An amusing thing happened on my way to this forum!

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by Photo Engineer, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,908
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Today, we had the Kodak Retirees Lunch.

    The speaker was Jim Weaver, current director of Kodak Research Labs.

    He made an interesting comment that I think I can share here.

    He said that Kodak has a considerable wealth of analog technology on the shelf which they will never be able to put into products due to the extremely rapid decline in analog photographic sales.

    I think I had better stop here. I had a chance to talk to Jim for a few minutes before his talk. It was a rather interesting discussion. He is a very concerned manager working for both sides, analog and digital, but it seems that he is facing a rather huge obstacle to selling analog product improvements. It appears to me it is not Antonio Perez, it is the purchasing public.

    PE
     
  2. Petzi

    Petzi Member

    Messages:
    857
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Location:
    Europe
    Shooter:
    Med. Format Pan
    What is the real obstacle for releasing new products and improvements, when they are "on the shelf" already? I understand there must be cost in bringing products to the market. But the cost for inventing these improvements have been incurred already. Couldn't they just release things on a smaller scale?
     
  3. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,302
    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ron,

    I suspected as much. So I have two questions.

    1. Can we get an example description of some of these analog products?
    2. Are they up for sale to another company?

    Regards, Art.
     
  4. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,908
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Petzi;

    The simple answer is NO.

    Lots of inventions are made that take millions to bring to market. It took about 10 years and that much money to bring out 2 electron sensitization and they are still perfecting it.

    So, if the market is shrinking, they extrapolate to the 'end' and see if there is profit. If there is not, they cannot invest in it. They look for something that has more potential for profit.

    PE
     
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,708
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    But that would be logical.

    I would tell my girls while they were growing up that had to have good logical and well thought out reasons for doing things. Furthermore, I told them that when they became adults logical thinking would no longer be required of them.

    They always got a good laugh about that.

    Steve
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,908
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Art;

    I may be able to come up with a short list, but one comes to mind. The ISO 25,000 film that Paul Gilman and others invented.

    Other companies probably could not afford to invest in this either. The same shrinkage is affecting them too.

    PE
     
  7. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,908
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Look guys, having a thing 'on the shelf' is not the same as having a product. I gave the example of 2 electron sensitization above which took over 10 years of R&D to release the first product.

    I guess I made a mistake sharing this. It seems that understanding the nature of the problems involved is the real problem here.

    PE
     
  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,708
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I understand the difference between developing technology [pun intended] and bringing the technology to markets.

    Perhaps it was the choice of words. To me 'on the shelf' means ready for market as opposed to R&Dware.

    Steve
     
  9. Petzi

    Petzi Member

    Messages:
    857
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Location:
    Europe
    Shooter:
    Med. Format Pan
    Depends on the definition of "on the shelf". If they made test coatings already, and got useful results, then they could release it with reasonable investment.
     
  10. Bill Mobbs

    Bill Mobbs Member

    Messages:
    156
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think we are all going to have to understand that companies are not going to put money into products that are on the decline. We can serve our interest better by buying and using the available products and learning to adapt to a new way of thinking. We must learn to make do with what we have or invent something new ourselves. I'm going out now and make some more pictures. How about you?
     
  11. percepts

    percepts Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Location:
    Sceptred Isl
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    firstly, just because there are new products on the shelf doesn't mean they are good or that we even want or need them. So what are you all getting so excited about? The unknown? lol!

    next, the point is well made. It is the purchasing public driving demand but it is curious that Ilford, who I believe supplied 60% of the black and white market for materials in the west, are able to see a future in analogue photography.

    and thirdly a question. If Kodak believe analogue is dead, then why do they still have an analogue R&D dept?

    and fourthly, could it be that the black and white market for film and paper has not shrunk nearly as much as the colour market and in fact, the B&W market was already a niche market before the advent of digital and as such it is never likely to be affected to the same extent as colour and that Kodak have ignored this because they only looked at colour revenues since it was the dominant income stream from their analogue operations. i.e. They consider themselves too big for B&W.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2007
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,908
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This is "the shelf" in the research labs. That is a far cry from having a product.

    PE
     
  13. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ...

    I'd like this, please. Considering pushing Tri-X that far is a lot of fun, having a film that is actually that speed would be interesting to experiment with in bars.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Kino

    Kino Member

    Messages:
    1,730
    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    PE, what is the chance that Kodak would/could ever spin-off the film division to another company?
     
  16. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,908
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm not sure that Ilford supplies 60% of the B&W market to the west. Kodak outproduces Ilford with no question and this may include B&W materials. I'm not sure, but I know that Kentmere production is pretty high in paper.

    As for a spinoff and having an R&D department... IDK about spinoff, but analog R&D just brought us the new Porta film line. Yes, they do have analog R&D, just not as much as formerly.

    I have discussed some of this in the thread "Some thoughts....." See those elsewhere.

