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Is Film Dead?

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Hmmm. I use an analog watch because these devices are more reliable (particularly when you are away from civilization) due to battery independance.

 

Naturally, time keeping isn't as accurate as a digital (mine's 15 seconds slow/week).

...Reminds me the reason why I've kept my analog camera

 

Still, film is not dead, just becoming somewhat unique.

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Film is certainly dead for the 85% of camera users that never called themselves photographers. They want credit card sized appliances that can capture images and transmit them to friends over the air waves. They placed zero value on quality or the nuances of films. Fortunately, they were supporting the market to a large degree for all those years. There is no chance whatsoever of my 3 kids being interested in buying a film camera, or another roll of film ..... it's dead.

 

The debate only continues amongst the remaining 15% (?) who actually enjoy the processes & craft, and this small group will move over as digital quality improves.

 

IMO, Film will always be available and home processing will protect users against the closing outlets, but I suspect that wet process printing paper is at greater risk and therefore hybrid solutions will become essential.

 

Rolo

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film is most definitely not dead

quite the opposite in fact

 

the massive spread of digital and people's dreadful post processing skills (you have to be *very very* good imo to work with digital successfully) has ensured that many yearn for films inherent beauty once again

 

95% of digital photography out there is just so awful.. people haven't grapsed that you have to spend more time on processing digital files than you ever would have done in the darkroom. Apart from anything else, with film the grade was already done for you but with digital you are starting with nothing... just a flat linear nothingness.

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Equating film to vinyl is not a useful analogy because the pro-to-amateur user ratio is inverted between the two. There are similarities - both represent niche markets, both are "mature" products in the eyes of their respective industries.

 

It's a really useful Analogy. I don't know how you can't see it clearly.

 

 

 

For all the benefits it brings, most professional photographers have rightly moved from film to a digital workflow.

 

Right...

 

However there remains a substantial worldwide community of professional DJ's and producers who still spin and master for vinyl. Not only for Hip Hop, but House, Breakbeats, Minimal, Drum & Bass, Tech Step, that catch-all phrase - Techno, and others too numerous (and specialized) to mention. Audiophile aficionados are in the minority here.

 

And this doesn't prove my point how?

 

 

The dance music arena too is changing, but the larger "threat" to vinyl is the same threat posed to CD-based DJ's - the emergence of laptop-based performance software and the new approaches to mixing and arrangement it makes possible.

 

Correct, mp3's and other new technologies are taking over even what CD's can do. My point is still looking good.

 

 

 

I absolutely agree that VHS tape is dead. The difference here is that no one laments this "loss". Has anyone ever heard someone speak of "That great picture quality" or "The awesome sound reproduction" of a VHS tape?

 

Generally speaking no one laments the loss of Vinyl at this point either. It has a different sound, but it is not heralded as the finest in sound quality. You must be reading old magazines or something.

 

In the long run, film will become a boutique commodity. Even as the major manufacturers bow out of the market, I imagine that equivalents of Photographer's Formulary will emerge to service the demand for supplies, even if innovation in the processes ceases altogether at some point. Such is the way of things.

 

Respectfully,

 

 

-J.

 

So I still don't get how anything you wrote here doesn't prove my point, and my analogy.

 

Film may very well keep being an option, and it may be preferred by a select few. If it ceases to be supported by R&D dollars, it will not keep pace with what's happening to Photography. Does film still work, yes. Are the images still competitive to Digital.... maybe. Will the be competitive in 5 years? No.

 

The question was Is film dead. My answer remains - yes.

 

DBK

 

p.s. so is vinyl, perhaps even CD's

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Guest stnami

Darren it is quite easy to take your simplistic view and say yes, but you fail to back it up with any information other than a personal need and that is not indicative of the whole industry which is not all commercially media orientated

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My point is that Vynil carries on because it is ultimately better in quality than a CD. You aren't losing any information on vynil, with a CD you are.

 

VHS for example is inferior in every way to a DVD. Quality, longevity etc etc. so it is fair to assume that given another couple of years it will fall away completely.

