View Full Version : Forte - more trouble???

David Hempenstall
4-Nov-2004, 02:34
Hi peoples,

I have been sourcing my Fortepan 200 from a number of suppliers over the last year.

I received today an email from the local importer of Forte products telling me that Forte was in the hands of receivers and "...future supply is uncertain."

In reference to 5x7 and 8x10 (what I have ordered).... "they indicate future
production is unlikely. "

Sorry to continue the stupidity of inernet rumours, but seeing the importer told me I thought it best to post it here.

Hope this news is not true!


Martin Reekie
4-Nov-2004, 02:57
David is, unfortunately, correct! I checked with Silverprint in London (where I get my Forte paper from) and they tell me that Forte are in receivership but it's not been made public yet. Possibly this is to announce who the receiver will be.

This is getting serious! There is a bit of a contradiction here, Rollei selling sheet film and Schneider making two brand new ULF lenses BUT Agfa stopping production of B&W sheet film, Ilford and Forte in financial trouble. It will be a while before it all settles down.

Brian Ellis
4-Nov-2004, 04:34
If Forte's situation hasn't been made public it isn't a very well guarded secret. I remember reading about it several weeks or more ago. I also thought they announced that there would be no more Forte paper (i.e. no waffling like Ilford,, which said their products might be continued if a buyer of their film and darkroom paper facilities could be found, though IMHO this was more a claim designed to sell existing inventory rather than a realistic possibility).

4-Nov-2004, 08:24
Agfa film and paper continues to be manufactured. Agfa sold off their traditional photography to management and the new corporation is "Agfaphoto".

tim atherton
4-Nov-2004, 09:27
Phil - what sheet films are Agfa still making in 4x5 and 8x10 - transparency and B&W? B&H doesn't list any?

Philippe Gauthier
4-Nov-2004, 09:30
Martin referred to Agfa SHEET film, which is no more. For the rest, no, it's not the first rumour concerning Forte. One would have assumed that they were better optimized for small scale production than Ilford, but it seems that they experience some problems as well. The last time, they said the problem was a lack of supply; I wondered if they lacked supply simply because they lacked the cash reserves to pay for it (short term liquidity issue) or if the business was really bad (long term negative cash flow). I know for sure that they're looking for a financial partner and some fresh money. It doesn't look too good, but hopefully they'll restrutcure/refinance and keep on going.

David A. Goldfarb
4-Nov-2004, 15:40
Interesting response from J&C here:

http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=10045 (http://www.apug.org/forums/showthread.php?t=10045)

4-Nov-2004, 15:47
Agfa production of sheet films has been suspended, not discontinued. A decision on resuming production will follow completion of its spin-off transaction.

tim atherton
4-Nov-2004, 15:57
"suspended" for well over a year now for most of it Phil.

Can you expand on your source for this? (I for one would love to have APX100 and RSX II in at least 4x5 and preferably 8x10

But then again, read the repsnse David posted from J&C

It seems more and more unlikely that anyone is going to get back into sheet production right now?

David F. Stein
4-Nov-2004, 23:47
Start learning to coat our own plates again???

neil poulsen
5-Nov-2004, 01:26
Agfa has been sort of cut and dried on sheet film. They make a certain amount, and if they can't sell a certain percentage before the film expires, they drop it. At least, that's what happened to Optima sheet film, which I rather liked. I would think that a solution would be to have shorter runs. Maybe that's an option for the new owners.

Brian Ellis
5-Nov-2004, 18:51
I didn't think Forte's discontinuance of production was a rumor, what I read purported to be a fact though I guess it could have been wrong. I don't know about others here but I'm getting very pessimistic about the continued availability of the sheet films most of us use. I know the party line is "as long as there's a market for it, someone will make it" but I'm really beginning to wonder. Digital is moving forward much faster than I expected as recently as a couple years ago and it seems like every time I turn around there's more bad news from some film company. Most recently Photo Techniques magazine had a blurb saying that Kodak's sales have dropped even more than they were anticipating (they anticipated a 10-12% drop, the actual drop this year has been about 16%). If 35mm film, which obviously accounts for the biggest market share, is doing so bad what hope is there for 8x10 or even 4x5 sheet film? And Forte was supposed to be just the kind of company many of us thought could survive and prosper, a small, niche market company without a wide range of products and a big overhead.

J. P. Mose
6-Nov-2004, 07:19

I have to agree that I am starting to feel pessimistic as well. Yesterday I went to a local store in Atlanta to purchase 16x20 paper. I hadn't been in this store for a few months. The chemical darkroom section was about half the size as my prior visit....which was about half the size of the one before that! I assume that a lot of people buy on line, which hurts the smaller stores. However, yesterday I had this gloomy feeling that I may not be able to walk into any local store and get supplies within a couple of years! It really bummed me out. I went home and shot a bunch of pics with my Super D Graflex. I kept thinking...I'm 47 and hope that at least one film will remain by the time I'm an old man!

On a more optimistic note, I keep hoping that companies like Agfa, Ilford, etc. will merge in order to keep some strength. I think it is inevitable that more emulsions will be dropped from the list. But as long as film is manufacture in rolls, it shouldn't be a problem obtaining it in larger sizes. It may get to the point where we cut it to size in the darkroom...but I would be willing to do this if that's what it takes. I hope this is years off...

I have been employed by Lockheed Martin since 1981. After the cold war ended, the defense industry was hard hit. I lived in Beverly Hills at the time and was forced to move to Atlanta by 1994 in order to keep my position. Aerospace continued to decline throughout the 1990's. It was a gloomy situation. But companies merged and lean techniques were applied. 9/11 has somewhat reversed the situation. Obviously, this isn't the same situation as film since there will be a continuous need for defense. But the drop was still very sudden and effects were devistating. The point to all of this is that companies like Northrop, Lockheed, Boeing, General Dynamics, etc. did what they need to do, in order to survive. I just hope the film industry follows that lead. This is my hope for the future! I could live with less choices as long as the choices come from a healthy source.

Well that's my two cents for the day. I think I'll go take more pictures. Take care.

J. P. Mose

tim atherton
9-Nov-2004, 13:21

"Agfa production of sheet films has been suspended, not discontinued. A decision on resuming production will follow completion of its spin-off transaction."

Sounds like the decision has already been made - as I pretty much expected it had. Most Agfa sheet film has (as Agfa had previously informed us) been discontinued not suspened:

"Thank you for contacting AgfaPhoto. There are no immediate plans to reintroduce RSX II or APX 100 sheet films."

wish it weren't so, but 'tis