Yet Another Camera Company Ponders Dropping Film

from the dying-a-slow-death dept

These stories are becoming so common that they’re almost unremarkable these days, but Canon is the latest camera manufacturer to say it’s considering quitting the film camera business. Such a decision, following a similar move by Nikon earlier this year, would certainly indicate the long-predicted death of the film camera business — even though the film-using community lives on. Perhaps now stories about the death of film will slow down, and we’ll be treated to analyst predictions about how long it will be before cameraphones kill the standalone digital camera business.

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Comments on “Yet Another Camera Company Ponders Dropping Film”

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Anonymous Coward says:

I like the convenience of using my cell phone and the camera built in to it, without having to carry around a separate digital camera. However, until camera phones start having the resolution and quality of high-end digital cameras, the likelihood of cameraphones taking over digital cameras is not going to happen anytime soon. It’s like how you have disposable cameras and regular SLRs. People still invest in High End cameras from Minolta, Nikon, Canon, etc. to take Excellent photos and only buy the disposable ones for convenience and regular photos. Cameraphones (although not disposable as they are built in to your phone) are convenient but just dont have the same capabilities as high end digital cameras.

Saying all that, when they find a way to mix great camera capability with a phone, and walkman, and large memory (or include a way to add memory with flash drives and the like), global capabilities (such as quad band), then you’ve got a phone that I will definitely invest in!

Daniel says:

Re: Re:

The problem is not resolution, you can already find 8MP+ sensors that can fit into a cellphone, but that doesn’t make you take better pictures, just really big bad ones.

With the current techonologies, trying to feat 8MP into a half finger nail size sensor will boost digital noise to the roof! Then comes the problem of the processing chip, a good one is too much expensive to put in a cell phone and is power hungry, talk about huge batteries ( at least considering the usual size found on a cellphone ).

Then comes the problem of optical quality. Good glass is VERY expensive and bulky, my dSLR’s cheapest lens cost me 600€ ( ~$760 ) and wights more then 500g… I dont want a 700g with $800 worth of glass cellphone.

It’s easier to get a camera with cellphone capabilities than the opposite. Maybe they can eventually replace cheap P&S in a near future, but not good cameras.

JerseyRich says:

I love you, Coward!

Film is still very useful and valuable and there are certain things that film does better than digital.

What I see happening is more camera-makers dropping film, until there are just a few companies serving this “niche” market.

It will be quite a number of years before film dies off completely, if it ever does.

Topher3105 (profile) says:


Lets face it, at a consumer level, film is dead. There is just no need for the average picture taker to have to use film. They don’t care about particulars and artistic merit of film, so digital is all they need. Film is a waste of money, resources and time. Kodak knows it, and most consumer or even prosumer level companies recognize there is no money in flim photography.

I doubt film will die off completely, as there will be some professional level market that values it. Until digital can duplicate the effects of, say, infra red film or good quality black and white film and media, digital won’t completely replace film. This is when photography is an artform, rather the just something to document everyday life.

The idea the cellphones will ever be good cameras is laughable. Even at high resolutions, there isn’t enough ability for a cellphone to take good pictures, even for everyday users. Camera phones are a gimmick for cellular companies to get teenagers to eat up data bandwidth sending pictures thus being able to charge more for their phone service. There is NOT ONE FEATURE on a cellphone that is not designed to make cellular providers richer.

As long as cell phones are self serving profit makers for cellular providers, they will never become an ideal all in one device for everyday use, which means they will never offer greater capacity to take higher resolution pictures then what the cellular networks can easily transmit with their available bandwidth. I.e. 8mp pictures would saturate a cellular network and bring it to its knees if people started sending large resolution pictures. That is why camera phones don’t offer more then 1 – 2mp images. Not because there is no CCD available to make higher resolution pictures, or the cost is too high (honestly, a $600 cell phone SHOULD offer 8mp camera), its simply because cell networks could not handle the bandwidth required by people sending high resolution pictures to each other.

ET says:

Film still rulez in my book!

What is wrong with these companies??? Just because it is not their main stream of revenue, they decide to cut it? Back when the CD came out they said audio tape would be dead… well, it’s still around. Not very popular anymore, but still around. Then the DVD came and they said VHS was on its way out… Not true either, and that will not happen for several more decades…

Now film photography versus digital photography? Well, I went from film to digital and switched back in a heartbeat because the quality (on an 8+ MP camera, yes) was just not there in comarison to film… and when you start considering enlargements, digital is eons behind! And I’m not even talking about color accuracy and depth…

Unless you start buying the $1,500 (or more) digital camera’s, you will get nowhere near the posibilities of photography… and even then it’s still not as good as film. And that is just taking pictures, we won’t even start about what you can do in the darkroom that cannot be duplicated with a computer…

I think JerseyRich is right though… film photographty will be such a niche market only few companies serving us 35mm film fanatics…

Anonymous Coward says:

I think that most “average” digital cameras compare to “average” film cameras. But I agree that when it comes to black and white, digital cannot compare to the “true” black and “true” whites that you can get using film. And yes, although software to manipulate photos and images have gotten light years better, it’s still doesn’t hold a candle to what can be done using filters, lenses, etc., and in a dark room when manipulating film.

