another great kodak color paper bites the dust - Ultra RIP

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by frotog, Dec 4, 2007.

  1. frotog

    frotog Member

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    After calling every imaginable supplier for recent stock of ultra and coming up empty-handed I decided to call kodak. The gentleman in pro support was unaware of any recent discontinued products but after being placed on hold he came back with the bad news - ultra has been discontinued in all cut sizes and rolls. This leaves supra as the last kodak color paper standing. I can get by without portra but ultra...truly a sad, sad day.
     
  2. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Are you U.S. based? I have a feeling you are so this info might be useless to you but both Silverprint and Keyphoto in the U.K are showing Ultra. Keyphoto is showing it in rolls of 50 metres and Siverprint in boxes. If all else fails in the U.S. and I'd be surprised given it's Kodak, then these two might be worth contacting.

    I can't say whether either will ship to U.S.

    pentaxuser
     
  3. frotog

    frotog Member

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    thanks for this info but I'm afraid that all the stock left is outdated...I've already checked emulsion codes with kodak.
     
  4. Richard Harris

    Richard Harris Member

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    Interesting, are you saying that supra is the only paper left in date. UK suppliers are pushing Endura paper cheaply here. Do we need to check that it is not Porta or Ultra before buying?
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    And, it is probably outdated because no one was buying it, and because no one was buying it, it was cancelled.

    PE
     
  6. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The Harrow plant is still making Kodak color papers.

    PE
     
  7. langedp

    langedp Member

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    Say it isn't so!! B&H lists several sizes of Portra and Ultra in stock. Are you saying this is old stock and they won't be getting more?
     
  8. langedp

    langedp Member

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    I just bought several sizes of Ultra from B&H a few months ago and it was all made in the Harrow plant. Is this likely to be out of date?
     
  9. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    This is a real pity. I had my eye on that Ultra Endura paper to start my color printing with when I get the Nutek processor in a week or so. I do understand corporate culture, I do understand "business" - heck, I'm a chiropractor, so I have to in order to eat tomorrow.

    But...what I DO NOT understand is WHY Kodak just kills stuff in one fell blow like this, without telling their consumers? I love Kodak. I use their B&W and color films and chemistry. Why would they not come to us and say, "look...the market is down for Ultra Endura...you've all got 6 months to buy a load of it, or it's going to be axed Dec. '07. We'll let you know 1 month before production ceases to allow you to stock up if it comes to that."

    How hard would that be? Kodak - please if you read this - talk to us. Tell us what's happening. We realize the market is shrinking. Give us a chance to stock up on the goodies we love before they're ended forever, if need be! We all have freezers - we just need to know when to fill them!
    We are your future.

    Jed
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 4, 2007
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    I have no idea.

    Call the toll free # and ask them.

    I think only one flavor of Endura was cancelled, not all 3. There were Supra, Portra and Ultra. And, due to the comment above about the Ultra being outdated at one source does not mean all are outdated.

    PE
     
  11. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I am thoroughly confused now from yours and others' posts. To others: My understanding is that the paper on sale by all Kodak stockists in the U.K that I have seen, is called Supra Endura which I think replaced Supra III.

    Can I take it that this paper is current and in date? It still seems to be being made if I have read PE's comment correctly

    To the OP. You seem to be saying that any stockist offering Ultra Endura is offering outdated stock based on the emulsion codes.

    How can you be sure that the two stockists I mention are selling paper which is outdated? The only way that you can be sure of this, as I see it, is that Kodak is saying that the last emulsion codes applied to the paper mean that any Ultra paper has now passed its sell by date and presumably should be returned/destroyed or at the very least a warning should be posted by the seller.

    Is this the correct position? One of the stockists mentioned is a APUG sponsor, I believe, and we owe it to him and potential buyers to get to the bottom of what the correct postion is. The other stockist concentrates on the student market. If their course grades etc depend on their work, they may be buying and using paper which will exhibit faults that is none of their making, thus undermining their efforts without their knowledge.

    pentaxuser
     
  12. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Kodak may have stopped production yesterday (as an example), but some retailers may have stock from last year and some may get yesterday's stock next week. So, we don't know, a priori what we might have unless we check with Kodak.

    What I suspect is this. Sales were so poor that the product was cancelled a month or so ago and it is just being noticed, and outdated product is on shelves due to poor sales. The only way to know for sure is to call EK, toll free and ask them.

    AFAIK, they still sell two products, Supra and Portra Endura. But then, who knows, this is only Tuesday.

    PE
     
  13. frotog

    frotog Member

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    Portra Endura was discontinued about two months ago. This is official. From my conversations with the help at kodak and multiple cross referencing of emulsion codes it appears as though the last batch of portra ran about a half year back. So the stuff at the stores is probably still good. If you want to make sure see if the retailer will give you the first 6 digits of the emulsion code (on the label of the short end of the box). If you call kodak professional they can date it for you.

    From the research I've done it appears as though the last batch of kodak ultra ran in May 2006. If you don't mind dingy whites I suppose you can work with it. No one I spoke to at kodak professional could say for sure whether or not a batch of ultra ran after May 2006. If anyone has news to the contrary please let me know!

    PE is partially right in saying that it was discontinued because no one was using it. But in fact every professional analogue printer I know used ultra and portra when the contrast of supra wouldn't cut it. But as c-printers scrap their enlargers for laser light and analogue becomes more and more a thing of the past what need is there for different contrast grades in ra paper? Just adjust the curve in photoshop right? When a giant ship is sinking you jettison the stuff that's not essential. This is the terrible truth at EK.

