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Thursday, 01 March 2012

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This goes beyond my capacity for civil discourse. Idiots!!!

Many of us have been crying bitter tears all day on apug.org, although we all knew this was coming. I've been shooting E6 film exclusively since '07.

Last year my preferred lab at A&I in Hollywood stopped developing E6 film entirely; I've since switched to Dwayne's in Kansas, who actually does better work and is more pleasant to deal with. I sincerely hope I can keep shooting with Fujifilm's E6 offerings (and get them developed) for at least a little while longer.

EliteChrome has been my colour film of choice since Agfa went away (never could warm to Fuji slide film), but I almost feel I've taken a small guilty part in Kodak's decision - not used a slide film since September last year and recently been looking at digital projector options again.
Sad all the same, very sad.

Wow. I'd thought Extra Color was 86ed years ago. It got hard to find and expensive, anyway; but I suppose that just may have been how the market went. Loved that stuff. Goodbye again.

This is so sad...E-100G was my film (well, it was E-100GX, but they already killed that). Not a fan of Fuji's color palette, and always found Fuji Provia to be as 'blue' as old Ektachrome and in need of filtration...my only hope now is Astia, but someone said Fuji was killing that...who knows....

I see photographers work every day and a lot of it still shot on transparency, at least those of us who can actually read a light meter...still a lot of people shooting transparency and scanning, but I guess they can change to Ektar, but they'll always be trying to read a negative and orange image to make scan picks...

Smells like another case of Kodak making money, just not the percentage they want to...

> The announcement does not affect Portra or Ektar color negative films, or the remaining Kodak black-and-white films.

Maybe not today, but how long can (will) Kodak keep making them?

This kind of flies in the face of Kodak's announcement* of 2/9/2012 which stated, in part:

"Kodak’s continuing consumer products and services will include:

...The traditional film capture and photographic paper business, which continues to provide high-quality and innovative products and solutions to consumers, photographers, retailers, photofinishers and professional labs."

Doesn't it?

*http://www.kodak.com/ek/US/en/Kodak_Focuses_Consumer_Business_On_More_Profitable_Growth_Opportunities.htm

Sad but not much of a shock. I can't remember the last time I shot any Ektachrome.
I'm still pouting over TXP120 but I really have to move on.

Well... sad news, but not unexpected. Have you seen the price of a single roll of E100VS? it's about $10, some places even more... when you can buy a perfectly fine (and better for many) roll of Fuji Velvia 100, 50 or Provia 100... it's a no brainier. I don't remember when was last time I've used a roll of Kodak slide film but I do use BW Kodak film which is the best.

Now, that dropped my jaw.

It doesn't seem so long ago that Ektachrome E100VS was released in a belated attempt to compete with Fujichrome Velvia.

This may be better than Kodak and Fuji (is there anybody else in slides still?) slugging it out and damaging both. When a market contracts you need to lose some of the suppliers for the remainder to remain healthy.

This is unfortunate, but the fact is Fuji won the transparency film battle decades ago. When I use transparency film, which is less and less, I'll grab either Provia or Velvia.

A few other things will probably be leaving soon. BW400CN, for example, is not as useful today when we can easily do a BW conversion of a scan of Portra, if C-41 BW is what we want. I personally can live without the Kodacolor type cheapie films, although apparently disposable film cameras are still a big business. Portra 800 and TMax3200 are probably not real necessary -- you can push TMax400 to 1600 if you want (TMax3200 is really an ISO800 film pushed two stops), and color fans will just shoot digital if Portra 400 isn't fast enough.

With all of that, I see TMax100, TMax400, Tri-X, Ektar 100, Portra 160 and Portra 400 as a logical lineup.

Thom Hogan's newest comment on Kodak, written before the latest news became public, is priceless.

Shoot!

Adox have in the recent past made noises to the effect that, were Kodak to do this, they'd basically be able to bring back the E6 Agfa films within a few months. Can't say I found any of the Kodak chrome films terribly inspiring compared to Fuji. Of course we may wake up tomorrow and find out that Kodak has done a Portra to the E6 films and replaced them with one ISO 100 emulsion and managed to mangle the discontinuance announcement.

While you stock up on these films, also stock up on E6 kits as well. Cessation of commercial processing will follow.

Not surprising, really. I have a bunch of transparency film in my freezer, but in the last few years it's gotten harder and harder to find competent processing. Even from the big-name "mail order" places, the films come back dirty, over processed, or green/purple. The last roll was mounted with the frame dividers about two thirds of the way across the image area. They didn't charge me for that roll.

Even if the processing were reliable, I have to (grudgingly) admit that digital color is easier to look at, display and print than slides.

I'm thinking that all my color from now on will be digital, and film reserved for B&W only. I process that myself.

The odds of Kodak surviving Chapter 11 bankruptcy are going from bad to worse. Senior Kodak management thinks that killing a product line where Kodak has unique expertise even if it's a niche business in favor of digital printing technologies where Kodak is a distant also-ran can become a formula for survival. Good luck with that.

Am I the last slide user on the planet? It is such a shame that so many are willing to buy multi-megapixel cameras only to look at the resultant image on a 1-2 megapixel 8bit monitor, yet out of hand reject the idea of projecting a slide. And scanning slides, still remains a good way of getting a 16bit image on to paper. Kodak slide films remain some of the best, if pricier than their equally impressive Fuji equivalents.

What kodak should be doing is giving us a gamma=1 wide latitude slide film that's optimized for scanning not projection. Kodak obviously has the technology to make a much more scanner-friendly film. Why throw all of this expertise away.

MHMG asks:

Why throw all of this expertise away.

