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Thread: 35mm film disappearing?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    35mm film disappearing?

    I was in Costco yesterday, wanted to buy some 200 asa film. They dont stock 200ASA anymore and I was told they will be phasing out all film products in the near future. The guy told me that digital is better and the only way to go.

    My impression is we will be forced to go digital, not because we wont be buying film but because we cannot. The people making the decisions are not the ones who should be . . .


  2. #2

    35mm film disappearing?

    LF film will be around much longer than 35 mm. Cell phones are killing the consumer market for both 35 mm and low end digital cameras. I would say LF for the past 15 years have been seen as the staple of art photographers or those who required outstanding quality like Architectural photographers.

    Be prepared to pay a lot more for LF film, specially in color, but it will still be around long after 35 mm is gone. Wait until someone comes up with a 20 MP cell phone, you wont see 35 mm anywhere.... :-(

  3. #3

    35mm film disappearing?

    Jorge, I certainly hope you are mistaken. While I love LF 35mm is my staple. Many more images than on LF, and when printing (I do only B&W) 8X10 35 isn't so bad. And if what you say is really true why aren't used enlarger lenses a lot less expensive?

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Chester, UK

    35mm film disappearing?

    I recently bought a 16x20" easel from one of the UK suppliers. I said to him that I must be one of the last of the photographic dinosaurs, to which he replied no! He told me that they had sold more enlargers last year than in the previous 16 years combined. As our American colleagues say, "go figure"!

  5. #5
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Tucson, Arizona

    35mm film disappearing?

    There's still a market for film in all sizes, but it's shrinking as digital grows. One strange phenomenon is that many high schools are stuck teaching film-based photography to the next generation because that's the equipment they have. At my high school, I'm trying to work digital in, but my equipment budget is $200 per year (last year, don't know what it will be this year), which doesn't buy much digital stuff for 150+ students.

    Strangely, a lot of the kids really like working with b/w in a darkroom, as opposed to another hour of sitting in front of a computer screen each day. This is prolonging (for a little while) the market for analog b/w.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    35mm film disappearing?

    Any body been to a movie lately?

  7. #7

    35mm film disappearing?

    I dont know Richard, there is no harm in hoping, but we have to face facts. I bet you Wal Mart, Costco, Sams, etc, are buying one tenth of the film they were buying 5 or 10 years ago. The cash cow for Kodak, et al used to be the 2 million rolls each of these outlets bought a year.

    Why do you think digital sales have slumped? Cell phones are eating their lunch, why would I want to pay $300 for a p&s (digital or film) when my phone has one for free?... :-)

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2005

    35mm film disappearing?

    I believe that as long as film is manufactured, it will or can be cut into any size that sells. So if film is available for the LF group (and I don't see any signs of that ending), then someone will offer it in 120 and 35mm.

    How many 35mm cameras do you think are out there.....

  9. #9

    35mm film disappearing?

    Film won't disappear. You'll always be able to buy it from a source outside 'the west' (be it China, Eastern Europe, Africa down the road) or from a fine-art supplier. More difficult than hitting up Wal-Mart for a five-pack of 200 film but still available.

    Traditional silver photo processes now have a greater 'art' cachet (with digital being perceived as owning the commercial/snapshot realms), so I suspect that we've seen the worst of it for niche film camera/accessory makers - the business of selling enlargers/4x5/easels/etc. should have levelled off.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2001

    35mm film disappearing?

    I believe that as long as film is manufactured, it will or can be cut into any size that sells. So if film is available for the LF group (and I don't see any signs of that ending), then someone will offer it in 120 and 35mm.

    Switching production among different formats requires more than setting the cutting machine to different dimensions. Roll film and sheet film are generally coated on different bases - relatively thin acetate bases in the case of roll film (and even those different between 35 and 120), relatively thick polyester bases in the case of sheet film. Even if you could feed a master roll on polyester sheet film base into a finishing machine designed to churn out rolls, many cameras would have a hard time handling it - remember that some medium format cameras had problems when T-Max films first came out on a slightly stiffer acetate base, which was still not anywhere near as stiff as sheet-film bases.

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