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11-03-2011, 06:46 AM   #1
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Kodak Did It To Me Again...

Just read this yesterday. Last year it was Kodachrome, now they took my Plus-X away. On the bright side, I have a stash of Plus-X left and I don't have to worry about shooting it by a certain date like I did with Kodachrome. It's really getting to be sad to watch Kodak implode on itself. It makes one wonder how long we'll have any film in yellow boxes... I think it's time I bought a stash of Tri-X, Ektar and Portra, too.

11-03-2011, 07:48 AM   #2
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There isn't going to be any Kodak film in the near future. Film photography is about to become a very expensive hobby.

Kodak issues panic warning over digital camera sales slump | ZDNet

Lenders pressure Kodak on patent sales | Democrat and Chronicle | democratandchronicle.com

Next step is Chapter 11.
11-03-2011, 07:50 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by GhoSStrider Quote
Just read this yesterday. Last year it was Kodachrome, now they took my Plus-X away. On the bright side, I have a stash of Plus-X left and I don't have to worry about shooting it by a certain date like I did with Kodachrome. It's really getting to be sad to watch Kodak implode on itself. It makes one wonder how long we'll have any film in yellow boxes... I think it's time I bought a stash of Tri-X, Ektar and Portra, too.
Kodak also nuked KODAK PROFESSIONAL EKTACHROME E200 & KODAK PROFESSIONAL ELITE Chrome 100 slide film earlier this year. Yes it's not a good sign for Kodak.

Phil.
11-03-2011, 08:06 AM   #4
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Add to that the news that the big production camera manufacturers (ie panavision et al) announce they will no longer make film cameras and focus strictly on digital it means film may well be in serious trouble (at least colour since it relies on the economies of scale from the movie industry)
b/w will likely become the core for film shooters from the small producers (which is ok i like a lot of their films)

11-03-2011, 08:15 AM   #5
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In case anyone hasn't noticed, film sales have been in free fall for the past 5 years. At some point, it becomes a non viable commodity. What we are seeing is various emulsions being discontinued as sales drop below that threshold.
If consumers really wanted films such as Kodachrome, Ektachrome, some of the various Fuijichromes, Agfachrome, etc, they would have been buying them in sufficient numbers to keep production lines operating.
11-03-2011, 09:03 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
In case anyone hasn't noticed, film sales have been in free fall for the past 5 years. At some point, it becomes a non viable commodity. What we are seeing is various emulsions being discontinued as sales drop below that threshold.
If consumers really wanted films such as Kodachrome, Ektachrome, some of the various Fuijichromes, Agfachrome, etc, they would have been buying them in sufficient numbers to keep production lines operating.
While I agree with what you're saying, I also disagree with it, too. Kodak's problem is that it's set up to make a LOT of film and figuring out how to scale back production to meet the demands of a world where film has become a niche market (though a vibrant one!) isn't something they've been interested in. The MBA crowd running Kodak has leaned on the film market hard to support the rest of the company but really haven't given any thought in how to keep making money at it after the thresholds you mentioned have passed.

The best possible outcome for Kodak film enthusiasts would be for the film division to be spun off. Instead, one by one the films are gonna die until the whole ship sinks. It's good to know there are companies like Ilford out there that have managed the transition well. It means that we'll be able to shoot B&W film for a good long while. Still, it's gonna be a sad day when the "Great Yellow Father" is gone, and with him some of the greatest films ever.
11-03-2011, 09:47 AM   #7
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Ilford almost didn't manage the transition. The film division was spun off to a group of Ilford managers who decided they could make a go of it. It was more than a little rocky for a while there.
11-03-2011, 10:11 AM   #8
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Fuji seems to be doing a better job with their colour film sales and seem to have stolen a lot of customers that used to shoot mostly Kodak. If Kodak keeps cutting films then a lot of folks switch to Fuji instead of using the Kodak so called “replacement” product.

I for one fall in that camp, I only used Kodak film for 30 plus years (so did many folks) and now I’m using more and more Fuji. It’s not that Fuji is any better; it’s just that they have a better selection (especially in transparencies) and for now at least aren’t discontinuing films as frequently as Kodak.

Kodak is alienating a lot of film shooters and making them look elsewhere. For every Ektar they release they seem to discontinue 5 other films.

Phil.

11-03-2011, 10:14 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by GhoSStrider Quote
While I agree with what you're saying, I also disagree with it, too. Kodak's problem is that it's set up to make a LOT of film and figuring out how to scale back production to meet the demands of a world where film has become a niche market (though a vibrant one!) isn't something they've been interested in. The MBA crowd running Kodak has leaned on the film market hard to support the rest of the company but really haven't given any thought in how to keep making money at it after the thresholds you mentioned have passed.