I interpreted the SEC boilerplate at the bottom of Kodak's 9 February announcement thusly:

We're not smart enough to run this company as a going concern.

'Nuff said.

How long is C41 going to last.. yikes. I've only recently discovered film photography and already absolutely love Portra and Ektar, but how long until I can't shoot them either....within a decade are we only going to be left with traditional B&W?

Dear MHMG,

The big money in digital printing is in photofinishing. The number of prints made actually grew during the last decade (numbers aren't out for 2011 yet).

Photofinishing has traditionally been Kodak's cash cow. Concentrating their efforts in mass digital printing may not be successful, nor may it be a long-term survival strategy, but it's not a stupid plan.

Personally, I lay odds against Kodak making it, but not because of this.

pax / Ctein

I'm one of those people who won't be affected by this. I stopped using slide film several years ago as it doesn't offer any practical benefits for me compared to shooting colour digital.

Negative films, both colour and black-and-white, are completely different. I hope that doesn't disappear. I find it very difficult (if not impossible) to replicate the tonal rendition and D-log-E characteristics of negs with a digital exposure.

Adox said that they would be introducing a new iteration of APX400 soon too, and it is long past soon. I hope it happens.

As for the E6, AGFA did make some beautiful transparency films. They had their own look. I really liked them, but I have not had a need to use color film for years.

This might be the push I need to finally snatch up a used medium format camera and run some slide film through while I still can.

Yes, things came and gone. Sad, anyway.

It is such a shame that so many are willing to buy multi-megapixel cameras only to look at the resultant image on a 1-2 megapixel 8bit monitor

Yes. It's crazy!

Well that is terrible news. I switched to feeding E100G to my XPan rather than Velvia 100F about 3 years ago because it is more neutral, easier to scan, and probably has the widest latitude of any transparency film I've used. I guess it's either back to Fuji or sell the XPan, while there's still a demand for it...

Might have to go on an ektachrome safari and use up the last rolls.

Hmmm... For a company that less than a month ago claimed it was going to drop digital and concentrate instead on film, dropping an entire film line makes heaps of sense.

Just like all the other bone-headed decisions by Kodak's management in the last 15 years, I suppose...

How about giving film users what they want? It's simple, really: it's called "film".

No, colour negative is not ALL the film one needs. And given Fuji is still making E6 slide stock - and selling it - one wonders...

An additional option, if Kodak ever gets serious about "their" market instead of permanently shooting themselves on the foot:

decent, sharp fast scanners based on digital FF sensors. Instead of the current line-by-line slow as molasses nonsense. With RAW imaging capability, not just jpg! And at least 16Mpixel rez.

For starters.

Yikes.

I'm down to my last brick of Fuji Sensia (discontinued in 2010). Time has been running out for slides since Kodachrome was killed.

I can't find it in me to be unhappy at Kodak for discontinuing a product if they're in danger of losing money on it, or if they desperately need the resources elsewhere. Who knows what the ongoing costs are to keep a manufacturing line open that's designed to put out, say, 50 million rolls a year but is only turned on and run for a month a year, or less? High-precision continuous-process manufacturing equipment is really, really hard to keep in top operating condition if it's only run intermittently.

Luckily it's still possible to get decent E-6 processing in Toronto. It's the C-41 that's starting to deteriorate. The last roll I had processed, the folks had allowed the bleach-fix to get exhausted, and there was still silver in the film.

This is awful news.

I shoot Medium Format Stereoscopic (MF3D) slides. Viewing a pair of 6x6 slides in a handheld viewer is one of the best stereo experiences you can get.

Kodak E100G is my slide film of choice. I like its color rendition, and it remains sharp even when pushed.

Fuji film just doesn't do it for me.

Having read essentially all of the Kodak-related comments here at TOP over the last month or so, I can summarize the collective advice as: "Kodak should keep making every niche product, and also put some of their efforts into the high-profit technologies of the future."

Since this is precisely what Kodak has been doing for 15 years, I think it's clear that this plan won't work.

It's ironic that Apple was strongly criticized on Wednesday for dropping a niche product while focusing almost entirely on future products.

There is only one approach to a technology business if it's to be enduring. It's Apple's, not Kodak's.

Well, who cares for E6? ... I still miss Kodachrome ... at night I some times dream of it returning in medium format :)

It seems half the comments I read on the web (just just this site) about this are criticizing Kodak for failing to support loyal users of slide film. The other half are criticizing Kodak for poor business decisions that are putting them out of business.

If Kodak followed the policy advocated by the former they'd go under more quickly. If they had been as pragmatic as desired by the latter they'd have stopped making slide film years ago.

Hmmm... I'm not too worried. My lab still does Scala processing

I actually have no personal opinion on this, as I've only ever used various Fujichrome E6, and have never had any interest in using Kodak slide film.

The only thing that worries me is that with their only major competitor out of the market, Fuji will hike the prices on all their slide films.

Dear Marc,

If Kodak were sitting on $100,000,000,000 in cash, free and clear, they'd be getting as much criticism as Apple, and deservedly so.

There's no Irony, there's Apples and Oranges (so to speak).

pax / Ctein

Spelled "Mark R." or "Marc R.", we both got it right. ;-)

Dear Ctein,

How do you think Apple got that cash? ;-)

The only way to stay rich is to continue to act as you did when you were poor.

Marc

According to Mirko Boeddecker of Adox/Fotoimpex, there are no immediate plans to bring back Agfa E-6--

http://www.apug.org/forums/forum249/102709-adox-e-6-a.html

I shot a lot of Agfachrome 100 in the late 1980s. It had a lovely pastel palette, more like Astia than Provia or Velvia.

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