View Full Version : Confidence in continued ULF film availability?

Robert McClure
3-May-2006, 07:10
Noticed a Korona 717 on Ebay this morning with 10 "bids" indicated already the first day. I hope this indicates confidence in the continued availability of 7x17 film stock and other ULF sizes.

Steve Hamley
3-May-2006, 07:26

I think the unspoken question is availability over what period of time into the future? Certainly ULF (larger than 8x10) is undergoing a resurgence and both Ilford and Kodak have responded to the demand. Still, ULF and the multitude of sizes people desire is not large enough for a major manufacturer to produce and package dozens of sizes for off-the-shelf sale. The best we can hope for is annual or bi-annual "runs" where we can order a supply for the freezer.


George Losse
3-May-2006, 07:32

As long as people buy it, shoot it and buy more, there will be film available.

There are more options in ULF film availability today then there were ten years ago. Ten years ago you had on the shelf HP5 and HP4 and special orders for Kodak Tri X. Look at all the film types J&C has today.

Relax and go shoot some film.

David A. Goldfarb
3-May-2006, 07:33
That Korona is a 5x12".

I think for these custom sizes, we're developing routines for group orders, stocking up, and small manufacturers are figuring out how to reach the market, and the market is finding the manufacturers. Cutting down film from a larger size is usually an option, and there's an increased interest in wetplate photography and coating one's own film, for those who want even greater independence from the photographic-industrial complex.

3-May-2006, 07:47
If you check out the current issue of the Large Format Journal e-magazine ( in the Spring 2006 issue ), you'll see there is an interview that I did with J&C covering this very issue. link is here (http://www.thelargeformatjournal.com/html/the_journals.html)


steve simmons
3-May-2006, 07:52
View Camera magazine did an article in ur Jan/Feb 06 issue on sheet film availability. We did this to counteract the 'experts' who periodically come on these forums announcing the end of film. There is more film available than any of us will ever use.

An updated list is on our web site.

steve simmons


Joseph O'Neil
3-May-2006, 08:13
quote: "The best we can hope for is annual or bi-annual "runs" where we can order a supply for the freezer."

You know something though, a *lot* of manufacturing is like that today - not just film or photography products. Sometimes it seasonal based, and sometimes it just exactly the point of where there's enough demand to justify a a once or twice a year run, but not year round.

As for sheet film availability overall, a neat thing happened to me this past weekend at the local camera store - the one that still sells wet darkroom supplies. Not only was there another 4x5 enlarger for sale (3rd one this year), but they told me for the first time in a few years, they had to bring in 8x10 sheet film for a customer. And to top it off, there's actually a 4x5 Arca-Swiss monorail for sale in the window. I haven't seen this much LF gear in that store for 5-6 years.

Yeah I know, it doesn't sound like much, but the point is, 35mm and medium format film & cameras at this store continue to be pushed out by the digital onslaught, but in the midst of all this, they are starting to wonder what kind if or what kind of large format film they should be stocking on a regular basis. As it was, I bought a box of HP5+ in 4x5 off the shelf without having to have it ordered in.

So I think things are looking up.

The only bad news is, prices of used LF gear on Ebay aren't the deal they used to be 4 or 5 years ago. :(


Frank Petronio
3-May-2006, 08:14
It's kind of like running out of hydrocarbons. Someday it's bound to be gone, but we'll just keep using it until it gets too expensive or the alternatives get too good.

Michael Kadillak
3-May-2006, 08:34
Upon the announcement of the Kodak and Ilford positive news, I received a number of e-mails from individuals on this subject indicating that they had seriously considered migrating to a number of ULF formats but held back based upon the fear of being able to acquire film to use in it. However, they said that they were now confortable enough with the situation to make the plunge and naturally, this has created demand for ULF equipment to meet these needs.

I feel that being able to do an annual or semi annual cutting plays to our hand because it is an expensive product to purchase let alone stock. As long as my freezer has film in it, I have a smile on my face.

I believe the upside with LF and ULF from an infrastructural perspective is the potential growth overseas particularly in China.