The best possible outcome for Kodak film enthusiasts would be for the film division to be spun off. Instead, one by one the films are gonna die until the whole ship sinks. It's good to know there are companies like Ilford out there that have managed the transition well. It means that we'll be able to shoot B&W film for a good long while. Still, it's gonna be a sad day when the "Great Yellow Father" is gone, and with him some of the greatest films ever.
The economy of scale is what is working against them. When you have a factory (in the case of Kodak, several) that are geared to making huge volumes of product, the machinery for doing so is also scaled up. For example, master rolls of film and paper in Kodak's world are some 8 feet wide.
The point being, scaling back production volumes might also mean retooling the machinery to accommodate those lower volumes, which might be a very expensive gamble. Granted, the people who run Kodak are more interested in their shareholders than their customers, but this is the way businesses are run, especially in the USA.
11-03-2011, 10:15 AM   #10
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Kodak posts wider loss, warns on prospects | syracuse.com

QuoteQuote:
Since 2005, Kodak has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into new lines of inkjet printers that are finally on the verge of turning a profit. Home photo printers, high-speed commercial inkjet presses, workflow software and packaging are viewed as Kodak's new core.
In order for this to succeed Kodak is going to have to axe everything else they do. And every piece of Kodak software I have used has been crap.

Last edited by boriscleto; 11-03-2011 at 10:21 AM.
11-03-2011, 10:26 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Granted, the people who run Kodak are more interested in their shareholders than their customers, but this is the way businesses are run, especially in the USA.
Which is where a lot of the problems lie, IMHO. It may be the way it is, but I also think that any company that plays to the investors at the expense of the customer is not long for this world. Kodak's fire sale for their patent portfolio will be a prime example of this if it occurs. Yes I realize there's a lot of red ink flowing at the moment...but selling patents surely seems like the quickest way to assure their own demise. What do they do when that money is gone?
11-03-2011, 10:38 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote
Fuji seems to be doing a better job with their colour film sales and seem to have stolen a lot of customers that used to shoot mostly Kodak. If Kodak keeps cutting films then a lot of folks switch to Fuji instead of using the Kodak so called ďreplacementĒ product.

I for one fall in that camp, I only used Kodak film for 30 plus years (so did many folks) and now Iím using more and more Fuji. Itís not that Fuji is any better; itís just that they have a better selection (especially in transparencies) and for now at least arenít discontinuing films as frequently as Kodak.

Kodak is alienating a lot of film shooters and making them look elsewhere. For every Ektar they release they seem to discontinue 5 other films.

Phil.
I think a crunch is coming that will make the issue of Kodak vs. Fuji largely irrelevant. That is the availability of processing equipment for colour film. Sooner or later the user base for the sort of gear used by, for example, mini-labs is going to become too small to support manufacturing. There may be an adjustment involving processing equipment suited to lower volumes, but this will involve higher costs and less reliable quality. In any case, I expect a downward spiral in colour film use due to the processing issue. Won't predict a time frame, though.

Black and white is a different proposition because home processing is much easier.
11-03-2011, 10:49 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Poirier Quote
I think a crunch is coming that will make the issue of Kodak vs. Fuji largely irrelevant. That is the availability of processing equipment for colour film. Sooner or later the user base for the sort of gear used by, for example, mini-labs is going to become too small to support manufacturing. There may be an adjustment involving processing equipment suited to lower volumes, but this will involve higher costs and less reliable quality. In any case, I expect a downward spiral in colour film use due to the processing issue. Won't predict a time frame, though.

Black and white is a different proposition because home processing is much easier.
B/W is different as well because there are now a number of processors with downsized equipment where smaller runs can be supported. and for the chemicals you can mix your own for that matter if you have trouble finding them. Even fine art paper to print to can be made at home with some practice
Colour OOTH is a whole different medium and though you can process at home (a few people here do) it's not as simple (though the negs aren't a big learning curve, Wet printing colour though is a more sophisticated endevour....scanning of course has eliminated it to a large degree but good 35mm scanners are hard to come buy, less so for 120
11-03-2011, 10:54 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Poirier Quote
In any case, I expect a downward spiral in colour film use due to the processing issue. Won't predict a time frame, though.
I see this, too, but I don't think the processing will be as problematic as supply. C-41 and E-6 can both be home processed. OTOH, Kodak and Fuji are both geared to make a lot of color film. As the movie industry transitions to digital, it's going to be harder and harder for them to keep color film profitable. And unlike B&W film which can be made in less than state of the art facilities, color (especially good color film) won't be easy for Ilford or Efke or whoever to make.

Does anyone know anything about the Rollei color films? Are they any good? Are they made in house? Do they sell well?
11-03-2011, 03:53 PM   #15
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I have three rolls of Plus-X. I think I'll go shoot it this weekend, and then buy a couple more while it's available.

Sad news, but not totally unexpected. Here's to Tri-X, Portra, and the Gold color series lasting longer (clink!).
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