Kodak's financial woes

Discussion in 'Industry News' started by lensworker, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. lensworker

    lensworker Member

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    I was extremely discouraged to hear that Kodak appears to be on its last legs financially and may not survive as a company.

    It was bad enough when Kodak ditched Tech Pan - and it was a tragedy when Kodachrome fell by the wayside. Now Tri-X and the entire Kodak product line of film, chemicals and paper appears to be in peril of extinction, along with the entire Kodak company.

    How Kodak could go from a worth of $30 billion to today's estimate of $200 million is simply incomprehensible. Not all of that can be blamed on the advent of digital, it would seem. In a world where new emulsions are hitting the market and large format sheet film can still be found in a reasonable variety of sizes and emulsions, how is it possible that Tri-X is in danger of disappearing??

    I'm just wondering what others who shoot Tri-X are going to do for film if Tri-X goes extinct.
     
  2. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    I'll use a different film.
     
  3. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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  4. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    +1.

    I'll shoot HP5 and Delta 3200 in place of Tri-X and TMZ. I'll use more Delta 3200 than I do TMZ now because I will need more speed than HP5 in places I currently use Tri-X, plus TMZ only comes in 35mm and I currently shoot Delta 3200 in 120.

    Far from the end of the world for black and white. The more threatening area is color.
     
  5. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    The worth or value of the company is created from thin air. It is a fictional entity. Its true value is now showing.
     
  6. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Fuji produces remarkable colour film and black and white film.
    We're all good.
     
  7. rphenning

    rphenning Member

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    Fuji's 400H and 160S and C (or whatever it is now) were never very good to my eye. If supplies of Kodak film became scarce I don't know what I would do with my film cameras…Nothing compares to the new Portra 400 or Ektar. Just as I was interested in getting another 4x5 camera too.
     
  8. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

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    How long does deep frozen tri-x survive?
    Portra 800?
    Portra 400?
    etc

    Does the freezer's temperature matter? -18 C, -25 C?

    I guess one should buy a large amount and regularly use a film to see how they are doing. At some point one would have to use/sell the film before it went to bad.
     
  9. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Ilford/Harman is your friend...

    :smile:

    Ken
     
  10. Willie Jan

    Willie Jan Member

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    It is best for all if there are more companies in the market with there own specs so everybody can choose which they like the most.
    If there is only one player, prices will go up and you have no selection of material to use for a certain job.

    Fuji stopped the neopan 400 som time ago. So they are also shrinking to survive. If kodak stops, there is almost no 400 left...
     
  11. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

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    I could probably do with ISO 100 and a really fast one, like Ilford 3200. One would have to learn how to push and pull though.

    Black and white will remain for decades, colour, not so sure, so let's hope that a small versatile and inexpensive digital camera is developed eventually. A cheap Leica 9, or something similar to Nikon FM.
     
  12. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I think B&W is not a problem, lots of choice there, colour is a slight problem if Kodak goes away, I'm not convinced Fujifilm make a true alternative to Ektar or Portra. However, if Kodak did stop producing (I don't think they will), that's going to throw a lot of business their way and maybe they'll capitalise on that.
     
  13. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    They produce good transparency film though now that they've stopped making Astia there's no substitute for E100G.

    But I don't like their color neg films much and, even if I did, they don't make them in sheets anymore. Those of us who shoot LF would sorely miss Kodak color neg.
     
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  15. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Wow, I didn't know that about sheet film.
    Has there been verification from Fuji that this is true?
     
  16. jun

    jun Member

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    At least in Japan Fuji still makes and sales Color Neg sheet film (160NS) even in 8 X 10 size.
    However, in your country, I don't know whether it is available.
     
  17. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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  18. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Interesting.
    The Australian Fuji website says that 160NS is ONLY available in 4 by 5... Weird.
     
  19. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    No 400? Been shooting HP5+ and Delta 400 for some time now, and FP4+ and Delta 3200 as they're available in the 120 sizes I use while Plus-X and TMZ are not. Ilford BW has been easier for me to get for some time now as small photo shops stopped carrying Kodak BW due to large minimum orders. Paper obviously Ilford for BW. Chems are easy to get from Ilford and work well.

    Now, Kodak color I would really miss Ektar and new Portra. Reala 100 is nice however and I used to like NPH. Fuji cut paper is easier to get.

    I'm sure I will adapt to whatever is left on the market. I hope there are enough of us left to at least keep a few players alive.
     
  20. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    Film has got a LOOOONG future. In my opinion, if recording tape is still being produced today, then we have heaps and heaps of time left with film.
    In fact, I saw blank audio cassette tapes in my supermarket!
     
