What will happen to classic film cameras?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Mike Henley, Jul 3, 2004.

  1. Mike Henley

    Mike Henley Guest

    Do you anticipate they'll increase depreciate or increase in value in
    years to come?

    It's understandable that their prices have dropped significantly
    lately as everyone's been riding on the digital wave, but regarding
    the future...

    Possibility A) they could increase in value


    - less will be made
    - those that will be made will either be one of two... A) modern, and
    those who like modern stuff will likely go digital. So, the more
    likely is B) retro, and those will be too expensive as they're harder
    to make at a low price (eg nikon's mechanical rangefinder)
    - there's a current wave of everyone (mass public) converting to
    digital; digital is still expensive and not good enough yet (actually,
    most 5mp cameras are good enough for public right now; the resolution
    of a 6mp i read about today was described as an "overkill" by the
    reviewer), but sooner or lately digital will get there both in being
    cheap and being good-enough, and the current stock of film cameras in
    non-collector hands will slowly disappear, lost, trashed, etc, which
    means that there'll be less of them, especially when...
    - there'll be a point in not too long where most film cameras will be
    traded by either niche (film) shooters or collectors. I have seen
    quite a few classic cameras lately whose sellers on ebay said that
    they only found out how highly regarded and sought after they are when
    they did a search for info about them to fill in the ebay description,
    so i'll hypothesize that there'll be many "babies" will be gone (like
    for example the three olympus RCs I've seen lately which sellers told
    me they had no idea they were classic - i can only assume some won't
    make it to ebay)
    - can they depreciate any more than they are right now? I would've
    thought digital cameras are somewhat stabilizing, there's already far
    more digital cameras on sale on ebay than film ones

    OR They will depreciate

    - i can't make up a rationale for this one as i find the above likely
    more persuasive, can you?
    Mike Henley, Jul 3, 2004
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  2. Mike Henley

    Lourens Smak Guest

    I think film will only remain interesting in real sizes, I mean, larger
    than 35mm. The "snapshot" 35mm will be dead in a few years. (at least in
    the western world) What will remain is 6x6 and 4x5".... BIG film. And if
    you still want to use film, why not do it right? At least you'll see
    some difference.

    PS: now is the time to buy that Hasselblad, Rolleiflex, Linhof Technika,
    or Fuji 690....

    Lourens Smak, Jul 3, 2004
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  3. Mike Henley

    Matt Clara Guest

    Even medium format is on the ropes with the 11 megapixel canon out there. I
    say, wait longer and medium format prices will drop yet further. Of course,
    the RB67 is selling quite cheaply now.

    As to Mike, this seems like another troll post, don't you think, Mike?
    Classic film cameras are classic because they were well regarded at one
    time, but are no longer produced today. Some have fallen completely by the
    wayside for lack of parts. How is this going to change in any case?
    Matt Clara, Jul 3, 2004
  4. Mike Henley

    Sander Vesik Guest

    Why do you care? Will a bottle of red wine made in Bordeaux in 2004
    cost $$ or $$$ or $$$$$ in year 2015? Would you buy it based on age
    or buy wine based on actual taste you want?

    Fine, so I'm not a collector - and i'm not interested in owning an
    iexpensive camera as a way to compensate for lack of something else -
    and I don't think the answer to your question is for teh most part
    derived from any rational or technical concerns.

    So it would basicly be:
    * go up - peopel are again buying them as ego extenders
    * stay as now/slowly go down - only collectors and retro
    fotographers are interested
    Sander Vesik, Jul 3, 2004
  5. Mike Henley

    R.Schenck Guest

    as a completely off topic aside, there are infact wine auctions, where the
    wine is bought an sold as an investment item, irrespective of taste. I
    assume eventually someone drinks it tho.
    R.Schenck, Jul 4, 2004
  6. Mike Henley

    Matt Clara Guest

    Here's the facts on camera appreciation. You would do better to invest the
    money in a bank than in a camera you hope to make cash on later. I don't
    know a single case where that isn't true.
    Cameras are for taking pictures with, not for investment.
    Matt Clara, Jul 4, 2004
  7. Mike Henley

    Jerry McG Guest

    Do you anticipate they'll increase depreciate or increase in value in
    Film is dead,. enjoy the revolution!
    Jerry McG, Jul 4, 2004
  8. Mike Henley

    ChrisPlatt Guest

    I will buy them all on eBay ;)

    Excelsior, you fatheads!
    ChrisPlatt, Jul 4, 2004
  9. Mike Henley

    Sander Vesik Guest

    I know - thats why the "or buy wine based on actual taste you want". In
    many cases wine taste improves with age. image quality is by and large not
    function of camera body so youdon't getthe same effect.