The Korona camera you made reference to on the auction site appears to be a 5"x12" which I have not seen many of. The format that is currently in vogue is 7x17 which I feel is because of the fact that it is easier to cover with a larger number of lenses that may already be in the hands of 8x10 shooters optimizing their costs to step up to the format.

A number of years ago those easily swayed by negative news within the industry sector were actively selling their ULF equipment while they felt that they could get something out of it before the funeral for conventional film took place. Now I bet they wish that they held on to it as with continued support conventional film will be with us for a very long time.


steve simmons
3-May-2006, 08:49
There are several dealers who are interested in the ULF sizes. These include Freestyle in LA and The View Camera Store. J and C is not the only choice.

steve simmons

3-May-2006, 10:49
>> The only bad news is, prices of used LF gear on Ebay aren't the deal they used to be 4 or 5 years ago. :(

Gotta disagree: I've monitored eBay.LF for years, and it looks to me like prices are trending downwards. Sinar in particular. I wish the Hasselblad 903 would join this trend!

Michael Kadillak
3-May-2006, 10:55
There are several dealers who are interested in the ULF sizes. These include Freestyle in LA and The View Camera Store. J and C is not the only choice.

A point of clarification is in order here. Ilford shouldered the business risk in offering their sheet film to consumers. The short list of vendors that accepted orders and delivered film did so on normal film markup margins. As a result, any qualified vendor can get on the re-seller list by contacting Ilford and meeting their requirements. Along these lines yes, J&C is one of many selling Ilford sheet film in special sizes.

However, the Kodak TMY deal risk was solely accepted by J&C as they were the intermediary party that was willing to step up to the plate to make this happen. Without John, I can honestly say that the deal would have never come to fruition. I ran it up many flag poles over a long protracted period (with no interest expressed) and was pleasantly impressed with his business accumen and vision to believe that it could happen. As a result, J&C is the only current choice for TMY in sizes other than 4x5 or 8x10 which are standard offerings from Kodak.

A long time ago I learned a valuable business lesson. The first one to the market usually wins. I see J&C's position to continue to sell TMY in ULF sizes as established and proven and for that I am very thankful each and every time I pull my dark slide.


Denis P.
3-May-2006, 12:01
On my side of the pond (Croatia), I can confirm that Croatian Fotokemika is also considering reviving some long forgotten products. I can't speak about specific ULF sizes, but AFAIK, J&C do offer some Efke films in ULF....

They are also more than willing to extend their range of chemistry, but those products are probably not economically feasible, due to increased shipping costs and complicated regulations concerning hazardous materials....

There's also some rumour at Fotokemika (Efke) about a trial run of, in the words of their sales manager, "special negative-positive paper", which can be shot in the camera instead of film, and developed to give a *positive* instead of negative image... Can't tell you more about the specifics, I've never shot or used such paper, but these are good signs. Their (Fotokemika's) sales manager wondered if there would be any interest for such paper. I told him that, IMHO, such paper would probably be purchased primarily by ULF shooters.

If this "trial run" materializes, I'll be sure to purchase a few packs, even though my largest format is 5x7 :)

If you're interested in such (and other unusual) stuff, just make inquiries at J&C (I think they are the main US distributors/suppliers of Efke stuff).... They could probably ask Fotokemika, make their calculations, asses the potential market, etc. In short, if there's enough demand, there will always be the product... :)

John Bowen
3-May-2006, 19:51
OK let's try and bring this thread back to the original subject.

I for one have enough faith in the availablity of ULF film to spend a few $$ on 7x17 film holders and a new 7x17 camera (Richard Ritter's). Based on the number of camera manufacturers that are making ULf cameras, there seems to be quite a bit of demand out there. I thnk I read some where that Richard's initial run of ULF cameras is around 30. After all, we aging boomers have to do something with ourselves as we head toward advanced geezerhood :-)

While I have faith film will be available from one source or another, I purchased a multi-year supply of the 7x17 TMY that John and Michael worked so hard to deliver to us. I love the stuff for 8x10 with Pyrocat HD and Azo. Can't wait to see some 7x17 contact prints on Michael Smith's new paper.

Oren Grad
3-May-2006, 23:55
What Jason said.

If we keep buying it, we'll have it.