At this time (early 2009) digital cameras are everywhere, in cell phones, in point and shoot little cameras, and even casual shooters may be using DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras.
Local and online retailers selling photographic film and darkroom equipment are keeping fewer and fewer offerings in stock. Custom labs are faltering if they still exist in a given market.
It makes sense, once again, to reexamine the future of film, film cameras, black & white printing, and the traditional wet darkroom in the digital era.
- “We Were Speaking of Fate”
Let’s put on a mental macro lens and take a close up look at the position film photography currently holds and where it may be in the near term and farther off futures.
Most professional photographers have shifted to digital imaging based workflows.
Portrait studios, wedding photographers, and school photographers see the benefit of retouching digital color pictures in Photoshop as opposed to previous film retouching methods. Photojournalists and press photographers are uploading their breaking news pictures to wire services in stunningly fast times. Even studio product photography is shifting away from 8×10 film work as the high resolution digital studio cameras improve.
Casual photographers and hobbyists are shifting purchases from 35mm SLR’s over to digicams. Other than buying occasional one-time use cameras (which are increasing in sales), average people are going for consumer type digital DSLR cameras rather than invest in a film camera.
Most magazines all show digital offerings far and away over film equipment. Imaging conferences, trade fairs, retailers, book publishers, and even libraries are emphasizing digital.
Photographic processing labs, if they still exist, are offering more digital picture printing services, or dropping film services altogether. Retail photography stores are suffering reduced sales as the digital market shifts towards large discount stores and internet sources.
Large manufacturers of films and black & white printing materials are cutting back production, eliminating product lines, and leaving the market altogether.
- “Piranisi Vaulted Ceiling”
If the shift is so great and pandemic, why even consider the future of film? Who cares?
Well, many people care. I care. You probably care if you’re reading this. Many people still just like film, prefer film, or sternly refuse to make the shift away from film to digital.
Let’s look at some of the reasons why there is hope for film in the future.
Continued in Part 2 of:
The Future of Film Cameras and Darkroom Equipment in the Digital Camera DSLR Era