If you want evidence that digital photography is on the verge of supplanting film, look no further than Kodak. The world's largest photography specialist will this year phase out the sale of its 35mm film cameras in North America and Western Europe.
The move will also cover Advanced Photo System (APS) cameras, which it will cease to offer anywhere in the world by the end of 2004.
APS was introduced in 1996 as the next stage in the evolution of film photography. The system essentially allows a variety of picture sizes to be taken on the same roll of film.
However, the Eastman Kodak company has admitted that sales are declining, leading to what it calls "unsatisfactory returns".
The announcement doesn't mean the death of 35mm film just yet. Kodak will continue to offer regular 35mm and APS film stock, and the decision only covers reloadable cameras - it will continue to provide disposables.
But the focus is shifting. Kodak will target 35mm cameras at the developing world, most notably India, Latin America, Eastern Europe and China, where digital cameras remain a more expensive option. These markets continue to show double-digit growth, the company said. The implication being that growth has slowed massively in the territories the company is ending reloadable camera distribution. ®