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Increasing demand at professional labs: Detailed Numbers
Old 04-12-2019   #1
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Increasing demand at professional labs: Detailed Numbers

Hi,

disclaimer first: This posting is not adressed to all the "doom and gloom" prayers here. They will be hurt by the content , and therefore should stop reading immediately at this point .

This posting is just a bit more detailed information and facts for all of those here on rff who really shoot film and want a realistic picture of the situation on the market.
Found this today on Jobo facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/JOBOanalog/

Detailed business/demand numbers and statistics of professional lab Sreda in Moscow:
https://sreda-photo.livejournal.com/393188.html

This situation is not unique for a professional lab. Lots of lab owners have reported similar developments at their labs recently. E.g. NationPhoto (Paris) has also seen such strong demand increases: At Photokina they said that meanwhile they process about 1,000 rolls a day (!) at their two lab locations in Paris. The Darkroom in the U.S. has explained that they get up to 500 film packages a day (and one customer package has mostly several films in it - often more then ten - because shipping costs are then the lowest per film). So they also process a 4-digit number of films every day.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 04-12-2019   #2
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I'm going start to believe you... when I see major new mainstream roll film cameras being offered. That would truly be a revival. In the meantime, this uptick is good for photography in general. More options is always good.
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Old 04-12-2019   #3
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Waiting on this too. I was glad to hear Leica coming out with new film bodies (though I couldn’t hope to afford one for what they are), happy to hear reports that the F6 is still sporadically produced.

I’m not holding my breath too hard though for the near future. Much like it was discussed in a thread I started last year about wanting a good batch scanner like the old coolscans, I think there’s just way too much out there on the used market for it to make financial sense for the big guys just yet. Leica gets away with a $4k film camera because people will pay at least half that for a 40 year old camera.


Then again, Nikon blew everyone away with the Df. So who knows.
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Old 04-12-2019   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Takkun View Post
Waiting on this too. I was glad to hear Leica coming out with new film bodies.
Leica is coming out with new film bodies??? Or do you mean they are still selling film cameras?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Takkun View Post


Then again, Nikon blew everyone away with the Df.
Really? Me and many others were extremely disappointed with the DF as it was such a half baked effort. Essentially a reskinned D600 with a D4 sensor and no video.
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Old 04-12-2019   #5
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Really? Me and many others were extremely disappointed with the DF as it was such a half baked effort. Essentially a reskinned D600 with a D4 sensor and no video.
While I was initially disappointed because it wasn't a digital FM2, once I used it I really enjoyed it. It was light and small (for a FF DSLR), had classic controls, and the fact that it didn't have a huge grip or video was, to me, a great thing. The only thing that I could honesty say I didn't like was that it had the D610 AF and not the D750 AF.
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Old 04-12-2019   #6
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Quote:
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While I was initially disappointed because it wasn't a digital FM2, once I used it I really enjoyed it. It was light and small (for a FF DSLR), had classic controls, and the fact that it didn't have a huge grip or video was, to me, a great thing. The only thing that I could honesty say I didn't like was that it had the D610 AF and not the D750 AF.
In total agreement with you on this, love the Df and find it to be a great "in between" camera; a bridge between film/digital.

Also really loving the Ektachrome revival and it's causing me to shoot my Nikon S2 and Leica M film bodies a lot more. Still like the convenience of digital, but having a color slide film again, that renders colors as I see them (Fuji never worked for me) is making using my old film bodies a whole lot of fun.

Jan, have you talked with the folks at Dwayne's in Parsons Kansas, they've been doing my Ektachrome and doing a very fine job of it. Would love to know if their numbers are up as well. We need these labs to stay in business.

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Old 04-12-2019   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huss View Post
Leica is coming out with new film bodies??? Or do you mean they are still selling film cameras?




Really? Me and many others were extremely disappointed with the DF as it was such a half baked effort. Essentially a reskinned D600 with a D4 sensor and no video.
1. Yep. MP and M-A. former's been out for a while now, latter is relatively new.

