What is the future of 120 film?

Ilovemycam

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Is there as much demand to keep production going as there is with 35mm?
 

cgw

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Is there as much demand to keep production going as there is with 35mm?

Got some stats? Who knows? Since we're all guessing and/or passing anecdotes, I'm thinking 35mm is circling the drain faster, especially "consumer" materials. E-6 films have tanked. Who shoots "pro" 35mm film? Friends who still shoot any volume of film use 120 b&w and Kodak's Portras for C-41. Not sure about your area but in mine the remaining cheap 35mm dev/print service all but vanished 2-3 years ago. Toronto really has only one pro lab left that handles film--Toronto Image Works owned by Ed Burtynsky.
 
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Ilovemycam

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Good points!

Our little city lost their last one hour c41 in 2012. The next town about 40 miles away has one lab left. They told me when their machine dies (they expect it to last a year or so) they will not do c-41 any longer. Walmart keeps talking about shutting its in store c-41.

I was thinking about getting back into 6 x 6 film. Just wondering if I can get film for it over the next 15 years or so.
 

Josh66

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It'll get more expensive, I'm sure - but it's not going anywhere.

We may lose a couple more color films, but I think B&W is pretty safe.
 

compur

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The recent crash of silver prices can only help, I'm sure. :D
 

cgw

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Good points!

Our little city lost their last one hour c41 in 2012. The next town about 40 miles away has one lab left. They told me when their machine dies (they expect it to last a year or so) they will not do c-41 any longer. Walmart keeps talking about shutting its in store c-41.

I was thinking about getting back into 6 x 6 film. Just wondering if I can get film for it over the next 15 years or so.

I'm using Fujifilm Canada's cheapo $5 dev/scan 35mm service now. Remarkably, their over-priced prints suck but the scans are deep enough for a bit of post and printing through Costco whose quality is still quite good. I'd guess 120 b&w will be around for some time to come; it's C-41 that's dicey. Keep an eye on the raft of online homebrew DSLR scanning techniques that work well for 120. I'm hoping someone is cooking up a Kickstarter project to make a 35mm/120 neg holder thingie to make it easier. Hacks like this can't but prolong the life of film photography and cheaper higher mp DSLRs may actually be our friend.
 

vintagesnaps

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I don't know that there's any way to predict. Lomography's making cameras and selling film in 120 format, although I've gotten the impression that format has been more common among the general public in Europe than here in the US. I don't know that I'd exactly spend a fortune on a medium format camera, but certainly there seem to be good options in buying older used cameras.

There are fewer options in my area and I've started sending film out for developing. I think if film gets phased out someday by the major manufacturers there will be other companies to continue on as they are now with their manufacture of film. Somewhere someone will probably keep slapping emulsion on rolls of plastic.

edit - Lomography is selling negative holders for scanning 120 and 35mm film, and now 110 as well - I haven't tried one yet as I get film scanned when I get it developed.
 
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Josh66

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Somewhere someone will probably keep slapping emulsion on rolls of plastic.

It's possible.

I remember seeing pictures on Flickr (it was in some discussion that I can't find now) of a guy making his own film in his basement. And it worked, well.

To be fair, it was his dayjob though - he was an engineer or something for Fuji if I recall correctly. But still, he was making his own film, from scratch, in his freaking basement.


As far as labs - yeah, they will continue to grow fewer and fewer. I develop my own film though, so I'm not too worried about that.

Anyone that is still shooting film, or looking to start - I strongly suggest that you start developing your own film as soon as possible. Even today it is the only option that I would call economical.
 

cgw

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I don't know that there's any way to predict. Lomography's making cameras and selling film in 120 format, although I've gotten the impression that format has been more common among the general public in Europe than here in the US. I don't know that I'd exactly spend a fortune on a medium format camera, but certainly there seem to be good options in buying older used cameras.

There are fewer options in my area and I've started sending film out for developing. I think if film gets phased out someday by the major manufacturers there will be other companies to continue on as they are now with their manufacture of film. Somewhere someone will probably keep slapping emulsion on rolls of plastic.

edit - Lomography is selling negative holders for scanning 120 and 35mm film, and now 110 as well - I haven't tried one yet as I get film scanned when I get it developed.

The adjustable-height BetterScanning aftermarket holders for flatbeds are pricier but way better made than the Lomography holder. Despite their promo and rabid online supporters, Lomo's contribution to film consumption is questionable. We hit "peak" film in the late '90s in N. America and it's been a steep downhill ride since. Both Kodak and Fuji have cut their film offerings to the bone. The fate of cine film production will probably tell the tale of still film's survival.

Still, I say about film what Hunter S. Thompson said about life: "Buy the ticket, take the ride."
 

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Since Fuji is still making 120 cameras I don't think they are planning on cutting film production too soon. There are many other 120's still in production to it looks safe, at least for my lifetime. I am 75 though.
 

Josh66

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Since Fuji is still making 120 cameras[...]

And I bought one about 2 years ago - the GF670. Great camera. Folding rangefinder, it can shoot 120 or 220 film in 6x6 or 6x7. I use 6x6 90% of the time, but 6x7 is nice sometimes too. 8x10's with no cropping, for example.
 

gsgary

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Good points!

Our little city lost their last one hour c41 in 2012. The next town about 40 miles away has one lab left. They told me when their machine dies (they expect it to last a year or so) they will not do c-41 any longer. Walmart keeps talking about shutting its in store c-41.

I was thinking about getting back into 6 x 6 film. Just wondering if I can get film for it over the next 15 years or so.

You have got to be joking there are about 4 in our small town and lots more within 10 miles im glad i dont live in the US they are way behind the times
 

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