"What you're starting to see is a big shakeout in terms of the folks who have decided to invest in photography, and the folks who've decided to diversify and stay and the folks who have decided to leave," Chute said. "Now we're in kind of unknown territory."
Despite the digital push, amateurs and artists who have shot on film since they first picked up cameras may never completely turns their backs on it, insisting that film still has the edge in lifelike depth, better resolution and more natural contrast.
Even today, film is still favored in education, portraiture, fine art and even in fashion, where many photographers still shoot in film but scan the images into a computer to take advantage of digital manipulation.
"The fact is, people prefer film," said Steven Brierley, sales director at Ilford Photo of Britain. "The look and feel of it puts it on a different level to digital output."
Hideki Fujii, director of the Nippon Photography Institute, a Tokyo-based photo school, echos the sentiment, even though his school has spent nearly $700,000 in the past five years to upgrade to digital computer labs.
"I use both, but I can put my heart into film," Fujii said. "I don't think we'll ever see it totally disappear."