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Is 35mm film under threat?


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Initial post: 23 Jun 2012 09:07:31 BDT
I was listening to Radio 4 yesterday and it was said that the use of 35mm film for cinema was on a downward spiral because digital was taking over.
I wonder what that will do to the production of film for still photography?

Posted on 23 Jun 2012 10:10:43 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 Jun 2012 10:12:48 BDT
G. E. Hearn says:
Well, according to Kodak, their sales are on the up and up and have been since around 2009. Which is why it's something of a mystery that they're deleting loads of formulations from their range.

Fortunately, Ilford and Fuji are both doing well with strong sales, so I think we'll be okay for some time to come. Hopefully for my lifetime at least. There are still plenty of 35mm stills cameras being manufactured too.

While the use of digital in cinema cameras is increasing, the prohibitive cost of something like the Red One and its ilk will mean that there will still be plenty of work for the old 35mm systems for some time to come, I would guess amongst the "Indie" community of film makers especially.
I saw "Prometheus" last week in 3D, and the optical quality of it was amazing. That was all shot on Red systems apparently.
But who knows? Most cinema cameras are rented for the duration of the job rather than owned, and broadcast quality digital is getting cheaper all the time...

But on the whole, I still think film will be safe for a good many years yet.

Posted on 23 Jun 2012 10:42:44 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
I could be wrong, but isn't cine film emulsion different to those we buy for still photography in our 35mm cameras? Films are shot on negative stock with the express purpose of being copied for the final positive prints. So it may be that the emulsions are different. If this is the case, then hopefully the demise of specialist cine emulsions shouldn't impact too negatively (sorry about pun) on the availability of "amateur" 35mm film. Indeed, as you have pointed out, GEH, with demand on the up, this should be good news for those film manufacturers still in the business. Let's hope so.

Posted on 23 Jun 2012 10:58:53 BDT
Hi TJ and Graham
Well, I did a bit of research. The emulsions for cine are different - they would be I suppose. It's all made by Kodak and Fuji.
Kodak do B&W, Colour Neg and Reversal (Ektachrome 100).
I suppose my fear is that if the still camera business is dependent on cine film sales - due to economies of scale or whatever, then there could be a problem. Kodak has been reported to be in trouble with the fall off in film sales so will they survive as an artisan still film maker?
Thankfully none of this applies to Ilford. I don't know about Efke, Foma, Agfa, Adox and whoever makes Rollei film,

Posted on 23 Jun 2012 11:25:17 BDT
X says:
Radio 4 a few years behind the times and/or relying on a bigot with the right connections for specialist input? Not a surprise... Just look at the website of any independent film sales specialist, and make up your own mind. Here's my excellent choice

http://www.ag-photographic.co.uk/black--white-film-1-c.asp?gclid=CMeo066S5LACFcshtAodlB5cvg

Posted on 23 Jun 2012 15:47:01 BDT
G. E. Hearn says:
Kodak are indeed in trouble Doc, as you point out. But this is primarily due to questionable management decisions, in short "Backing the wrong horse" and refusing to adapt to a changing market.
Ironically enough, the films division of Kodak is one of the only parts of the company that is still actually making money.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jun 2012 16:48:19 BDT
Hi Graham,
Well I'm pleased to hear it.
Ed,
Ag seem to be doing well. I visited their new premises recently and they were much improved compared with the rooms above the Skoda garage which they occupied before. They are good people too.

Posted on 23 Jun 2012 17:14:36 BDT
G. E. Hearn says:
http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/q-and-a/1735570/kodak-there-real-resurgence-film

To link to just one of many.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jun 2012 18:38:51 BDT
Good article, Graham

Posted on 23 Jun 2012 22:48:43 BDT
X says:
Hi Doc: I am not Ag's biggest client, but they have always treated me as if I were. BTW: Strange name, like they wanted to write "Agfa" but the graphic designer ran out of space.

Posted on 24 Jun 2012 00:19:59 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 24 Jun 2012 09:45:14 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jun 2012 01:33:59 BDT
Hi Ed,
Ag is not such a strange name when you recall that the Chemical symbol for silver is Ag (argentium).
Apparently AGFA was the abbreviation for Aktien-Gesellschaft für Anilin-Fabrikation, according to Wiki.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jun 2012 01:40:14 BDT
Hi Graham,
I would have hoped that a harmless hobby like photography would not be subject to religious theories. Oh dear.

Posted on 24 Jun 2012 08:24:18 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 24 Jun 2012 09:45:32 BDT]

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jun 2012 09:43:39 BDT
Hi Graham,
For pity's sake let's not involve religion - have you ever strayed onto the religion forum? It's a den of vipers.

Posted on 24 Jun 2012 09:45:01 BDT
G. E. Hearn says:
Oh yes, hopefully we'll keep this forum clear of all that. No more from me! He just annoyed me a bit, that was all. In fact I'll delete the above posts to avoid any temptation. Get thee behind me, Rockwell!

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jun 2012 10:41:38 BDT
I don't think deletion is necessary as long as we don't get any nutters.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jun 2012 12:38:54 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Dr. A,

And BASF - Bayerische Anilin (und) Soda Fabrik.

FIAT, anyone? Fabbricato Italiano Automobili Torino.

Posted on 24 Jun 2012 13:27:04 BDT
X says:
Fiat voluntas tua...

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jun 2012 13:32:02 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Nice one, X. Although I did need to call upon google translate!

Posted on 24 Jun 2012 14:06:11 BDT
X says:
TJ: I am a sad case, picking things up with all the wisdom a wallowing hippo deploys to pick up some mud.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jun 2012 17:54:44 BDT
Hi TJ
How about Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili - ALFA
I like TVR = TreVoR Wilkinson

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jun 2012 18:06:35 BDT
T.J.Byford says:
Hi, Dr.A.

Didn't know that one.

Re TVR, many years ago I was told TVR was Trent Valley (W)Reckers. And I believed this for ages. Also DB in Astons is David Brown, as I'm sure you know. Preware SS Jags were Swallow Sidecars, but for obvious reasons this badge was later dropped. But I see we'll have to get this stream back on to the photography track, so how about they make interesting subjects to take pics of!

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Jun 2012 18:52:03 BDT
I saw a lovely DB5 the other day. The bodywork was beautifully straight but it was somewhat spoiled by having chrome wires fitted (ugh!)

Posted on 24 Jun 2012 22:07:56 BDT
G. E. Hearn says:
Fiat? Wasn't that "Fix It Again, Tony?"
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Initial post:  23 Jun 2012
Latest post:  19 Jul 2012

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