2. When I said "blew everyone away" I suppose I meant as a camera it came as a surprise to the industry, rather than users' impressions. I assisted for a professor that used one and while I didn't have a whole lot of experience with it, liked it in concept: more physical controls, more lens compatibility, selectively stripped down features. A camera for someone whom the D4 and video was overkill but an alternative to the D800 (was that the second-tier FX at the time? I don't keep track)

Reason I brought it up was that it was a specific niche product that didn't fit neatly into existing market categories. The F6 was a similar 'last hurrah' of high-end film cameras, too: full support for newer lenses, built in data back, better AF and generally an upgrade from the F5/F100, but still pared down from the digital equivalent.
I'd guess any new film cameras would be similar. If I'm shooting film, I don't need 8fps motor drive and vice versa, or the latest 80 or whatever point AF. But I might still want AF and a winder, and little things like multi-metering and an interval timer. Features that get dropped or shoved deep into menus on lower-tier cameras.

It's a shame Contax went under and Olympus dropped their OM line—AF and digital left them behind, but they'd have a great target market right about now.


Re: Ektachrome, I stumbled into my local shop a few days after it dropped and picked up some of the first rolls for sale around here last summer. I haven't gotten around to shooting them yet, but as soon as the weather dries out...
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Old 04-12-2019   #8
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I’m thinking that this good news varies a great deal by location. For some of us who still use film mail order has proved to be the barrier hard to overcome. Not just financially but I miss face to face contact with labs when there is a problem. We have not had a local C-41 processor since Costco discontinuing theirs about 8 years ago. B&W is no problem, been doing that for 50 years. But, at 70, I don’t want to start and learn home C-41. So, just lazy I guess.
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Old 04-12-2019   #9
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Why is mail order a barrier hard to overcome?
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Old 04-12-2019   #10
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I just splurged on a dozed E6 mailers BH/ Dwayne’s for $11 each. Postage on my end usps $3. Makes lab hunting obsolete. I just want development only.
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Old 04-12-2019   #11
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Quote:
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Why is mail order a barrier hard to overcome?
Risk of loss. No face to face customer service. A faceless entity to complain to when the new guy at the lab botches the chemistry. A faceless entity to complain to when the rollers on the machine print stains on the film. There's other hurdles. A lot of photographers thrive on control. The USPS does not fill one with the most confidence in this regard.
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Old 04-12-2019   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zuiko85 View Post
B&W is no problem, been doing that for 50 years. But, at 70, I donít want to start and learn home C-41. So, just lazy I guess.
C41 and E6 at home is even easier than BW, because these processes are standardised. No problem to get perfect quality (even better compared to prof. labs), especially with a JOBO processor. It's even significantly cheaper doing color at home, and faster, too.
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Be not afraid!
Old 04-12-2019   #13
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Be not afraid!

I used Kodak and later Qualex mail order processing for my Kodachrome and Ektachrome films.
In dozens of orders not a single roll was ever lost in the mail or botched by the lab.

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Old 04-12-2019   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisPlatt View Post
I used Kodak and later Qualex mail order processing for my Kodachrome and Ektachrome films.
In dozens of orders not a single roll was ever lost in the mail or botched by the lab.

Chris
Same here: Before I started processing color at home some years ago, too (have done that with BW since my youth), I send out my color films via mail order to the best labs in my country. Not a single film was ever lost by the mail service.
So yes: Don't be afraid by using mail order labs.
And:
Don't be afraid by color processing at home, too: Perfect quality, very easy, very cheap, lot's of fun .
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Old 04-12-2019   #15
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It was light and small (for a FF DSLR).
It is nothing special for FF DLSR in this regard.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canon_EOS_6D

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nikon_Df
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Old 04-12-2019   #16
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Why is mail order a barrier hard to overcome?
What I hate about it is the delay. It's about a 2 week turnaround - ship there, process, ship back. And if they screw something up - I'm talking about you TheDarkroom - it is a huge pain.
And I'd have to wait until I had a whole bunch of rolls to mail, as the cost to mail one or many is the same.

