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Thread: BRING BACK FILMPACKS!

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    4,045

    BRING BACK FILMPACKS!

    16 Exposures. Bulletproof. No darkroom required to load them. Smaller and much lighter than a Grafmatic. Why were they taken from us? Where did we go wrong?
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  2. #2
    Scott Davis
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    May 2002
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    Washington DC
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    BRING BACK FILMPACKS!

    Because they charged a premium for the packs that people were unwilling to pay over the cost of loose sheets.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 1998
    Posts
    240

    BRING BACK FILMPACKS!

    Because the last two individuals building them for Kodak - 2 little old 80 yo ladies - retired , Kodak saw the end of the film era coming and chose not to replace them. Too much labor intensive work to make them profitable. Live with your memories. The only thing you did wrong was to be born too late to enjoy them while they were available.
    Alec

  4. #4

    BRING BACK FILMPACKS!

    There is a mechanical reason..too. Films in film packs was incredibly thin. For enlarging it was necessary to place them beetween two-glass negative carriers in the enlarger to keep it from sagging. Later, Bessler developed that negative carrier that has clamps that draw the film tight in the enlarger negative carrier.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Sep 2004
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    Gulfport, MS, USA
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    874

    BRING BACK FILMPACKS!

    I am old enough to have used film packs alot and make the following comments about their demise: while they were very convenient, especially for quick hand-held shooting such as we did in newapaper work or wedding photography, the film contained in the packs was VERY THIN and was a real pain to handle in the darkroom, with problems frequently encountered concerning flatness in glassless negative holders and "popping" or curling from the heat of the enlarging bulb. Lets not even talk about the special developing holders you had to have because the film tended to fall out of the regular hangers during agitation. Their replacement was the 120 roll film holder which most folks doing such shooting with 4x5 press cameras switched to; roll film proved a much better solution.

  6. #6
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Mar 2004
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    Albuquerque, Nuevo Mexico
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    BRING BACK FILMPACKS!

    Right on. I used those for 15+ years. Never ran out of film in the field! And with the film holder Richard mentioned printing was easy with a thinner film base to print through. I loved them.
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    "When did photography become a desk job?" Kirk Gittings 2009

    KIRK GITTINGS
    WEBSITE

    LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
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    on the banks of the Potomac
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    BRING BACK FILMPACKS!

    Well... Kodak stopped making 4x5 filmpack about 15 years ago. The last emulsion available was Tri-X, and it cost about $1.00/sheet then. I worked for Kodak in those days, and even so was unaware of its continued existence until I took a workshop with Norman McGrath in '89. I quickly became a convert and learned to process and print it- really not a problem. But of course Kodak never promoted it; few people knew of it, or its advantages, so it died on the vine... not unlike many another fine EK product. I'm afraid hell will freeze over before we see filmpack again.

  8. #8
    Donald Qualls's Avatar
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    BRING BACK FILMPACKS!

    The other advantage of film packs over rolls (even if you could still get roll film five inches wide without going through a bunch of rigamarole recutting aerial film and making backing to feed an old 4x5 roll back, in order to negate the film size advantage) was that you could "rob the pack" and process the exposed sheets while leaving the remaining unexposed frames for another day. Try that with a roll of 120!

    Sure, film is cheap, I keep hearing that, and if you need the images you can just roll the film through and process it -- but how many of us really do that?

    Labor intensive -- that's what killed pack film, no question; anything that has to be assembled by hand, in the dark, isn't likely to be cheap. Makes me wonder, though, if one might be able to make a cross between a Grafmatic and a film pack, with a straight film path and using standard size film sheets, and overcome most of the downsides of film packs while preserving their good points. Meantime, I'll be in the market for good-working Grafmatics when my budget recovers from the Speed Graphic purchase...
    If a contact print at arm's length is too small to see, you need a bigger camera. :D

  9. #9
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Mar 2000
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    Honolulu, Hawai'i
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    BRING BACK FILMPACKS!

    I've tried some old 2x3 filmpacks, just out of curiosity about old films, and they were handy in the field, but in the darkroom, I find sheet film and rollfilm easier to deal with.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Calgary
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    274

    BRING BACK FILMPACKS!

    tubes like BTZS make processing a breeze. If I remember well the filmpacks were popular in Asia (Japan at that time) as well, there was (is) a market out there. I sure miss the convenience and I prefer the TriX emulsion over the TMX100 (as supplied in Readyloads).
    I don't see a problem with the need for glass neg carriers as required for the thin emulsion. I've used these carriers for years with any neg larger than 35 mm.

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