Film news: Kodak Lomo and Fujifilm
This week has been a very big week in the world of film. I want to have a look at what has happened and give some thoughts on what it means for us, the users.
Well, I guess you have all heard the news by now about Kodak teaming up with Lomo. And in all honesty, it comes as little surprise to me.
There were rumours about this on the grapevine a long while ago and Lomo had made it pretty clear that they wanted some kind of relationship with Kodak. And who wouldn’t? In theory it could be a match made in heaven. But is it?
When Alaris rose from the ashes of Kodak, it seemed like all was saved. We would get to hang on to the few remaining film stocks that we know and love. But we have to remember, this company is being run by a pension fund, and it requires that the bottom line is cleared and then some.
So Kodak teaming up with Lomo seems to be a canny decision to make sure their film and papers are out there for more shooters. But it is the teaming up with Lomo that worries me. We have already seen price rises that have been in some cases too much to bear. And Lomo film has never been cheap (especially considering it it just re-branded or re-rolled film), but now I fear we are going to see Lomo raising the prices of the Kodak film too.
It also concerns me that so soon after foundation, Alaris is already looking for partners. This would suggest to me that they are worried about future projections.
Still, this could all be a storm in a teacup, and I am just spouting rubbish. We might actually find that some new shooters come to the fold and take up film. I certainly hope so. I am keeping an open mind (as far as I can at least).
There has also been mention of Lomo and Kodak teaming up to develop some new (or perhaps revive some old) products. I really, really hope this happens. As long as Lomo don’t try and charge Lomo Purple prices again. Film photography is not a boutique hobby for the hipsters and trust fund kids, it is passion for a diverse range of people and the prices need to be made attractive enough to get everyone involved. Let’s hope that this turns out to be a fruitful and productive relationship. I wish them all the best.
Fuji Film and their continuing cutting of film
Well, Fuji strikes again. Now they are cutting FP-3000B pack film. And again, this come as very little surprise to me. Fujifilm has not even tried to hide the idea that they want out of the film game completely. I have been saying it for a few years now, and people used to think I was mad, but with this and the cutting of Neopan 400 and Pro 400X now people are starting to notice. Fujifilm are only making film now because they have to. They are still making film cameras, so they have to make film. But they been pretty open about wanting to expand on the X-series cameras, which would mean no more film. There is a petition to stop the discontinuation, which might help, although I feel it would fall on deaf ears. Doesn’t hurt to try though.
Well, here is a little tip, there is nothing you can do or say about this, they are going to cut it no matter what the people say. The only thing that could help would be for us to vote with our wallets, but they have put up the prices so much that it makes it very hard for us to do so. This is a deliberate and vicious cycle. The higher the price gets, the less people buy it, and then they have to raise the price again. Well done Fuji, very clever.
I have already made sure that I have a large stock of Neopan 400. As I have been told by the stores in Tokyo that they will not have any after December.
Yes, there are some other companies making film and they are happily ticking away. But we are about to see a large re-shuffle on the scene. There are going to be some new players in town and some new products on the market soon. We are going to see a bit of a revival going on. I cannot really say much more than this, but there are some very exciting developments ahead.
Ferrania are going places, I am looking forward to updates in the new year. And cinestill have had a lot of success. So there are really positive notes out there.
So go out, shoot and make sure you do your part to keep film going strong. We don’t need to keep it alive, it is not even close to dead.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on this, so please come and comment.
I would might upset if Lomo ups the price of Kodak film. Portra 160 isn’t expensive, but it isn’t cheap either. If i gets any more than $8/roll, might as well go with Cinestill film at that point. Or stick with XP2.
You are absolutely right!
Film should not be a luxury product.
In Europe even today some Kodak BW Films have a recommended sales price of 8 to 10,- € per 135 Roll andFuji Velvia 135 has a RSP over 20,- €.
Lomogrpahy’s film pricing sometimes reminds me of Consumer Ink Jet Printers. Cheap cameras/printers expensive film/ink.
Analogue photography can only survive if young people will still use film. So it has to stay affordable. On both sides: cameras and film.
Wait, did you just say stores in TOKYO will not have any Neopan 400 left by december?!