    If wine taste did not have the chance of improving with age it would probably
    not be an investment item.
    Sander Vesik, Jul 4, 2004
  10. Mike Henley

    Dallas Guest

    A lot of them will find their way into my collection.
    Dallas, Jul 4, 2004
  11. Mike Henley

    Matt Clara Guest

    Whether wine improves with age is a subjective judgement call that varies
    from bottle to bottle. The real reason any wine is aged is because of the
    vintage. If it was a good vintage, people are apt to lay some bottles

    Matt Clara, Jul 4, 2004
  12. Mike Henley

    Skip M Guest

    Case in point, Exacta. A company that developed the earliest SLRs, great
    build quality and Schneider optics, wide variety of lenses by other
    manufacturers, like Angeneaux, even film appearances ("Rear Window"). And
    can be had quite cheaply, under $100, sometimes more like $50 for one in
    great condition.
    Skip M, Jul 4, 2004
  13. Mike Henley

    Gordon Moat Guest

    I think new mechanical cameras might increase in price in the future.
    This would be somewhat due to inflation, though also from limited
    production. The Nikon FM3A might continue to be produced for a few more
    years, though technically it could be considered an electronic camera.
    That leaves Leica, and maybe Contax to continue into the future with
    manual bodies, or at least manual focus.
    If you mean used, then it depends upon which cameras you look into. Many
    of the old SLRs are now becoming more collectors items. Of course, the
    collector market could change at any moment, or it could be that an
    ageing population of collectors is not replacement by a younger
    generation with the same interests.

    As for "classic" mostly manual cameras that an enthusiast could get used,
    then I think some areas might see prices fall a bit. The problem in that
    type of purchase, is that service costs will likely only continue to
    rise. To the old camera enthusiast, that might mean learning to do your
    own repairs. It could also mean buying similar non working cameras as a
    source for personal use spare parts.
    Quite likely, and maybe only high end production.
    Supposedly, Nikon claims to have lost money on the S3 2000 rangefinder
    cameras. Leica had the brief and strange Serie 0 remake, though it seems
    the early high price did not hold up later. Then there have been various
    Voigtländer offering, arguably somewhat affordable.

    With SLR choices, there are still manual focus cameras made, though fewer
    mechanical shutters than in the past, at least in 35 mm. I think the
    sales success (relative) of the Leica M7 points out that at least some
    users might like some automation (aperture priority), and that might
    point out more of a future direction.

    The odd choice now is the Leica/Panasonic direct digital with somewhat
    manual control, and more manual interface. This combination of high and
    low tech could become somewhat popular in the future, though it is too
    early to tell if they are sales successes.
    It could be those old "collector" classics were just sitting on a shelf
    collecting dust, and not being used. While it might seem that a flood of
    used cameras is on EBAY, or elsewhere, when you look at some older camera
    choices, the prices have not become lower. Recall that as cameras age,
    they can also be prone to breaking, and broken cameras will not sell
    well. The age of some cameras will self limit the used market, since
    there would be less supply of good working examples.

    Many in the mass public think about 3 MP is good enough, and that segment
    sells very well. With camera phones soon hitting 2 or 3 MP on the mass
    market, that might be another direction that takes off. I don't always
    see this behaviour as similar to photography, since it is often more
    about electronic communications (e-mail, picture messaging), and instant
    gratification, than about recording history, or making printed photos.
    Obviously, people do make prints from direct digital imaging, but they
    are still the minority.

    I do think the P&S film camera market will become a niche. The only
    exception would be disposable one-time-use cameras, which recently saw
    about a 30% sales volume increase (going from the latest Fuji and Kodak
    information). There may be fewer P&S film camera choices available in the
    future, and the few there are might be high priced (similar to Contax T3,
    or Leica CM).
    EBAY is definitely affecting the used camera market. I would not be
    surprised if the overall used film camera sales volume on EBAY is near
    what new film camera sales are now. It would also not surprise me if the
    used EBAY sales exceeds new sales in the future.
    Higher turnover for direct digital, since the technology changes so
    quickly. Even the high end is affected by this. Compare that to a film
    camera that can often deliver many years of service at a known quality
    level, with film being the only variable.
    Some might, as they become less known, or less popular. Don't expect
    Leica M rangefinder prices to suddenly drop, nor working Nikon F models,
    nor many other popular cameras of the past.
    It depends upon what you want to get. The more collectable items might
    just keep climbing in price. The lesser known cameras might get near
    give-away prices, meaning you might find some really great gear at very
    low cost. Keep watching, and shop carefully.