Best thing I did was discover DSLR film scanning. The reason I was mailing my film is because I also wanted it scanned. Now that I do that with a digicam, I drop it off at my local Samy's, pick it up same day if it is C41. (None of my local shops offer decent and/or affordable scanning).
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Old 04-12-2019   #17
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These days, in the USA, in some of the bigger cities, I think we're seeing what the market demands of our postal service and as a result, we're getting less than stellar delivery and far less confidence. I live in Philadelphia, PA and over the last decade I've seen our postal service get worse and worse. We've regularly had packages get lost and have had to file claims. Only on low-dollar items were we not remunerated. The hassle is the big part too.
So, we've seen the film market dwindle down to all but nothing and make a little comeback. During the dwindle time, only two labs in Philly have remained open and they do not have the uptick as has been seen other places. This is driven by our market here in this city, the region and the country as a whole. Add to that the fact that the USPS uses a lot of temps during busy seasons and times when full-time employees want leave. All this adds up to why I process my film at home. I'm not sending it out via USPS. I'm not going to use the local labs because they have had to increase their prices due to increased taxation here in the city with the recent city-wide assessment. All this adds up to far more risk than I want for my film. For those snarky folks out there who would say that I shouldn't live in Philadelphia, well I can't move simply for the sake of film.
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Old 04-12-2019   #18
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Quote:
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Why is mail order a barrier hard to overcome?
These are my reasons, important to me and possibly no one else.

#1. Donít want to pay postal rates going and coming. When C-41 processing was local you dropped it off when running other errands and thus incurred no extra expenses other than film. For B&W no problem, been doing that at home for 50 years. Iím 70 now and donít want to start/learn at home C-41.

#2. As my post said, I like to transact business face to face, especially if there is a problem.

About #1. No, I donít want to save up a years worth of film to amortize shipping costs. I probably wouldnít shoot much color and it would take at least a year to get 10 rolls ready.

So....for color I could just print in my laundry room and get out the coloring pencils. Hey, fun for the whole family.
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Old 04-12-2019   #19
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I have to honestly say I can relate zuiko.

Lately tho! I’ve been coming around.

I value my time and have looked outside home for process more and more.

I’ll always play with BW at home.

My habits permit shipping bulk.
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Old 04-12-2019   #20
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For labs like the Darkroom it is easy to believe. There used to be labs on every corner, they are gone now so the remaining business has to go somewhere.

But that doesn’t necessarily imply a resurgence of film use, only a consolidation among those labs that court mail order business.
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Old 04-12-2019   #21
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For labs like the Darkroom it is easy to believe. There used to be labs on every corner, they are gone now so the remaining business has to go somewhere.

But that doesn’t necessarily imply a resurgence of film use, only a consolidation among those labs that court mail order business.



This was my thought as well. There used to be a few pro labs in my city. Not any more. It wouldn't surprise me if a lab in Vancouver might have an up tick in business as they are now getting all the work from western Canada...
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Old 04-12-2019   #22
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Quote:
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This was my thought as well. There used to be a few pro labs in my city. Not any more. It wouldn't surprise me if a lab in Vancouver might have an up tick in business as they are now getting all the work from western Canada...
Thatís certainly true, and thereís the other thread going on about Kodakís financial health. Film is downsizing but itís not disappearing, thankfully.
We are lucky here in Seattle to have a few pro labs including one that relocated and reopened. Plus a public lab, and at least two at UW.

Zuiko, I also relate. I hate mailing anything irreplaceable, and hate the distance and potential for what could go wrong with a relatively anonymous lab. Though on that latter point I suppose that could have happened at the local Walgreens or Costco, too.

Iíve been working with Adrian Bacon in the Bay Area for my color and medium format work. Iím still trusting my film with USPS, but heís a very attentive and communicative technician.
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Old 04-13-2019   #23
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Quote:
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This was my thought as well. There used to be a few pro labs in my city. Not any more. It wouldn't surprise me if a lab in Vancouver might have an up tick in business as they are now getting all the work from western Canada...


London Drugs, a chain of dozens of pharmacy, household goods and electronics stores across Western Canada, has recently brought an 135 E6 processing machine online in one of their Richmond BC stores.
They have about 6 stores with C41 processing labs.
Previously they only processed C41 in house and E6 was farmed out to a professional lab.
This is good news as it indicates an increase in film volume through the largest photography lab group in Western Canada.

