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01-30-2009, 06:45 AM   #1
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Kodak cuts jobs, posts losses... Less film options for us?

With Kodak posting losses and cutting jobs (news article here), I fear that the film operations will be the first to fall under the axe, which is highly understandable, really.

I'm just concerned that less options in the marketplace would hurt us remaining film users in the long run. I'm not a fan of Kodak itself (I'm still having fun bouncing around from one brand of film to another), but I do have fond memories of Kodak Gold, which captured most of my family photos.

Any news items regarding the market performance of Fujifilm and Ilford?

Thoughts and comments are much appreciated..

01-30-2009, 11:02 AM   #2
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The best thing all of us can do is buy some Kodak film. I wouldn't mind trying the Ektar stuff and as much as I like the films offered by Ilford I haven't found anything I like better than Plus-X that's reasonably easy to shoot. Whether Kodak reaches the soft landing they desire is anyone's guess though.
01-30-2009, 02:36 PM   #3
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I do not understand your concerns. The article that I read on photo.net yesterday stated quite plainly that the film division was one of the few areas at Kodak in 2008 to post a profit..Not only that, it did so while film sales were down from projected estimates..That is not to say that the film division is immune to cutbacks, and or job reductions..But, don't you think that the profitable division of Kodak in 2008 would be the LAST place to make such cuts??..

Bruce
01-30-2009, 02:41 PM   #4
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fuji has also posted a big decrease in film sales as well
Fujifilm releases 3Q 2008 results - film down big - Rangefinderforum.com

the fear becomes what happens when it is no longer economically sound for either company to continue producing film

01-30-2009, 03:19 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by k100d Quote
the fear becomes what happens when it is no longer economically sound for either company to continue producing film
And for when it is no longer economically sound for businesses to process it.
01-30-2009, 09:52 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by baltochef920 Quote
I do not understand your concerns. The article that I read on photo.net yesterday stated quite plainly that the film division was one of the few areas at Kodak in 2008 to post a profit..Not only that, it did so while film sales were down from projected estimates..That is not to say that the film division is immune to cutbacks, and or job reductions..But, don't you think that the profitable division of Kodak in 2008 would be the LAST place to make such cuts??..

Bruce
Oh, the photographyblog.com article didn't mention the film division posting a profit. My bad.

I knew film use was in decline, but I figured there'd still be enough users to keep it going still. Maybe the market hasn't stabilized yet, still.
01-31-2009, 12:19 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by B Grace Quote
The best thing all of us can do is buy some Kodak film.
Heck, I even bought some EK stock when I thought the price had bottomed out back in December. It dropped by half again since then, sigh.
I suspect it'll turn around again though. Practically every corporation is posting losses and trimming staff. Microsoft laid off a ton earlier this week as did Harley Davidson and neither of them are posting losses, merely lower profits.
01-31-2009, 12:53 AM   #8
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Kodak and Fuji will only stop producing film when it becomes economically ineffective for them to sell 35mm to cinematographers. Eventually, C41 will be an outlab process for most stores. The sad thing is that, with it, most companies are on the fence as to whether it will even be profitable to continue the 1Hr business. Our printing lab volume is down significantly, and that drop almost correlates to the drop in processing of film done on site.

I think things will turn around, to be honest. Twenty years from now we're going to realize what a mistake was made by not archiving or printing our history of photographs from the early parts of this century, and then interest in the old formats will either gain traction or simply allow them to continue on.

Digital won't be the end of film. However, the lack of archiving/printing currently could spell the death of photographic history.

01-31-2009, 01:14 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote
I think things will turn around, to be honest. Twenty years from now we're going to realize what a mistake was made by not archiving or printing our history of photographs from the early parts of this century, and then interest in the old formats will either gain traction or simply allow them to continue on.
That's good and positive. Looking around the net there seems to be something of a cult resurgence of interest in film and old development techniques. People are making and selling kits for pinhole and field cameras, Holgas and other quirky gear are selling well and altogether I feel like you, that we're close to the bottom of the J curve and we'll start moving up again soon. So, move the lettuce and cucumber to one side and stack more film in the old fridge.
01-31-2009, 07:59 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by drewdlephone Quote
Kodak and Fuji will only stop producing film when it becomes economically ineffective for them to sell 35mm to cinematographers. Eventually, C41 will be an outlab process for most stores. The sad thing is that, with it, most companies are on the fence as to whether it will even be profitable to continue the 1Hr business. Our printing lab volume is down significantly, and that drop almost correlates to the drop in processing of film done on site.

I think things will turn around, to be honest. Twenty years from now we're going to realize what a mistake was made by not archiving or printing our history of photographs from the early parts of this century, and then interest in the old formats will either gain traction or simply allow them to continue on.

Digital won't be the end of film. However, the lack of archiving/printing currently could spell the death of photographic history.
I do hope that comes to fruition. I'm even hoping that there would be a similar service to archive digital photos to slide films (even color negatives) like what the movie companies do with their shot-with-digital movies when they archive them.