  21. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    There is no two ways about it - Kodak seems to have very serious problems indeed. The main product range I am most concerned about is Portra - the new Portra films are very popular and have enticed numerous professionals to start shooting more film. The Fuji range does not even begin to compare - no 220, no 8x10, no 400 ASA in 4x5. Now, no 35mm 160S. And, good as the films are, the technology is older than Portra.

    Maybe the best thing for Kodak would be some sort of restructuring.

    It's on a different scale, but in 2003 it all looked like it was over for Ilford - but following the administration it was able to re-focus and has become a very successful company.

    One question though - what is John Cleese doing on the board at Kodak?:

    http://www.kodak.co.uk/ek/GB/en/News_Media/Executive_Biographies/Philip_J_Faraci.htm
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 4, 2011
  22. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    I hope you're right, of course...and I'm sure that B&W will still be available for many years. I'm not so optimistic about color film, particularly transparency and the availability of reasonable quick and affordable processing for E6.

    (And I'm not sure that recording tape and cassettes are a totally comparable product...thin film coating on plastic, etc., is a mature technology and relatively simple(thinking of sticky tape, etc.!), but photo film demands further complex stages in the production of the different types and speeds of emulsions, plus the specialist chemicals needed, coating and cutting in a controlled dark environment, and all the complications of packing and distribution to a small market.)

    I remember also when there was a vast range of cassette tapes to suit every need...the only ones now seem to be the basic ferric setting of just one length...
     
  23. CGW

    CGW Member

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    I can understand the widespread denial here but film has been circling the drain for a decade and the spin is dizzying now. Crappy E6 service used to be easy to find around Toronto; now any type of E6 service, especially quality work, is restricted to a couple, maybe 1 lab. Consumer film has all but vanished aside from a few forlorn rolls of Fuji Superia 400. Cheap 35mm C41 processing is dead.There's insufficient demand to prompt pro photo stores to stock much more than what fits inside a small bar fridge.

    There's no apparent evidence to suggest b&w has a long-term future--wishful thinking notwithstanding. Harmon/Ilford will probably be the last man standing in b&w but only if demand holds and grows. Some miracle may save Kodak's film production but its dealer/consumer unfriendliness will have to shift to an embrace of a small niche market that loves its products. Who knows?
     
  24. Jeff Searust

    Jeff Searust Member

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    Kodak has some issues with the direction they have chosen--- from a film/camera company to a printer company. There are many divisions within Kodak that are still profitable, among them is the film and chemical groups. A restructuring of Kodak that may spin off these parts for us, users of the film and chemistry from Kodak would be the best thing. Kodak also possesses a patent portfolio worth an estimated 3 billion dollars. Spinning this off and selling it is going to produce a one time cash infusion that can keep the rest of the company going through any restructuring--- Just because a company goes through bankruptcy does not mean the products it sells are not going to be available.

    Remember For Kodak, the film is the part that WON'T be going away...
     
  25. Aristophanes

    Aristophanes Member

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    Actually, film *is* the segment that may go away. The scale of industrial production may not meet the hobbyist, niche market demand, especially if almost no new film cameras are being manufactured. Over-priced Lomo stuff is predicated on cheap film and processing.

    The real salvation for Kodak film will be Hollywood. We get the cutting room floor bits. As much as we express concern, a vast number of directors, producers, and cinematographers are probably Reilly concerned. No one knows where the bottom of the film market is making even bankruptcy a problem. That's why the Board emphasizes digital; it has to. But home-based printing has been obviates by Flickr/Facebook. Selling patents to substitute for revenues from that declining market is not prudent. No wonder the stock is tanking.

    I'm not even sure B&W can survive. The whole system of manufacture relies on economies of scale industry-wide. It could reach a point where there is such reduced demand that key inputs rise on price leading to a vicious circle of further decline. $25/roll of 135 HP5 could be the result. RC and SG paper 4x today's prices? No parts for any enlargers? That's a very real outcome.

    As with the worldwide economy, the issue is one of demand. There are ways of solidifying demand, but not from Kodak looking backwards while stumbling forward.
     
  26. clogz

    clogz Subscriber

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    Bad news...but it was not the digital revolution -although Kodak made the wrong decisions there- it was most likely stupid management that caused all this. Digi came up....but then downsizing a top heavy management layer is well nigh impossible. It is the blight of our world today. A pity Kodak is not a bank as in that case the tax payer would have been forced to pay for its shaky survival. Let's buy our film and chemicals and paper from companies that know the present-day market and are interested in their products and in their customers.

    Hans