    And for those who are looking at websites or calling their dealers and inquiring as to availability of said two products don't be fooled - it is the remainder of stock and once it's gone it's gone for good.

    My question now is what about the fate of Supra? Will it undergo further changes i.e. optimized for digital exposure?
     
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  15. langedp

    langedp Member

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    Damn - That was a great paper for landscapes. Looks like I'll have to finally learn Fuji's materials. And after all these years with Kodak. They're not making it easy to be loyal.
     
  16. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    Wow. That is too bad. My favorite paper for sure. I still have a bit left. My favorite combo was Kodak 100 UC 120 with the Ultra paper. I wonder what Paul Strand would have to say about this?
     
  17. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    Reply to "Looks like I'll have to finally learn Fuji's materials"...
    ...this brings up a good point. I don't think they have anything to compare directly to Ultra anyway. I looked over their offerings on their website. The only papers they have for printing RA-4 are Fuji Color Crystal Archive Pro Super PD and Type C. PD is for portriats...Type C gets everything else.
    So it seems that Kodak is just coming down to their level. I think that may be part of the problem with Kodak right now. They offered so many interesting products, that the downsizing is really painful. Most other companies didn't come close to offering all the options Kodak did in its prime. I'm sure sales of Koda's regular Endura paper are going just fine. It's the extras, like Ultra, that we're going to lose with the sweeping of the digital tide....
    ...ah, a sad day indeed for us analog printers. How's it feel to be pushed out by a machine? :-(
    Jed
     
  18. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    PE. I have heard of "caveat emptor" but for customers to have to find out whether a paper for sale is in fact past its sell-by date rather than rely on a reputable dealer to take appropriate action is a bit much.

    Don't Kodak issue guidelines on sell-by dates to dealers? If it does then does this mean that any stockist still selling Ultra is simply and blatantly ignoring those guidelines with a much better than evens chance that the paper will exhibit faults?

    I have never used Ultra but I feel desperately sorry for those who do and who are still buying it in blissful ignorance.

    I am not sure that this thread has given me any confidence in going back to Kodak Supra Endura from Fuji either if I have to check the emulsion code with a supplier, then ring Kodak and then place the order or not as the case may be. As a matter of interest is this even possible on a toll free basis from the U.K? On most mail order systems where the order taker is quite separate from the order picker in the warehouse, this is impossible even by phone and it makes an internet order impossible to check.

    Make life difficult enough for the customer and even the most enthusiastic one will give up eventually.

    pentaxuser
     
  19. Photo Engineer

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    Dealers have sell by dates and storage guidelines. Whether they go by them is another matter. Whether they tell the customer is another matter again.

    My dealers store film and paper in refrigerated containers in the display room and if I ever have a question about paper date, I can call Kodak myself. Thats all I can say.

    You are right in saying that Ultra and Portra were selling poorly. Kodak, AFAIK, is coating Endura papers at Harrow and in Colorado. The 72" stock comes from Colorado and the rest from Harrow England.

    PE
     
  20. langedp

    langedp Member

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    No, from what I understand Portra Endura is discontinued also. That leaves only Supra from Kodak. Fuji has two grades - for now.

    Dave
     
  21. Photo Engineer

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    Interestingly enough, one of my 'sources' denies the entire premise of this thread. He is going to check it out though and let me know. AFAIK from Kodak unofficial sources, none of these papers have been cancelled. Please stay tuned. I'll try to get the truth of this.

    PE
     
  22. Photo Engineer

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  23. langedp

    langedp Member

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    PE,

    I hope you're right. I couldn't find anything on Kodak's website either but I didn't call Kodak directly like the OP did.

    Dave
     
  24. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    I have seen the latest post by PE. It seems that the gentleman in pro support didn't know himself that Ultra had been dropped but came back with the bad news supplied by a person or persons unknown that it had been discontinued.

    So, Kodak has made a major product decision which even a person in pro support was unaware of and then it still releases a website which makes no mention of the change and indeed the site implies that it is business as usual with Ultra.

    Did you get any names or were you provided with corroborative evidence? It would be normal, I would have thought, for pro support to mention when this announcement by Kodak could be expected. It has to be unusual to say the least that the strategy remains for customers to find out by chance by contacting Kodak and then Kodak relying on such customers to spread the word.

    Any additional information would, I am sure, be welcomed by PE who may be the best placed person on APUG to check things out, armed with such information.

    pentaxuser
     
  25. Photo Engineer

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    I'll do my best guys, but if Kodak doesn't know who does? OTOH, I have seen a lot of bad information here on APUG and also given out by EK itself. Lets stand by and let my friend find out. Who knows, he may post it here himself. He was debating that.

    Maybe the OP is a Fuji rep. :D

    PE
     
  26. frotog

    frotog Member

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    My experience has been that even the technical support in Kodak professional has been in the dark on these issues. They probably have better things to worry about than the ultimate demise of specific, relatively insignificant languishing product lines. It's the printers who are the canaries in the coalmines and as a professional printer who uses these three papers on a regular basis I can tell you that they're not there man. The remainder of my portra is getting old and the ultra is already corked. The larger retailers as well as the minilab supply houses have deleted these two products from their catalogue. But please pinch me, PE, and tell me it's only a nightmare or rescue me from the japanese men in green suits who have kidnapped and brainwashed me so that I might carry out psyop tactics of disinformation on unsuspecting, disenfranchised analogue photographers who are naive enough to believe what they read on a user group forum.