 

Film offers something different to digital, therefore it will always have its following. I'm perfectly happy for it to be a niche product. How long will it be until you can no longer take a film into a high st shop for processing? Who knows.

 

R&D? Film is pretty advanced, do we want any further R&D? Are we happy with the current range of film on the market? What could a new film offer?

 

Lets park this debate and come back to it in 10 or 20 years time.

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My point is that Vynil carries on because it is ultimately better in quality than a CD. You aren't losing any information on vynil, with a CD you are.

 

VHS for example is inferior in every way to a DVD. Quality, longevity etc etc. so it is fair to assume that given another couple of years it will fall away completely.

 

Film offers something different to digital, therefore it will always have its following. I'm perfectly happy for it to be a niche product. How long will it be until you can no longer take a film into a high st shop for processing? Who knows.

 

R&D? Film is pretty advanced, do we want any further R&D? Are we happy with the current range of film on the market? What could a new film offer?

 

Lets park this debate and come back to it in 10 or 20 years time.

 

I doubt the long-range problem is going to be processing. The real question is, how long will film be manufactured? If you're Kodak or Ilford and you can't make money on film, you're not going to make film. The capital investment to manufacture the kind of film we've become used to is huge. If you can't sell film, your film runs get smaller and smaller. Eventually, you reach a point where you're losing money on your capital investment. You can't keep on doing that and stay in business. Processing is a different matter. At least with black and white, if you can't buy Microdol any more, you can buy the necessary chemicals and mix up a fairly good substitute. Long ago I used to do that -- not make the basic developer, but modify it with the appropriate chemicals, depending on what and how I was shooting with my 4 x 5 view and sheet film. But I never tried to make film. How many individuals can manufacture 35mm film?

 

The film afficiandos on this thread are thinking in terms of someone who's a serious photographer. But serious photographers can't generate the volume needed to keep Kodak and Ilford in the film-making business. That takes all those casual shooters who're switching to digital in droves.

 

Yes, there are still people out there using wet plates, but wet plates don't require a huge capital investment to manufacture.

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Kodak has recently released new B&W films (T-Max 400...), so I suppose it will be a while before everyone gives up and rolls over dead. I think that realistically, with film usage still in free-fall, eventually a few manufacturers will simply continue to make their most popular films for those who want them, and the more esoteric stuff will die out. There will likely be almost no new developments in film emulsions, starting... now.

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I processed and printed all my own film for years, it was a fun hobby while it lasted. Then with a wife, kids and life's pressures I drifted away from the labour of love for my photography to the labour for family love and harmony L;) L.

 

Digital is so much quicker, no nasty chemicals to poison me, the kids or the ground. I can manipulate most images with a few clicks and have an image I'm proud to display. For sure there is always a compromise in photography, if it's not the medium I shoot on, it would be the subject, the situation, the light, the lens, the photographer and so on.

 

My point is I choose to abandon film, I don't miss it, I won't be going back to it and the new film IMO are the advances in sensors, raw processors and inkjet printers/papers. So for me film is dead in my mind as far as my usage is concerned, but I hope for the sake of those who still derive pleasure from the medium that it continues.

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I doubt the long-range problem is going to be processing. The real question is, how long will film be manufactured? If you're Kodak or Ilford and you can't make money on film, you're not going to make film. The capital investment to manufacture the kind of film we've become used to is huge. If you can't sell film, your film runs get smaller and smaller. Eventually, you reach a point where you're losing money on your capital investment. You can't keep on doing that and stay in business.

 

I hear what you're saying but Super 8 cine film is still readily available. How long has that medium been dead for?

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My point is that Vynil carries on because it is ultimately better in quality than a CD. You aren't losing any information on vynil, with a CD you are.

.

 

Please tell me why Vinyl is better than digital (CD,DVD,Good Quality MP3).

 

Technically, there are sound techs all over the world who would tell you why Digital is better.

 

I was in a class room 27 years ago when a Sony VP came and played for us some music that was recorded digitally on (wait for it) 1/2 inch tape - Betamax. He went into great details about why digital would replace vinyl. We could hear the difference in quality even then. We were broadcast students, and had the best of equipment at that time.

