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Friday 2 March 2012

Film cameras - is it the end? Say it isn't so!

The weirdest thing happened to me tonight.

I rang my local Woolies and asked, "Do you have film, for a camera?"

I spoke to a manager from that department and he said, "Um, what sorry?"

"Um, film. For a camera."

He said [I swear], "Ummm, 'shion'?"

"No, film. You know, for a camera?"

"What is it, shian?" [Gosh, am I that unclear when I speak? At this point, I burst into involuntary laughter].

"No, 'film': you know, F, I, L, M. Film."

"Um, I'm sorry... I don't know what that is."

[Me, dumbfounded]: "Um... seriously?"

"Oh, wait... we have disposable cameras. And the thing you use to replace that." [Could it be? 'Shion'?!]. The memory card thing. But no film."

"Could I ask you, I hope you don't mind: how old are you?"

"I'm 27."

"Oh, that explains it then. Film is before your time."

But even as I said it, I thought, 'Really? I know it's hard to find the stuff in stock these days... but... never heard of it?'

Something similar happened about a month ago. I needed film for my schmick, exy camera (only a few years old, not digital, can't see if I have taken a bad shot, which makes me wait for the perfect moment, angle the camera, focus, zoom in, and take on excellent shot instead of a million shitty shots I'll never develop anyway), went to the same Woolies, and asked for film.

And although one or two of the staff hesitated - and they were out of stock, possibly discontinued, they said - they knew what I was talking about when I said 'film.'

I prayed the Franklins next door had it... they did. Relief.

The same Franklins confirmed they have a few packs of rolls of film tonight.

I will be buying all of them first thing tomorrow.

But what of the fate of film?

Will I still be able to buy it in 2 years? One, even?

I asked my local photo developing place - are people still buying film?

Much less, of course. But still, yes. Though if I see rolls on sale in his store and need them, I should grab them, he said. It takes months to get the stock they order.

And the machine to develop film? Sometimes doesn't even get switched on for the day, he says.

This all made me inexplicably sad.

If the news earlier this year that Kodak has filed for bankruptcy is any indication, I'd better stock up on film quickly.

Nostalgic by nature, yes I am... but it's about more than that.

Much has been said about the superior quality of film, versus digital.

This is a great read on its future:

Will film go the way of the VCR and the Walkman?

The DVD and Blu-ray players, and the iPod... yes, superior quality, no doubt about it.

But film? It's better, I tell you.

Film, please don't go!

Are you a film user?

And what have you been sad to see already go?


  1. I read this piece when you first posted it and yes, since then I have noticed it is EXCEPTIONALLY hard to get rolls of film developed. What are we going to do??!! Nooooooooooo!!

    Jazzy x

  2. Let's stop this tech-madness! Please, let's not ditch film... I mean, where are all 'those' digi snaps going anyway...? TG

  3. Film cameras are incredible... digi snaps just DO NOT compare to the clarity of camera-roll, film-taken photos. Just sayin'...