The gentleman who runs the film counter at Samy’s, the largest photo dealer in Los Angeles, tells me that Fuji exiting the pro print film market to concentrate on a small selection of color transparency films: Provia and Velvia. Astia has already been discontinued. Kodak is shifting its emphasis to its color print films while reducing its slide films. Ilford will continue to offer the same selection of black and white films, at least for the time being. As for Agfa, Konica, and Polaroid, they are long gone.
I imagine that none of this is any news to you dedicated film shooters or of any particular interest to those of you who gave up film long ago. It certainly doesn’t mean that film is dead (yet). It does mean that if you love shooting film, now is the time to do it. Even if you have fewer choices today than you did a year or two ago, you will have even fewer choices a year or two from now.
I’ll show you the results of my efforts once I’m back at home and have a chance to scan a few frames. In the meantime, here are my quick impressions of the three films I’ve used so far:
Fujicolor Superia Reala – This ist my favorite color neg film ever. It delivers rich colors without going over the top. The contrast is moderate, the grain is super-fine, and it produces good results even under tungsten and fluorescent lighting. I’ll miss it.
Fujicolor Pro 160C – It’s close enough to Reala that I would happily use it instead, but it, too, has been discontinued.
Kodak Ektar 100 – Fine-grained it may be, but it’s much too contrasty and saturated for my tastes. I’ll try a roll or two on a cloudy, low-contrast day. Even then I suspect I’ll move the saturation slider to the left a bit before making a print.
I’m still holding out hope for Kodak. I’ve got a few rolls of their Portra films in my stash and I plan to try them soon, if only by necessity. God only knows what will be available next year at this time.