    <http://www.agstudiopro.com> Coming Soon!
    Gordon Moat, Jul 4, 2004
  14. Mike Henley

    TP Guest


    I would bet that the last Nikon FM3A has already been produced. It is
    a very slow seller and current stocks are unlikely to be exhausted in
    the next couple of years, by which time demand will be near zero.

    Expect it to appear in Nikon's 2005 catalog, and probably in the 2006
    edition. But don't expect many sales in 2007.

    Stocks of the 45mm f/2.8 AI-P Nikkor are also diminishing slowly.
    Don't expect any more to be produced.

    TP, Jul 5, 2004
  15. Mike Henley

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Unfortunately, likely to be very true. They may indeed have only done a
    few years production to build up inventory.
    I have heard a few predictions of both Nikon and Canon stopping film SLR
    sales in 2008. The reason for that year, is that it is anticipated that
    enough full frame affordable direct digital cameras will be available then
    to restrict production to only those types of SLRs.
    While I have read nice reviews on this lens, it really is sort of slow at
    f2.8. Also, when I tried it, the focus ring was too small for me, since I
    have large hands. I doubt I would ever buy one.

    <http://www.agstudiopro.com> Coming Soon!
    Gordon Moat, Jul 5, 2004
  16. Mike Henley

    TP Guest

    Sadly, all too many people agree. This is a lens that appeals neither
    to Nikon's traditional MF user base nor to the AF users. Here in the
    UK it can be bought very cheaply, but Nikon UK discourage dealers from
    publishing these very attractive prices.

    It's a bit like Pentax UK with the MZ-S body, which can be bought at
    huge discounts off list price but is not advertised at those prices.
    TP, Jul 5, 2004
  17. Mike Henley

    Ted Azito Guest

    The chief lesson of history is that people don't learn from history.

    Firstly, there is at this time no such thing as truly archival
    digital storage. If you want images around for at least a century, you
    use film. This may change. But not extremely soon.

    Second, the casual snapshooter market is going all digital and fast.
    This means Minilabs and cheap C-41 process film is going to take a big
    , big dive in volume. Minilabs will close and consumer outlets won't
    sell film.

    Third, 35mm film will be available for a long while because of the
    cinema industry. Yes, they have super-detailed digital pro video, but
    film is going to be around in the cinema for a long while. It's a slow
    moving industry.

    Fourth, there doesn't have to be a huge volume for film to exist. A
    lot of formats unheard of by most are available for the medical,
    document recording, aerial and other markets.

    Fifth, a retro nostalgia market is slowly springing up as it becomes
    chic to take pictures with old cameras. Camera repair books, etc. are
    selling in volume as never before. It's not huge, but it exists and
    will continue.
    Ted Azito, Jul 5, 2004
  18. Mike Henley

    Peter Chant Guest

    Hmm, perhaps I should have asked around. Pentaxs UK website was
    advertising the MZ5n as a current camera when you could only get old
    stock from a few places, the official price was about twice what the
    street (or mail order) price seemed to be.
    Peter Chant, Jul 6, 2004
  19. Mike Henley

    Karl Winkler Guest

    I'm not sure I agree with this. In theory at least, digital files if
    properly migrated should last indefinitely. Not true for silver-based
    analog images. However, one huge advantage of film is the combination
    of relatively long life (especially with properly treated monochrome
    materials) and the ability to read these images *without software*. If
    you've ever seen a photo from the 1850s, you know what I mean.
    Actually, I've been hearing that there is a backlash now in the
    snapshooter market, driven by the fact that people have gotten over
    the "wow" factor of digital, and prefer to get prints from film
    because they are simply easier to handle. You don't need anything
    fancy to pass around a photo album at the family reunion...
    This is true. I have an old 9x12 cm camera and sheet film is still
    available for it in Germany.
    I liken this to the "Indian Summer" of the analog turntable. For about
    10 years after CDs came out, turntables had a renaissance in quality
    and availibility. Old "classics" like the Linn SP12 were highly
    regarded and highly sought after. However, digital audio has A)
    evolved in the last 15 years and B) become fully accepted by nearly
    everyone, pros and consumers alike. The audio industry is probably
    5-10 years ahead of the photo industry in this regard. Thus, today
    good used turntables can be had very cheaply, and there is no "middle
    ground" left, i.e. hardly anyone is making good, medium priced units.
    All you see is used 'tables and hyper-expensive concept units.

    So I think classic cameras in general will gradually fall in value as
    there become fewer people interested in them. Collectors will keep the
    value artificially inflated for many years. And there will be certain
    makes/models that will long be considered especially desireable, like
    the Rollei 35, the Rolliflex TLRs, the Leica, Contax and Nikon
    rangefinders, etc. But overall, most "classic" cameras will become
    paperweights rather than user cameras and will therefore lose their

    Karl Winkler, Jul 7, 2004
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