Movie Camera Companies Have Quietly Stopped Making Film Cameras

Over the past year, major movie camera manufacturers ARRI, Panavision and Aaton have all quietly stopped manufacturing film cameras — a tough blow to film, and grim news for film photographers. Debra Kaufman over at Creative COW writes,

Can the continued production of film stock survive the twin disappearance of film acquisition and distribution? Veteran industry executive Rob Hummel […] recalls when, as head of production operations, he was negotiating the Kodak deal for DreamWorks Studios. “At the time, the Kodak representative told me that motion pictures was 6 percent of their worldwide capacity and 7 percent of their revenues,” he recalls. “The rest was snapshots. In 2008 motion pictures was 92 percent of their business and the actual volume hasn’t grown. The other business has just disappeared.”

Panavision’s Executive VP Phil Radin states that, “Film will be around as long as Kodak and Fuji believe they can make money at it.” With their revenues from the movie industry drying up, Kodak and Fuji are going to have a harder time keeping their film businesses profitable. If you want to see film survive, then you can do your part by buying film and encouraging others to shoot analog as well!

Film Fading to Black (via TechCrunch)

Image credit: PANAFLEX PLATINUM STUDIO by openreel

  • Anonymous

    Funny thing is, none of those camera companies sell the damn cameras, they just rent them. And they are going to continue renting them and just fixing the ones they have. There is still a huge market for them, and with a**holes like RED’s CEO as the competition, there will not be a loss on these for them for a while.

    Film cameras and all the supporting parts are going to be around for a while.

  • Blueeyedpop

    What Christian Rudman said is true, though as far as I know, only Panavision is rental only. In fact Panavision has a huge fleet of Arriflex cameras.

  • Dave

    Even worse: talkies are so popular movie theaters don’t install pipe organs anymore.

  • Bohedeferal

    i wouldn’t put stock in what some VP said, mainly because of what Bill gate said once. “64k should be enough for anyone.”, When he was talking about Ram……………

  • Dov

    No only Panavision cameras are rental only Aaton and Arri are very much for sale however

  • Graysmith

    In all fairness, just because they’ve stopped making new ones doesn’t mean it’s the end of shooting films on celluloid. That there’s not enough demand for new cameras is understandable as more and more films are made with digital equipment, but there’s no reason for anyone to go around saying this is the end of celluloid. I don’t know what the expected life span of a film camera is, but I’m still shooting photographs with cameras that are 60+ years old so I would assume a movie camera can have a very long life.

  • Blueeyedpop

    Usually one designs products for the motion picture industry for a 20 year life cycle. I think their oldest body is about 7 or so years old. 

    The biggest concern to me is that the skill base behind the manufacture of a Panavision camera will slowly go by the wayside. There is a lot of magic that goes into making the movement that pulls the film. 

  • GotScout

    LOL!!!!!  “Even worse: talkies are so popular movie theaters don’t install pipe organs anymore.”

  • erlik

    No, he didn’t. It’s a popular myth, but it was actually some exec from IBM who said that 640k was enough. Remember that the old PC’s had a chip in the keyboard to access the memory above 1MB. That’s a hardware limitation, not a software one.

  • Ranhoff

    I’m sure Spielberg has a stockpile built up.

  • gilbert

    Tom Messner spoke about this with respect to how Ad agencies once use to submit to awards shows on film and then moved to video.

    It was thought that image sensors would never approach that of film quality and they have to some degree but offered an ease of use that tipped ease of use in that direction.

    Great image making is as much about use of light and composition as it is about film stock.  Also, with the availability of prime lenses for image sensor cameras, the image makers choices have increased.

  • Reluctantly Accepting

    I prefer film, however, with as quickly as technology is flying by and getting updated, I feel some people have been living under a rock.  I agree with the VP, that it will only last as long as Kodak is making a profit.  They’ve already sent many employees into early retirement.  Camera companies not making cameras IS significant. And, since technology is moving in a pace of light speed, film is already taking a backseat and will be pushed out of existence relatively soon.  When Producers find that color timing can being done on the set through the DIT now, it won’t be long before the ‘card’ will go directly into the Avid and will force many Post houses into obscurity.  Money will be the bottom line especially when the images are getting better and better.  Once sound can match the image from decks on set, kiss the Post houses, as we’ve known them, good bye.
    Love the Talkies reference…times, they are a changin.

  • Longbeachguy516