Kodak Sees Film Making a Comeback

Earlier this month Kodak announced their new Portra 400 color negative film, replacing the Portra 400NC and 400VC professional films. This might seem like backwards thinking, since so many films have been discontinued as of late, but Kodak believes film is making a comeback. In an interview with the British Journal of Photography, Kodak’s US marketing manager Scott DiSabato states,

We won’t make a product like this if we don’t believe we’ll see a return on it. Luckily the colour negative film sales have been very stable over the past year. Black-and-white is also doing extremely well. It almost feel that there is a very real resurgence for film.

A lifeline for film seems to be college campuses, where many young people are introduced to 35mm film photography for the first time (like I was):

[…] the most exciting thing is to see the younger people adopt film. It’s almost a generational thing. They have not shot film growing up, but once they do get a hold of film in a university, they just seem to fall in love with it. And that’s exciting. It just seems to have a lot of influence.

You can read the entire interview here. What are your thoughts on the future of film photography?

(via Wired)

  • John

    Really? Getting rid of 2 films and replacing them with a single film indicates a resurgence? I would tend to think this is saving Kodak money because they don’t get many film orders and they want to decrease production/choices. At least we still get 160NC.

  • Michael Zhang

    I think the idea is more that Kodak is still investing in R&D (i.e. putting money into trying to make better film).

  • Gary

    Most of these college professors are about my age. I grew up shooting film. Now I am totally digital because it gives me creative control all the way through. I did my on B&W back in the days but without a proper setup, color had to be taken to a lab. I think college professors are using film to teach the fundamentals. I don’t think I would be nearly as comfortable with digital had I not experienced film. Once the students enter the marketplace and have money, they are going digital for the most part, IMHO. As universities fund purchasing digital cameras and software/hardware, film will eventually die out except for a few diehards — and they will die out eventually as well. I don’t think Kodak has thought this through just like they are not doing a very good job in the digital world.

  • Michael Zhang

    Interesting points. UC Berkeley’s darkroom was closed a year or two ago and the curriculum has moved to digital.

  • Michael Zhang

    Interesting points. UC Berkeley’s darkroom was closed a year or two ago and the curriculum has moved to digital.

  • Alun J

    The time is probably right for film to plateau and maybe have a bit of a resurgence. Like vinyl LPs there will always be devotees, but surely only amongst those who want to develop at home or studio.

    Pro’s… Is it commercially sensible to go back to film? Students… Good to have a practical understanding as film would provide, but surely modern editting is more beneficial in the real world.

    I’d like to see film still out there and being used, but I can only see it as a niche hobbyist product.

  • Dave

    And you wonder why Kodak has no future!