    PE
     
  17. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Member

    Messages:
    5,004
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
    Location:
    Monroe, WA, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This is now, and to my mind has always been, the key question for a technology that is no longer capable of supporting Kodak in the style to which it had become accustomed...

    Ken
     
  18. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

    Messages:
    2,411
    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Van Buren, A
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I really doubt an "independent" spin-off of Kodak analog film products would ever result in new products. However, it might result in the reintroduction of some existing products that were discontinued. But even that would be a long shot. What would prevent some future "independent" investor from just making the movie film products only? Those are the profitable ones.
     
  19. percepts

    percepts Member

    Messages:
    263
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Location:
    Sceptred Isl
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I think Kentmere has had a good UK base for many years but I don't think it had an international market to speak of, especially compared to Ilford. I could be wrong about that but either way, Ilford is much bigger than Kentmere and Ilford has a strong film market which Kentmere doesn't. I suspect Kentmere are enjoying the demise of Kodak paper due to the resulting increase in its profile internationally as people look for alternatives to Kodak papers.
     
  20. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,908
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Kentmere products have a good presence in the US.

    They were also sold here under other than their brand name. Luminos comes to mind.

    PE
     
  21. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,124
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Jacksonville
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    In a very recent 'call for entry's' for artists and photographers, 'traditional' photographs (i.e. gelatin silver) were categorized as 'alt process' work. I was utterly taken aback at first, and then comforted at that notion that here was our new domain....an alternatative, and well regarded approach to image making.

    Is it possible to be flexible in one's orthodoxy?? :wink:
     
  22. Uncle Bill

    Uncle Bill Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,381
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Oakville and
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't mind being considered "alternative".
     
  23. jstraw

    jstraw Member

    Messages:
    2,702
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2006
    Location:
    Topeka, Kans
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ron, I hope you can understand that most of us will never have the understanding of these issues and perspective that you have. I'm grateful for all that you share and I'm sorry you feel it was a mistake to open this discussion.

    Do you think ther comes a point that Kodak would ever share certain patents that they no longer see a future in, with the public domain? Or is the mindset that they were expensive to generate and propriatary and staying in the vault?
     
  24. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,908
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The failing was mine in the choice of words and my clarity. Nothing more. I take the responsibility for that.

    As for Kodak giving things away, I doubt it in todays market.

    I could see Kodak and Fuji moving together. They already share a lot of technology. This benefits us all. But, Fuji has their problems as well.

    PE
     
  25. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

    Messages:
    1,455
    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Location:
    Adelaide, So
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I got a stack of old photography magazines last year, one of which was the product guide for 1979-1980. I looked up the section on film, expecting to find pages of dearly departed emulsions, as our choice dwindles from the good ol' days. In fact, it seems to me we have even more choice of film today...

    35mm emulsions:
    Agfa: 12 products
    Fuji: 4 products
    Kodak: 12 products
    Ilford: 3 products

    120 emulsions:
    Agfa: 9 products
    Fuji: no products? Apparently.
    Kodak: 8 products
    Ilford: 2 products

    Even with Agfa dearly departed, we've still got more choice than we did 20 years ago, when analogue unquestionably ruled the world. Even if there are a few ideas left "on the shelf". It was a bit odd for me to find at the time, so I thought I'd share.
     
  26. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,908
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    A small list of unreleased products

    1. Direct reversal, 3 step "R" paper like Radiance.

    2. 3000 speed in-camera instant product. (blocked by Polaroid suit) This was close to release.

    3. Peel apart Polaroid like film. (blocked by Polaroid suit) This was close to release.

    4. High stability dyes (in early stages, a new chelating agent was needed) Dye stability surpassed anything seen in any product today except pigment type dyes. It may have surpassed them.

    5. Colorless prints that bloomed into full color under UV.

    6. 3D color prints. These were spectacular and needed no glasses to view. Kodak used a sample of this on the Annual report cover about 20 years ago.

    7. Instant color heat processed film (blocked by Polaroid suit and digital)

    8. Copper based photographic systems

    9. Polymeric gelatin and coupler substitutes (they take a LOT more work) Improves grain dramatically.

    10. An ISO 400 Kodachrome, finished in 1988 but rejected by customers during trade trial. Used T-Grains. (In trade trial in 1988)

    11. T-Grain Kodachrome in other speeds (ditto above).

    12. Two electron sensitization applied to B&W, which will take several years and millions to complete.

    13. ISO 25,000 speed direct positive thermal film.

    14. Pollution free film and paper process. (too expensive at the time)

    15. High activity organic fixing agents with low pollution.

    16. Mixed packet color with a single layer producing all colors of todays color papers. This had many problems yet to be solved, but was killed by slide coating and curtain coating. It would still be a big advance.


    I have alluded to these in a number of posts. Here are some of them all in one list.

    Enjoy. There are probably hundreds more that I could mention but won't, and hundreds more I don't know about.

    PE