[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [Rollei] Darkroom

In a message dated 4/30/2003 11:15:12 PM Eastern Standard Time, sld   writes:

> Today, in Terry's camera, a Rollei and Leica dealer, there will soon no
> longer be a darkroom section. 
> The owner can no longer justify the space being used by items that are
> no longer moving. He'll carry paper and some chemistry as a concession
> for the older customer, but that's about all.
> Give it another year or two, and the same will happen with 
> the major stores.
> Slobodan Dimitrov

This is clearly the trend. I have access to two local stores that both carry very good stocks of paper and chemistry, and small darkroom sundries, but NO major equipment items except used ones taken on consignment. You have perhaps two styles of developing tank to choose from, but if you want a new enlarger or even a safelight, you have to order it. 

That paper and chemistry is still stocked is due to two things..older customers and the fact that local community colleges offer darkroom courses that are required for several degrees and that are popular otherwise. However, the number of people setting up personal darkrooms drops every year.

Siver based photography will continue indefinitely I think, but only at a very reduced level.. almost a "botique" sort of thing, and of course, the prices for paper and chemistry will rise as the volume drops. Darkrooms are essentially "gone" already where pros are concerned. The economics of digital and deadlines make that decision for them. 

What is left are the "artists" and the enthusiasts (or eccentrics).  Fortunately there seem to be quite a few of those, and the general contrariness of the human species may produce more. Fairly high-end darkroom gear (enlargers, print washers and dryers, analyzers, processors, etc. are steadily available on ebay and steadily sell, albeit at prices that will not support the darkroom trade in retail stores.

My conclusion is that there are still a lot of people out there with the darkroom interest, but there is an even bigger pool of very servicable and more favorably priced used equipment, and this is what they buy. I've been watching ebay for three years now, and I keep expecting the stuff to stop selling, but somehow, if it's clean, it finds a buyer.

G. King