Nikon's drastic shift to digital

Nikon is killing production of most of its film cameras and many lenses, to focus on its growing digital business. Here's an except from the press release:
"As a result of the new strategy Nikon will discontinue production of all lenses for large format cameras and enlarging lenses with sales of these products ceasing as soon as they run out of stock. This also applies to most of our film camera bodies, interchangeable manual focus lenses and related accessories. Although Nikon anticipates that the products will still be in retail distribution up to Summer 2006.
In recognition of Nikon’s commitment to professional photographers we will continue to manufacturer and sell the F6, our flagship film model, as well as a number of manual interchangeable lenses. Sales of the manual FM10 will also continue outside Europe."

I guess the bright side is maybe I'll be able to get bargains on lenses for my N90s. But will I still be able to get slide film?

See the press release here:

- Chris K.
Yeah. Tamron stopped supporting Bronica a year or so ago, and who knows how available 120/220 film will be.

I had an interesting plane conversation a few weeks ago with someone who worked at a major telecine company and who was particularly involved in archiving digital movies. The industry is quite worried about the long-term durability (physical and technological) of digital. So what they're doing is scanning off the digital movies onto three color-separated reels of high-stability Estar-based B&W 35mm film! Each frame of film is equivalent to about 50Mb of digital information.

Hopefully film will be around for awhile.
I have a feeling that film will not be going anywhere soon. I sort of liken it to the DVD vs. VCR issue, as even though DVD's comprise the majority of video sales in the country VCR is still a less fragile medium (nicks and scratches = worthless DVD). Film is still a niche medum, and it provides a great deal more color and exposure latitude that you can't replicate with digital even in the best cameras - the new Fuji Provia 100 has excellent saturation and higher speed, proving that you can teach an old medium new tricks.
The main reason for the shift is the customer base.... more and more pros have gone digital... there are only a few special needs people that still need the rez of 35mm.... People that do require ultimate resoluton are probably shooting medium format anyway. By shifting to digital, I think Nikon hopes to convert the remenant 35mm film shooters to digi bodies.

deal more color and exposure latitude

I disagree with that... latest digi SLRS and digi darkroom techniques circumnavigate any of the issues.... The main limiting factor is extremely long exposures (on the order of dozens of minutes to hours).

Likely, after a long time of evaluating and saving up, I'll be making the Big Switch this season too -- from a trusty (but aging) 25 year old Minolta 35 mm body to a Canon D5 (and of course, all the new glass that entails). But the slide camera still will be in the bag and pulled out as a backup, for long night exposures and/or for when I have time to reel off a few of each of special scenes (such as high contrast tornadoes, which seem to occur every 5-10 years). It's hard to totally let go of Provia 100F, but priority will be on the comparable (if not superior) resolution of the D5's output compared to scanned 35 mm film. That, plus no more slide-scanning workflow, which is a royal pain in the butt, for imagery from 2006 onward.

For reviews of this camera see

I'm hoping the price comes down some more between now and early March.
I've been listening and watching this debate over the last few years. It's really gotten hot now that reasonably priced Digital Cameras carry the same resolution (or better) as 35 mm film.

Here's a few things I have found from my own experience:

1. Film is not dead. Not by a long shot. Neither is slide film. Medium Format still reigns with professional photographers. Wedding and studio photographers have a lot invested in their equipment. Reasonably priced digital hasn't made it that far yet, though there are Medium Format camera backs that are digital.

2. Large Format Photography is not dead. This photography requires film. They are using a lot of positive (slide) film. Nothing beats a well and properly exposed 8X10 nature slide.

3. Digital rules the consumer market. How many photos get taken and then never looked at again beyond the initial download? 50%?? 80%?? 90%?? I have hundreds of photos that I've taken (both film and digi) that are packed away in boxes or on CDs. Some day, I will get them out and look at them again. On a side note, how many photos never make it to the computer because the camera User doesn't know how or won't take the time to download? I have no idea.

Kodak made an announcement a couple of years ago that they were discontinuing film production. Well they backed off that statement within 24 hours as the hew and cry was enormous! There are probably more film camera out there right now than there are digital. Many of them still being used.

Nope, film is still out there. It will be around for a long while yet.

Long live Film!