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Thread: When will sheet film be obsolete?

  1. #1

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    When will sheet film be obsolete?

    Do you think 8x10, etc sheet film will eventually go away forever? Will the LF cameras become door stops? Or, do you think view cameras will have a place in photography for many years to come? Will digital backs take the place of film holders?

    Just some thoughts I have been having; may explain why the questions later.

  2. #2
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    Re: When will sheet film be obsolete?

    Your question has been the subject of considerable discussion.

    You might find it helpful to read some of the earlier threads on the subject. The forum has a built-in search function that makes it fairly easy.

  3. #3

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    Re: When will sheet film be obsolete?

    Even if sheet film disappears collodion and Daguerreotype would be there as alternatives.

    Have you heard of these?

    Beautiful cameras, by the way!

  4. #4

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    Re: When will sheet film be obsolete?

    A kinda inflamatory question. Just sayin'...
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  5. #5

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    Re: When will sheet film be obsolete?

    All things go away eventually. Even the chariot is no longer in wide use. Not to mention the recent horse drawn iron mowing machine I used as a kid. Things evolve over time, as my botany professor Ray Torrey of UMass Amherst used to emphasize.

    OK, I need my first cup of coffee this Sunday morning!

    Nate Potter, Austin TX.

  6. #6
    Stefan
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    Re: When will sheet film be obsolete?

    The low number of LF photographers under the age of 30 should be a hint about where LF is going. 4x5 and 8x10 is probably safe (in terms of film/chemical/development availability) for another 30-50 years, in the same time a sub-2000$ 4x5 digital back might be available at the current rate of sensor development.

    But who knows...

  7. #7

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    Re: When will sheet film be obsolete?

    Nah sensor development is mature and near the end of rapid development, there is no reasonable market for a 4x5 inch sensor. We don't need more megapixels as it stands, the best we're going to get are incremental improvements in dynamic range and ISO with the small sensor formats we've got.

    Film is made in large sheets and cut into rolls or sheets, so any manufacturer can cut any size you want. For a price ($20K I think?) Kodak or Ilford will cut whatever format you want as a special order. I'm sure the smaller manufacturers will do the same.

    Eventually Kodak may shut down its line when demand falls but sales of B&W products have been steady for a decade or even improving, thanks to the hobby market. The others will follow and fold up but there will probably be at least one small-scale manufacturer continuing to make film for generations, if not forever. It would be a nice stable business once it all shakes out -- to be the only film supplier left -- even if there were only 20-30K film photographers that is still a nice living for small team.

    Color may end being painful, it is expensive to do large format color as it is already, but B&W film will probably never die, at least in our lifetimes.

    Or 2012, in which case who cares?

  8. #8

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    Re: When will sheet film be obsolete?

    Four of my friends bought Chamonix and Shenhao 4x5 cameras within these few weeks. They were attracted by the high quality and low entry price. I equate Chamonix with what Honda did for the motorcycle industry 50 years ago. There is a 3 month waiting list right now for a Walker Titan 57XL. People are buying cameras that's for sure. Bill Maxwell told me recently (in an hour long phone call) that he is getting more orders for 8x10 screens this year than the last ten years combined. I am not worried.

  9. #9
    funkadelic
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    Re: When will sheet film be obsolete?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ty G View Post
    Do you think 8x10, etc sheet film will eventually go away forever?
    Many people predict the date as December 21, 2012.

    Argh. Frank beat me to it.

  10. #10
    Richard K. Richard K.'s Avatar
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    Re: When will sheet film be obsolete?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ty G View Post
    ...........................|||||||||||||||||................

    Just some thoughts I have been having; may explain why the questions later.
    OK time's up. Explain...
    When I was 16 I thought my father the stupidest man in the world; when I reached 21, I was astounded by how much he had learned in just 5 years!

    -appropriated from Mark Twain

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