Note:
1. They do not even sell transparency films.
2. For decades London Drugs only sell Fuji and Ilford films. (And Polaroid and Instax). No Kodak.

Here is a twitter video post that shows some of the E6 handling workflow.

Prepping film and loading machine:

https://twitter.com/ldphotolab/statu...702051845?s=21
https://twitter.com/ldphotolab/statu...162401280?s=21

Mounting slides:
https://twitter.com/ldphotolab/statu...029803008?s=21
https://twitter.com/ldphotolab/statu...830366208?s=21

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Old 04-13-2019   #24
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Originally Posted by Timmyjoe View Post
In total agreement with you on this, love the Df and find it to be a great "in between" camera; a bridge between film/digital.

Also really loving the Ektachrome revival and it's causing me to shoot my Nikon S2 and Leica M film bodies a lot more. Still like the convenience of digital, but having a color slide film again, that renders colors as I see them (Fuji never worked for me) is making using my old film bodies a whole lot of fun.

Jan, have you talked with the folks at Dwayne's in Parsons Kansas, they've been doing my Ektachrome and doing a very fine job of it. Would love to know if their numbers are up as well. We need these labs to stay in business.

Best,
-Tim
Note- The poster above lives in Chicago, a city and suburban area of more than 5 million people and *still* has to mail his film to an out of state lab.
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Old 04-13-2019   #25
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Note- The poster above lives in Chicago, a city and suburban area of more than 5 million people and *still* has to mail his film to an out of state lab.
Not true. There are 9 E6 processors listed on yelp in the Chicago area. And, of course, far more that process C-41.
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Old 04-13-2019   #26
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Note- The poster above lives in Chicago, a city and suburban area of more than 5 million people and *still* has to mail his film to an out of state lab.
I have a long working relationship with Dwayne's, which is why I send my color film to them. There are places in Chicago where I could have it developed, but I try to support businesses that have done good work for me over the years.

Best,
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Old 04-13-2019   #27
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Not true. There are 9 E6 processors listed on yelp in the Chicago area. And, of course, far more that process C-41.
Exactly.
"Ted Striker" is again doing what he is always doing here:
- demonstrating that he has absolutely no knowledge about the industry
- spreading FUD and misinformation.

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Old 04-13-2019   #28
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For labs like the Darkroom it is easy to believe. There used to be labs on every corner, they are gone now so the remaining business has to go somewhere.

But that doesnít necessarily imply a resurgence of film use, only a consolidation among those labs that court mail order business.
The situation that labs closed because of general decreasing film demand already stopped about 2-5 years ago (depending on the region/country).
So the increasing demand labs are now seeing is not because of other labs closing down, but because of general increasing demand.
And despite the fact that there are now even new labs in business, founded in the last 2-3 years.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 04-13-2019   #29
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Can somebody inform Fuji about the film revival so they bring back Provia 400X. Kodak could also do some Portra NC runs...
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Old 04-13-2019   #30
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Film is downsizing but itís not disappearing, thankfully.
No, film is not 'downsizing' anymore. Demand is up in the major markets. That is what all film companies have confirmed to us rff members at Photokina. That is why new film products are coming to the market, new labs and film camera shops are opening.

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Old 04-13-2019   #31
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Jan, have you talked with the folks at Dwayne's in Parsons Kansas, they've been doing my Ektachrome and doing a very fine job of it. Would love to know if their numbers are up as well. We need these labs to stay in business.

Best,
-Tim
Tim, different labs have different business strategies. Lots of US labs like Richard Photo Lab, Photo Vision Prints, Indie Film Lab, The Darkroom, The Find Lab, Goodman, State Film, Fast Film Lab, Old School Film Lab, North East Photographic etc. are adressing their customers directly and via advertisizing by social media.
Some others - like E6 specialist AgX - are recommended by satiesfied customers and "mouth to mouth" advertizing.
And Dwaynes business model is mostly based on being the major US player in the B2B area: They develop films for other photo shops (with no own lab) and drug store chain shops. And the BH/mailer business is very big for them, too.