 

I kept buying records well into the 80's - and upgrading my gear. Finally, I gave up, and went to CD's. I'm sure there are folks out there who love the sound of their records. But I don't think technically, vinyl has a leg to stand on.

 

Stepping off the soapbox,

 

 

DBK

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Simply that digital sound is compressed much in they way a jpeg image is. Its fact. Of course you need the best sound reproduction to reallyhear the difference but its there. Even my modest hi fi set up, if I play an LP next to a CD the LP has more depth and a better soundstage.

 

The typical punter with a basic setup will hear scratches and crackles from dust on a record and therefore assume the 'cleaner' CD is better.

 

But most people are happy with the sound from their ipod and a docking station. Its great for convenience sure, but its a highly compressed version of the real thing.

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I doubt it's dead. In fact, I think it very well may become the next hot "retro-fine-art" medium, but that may take say another 5 years. Personally, I still shoot 4x5 film, and even recently acquired a film M, just because I missed having one to fondle -- and T-Max 3200 is fun to play with.

 

Also, I'm no audiophile, but I read an article maybe a month ago that said vinyl is making a huge comeback. Then a few weeks later I'm in Costco and saw they had just put out a palette full of USB2 TURNTABLES(!)

 

Bottom line, if film is dead, it will make a comeback.

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95 % of _all_ photography is awful.

 

That's a VERY conservative estimate.

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I hear what you're saying but Super 8 cine film is still readily available. How long has that medium been dead for?

 

I'm not suggesting it's going to happen tomorrow. But in the long run, it's going to happen.

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MP3 sound quality is a significant step backwards from CD because its compressed and it's much better to load your iPod with uncompressed files, for example Apple Lossless. The ever decreasing cost of storage means that compression is not needed anyway - my 160Gb iPod holds 5000+ uncompressed tracks which would be more than enough for my daily commute if I did one.

 

I used to work on CD player design and one reason vinyl sounds better is that the ear can continue to hear detail into the noise, a soft landing if you will. Compared to that, digital noise sounds harsh and unpleasant and you can't hear detail below the digital noise floor, that is, below the quantising limit.

 

I still sold my Linn Sondek about 4 years ago though...

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...Also, I'm no audiophile, but I read an article maybe a month ago that said vinyl is making a huge comeback. Then a few weeks later I'm in Costco and saw they had just put out a palette full of USB2 TURNTABLES(!)

 

Bottom line, if film is dead, it will make a comeback.

 

Those USB turntables are sold so people can digitize their old albums. Not to support all of those hoards of music lovers who are buying vinyl. And since my B&O got fried when my house was hit by lightning, I might buy one.

 

Anyway people buy CDs, albums, or downloads as a consumer product whereas they use cameras to create something. So I don't see the connection. I guess as long as some photographers feel that film is the best way they can express themselves, there will still be a role. But as I remember from my old vinyl albums, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows."

 

Surely the transition from film to digital is just a normal example of disruptive technology that will run its course until film photography is marginalized into irrelevance for all but those who can't or won't shoot without it. Death may be too strong a word as there may always be some photographers using it. But will they be statistically significant in 5 years, 10 years, etc.?

 

Disruptive technology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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But in the long run, it's going to happen.

 

As Keynes said, "In the long run we're all dead" <grin>.

 

A fuller quote was "Long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead"

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Please tell me why Vinyl is better than digital (CD,DVD,Good Quality MP3).

 

Because it it. Yes I know that sounds like a cop out, but if you'd heard a truly great vinyl system you wouldn't ask the question. It's that simple

 

As for MP3, that's just convenience beating quality. I wouldn't be without my iPod, and rip my CDs at 256 kbs, but there's no way the quality is as good as an uncompressed CD or vinyl front end. Complex high frequency sounds - say cymbals as an example - seem to catch MP3s out.

 

After saying all of that, rather like Mark I have a Roxsan Xerses turntable that I haven't used for a couple of years. Can't bear to sell it though, I'm something of a horder <grin>.

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