When Neopan 400 was discontinued, I wrote an email to Fujifilm. I got an answer from the German marketing branch, which said, that the distribution of Neopan 400 would be secured through “(Fujifilm’s) distribution partners” in the forseeable future.
Is it just me or should Tokyo have more of the stuff than Germany?
Look’s like I have to double my hoarding…
I just hope they don’t raise prices (which they surely will – which business can resist a price rise?). Lomography is marvellous etc – but it often sells inferior products at hugely inflated prices.
This is not the future of film I want to see. I hate light leaks etc.
Sad news about Fuji – but they won’t listen to any petitions. I feel it’s a futile gesture.
Does this mean that Kodak film will be sold ONLY through Lomo? Or will we still be able to buy it from the usual sources? I fervently hope that it is the latter, and not the former. If Lomo get their itchy little fingers into the pricing it will be priced at what Lomo think the hipster market will bear, not a fair price to genuine film photographers.
Kodak is maybe just looking for a webstore to make more profit from film. The partnership with Lomo don’t frighten me much : if they raise price, Kodak is more or less dead.
Fuji going out of the film business, i think it’s inevitable : the market is no more big enough to make big profits. i’m sure with 1$ invested in their digital product, they do more profit than with 1$ invested in film.
Then, it’s pretty much a good news in fact : it leaves more room for player like Ferrania, and CineStill that are inovative, and relatively well priced.
I admit, that i dream of Fuji and Kodak selling some of their patents to those smaller company dedicated to film, because i hope to see this Kodachrome blue skyes again :)
I agree with you about the possible rising prices of Kodak’s films after the teaming with Lomo (of course I hope they remainas they are now): Lomo is a company that put some fresh air to film photography and keep film alive also trough some “fashion” marketing campain but beause of this “fashion” they keep films’ prices higher than normal. I would like to see some re-editing of great films from that partenrship (TMax 3200, Technical Pan, T160), let’s see.
What I really don’t understand is Fuji’s behaviour: they are the only maker of film cameras (except Nikon with the F6) and they are producing film as well; why discontinue film and keep making film cameras? I was a big fan of the NPS and NPH and Provia and they made the beautiful 1600 reversal film, which I think was discontinued some years ago).
Ferrania: I hope they could overcome their bad financial situation; the company is not so far from my hometown and itwas struggling to survive for some years now (they try to convert film and music tape production into compact disk and new media support and solar cells; now they’re trying to turn to film again; I hope they succeed).
Ilford: the new ownership seems to point to film and they are one of the few company seriously involved into film (HP5, FP4, Delta 3200, and almost all the “old” production is still in production at fair shelf prices).
It seems that the only maker of 35mm reversal film is Agfa with their CT Precisa 100 (which is a Fuji Sensia II, did you know it?); well you can find Fuji as well but at amazing prices (one roll of Velvia stands at 12euros average…).
These are my thoughts. I hope to see some new product (films expecially studied to be scanned insetad of printed) as well as to see the “classic” emulsions to keep existing (Tri-X, HP5, Neopan, color negative and reversal, etc.).
One film that really lacks is a fast color reversal film (800/1600 iso) at a fair price; hope someone will relase it.
Roberto from Italy
with lomo you always pay the lomo-fun-factor-brand “surcharge” even if its kodak, afga, fuji, polaroid, … whatever it is you are buying. “Moon-prices” we call it in germany
Speaking of Vicious Cycles, in my home, Brisbane, Australia, there ate only a few labs that do E6 and if there is no reversal film for sale then there is no businesses for labs. The local university is responsible for sending alot of students on 5×4 with Velvia, but if that is toast then the labs will have no business because the users have no film, so if theres no film, then no lab, then in effect there can be np film developed so im the end if there cam be np market for E6! Whew. That is heartbreaking.
If Fuji folds there will be more market for Kodak and Ilford, let alone the newcomers. Hopefully a revival of KodaChrome.
Also there are other companies making nice film camera’s as a JCH follower, many should notice the Nokton 1.5 Bellamy has (Is it a really nice lens? Looks alone are killer). Cosina makes that lens and perfectly serviceable rangefinder cameras yoo!