QuoteOriginally posted by Wombat Quote
That's good and positive. Looking around the net there seems to be something of a cult resurgence of interest in film and old development techniques. People are making and selling kits for pinhole and field cameras, Holgas and other quirky gear are selling well and altogether I feel like you, that we're close to the bottom of the J curve and we'll start moving up again soon. So, move the lettuce and cucumber to one side and stack more film in the old fridge.
The resurgence is all well and good, really. The new generation are finding out what film is, with some of them interested to get into it. I just hope there's enough interest (along with hobbyists and pros shooting film on the side) to make it viable still for film companies to keep making film.
01-31-2009, 12:25 PM   #11
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I am in agreement with drewdlephone on the greater ease with which silver gelatin film (negatives and positives) and silver gelatin prints can be archived, compared to digital images..As far as digital inkjet prints are concerned, we have only supposition and educated guesses as to how long they will last..Right now we know that with proper storage methods that black and white film has an estimated lifespan of at least 150 years..Some estimates double that figure..Good black and white prints properly stored have a lifespan of at least 100 years..Some estimates push that figure towards the 200 year mark..The conditions necessary for very long term storage of black and white film and prints are within the means of the average middle class American..

Color prints and film have a much shorter lifespan than do black and white..My research leads me to believe that color film negatives and positives need a storage temperature of approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit for maximum longevity..The humidity must also be controlled very tightly in order for the colors in the film and prints to remain stable; and so as to not encourage the growth of molds and fungus..Few people outside of the Library of Congress, museums, and similar well-funded institutions will spend the money necessary to archive color film for its maximum viewable lifespan..Color prints have similar needs to that of color film that exceed the needs of black and white film..

Once a photographer gets past the capturing of the image on a digital camera, the entire rest of the digital process is fraught with extremely time intensive procedures that in no way make it any less expensive than the film process..As photography enthusiasts we often neglect to take into account that the supposed greater cost of the film process is due to having to pay various human beings for the TIME necessary for them to complete some portion of the tasks necessary to develop the film itself, and or to create a print from that developed film..What I am always amazed by in the ongoing argument over the costs of the film versus the digital systems in photography; is the absolute willingness of the vast majority of digital enthusiasts to completely dismiss the TIME, and the MONETARY VALUE OF THE TIME that the amateur photographer MUST spend on the various post-image capturing processes in order to have a print ready digital file..

There is an old saying in business that says, "Time Equals Money"..If the average amateur home photographer were to pay a first-class professional to duplicate the time and amount of work that I see going into the average print-ready digital file, then they would quickly understand that there is often a greater price tag to be applied to the home digital photography system than for a similar home wet darkroom system..To dismiss the time spent creating print-ready digital files is to create an apples versus oranges argument..Each amateur photographer is born with a finite number of hours in their life..Each of those hours is precious and has a value..To not take into account the time spent at home on digital files is to be completely unfair when comparing film costs to digital costs..

Once a silver gelatin film and print archival-quality system is set up there is little to do other than to do one's best to maintain the temperature and humidity levels necessary for best long term storage of negatives, positives, and prints..The same simply cannot be said of a archival-quality digital system..Digital files are much more ephemeral than silver gelatin film or prints..A one second mistake on a computer keyboard can result in the permanent loss of years of work..Lately, I have been seeing time after time references online to serious digital photographers NEEDING to have 3-4 copies of EACH digital file that they value stored in multiple places around the United States..Are people really thinking about the TIME and MONEY necessary to achieve this??..Does anyone here think that Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Galen Rowell, Weegee, Walker Evans, or any other famous photographer had 3-4 copies of their negatives, positives, and prints stored in 3-4 different locations across the United States in order to insure their survival??..Of course not!!!..

It is my opinion that the entire digital process for the serious amateur photographer is more costly than a similar film / wet darkroom system..This is especially true from a time-invested-in-the-process perspective..Digital files simply encourage more "fiddling around" with the files in order to try and achieve a "Perfect Image"..In the darkroom a commitment simply must be made in order to create a print..With digital files, I see many photographers spending vast amounts of time changing the file around with a print NEVER BEING CREATED..It is as if the fiddling around with the file, and constantly making changes becomes a means into itself..

I always thought that the ultimate end result of photography was to have a tangible print of some size that could be held in one's hand and viewed with one's eyes..And, shown to others to be, hopefully, appreciated by them..Perhaps I am a Luddite in thinking this way..With digital photography it seems that more and more people simply want to create a virtual file that will only be viewed on computer monitors, and never to be printed out in any archival form..

Bruce
01-31-2009, 04:55 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by baltochef920 Quote
I am in agreement <snip>

Wow. You nailed it. Good post.
02-01-2009, 05:12 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by tranq78 Quote
Wow. You nailed it. Good post.
+1 on the comment. A definite must-read.
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