Film and digital prints during the last 8 years

A little more than a year ago I posted a note in my russian blog entitled “Film and digital prints during the last seven years” (link to article in russian). That post was in response to the questions that I get frequently asked, questions like “I wonder if anybody is really using film anymore, other than a few rare enthusiasts?”. Today I can update the statistics with another year, 2011.

Background data

All the statistical data below is collected by an automated order processing system at the network of photo centres “Fotoproekt” (, link to site in english).

  • “Fotoproekt” has been working in the retail business since February 10, 2004.
  • As of today, it incorporates a print centre, eight customer service outlets and a photography education centre.
  • It currently serves more than 165,000 clients.
  • Most of the clients are in Moscow (Russia) and the surrounding area.
  • A small fraction of the orders comes from the other regions of Russia (mail orders).

Obviously, the sample is not completely representative, since it cannot account for all the variables of the market as a whole. However, the data still presents a certain interest.

The chart below shows a ratio of film and digital print orders for the last eight years, 2004 to 2011. The data is calculated based on the cumulative surface area of all of the prints (in square meters).

The share of film as a photography medium has, undoubtedly, significantly reduced during this time. This trend continues, though it is not as strong during the last few years. However, let’s have a look at the absolute numbers, i.e. number of developed film rolls:

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