I am also a bit concerned about the team up between Kodak and Lomo. They will certainly try to get a pretty penny with the venture…but hopefully with Kodak’s size, they can fuel a market for film shooters that want film, not gimmicks. But in the age of instagram and filters, they may see the market differently. In the meantime, I will be keeping my fingers crossed that the “arista” brand of films (freestyle photo from california) continues to flourish.
well, I am not worried about LOMO selling Kodak film. But then I live in a country where it is has been no problem to get film. Currently Kodak film is quite cheap (Tri-X 400 135 4,50€; Portra 160 135 5,65€; Portra 400 135 6,84€) and might rise up a bit. We are clearly moving towards a enthusiasts’ market. This will be ok with me as long as we still get film! It seems to be more of a problem to get reasonably priced (C41) processing & scanning services. R.
I hope that your concerns don’t come true. Why should I buy out of date film from Lomo when I can buy film from B&H and Adorama? I use film because my 33+ year old Canon A-1 still works. I am too old to be labeled a hipster; I could’ve been, but never was a hippie.
Kodak has a great film portfolio; there’s Ektar, Portra, TMAX, and Tri-X. I think that Ektar is close to Kodachrome. Last year, I photographed the year exclusively using B&W film. Tri-X is a classic BW400CN was my general purpose film since it could be developed locally instead of sending it out of state. TMAX was another group that I used.
I just wish that Kodak Alaris would bring back TMAX 3200. I used TMAX 3200 and Ilford Delta 3200 at the same venue photographing a baseball game and I prefer TMAX 3200 over Delta 3200; TMAX has higher contrast.
In the UK, film companies have maxed their prices for years except for periods when new competitors (such as Fuji) came in or they became desperate for cash flow from a mass-market that was depressed into buying only a couple of rolls a year.
They need to be careful. If they push things too high for too long, they could kill their film business. For those for whom the image making is important there is an alternative :-( , even if it is less attractive while film is affordable. The directors of film makers have to accept that from now on, they are not going to be running FTSE/DJ listed Companies on $1m packages.
A few years from now it’ll be Ilford that’s the biggest player in town. And that’s no bad thing when you look at their products. Sales are increasing year on year and Ilford turns a tidy profit, which is good for ilford and good for photographers who shoot film.
I switched fully to Ilford for all of my B&W photography just over two years ago, mainly because of Ilford’s commitment to B&W film and the stability of the company.
For me – Kodak is the only player in town when it comes to colour film. I’ve never got on with Fuji film stock.
I buy my stock every two years (Kodak Portra 160 &400, Ektar 100, Ilford Pan f 50, FP 4 and HP5 – in 120 and 35mm formats). When I’m struggling to shut thr fridge door I know I’ve got about two years worth of shooting before I need to buy more film stock.
Hopefully in two years time I won’t just by buying Ilford stock. Only time will tell….
I started with Ilford and currently giving a try to Ektar and TMax (just for the sake of trying because for me I really love and satisfy enough with the results from the HP5).
So, i think it wont really effect me as I agree with Yorkshire Mike that with the stability of Ilford, maybe we should start to approach to another direction (in getting film). About the pricing, I think overall they are still not that expensive yet still not that cheap. For the love of the shooting with film, I’ll pay for the price (without even have to worry about these leaks on the news). Coz who knows that maybe all of the manufacturer will stop producing their films. So, keep on shooting while they (film) are still there instead of thinking too much on a company that trying to push-pulling the community in continuation or to discontinue. Because all in all they are businessmen who working with strategies towards us the consumer.
Anybody believing Lomography will not put a huge stupidity/hipster tax on Kodak products they resell is just stupid.
They already do this with other branded stock, commodity film they resell. Take Agfa CT Precisa 100 slide film for example which sells at €6.9 a roll at Lomography. That’s exactly 33% above the price per roll you pay at other established online order shops in Europe. At Macodirect you can save even more than that if you buy in bulks of 10 rolls, which drives the price down below 5€ a roll.
Lomography are gangsters which ripp off the stupid and hipsters (might be the same group incidentally). Don’t buy from them. I’d rather see Kodak film die from everybody boycotting their outrageous pricing than allowing that they drive up prices for everybody in the industry that way! Screw them.
This was interesting to read 8 years on. Be interested to hear an updated version of your thoughts.