A Kodak letter got scanned and passed around the Internet and it looks like another emulsion is gone -- Ektachrome 400X this time. They make some pains to explain that families of film other than 400X are not actually dead in the letter.
Ektachrome 400X is a fairly old emulsion that has been outdone by Fuji's Provia 400X, so I suspect that this was going to happen one day or another.
I don't know. See, I can add Ektachrome 400X to my list of films I'm glad I shot before they were totally gone, but I really didn't use it too often. Just once in a while and only crossprocessed.
Were Kodak to be in this situation before digital cameras were so big, I'm sure they would have already reformulated Ektachrome 400X. It was one of the earliest T-grain films and hasn't been touched since.
I was worried about some of the listings. I was worried that maybe that Kodak would discontinue one of the film types entirely in medium format.. but it looks OK for now. Everything else seems to be a re-arrangement of the product line so that they make fewer unique items to track, but without actually discontinuing anything in any real format. This won't actually do much to your real availability. Take, for example Ektachrome E200. It's being discontinued as individually wrapped rolls of 120 film. It is not being discontinued as 5-roll pro-packs of 120 film. Porta 160VC, 160NC, 400VC, and 400NC are all being discontinued as individually wrapped rolls of 35mm film.
The exception here is that 8x10 sheet film for E100VS is gone. and some films won't be available in 220 format anymore. I'm sure that this is going to tick off those folks who have cameras that can take 220 film -- I only have one 120 back for my RB67, probably won't bother getting any 220 backs, and don't shoot fast enough to need to change rolls less frequently.
But already, when I order a roll of film online from the usual places or if I go to a local camera store, all they stock is either 20 roll 35mm pro-packs or 5 roll 120 pro-packs where they'll open the box and sell me individual rolls. I haven't purchased very many single rolls of film lately. And it makes sense for the store because a roll of film from a pro-pack is cheaper than an individually boxed roll, so they can sell it for less. And I don't really need the information on the box, just the expiration date and the type of film. And it makes sense for Kodak, because they don't need to keep sizes around that aren't really necessary for the current market.
I, of course, found this out after I made my film order for this month. But that's OK, because I would have had to consider if I should buy less high speed IR and toss in some rolls of Ektachrome 400X.
The word on the street is that the "going digital" craze has pretty much reached an endpoint and the film market isn't likely to shrink too much farther. One can only hope. If it is true, it should make it easier for Kodak to justify projects, because they can actually make a good estimate for a return on investment.
I dono. My personal wish list is an upgraded TMax P3200 or maybe a newly formulated high speed tungsten slide film or applying the two-electron sensitization technology to E100VS to make it a 200 speed film. Or, even better, a return of Ektachrome IR. Those would be useful. Much more useful than an Ilford Delta 25 or a new Kodachrome or something that just ends up competing directly with an established Fuji film.
Anyway, rest assured that I'm not going digital anytime soon. I mentioned a bunch of recent shooting using my G7 and got called a hypocrite. I also got told by several people, including my wife, that abandoning film is one of the dumbest things I could possibly do.