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Old 04-13-2019   #32
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I've been happy with Agx imaging in Sault Set. Marie, Michigan for E6.

I think what we may be seeing, with the recent increase in film use and processing, is that trends tend not to continue forever in the same direction. I think that when there is a strong initial trend towards A and away from B, then eventually things will regress to a mid-point, leaving A and B in balance. So film may never again be as strong as it was, but there will always be enough demand so that it won't disappear, either.
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Old 04-13-2019   #33
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To me it is... it was a DSLR that had classic controls and no grip...like I said in my other post.
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Old 04-13-2019   #34
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Increasing demand at professional labs
I suppose that film sales determine the business numbers of film services. Not sure how relevant the US market is in this regard. China, India, Germany, Vietnam...this is where the numbers are. On a related topic...Fuji-FILM increasing it's film prices by 30% to stay competitive is not a good omen.
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Old 04-13-2019   #35
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London Drugs, a chain of dozens of pharmacy, household goods and electronics stores across Western Canada, has recently brought an 135 E6 processing machine online in one of their Richmond BC stores.
They have about 6 stores with C41 processing labs.
Previously they only processed C41 in house and E6 was farmed out to a professional lab.
This is good news as it indicates an increase in film volume through the largest photography lab group in Western Canada.

Note:
1. They do not even sell transparency films.
2. For decades London Drugs only sell Fuji and Ilford films. (And Polaroid and Instax). No Kodak.

Here is a twitter video post that shows some of the E6 handling workflow.

Prepping film and loading machine:

https://twitter.com/ldphotolab/status/1114718129702051845?s=21
https://twitter.com/ldphotolab/status/1114718434162401280?s=21

Mounting slides:
https://twitter.com/ldphotolab/status/1114719931029803008?s=21
https://twitter.com/ldphotolab/status/1114719315830366208?s=21

Michael.



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Indeed. If I drop off film at local London Drugs it goes to... Vancouver.
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Old 04-13-2019   #36
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Philadelphia Photographics decided to hang it up after 20+ years. Though I am a clear amateur, they nonetheless treated me as if I were their most important client. They did it all.....wonderful group of folks... Sorely missed.
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Old 04-13-2019   #37
ptpdprinter
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How much of the reported increase is as a result of consolidation as other labs close?
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Old 04-13-2019   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frank-grumman View Post
Philadelphia Photographics decided to hang it up after 20+ years. Though I am a clear amateur, they nonetheless treated me as if I were their most important client. They did it all.....wonderful group of folks... Sorely missed.
Is there still a lab in Philadelphia that will do 4x5 in E6 and C41?
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Old 04-13-2019   #39
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I suppose that film sales determine the business numbers of film services. Not sure how relevant the US market is in this regard.
1. Yes.
2. It is very relevant: A huge market. And an increasing market.

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Originally Posted by Peter Wijninga View Post
China, India, Germany, Vietnam...this is where the numbers are.
Not only, fortunately other European countries also see increasing demand. Australia, too. Other Asian countries like Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Phillipines, HongKong, Taiwan and South Korea, too.

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Originally Posted by Peter Wijninga View Post
On a related topic...Fuji-FILM increasing it's film prices by 30% to stay competitive is not a good omen.
Well, it is a good omen: Fujifilm is committted to film and wants to continue production.That means staying profitable. That means asking fair prices, which also cover costs for investements in new machinery and education of new, young engineers. You really should watch this explanation of the situation by ADOX CEO:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_c...8A&app=desktop

The whole industry needs these higher prices for a sustainable future. Despite the huge collapse in photo film sales from 2004 to 2015 (about 99%) most of the films are still cheaper today (inflation included) compared to film peak times. Of course that cannot be sustainable in the long term.
If we accept a bit higher prices, we will have the film we need for many decades to come.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 04-13-2019   #40
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Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
How much of the reported increase is as a result of consolidation as other labs close?
None. I have explained that above in one of my posts, please look there.
And in most major markets the number of labs is already increasing, therefore increasing demand at the labs despite more labs in total.

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