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Behind the film - Inside the Ilford factory

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That's excellent, they're a bigger business than I imagined..

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Loved watching this. The film we know and love has taken on a personal touch with the faces behind the product. Thank you Ilford!

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This was so interesting, thank you for posting it Tom. It really shows what a wonderful company Ilford is and the passion of its staff. Something to think about next time a roll is loaded.

br

Philip

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Bonus question: why is the Pan F+ (ISO 50) emulsion not used for larger film sheets (4x5" for example), and even 120 film can be a bit critical to manufacture? It works well on 35 mm film though. One of my favorite B&W films. 

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Great stuff - many thanks for posting. I hope that Harmon has a solid succession and training plan - some of the key people are not in the first blush of youth.

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Posted (edited)

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1 hour ago, Michael Hiles said:

Great stuff - many thanks for posting. I hope that Harmon has a solid succession and training plan - some of the key people are not in the first blush of youth.

I see how this goes in my current job in industry (not related to photography but basically the same when it comes down to succession planning). Answer: there is none or only very limited especially in technical fields. Most important is to hire cheap and young last minute before somebody retires and where the position needs to be refilled. Sometimes the position is even occupied for years only with contractors. It looks good in the financial books but leads to reinventing the wheel very quickly technically. 

I am not too optimistic anymore when looking at the reality of workflow in technical areas in industry. I hope the best that Harman is doing it differently. But I am seeing the trend described above both in big and smaller sized companies. 

Edited by Martin B

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Seems to me that reinventing the wheel quickly is a very risky proposition, particularly in an industry where the ability to produce the product goes beyond the skills available from the most recent engineering graduates. Keeping costs low this year has clear attractions for this year’s P&L, but the notes to the statements should carefully set out the risks to the business. That should include some recognition of the risk of loosing the knowledge that resides in the heads of key employees. Stuff that cannot be bought or imported with the latest techno-hire.

Would you want to own a company that does not plan for the future? I have no idea what Ilford thinks about this, but I hope they do.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Michael Hiles said:

Great stuff - many thanks for posting. I hope that Harmon has a solid succession and training plan - some of the key people are not in the first blush of youth.

I took a retirement package after 40 years with a company. We had pushed for succession planning for 5 years and got nowhere. Within 3 months after I retired they asked me to contract back to do some development, tech help, and to help the replacement get up to speed. That was 10 years ago - and expect the contract will finally end this year.

Edited by TomB_tx

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3 hours ago, Martin B said:

Bonus question: why is the Pan F+ (ISO 50) emulsion not used for larger film sheets (4x5" for example), and even 120 film can be a bit critical to manufacture? It works well on 35 mm film though. One of my favorite B&W films. 

It may be that the market is not large enough to justify producing 120 or sheet film. The fact that Delta 100 is available in 120 and sheet film may also be a factor.

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Did you notice the "actual darkroom footage"?   So funny.

I switched to Ilford completely for film and chemistry two years ago. Hope they will stay in business many years.

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5 hours ago, Martin B said:

Bonus question: why is the Pan F+ (ISO 50) emulsion not used for larger film sheets (4x5" for example), and even 120 film can be a bit critical to manufacture?

Pan F+ is available in 120.

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13 minutes ago, pico said:

Pan F+ is available in 120.

Developed a roll a couple of months ago.

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2 hours ago, pico said:

Pan F+ is available in 120.

Yes, I know. But it is not easy to make and recommended to develop the exposed film not too long after it was exposed. 

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, Martin B said:

Yes, I know. But it is not easy to make and recommended to develop the exposed film not too long after it was exposed.

Interesting observation. Thanks. I wonder what that means to us as users. Does the film rapidly deteriorate? We should know.

Edited by pico

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14 hours ago, pico said:

Interesting observation. Thanks. I wonder what that means to us as users. Does the film rapidly deteriorate? We should know.

There are a lot of questions with PanF+ manufacturing and why which are to my knowledge not well understood. The most stable emulsion is for 35 mm films. Ilford refuses to make 4x5" sheets with this emulsion because of inconsistency and also - what I heard - for less stability of exposed film. 120 film is the largest they are willing to manage with PanF+. 

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Simple question - why would anyone want to use Pan F+ in sheet film sizes?

In 35mm, the fine grain makes a difference (I used it religiously in my Leica/scanned-film days 2001-2004) - but from 4x5, you'd have to make prints the size of billboards to see the difference (if any) between Pan F and Delta 100/Tmax 100. Which is why Kodak dropped their equivalent Panatomic-X decades ago (in all sizes) - Tmax 100 made it superfluous.

Given that 4x5 format has (and often needs, for DoF) lenses going to f/64 - I'd want that extra stop of speed.

Corollary question - if there aren't a lot of responses to that first question, how economical is it for Ilford to coat the separate, heavier, sheet-film stock with Pan F emulsion? Can they sell one batch of 4x5 (let us say, 10,000 boxes of 25 sheets each) in the 2-4 years before it expires? How much would this small company have to throw away?

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4 minutes ago, adan said:

Simple question - why would anyone want to use Pan F+ in sheet film sizes?

In 35mm, the fine grain makes a difference (I used it religiously in my Leica/scanned-film days 2001-2004) - but from 4x5, you'd have to make prints the size of billboards to see the difference (if any) between Pan F and Delta 100/Tmax 100. Which is why Kodak dropped their equivalent Panatomic-X decades ago (in all sizes) - Tmax 100 made it superfluous.

Given that 4x5 format has (and often needs, for DoF) lenses going to f/64 - I'd want that extra stop of speed.

Corollary question - if there aren't a lot of responses to that first question, how economical is it for Ilford to coat the separate, heavier, sheet-film stock with Pan F emulsion? Can they sell one batch of 4x5 (let us say, 10,000 boxes of 25 sheets each) in the 2-4 years before it expires? How much would this small company have to throw away?

I believe that to be the true reason, but never let the truth get in the way of the many conspiracy theories. 

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vor 1 Stunde schrieb Matlock:

I believe that to be the true reason, but never let the truth get in the way of the many conspiracy theories. 

What conspiracy theories?

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