Dim days for 5x7 TMax 100 & 400 ahead?

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Having heard of The Yellow Peril planning to discontinue TMax films in 5x7 sizes, I called The Yellow Godfather. Yep, it seems these films will be removed from the catalogue in September of this year and put on a 'special order' basis from then on. Per EK folks, they don't know what this means. I do know if one is ordering specialty sizes such as 8x20 or 18x22 or whatever, they are talking about $12,000 or so per minimum order. The phone rep is supposed to get back to me on this one and I will post what I am told. From past experience with The Yellow Peril I don't hold much hope of being to buy the normal 100 sheet boxes one at a time in the future. I don't shoot a lot of it, maybe 400-600 sheets per year, but do like the film and find it inconvenient at best to face the loss of TMax 100 especially as it is the fastest film on the market once exposures are over the 2 minute range. If anyone else has information on this, please respond or post it so those of us who use the TMax films can start planning on which Ilford film to switch to if TMax disappears.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), August 10, 2000


I'm make a strong effort to convert to films and papers other than Big Yellow (Ilford, Bergger, Agfa, etc.)

I'm sick of getting to like a product only to have it disappear. Kodak has made some of my favorite products in the past, but they seem to have no interest in staying in the B & W business, so I switch or quit photography. I'm not about to do the latter. Maybe Big Yellow should sell their B&W business off to someone who wants to maintain it. That's how Calumet got started with the old Kodak view cameras.

I understand Kodak's business reasons, but I sure don't understand what Kodak is going to be in 25 years when they are all electronic, with strong competition all over the place.

-- Charlie Strack (charlie_strack@sti.com), August 10, 2000.

Kodak is going to join the ranks of RCA, Woolworth, and A&P, etc, or become a subsideary of Nockabitsumahn Ltd.

-- Bill Mitchell (bmitch@home.com), August 10, 2000.

Dan: That has been the pattern with a lot of our old favorites in the large format world over the past few years. There just ain't enough of us LF folks to make a difference. I would suggest you buy all you can afford and freeze it, unless you have a wife who insists that non- essientials like shoes for the kids cut into your film purchases. You might also find another 5x7 shooter who would split a case of film with you. I have used B&W film 10 years out of date that was kept frozen and it worked quite well. If you can get enough to freeze, keep it for the times you need that specific film and try and find another decent film of another brand for general use. I have been gradually changing over to Ilford HP-5+ and HP-4+ and I really like the images I'm getting. I still like Tri-X, but I was happy to find there are other good films out there. This isn't really a solution to your problem, but maybe it will help a little. Good luck with finding another brand you like.

-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alanet.com), August 10, 2000.

Product range rationalisation is pretty standard practice now in most industries, and most large companies now actively prune their product ranges of the very small volume items with unusual specifications / sizes, because it is simply not profitable to continue with them. To be honest, I would prefer to see Kodak et alia be profitable and thus able (i) to continue with 4x5 and 8x10 as standard film sizes available in the main emulsions, and (ii) to invest in developing technology that can make an overall difference in the industry. The upside is that this should leave opportunities for small niche players to emerge.

-- fw (finneganswake@altavista.net), August 12, 2000.

I understand your frustration with companies like Kodak. I love High Speed IR but there just wasn't the demand for it so they discontinued it. I am slowly buying up a substantial supply to tide me over for a couple of years. But I do believe that this makes room for companies to start and grow supplying niche markets ala Bergger and Photographers Formulary. And maybe someone with the capital can buy the large lot at current prices and sell it off as demand dictates. It would be at a substantial profit but if you like the product then you will pay the price. James

-- james (james_mickelson@hotmail.com), August 12, 2000.

As long as it's available in 8x10, you could still use it. Using a Rotatrim, I can make 100 sheets of 5x7 in one hour and half.

-- Q.-Tuan Luong (luong@ai.sri.com), August 13, 2000.

I was recently told by someone who deals extensively with Kodak that Koday prunes its three lowest volume products each year, regardless of profitability. In other words, the pruning is done strictly on the basis of dollars of sales volume and even if a profit is made at the low volume, the product gets axed. I guess 5x7 was in the bottom three of the black and white products this year, along with 4x5 infrared and something else (Ektalure paper maybe?) I don't think Kodak has a huge amount of interest in anything that isn't digital. That's where the money is.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis@tampabay.rr.com), August 15, 2000.

I talked with the folks in Rochester & what I suspected seems well on the way to becoming reality. 5x7 TMax films will be removed from the product list & won't be made any longer. What you can buy for the time being will be any 'leftover' product on dealers shelves. After that, special order only, with the most likely scenario of having to pay for a complete film run cut to size rather than having them cut one or two or a dozen boxes of 5x7 film. The rep did say that since Tmax was going to still be made that maybe it wouldn't cost $12,000 for a full run but they didn't have any information on it now. I like that. Sure makes it easy to plan on what film to use in the future when the maker can't tell us what they are actually going to do.

Since I have been shooting more Ilford and did before TMax hit in 5x7, I will probably go back to it.

-- Dan Smith (shooter@brigham.net), August 17, 2000.

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