Is Film Photography Dead?
First came the digital camera. Then, just like all technology, it grew and spread. Now Kodak discontinued film. Nikon discontinued lower end film cameras. Polaroid discontinued their infamous instant film, then all film completely. The film companies seem to be going "all in" and converting, permanently, to digital.
Movies are mostly made digitally now, so no more "cutting room floor" (except proverbially), but what of film in photographic cameras?
Is this the end of the days of film, developing, dark rooms? No more 35 mm versus APS at 24? No more removing undeveloped film from our bags in airports before they go through the x-ray machine? No more fixer smell on photographers' fingers? What are the implications of a world with no film?
What We're Leaving Behind
Photographic film is a strip of plastic covered in an emulsion with light-sensative crystals. When they're exposed to different types and amounts of light, they leave an invisible image on the plastic. And after you've put them in several chemicals, the image shows up as a "negative" or the image you photographed.
But that's just the beginning of the process of getting a finished, developed photo. The rest of it includes a lot of mucking around in the dark with only a tiny red light to guide you. Maybe it's not so bad that we're going digital...
On the other hand, photographic film is a legacy. It has had similar intention and function since the first photographs with only slight upgrades. Sure, we should be as advanced as we can be, and convenience always wins out in today's world. But I'll truly be sad to know that there's no film anywhere, even though I haven't used it in years.
With digital photography, we can see our pictures instantly and delete what we don't want, and we can print them without strangers having to see what we've photographed.
Many people seem to have photo printers in their homes, and many more go to Walmart or Walgreens to print them en masse. I expect that much of this will continue to happen as it has, though the printers will get less expensive and higher quality, so more people will have them.
Polaroid, after announcing that it would discontinue its namessake instant cameras, then came up with Zink technology, which sounds really exciting. It produces 2-inch-by-3-inch photos (high quality, full color) instantly, without ink! They come out dry, so no need to shake them or wait for them to develop.
The more instant, the higher quality, and the lower priced products will be the future of photography after film is gone.