No need to pay for all those shots of the back side of the lens cap, thumb in front of the lens, Grandma' backside when she suddenly bent over....

Film has lost the easy print advantage.[/font]
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Dale_Cotton
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« Reply #18 on: December 26, 2002, 02:31:00 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Returning to the main topic, I'd rather ask when digital (as we currently know it) will die than when film will die.

When I was a child the vinyl sound recording, LP and 45, was how one purchased a recording - period. No one considered that this technology might be supplanted. Look at the permutations sound recording has been through since then. No one considered that we might buy video recordings as well as audio-only. VHS and CD we barely knew ya before DVD.

We're overdue for another big upset in imaging. 3-D? Adaptive optics? Nerve signal recording and playback? Near-room temperature superconducting sensors? More likely something we can't predict.

As others have said film will be sold as long as the billion low-end film cameras already in people's hands continue to function. Digital is not a compelling upgrade for the masses because it doesn't offer a must-have enhancement to packs of 4x6 prints created via point-and-shoot. 3-D digital or multi-sensory digital - these would cause a real revolution.[/font]
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Doug_Dolde
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« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2002, 02:42:31 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Interesting to note what you can buy for less than a 1Ds body alone:

Ebony SV45U 4x5 with Schneider Super Symmar XL 110mm lens, Schneider APO Symmar L 210mm lens, Schneider APO-Tele-Xenar Compact 400mm lens, 3 lensboards. $7174.85 from Badger Graphics.

OR, Linhof 617 SIII kit with Schneider Super Angulon XL lens, Schneider APO Symmar 180mm lens with viewfinder. $7145.00 from Badger Graphics.

OR, Pentax 67II body with AE finder, 45mm lens, 55-100mm zoom lens, 300mm EDIF lens. $6949.75 from Badger Graphics.[/font]
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