The Cameraventures team launched the „Save Analog Cameras“ campaign to look into the current status of film photography in the world and forecast its direction in the near future. Out of the over 4000 form entries that we received from all countries, 244 come from the German-speaking countries of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (as of 04.07.2017). From these group, 211 entries were answered using our English-language form and the remaining 33 were from our German-language form. To our fellow German-speaking analog photographers, we are very thankful for your participation and contribution to our movement! If you haven’t yet filled up our form, you can do so here: https://cameraventures.com/save-analog-form.
Alongside its optical and camera products, German companies like AGFA. ADOX. ORWO provided the world with film that captured history – from the Second World War to the Fall of the Berlin Wall. However with the resurgence of digital photography these companies have to close down – AGFA and ORWO are such examples. Nevertheless these names still exist today in one form or another, and German, Austrian, and Swiss film photographers are still able to acquire film of all formats and sizes suited to their needs – from 35mm (small format) film to 8x10 sheet film.
The German- and English-language results show that film photographers prefer to purchase film through an online store (47% of German-language results, 45% of English-language results), followed by purchase in a brick-and-mortar store (30% and 36%), and finally through the online markets Amazon and eBay (22% and 14%). Specifically, most photographers wrote macodirect, FOTOIMPEX, Calumet Photo, Ars-Imago, and Nordfoto as their go-to sites for buying film (both their actual and online shops are well-patronized in the region). A curiosity is the inclusion of the large drugstore chains dm and Rossmann as places where one can buy film: both these and some supermarkets like Kaufland and technology-oriented markets like Saturn and MediaMarkt sell 35mm color negative, color slide, and black-and-white Agfaphoto film (in 24 and 36 rolls). Though it might look like that one can buy film anywhere and anytime in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, it it still considered become a speciality purchase nowadays.
With regards to the indigenous photographic industry, only ADOX and Agfaphoto (which is actually made by another company) still produce films (and other photographic products) for the market. Nevertheless international brands like Kodak, Fujifilm, and Ilford are just as strongly patronized in the three countries as anywhere else. Due to its central location in Europe, photographers in the DACH region get to use film from neighboring countries such as Foma, Bergger, and (though in small quantities) FILM Ferrania.
There’s no doubt that film photography in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland is well supported by the consumer market. From its indigenous companies to a strong retail sector, photographers in the DACH region are, safe to say, spoiled with choices.