Everyone says Ilford. I say Kodak is the first and Fujifilm the last.
Kodak wants to make it but their financial situation isn’t stable. They have posted loss after loss for the last few years straight. Kodak still makes the best film available and I’d hate to see them go but I think if demand drops again they are gonna be the first one to go down.
Fujifilm seems to not care because they discontinue films but they are the most stable out of all companies. Film represent only a tiny fraction of their revenues. Fujifilm made a remarkable turn around when Kodak went bankrupt. Fujifilm looked at their chemical patent portfolio and figured out how to profit from it other than with film. All that time spent figuring out how to make pigments in Gelatine prints last longer was then applied to cosmetics and how to keep skin from aging. Astia film became Astalift Creme. If you’ve ever watched one of their case study videos you’ll know they have also repeatedly stated that they will be the last company to make film. And Fujifilm can afford to make film just to make a point.
All that Fuji hate our there. I know. I’ve lived in Japan for long enough to know that tradition is extremely important here. Fuji’s tradition is film. Their name is FujiFILM. As crazy and controversial as this sounds to all other opinions out there, I truly believe Fuji will always be making at least one film. It may not be the one you like but they will have one. Probably some color negative consumer film at a crazy price.
Ilford seemed to be the one until they got bought out by this investment company. This is good and bad. It’s great for the aging staff that bought out the company when it collapsed. Their investment paid off on a personal level and the financial injections means Ilford now has more money to invest into R&D and advertising on social media. If you’ve been following them on social media you should’ve noticed a major increase in online presence. But! an investment company bought them out because they saw a chance to profit not because they love film. If film demand crashes again, that company will lose interest and Ilford employees would have to do another Management buy out. Is that really going to work a second time? Fujifilm just has more money. That’s a lot of doomsday talk. I really hope it’ll never get there. Ilford is a great company. I don’t personally like their films but many people do and I know their product is prime in terms of quality. I loved their paper until I switched.
And then there is Adox. These guys just have to be the most passionate film manufacturers out there. It’s small scale, they produce/bring back what people love and they are absolutely crazy about film. I personally support them as much as I can. I use their developer, stop and fix for paper and film. I print on their paper and tone using their toners but as passionate as they are about analog photography I don’t think they have pockets deep enough to outlast a giant such as Fujifilm.
I’ll shoot Tri-X as long as Kodak makes it. I won’t get into shooting expired film. I’ll just move to another brand should that ever be necessary.