Now, having said all that, the common layman in your average household is going to prefer digital cameras simply for the fact that it’s good enough to take regular, everyday pictures without the cost of buying the film and printing it. Paper is much cheaper to buy for your printer. If you go to a printing shop, and ask for glossy card stock, or matte card stock, it’s the same as buying name brand “photo paper” and is so much more cheaper. You can buy reams and it’s still cheaper than the 50 sheets of photo paper you buy from office depot and the like. I love buying paper from printing compaines. It’s one thing that consumer companies neglect to tell buyers. That the same pre-packaged paper they sell for an arm and a leg, is the same as the ones you can buy from the printer. They just cost more because they put special names to the papers, and package them all nice and neat. And don’t say that printer ink costs you more either. How many households actually print out their photos that they take with their digital cameras? Most people send their photos through e-mail, or burn them on CDs and send them to family and friends in a digital format.

For the professionals out there and the artists, well, it depends on whether you are making a living out of it, or whether it’s a hobby. Hobbyists can spend thousands of dollars on really good high end dSLRs, with all the bells and whistles, filters, lenses, accessories and come out with some darn great pictures that are good enough to use. Even some businesses use them for cost vs profit purposes, i.e. Sears, or mall seasonal photos, etc. Those places use good dSLRs, because it’s cheaper for them business wise.

For the absolute purist and artist, I would think that they would own BOTH a dSLR and a completely manual SLR, both top notch, and completely manual. This way, you get the best of both worlds and can manipulate your photos in all the ways you want. Have your own darkroom and also buy the best imaging software you can get your hands on, learn how to actually USE all the features of said software to enable yourself the full potential of using digital media. There are artists out there who use both medias and merge them and I truly am awed by those talented people.

Anonymous of Course says:

Re: The high end is leaving too

No doubt that film has higher resolution but

not mentioned as often is the wider dynamic

range of digital cameras.

I used to own a Leica and several lenses that

cost a small fortune. I built a dark room and

enjoyed it much. So I do have a standard of


To me the freedom from chemicals is a fair

compromise for the reduced resolution. For

some work film will remain the only choice,

but it’s a pretty narrow niche even now.

A few digital cameras will accept the old

glass that we love so much. It’s the glass,

the lens is the thing, without that the

number of mega pixels is only limiting the

size of the print (all else being equal.)

You can see this as crappy digital cameras

are marketed to an unknowledgeable consumer

by their mega pixels. Camera’s with fixed focus

lenses that are just a sliver of plastic take photos

that are crap… you just get just bigger crap as

sensor costs decrease but glass remains expensive.

That said, there are some damn fine digital

cameras available for little money these days.

I paid more for a Canon F-1 body alone than

my Olympus 8080-wz (which has it’s faults but

can take a great photo with some coaching.)

I’ll still keep a couple film camera’s around. The

Crown Graphic and the F-1 for sure. But any

new cameras in my foreseeable future will be



Anonymous Coward says:

Oh, and in reply to the cell phone issues, especially bandwidth use, I agree that cell phone companies are all about profit. I used to work for a cell phone company (one of the big ones), doing tech support.

You do not need to purchase ring tones ever! But cell phone companies insist that you do. My cell phone uses ring tones that you can’t buy anywhere as they are songs and snippets from CDs that I own and music I manipulated to make as ring tones. Used a USB cable to download to my phone, and voila. Custom made ring tones! In fact, here’s an article on cnet that I was surprised to read on how to do this exact same thing, and was amazed that cell phone companies had not started to sue the writer of the article. I spread the link to everyone I know. I almost lost my job when I was on a call and a customer was complaining about being charged twice for a ringtone he had already purchased, but had lost when the cell phone was lost. I gave this person instructions on how to download his own music and create the ringtones himself and one of the supervisors heard the last bit of my instructions and pulled me aside to admonish me and tell me that it’s not company policy to give out those instructions because we lose money and promptly wrote me up for it!

As for photos, I use mine to take photos. I hardly ever send using my phone. I get home, use my wonderful USB cable (or others can use BlueTooth or infra-red — depends on your phone’s capabilities), download my pics, and send using e-mail for internet I already pay for.

Most of the “side” stuff (other than actually using the device for making phone calls) that cell phone companies charge for can be done without using their networks and “internet” charges, or ringtones, games, etc.

Let’s face it though. What the cell phone campines have going for them is that the common cell phone user iis just not smart enough to get around the system and use their phone without accruing those extra charges. They complain about it, but when you teach them how to get around incurring thsoe extras, they tell you how they are not “savvy” or smart enough, and don’t want to have to bother to “work” to use their phone.

Now I’ve gone and ranted about cell phones, when this article is about film. I digress.

This is the reply to both the comments left by Daniel and Topher3105.

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