The future of traditional photography has been further called into question following Dixons announcement that they are to stop selling 35mm cameras.
The high street electrical retailer have announced that once their current stock of 35mm cameras runs out they will not be replacing them. This will come as a double blow for users of 35mm cameras after Kodak announced that they too were to stop selling 35mm cameras in Europe and the U.S.
The decision by Dixons to stop selling 35mm cameras is a surprising one, as the store was built from a photographic background, initially beginning life as a photographic studio in Southend in 1937. Bryan Magrath, Marketing Director at Dixons, labelled the move a 'sentimental event' for the company, saying: "35mm cameras were the first products we ever sold, and film processing has been a part of our lives for several decades. But time and technology move on and digital cameras are now the rule, rather than the exception. As such, we have decided that the time is now right to take 35mm cameras out of the frame."
Though many enthusiast and professional photographers still favour the 35mm camera, it no longer dominates the market for photography as it once did, and this move by Dixons is simply indicative of the current climate in the retail of photographic products.
According to figures by GFK, sales of 35mm cameras peaked in the UK in 1989, when 2.9million cameras were sold. However Dixons report that sales of digital cameras, which were first introduced in the early 1990's, are now outstripping sales of 35mm cameras 15-1. This is most likely to be a result of the fall in price of digital cameras, as well as developments in tecnology, which have seen the quality of digital photographs improve enormously. Tests of 100 customers by Dixon's revealed that 93 per-cent were now unable to tell a difference between prints produced by a digital camera and a 35mm camera. Of these results, Bryan Magrath said: "Statistically, this tells us that there is no real difference in quality between digital and film."
But fans of the 35mm needn't worry too much - their beloved method will not be disappearing just yet. The UK's leading photographic retailer, Jessops, have stated that they are committed to meeting the needs of both amateur and professional photographers, whether their preference is for using film or digital. Jessops Brand Development Director Symon Powell acknowledged that there is a falling demand for 35mm cameras - Jessops now dedicate less shelf space to the cameras and hold a smaller range of stock in-store than in previous years - but assured customers that Jessops would continue to sell film based products. He said: "Whilst sales of digital cameras have grown significantly in recent years and now far exceed those of film models, Jessops recognises that there are still many photographers, particularly enthusiasts and professionals, who enjoy film photography. As such, we will continue to offer 35mm cameras, film and accessories for the forseeable future."
Dixons themselves will be selling a limited range of 35mm cameras for the next two months, or until stocks last. They will also continue to sell a limited, specialist range of 35mm cameras in their airport stores.