Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Want Your Film back in an Hour? Don't Hold Your Breath

Like most things photographic these days, digital has claimed yet another victim: the one-hour photo drop-off. remember the days when you used to be able to go to a supermarket, drug store or even a Fotomat? Well, those days are nearly gone.

In an article in today's The New York Times, the sad scenario is laid out for us.

According to the article:

Some 35,000 locations in the United States still develop film, mostly drugstores, supermarkets and discount retail stores, as well as photo specialty stores.

And then there's this:

Over the last four years, the sale of film has been dropping at a rate of 25 to 30 percent each year. In 2006, 204 million rolls were sold, a quarter of the 800 million sold at the peak in 1999.

The article points out that Kodak,which has seen its film sales decline in the face of digital, is looking to third-world countries with a smaller installed base of computers to extend the life of its analog products. It also has a stallwart base of professional photographers in the U.S. The company recently introduced an improved formulation of T-Max 400 black & white film.