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35mm Film Sales Slowing

35mm Film Sales Slowing - As sales of film continue to fall, will film photography become extinct? One analyst expects film to be gone by 2020.

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Film Cameras and Film

Kodak Film
A report by The Associated Press suggests that within the next 9 years film may be going the way of the Dodo. Film sales have been declining by 20% each year, with sales as low as 20 million rolls of film expected this year. Sales of film cameras are expected to be similarly low at 100,000 this year, compared to the peak of nearly 19.7 million in 2000, despite new film cameras being announced, such as the Lomo LC-A Wide.

In comparison digital camera sales in 2010 were around 141 million. Kodak has recently been concentrating on selling Kodak digital cameras, such as the new Kodak Easyshare Mini, and Max. The Kodak Easyshare Max has build in film modes, designed to emulate a number of famous Kodak films like Kodachrome, and Tri-X black and white. Similarly the second biggest manufacturer of film, Fujifilm, also feature film modes in their new digital cameras, such as the Fujifilm FinePix F550EXR. What are your thoughts? Are you still buying film?
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I still shoot a lot on 6x7: slide film, B&W, and colour neg. In fact, I plan to set up a darkroom again soon. The quality of print you get from, say, an FP4 neg is really something. I have to admit, from an environmental point of view, I am bothered somewhat by all the chemicals, but that can be handled. I also really like to be able to flip through pages of 6x7 slides in a binder—to actually have something tangible I can hold, not just bits and bytes on a hard drive. But then, I don't yet own a top-end DSLR.

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I was under the impression that film sales had taken a turn for the better recently as the sales of 'toy' film cameras have risen. I believe that many of the younger generation who are using these cameras (Lomo, Holga etc) will eventually move on to better quality film cameras as well as using digital as the price of second hand film cameras is still very low.
I don't think that film will go away it produces great images and in someways is still better than digital.

People have been knocking nails in this particular coffin for the last 10 years, I expect to see a similar article in another 10 years time.

My view is that there will always be a market for film albeit very much reduced from the heyday of the late 90's. Ebay keeps the old hardware ticking over and there is a film group on Flickr with over 60000 members - one of the largest on the site.

There is profit to be gained from 20 million rolls of film and I have anecdotal evidence that sales have stopped falling and are holding their currrent volume of sales - enough to keep it commercially viable.

The only thing I think will happen is that development will be become mail order only again as mini labs close and the developing side of things will become more specialist. A kind of reversal of what happened in the 80's with the explosion of mini labs taking over from mail order firms.

But there again black and white developing can be done at home (as can colour with more effort) so that area could become more popular. One thing for sure is.....Film Is Not Dead.
After CD, they said vinyl was dead, but then all of a sudden sales of records started to grow and now I find records on sale in record shops again. If film is going to become extinct, I don't think it will happen as fast as the Associated Press claim, an organisation that relies solely on digital photography for speed. Film's going to stay with us for far longer. I currently work in a minilab and you'd be surprised by how much film still gets processed, even after you subtract my contribution! But what I have found disconcerting is the way the Lomo Society, in promoting film photography, have tripled the cost of film photography through their shop. They charge three times as much for rolls of film, doesn't help encourage new, young film users or those who might want to return to it.
Well so far this year I've had 20 slide films processed, processed two myself and have bought in a pile of B&W material the first 5 films of which will be processed soon. This is alongside continual use of digital cameras. Why? Because it's fun and also because digital is wonderful in everything except projection, we 'blow away' digital work in our local society because of the appallingly poor digital projection facilities.
The key costs can be controlled by seeking out 'on-line' bargains to keep the costs down. As a small matter of interest my first roll of Kodachrome in the late 1960's cost me 37/6d. There's lots of ways of converting this into modern pounds using pricing indices and average earnings bases but looking at these sites I worked out that from 1967 to today that is the equivalent of £26.80 (in GDP terms it's closer to £60) and today I'm paying about £11-£12 for 36 mounted slides. B&W seems to prosper, perhaps film manufacturers will cut back slide films to a couple but I'll put up with that.
In 1956 my wife and I set up our Studio .
In our own lab started with B.W. dev and printing.
Colour neg/pos and transparency followed .
Old negs are regularly used to print BW and Colour.
Film has proved to last so far….55years.
Will the disk or what ever ?……I will put my money on FILM.
Do I work in digital…. Yes…. Film Yes.
my nikon film camera is about 7years old from new and will still be going when my olympus has died its digital death and ill still have my photos to look at or pass on to my grankids can't say the same for computers and hard drives they don't live forever.

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