Will Film Follow Kodak To The Grave?

Is filmed doomed to the same fate as Kodak?

It’s been a rough month for film. Kodak had to shush rumors about a possible bankruptcy and offer a red-faced explanation about why they’re hiring a law firm specializing in helping big corporations going out of business.

Added to that was CreativeCow pointing out that ARRI, Panavision and Aaton have all ceased production of film movie cameras, shifting their design and production focus to digital. Those companies will still produce special orders for film cameras, but will no longer manufacture production film cameras.

Following the trend away from film in Hollywood, FilmCraft, a commercial film photo lab in Detroit, closed their doors, leaving Astro in Chicago as the sole film lab in the entire midwest. With theaters switching over to digital projection as fast as the screens can be converted, even the market for distributing film prints to theaters is on death watch.

The moves in the film world could have a roll up effect on photography, as movie production and distribution are the last big corporate markets for film. What’s left in the photography film market? Disposable plastic film cameras at the drug store, an ever decreasing handful of hobbyists still shooting film, and certain specialty markets like x-ray film. You even have to hunt at big box retail stores like Walmart to find a display of roll film.

We’re now in the long trailing tail of film. How long Fuji and AgfaPhoto will continue to make photographic film is anyone’s guess. Every year that ticks by sees their market diminish.  Economics will win out in the end.

It may still be a hobby for a handful of photographers, but it may not be a hobby you’ll be able to indulge in much longer.

Tags: , , ,

6 Responses to “Will Film Follow Kodak To The Grave?”

  1. ollin October 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    No! Shut up, SHUT UP! IT’S NOT TRUE!! *throws himself from window*

  2. farluminir October 11, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    It won’t dissappear. Have you seen how many film photos are in flickr? Maybe it will become much more expensive, but dissapear? I don’t think so.

  3. David Degnan October 11, 2011 at 5:18 pm #

    That’s really sad :/ I don’t think it’ll disappear forever. Some big pros still use high quality film a lot, so you’d think they’d keep lower-level film around for people to get into it as a stepping stone below pro film. It already costs a lot of time and money to find places that sell and develop film. I’m glad CVS does, not to the same end as photo shops, but at least its there. My grandma gave my my da’s old Canon AE-1 Program and its very enjoyable both automated and manually controlled. I’m getting an FD to EF adapter to use my 4 FD lenses on my (soon to be) T3i but I still hope to use the FD lenses on the film camera.

  4. Alan Dove October 11, 2011 at 5:52 pm #

    There’s still a very solid market for film, as Ilford, Fuji, Efke and others well know. It’s just not a big enough market to cover the massive losses Kodak has suffered from mismanaging its digital business. Their analog operations remain profitable, and would do just fine on their own.

  5. Kenny Vena October 11, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    After 61 years of shooting film in many formats I went Digital about a year ago.Since street photography is my forte I find I can shoot many more frames & have many more chances in catching that special moment.I started my Digital Journey with 3 brand new Leica`s models,all were to slow in between shots & had meter,battery & card problems.I re-gifted them & went to Nikons,2 D7000`s with extra batterypacks for both & 6 new Nikon lens.Bingo,they are fast,sharp & work perfectly.Batteries & SD cards are problem free.No more stinky chemicals & my in home Dark Room is now a useful Walk-In closet.The Digital pictures are of very good for my type of photography & for past month I have seen some of the leading NYC photographers at the Wall St. Protests. They all use Digital cameras & told me that they don`t miss Film.Film Camera`s are just about phased out by the Camera Manufacturer`s & film companies are finding the profit levels from film are almost dead.Their`s a rumor that in the future the limited amounts film will be at a higher price & harder to find.I`ll be 73 next year & I`am picking up speed,so Digital for me is the way to go.I commend film users for their dedication to the Grey Scale.

  6. M John Barrett October 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    So, is it back to making one’s own collodian glass plates. Now there is a course worth running.

    I rather miss the magic of the darkroom. I would not care to calculate just how many hours I have spent in total darkness and under red and yellow safelights since the late 1960s.