Rumor so far.... Kodak is killing off all B+W paper products.

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by Frank F, Jun 15, 2005.

  1. Frank F

    Frank F Member

    Messages:
    60
    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2003
    Location:
    California
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Kodak has discontinued all B&W paper. The official announcement will be made later today. Kodak will continue to manufacture B&W film and chemicals.

    Reported on the F32 website by Richard Knoppow.

    Keep tuned...
     
  2. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

    Messages:
    552
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Maybe some late April Folls joke? From the LF list;

    "I called Kodak to verify this information. Yes, they are discontinuing
    their black-and-white papers. They say that this is part of their global
    digital stratigy. Paper sales are shrinking by 25 percent per year.
    Anyway, they say that they are going to continue to make film."

    Some have surmised that it is a misunderstandign and that Kodak was goign tostop making it's own paper base and outsoource that. But my understanding is that it's been a good long time since Kodak actually made, much of it's own paper base?
     
  3. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

    Messages:
    1,239
    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2005
    Location:
    Downers Grov
    If this turns out to be true, stop buying their film and let them close up shop. They have been removing products or cheapening them for several decades now. They evidently don`t want the business anymore.

    I suggest supporting the English company that is commited to monochrome photography. Volumn sales will allow them to exist. Kodak can get it`s wish-out of the market.
     
  4. AndrewH

    AndrewH Member

    Messages:
    112
    Joined:
    May 27, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
    Why rush to judgment

    First, let's make sure it is true. For Ronald, All the companies have been cutting back on products. Ilford has, Agfa has, and Kodak has been a much larger supporter than most other companies. Ronald seems determined to play the sour grapes card no matter the topic. Let's look at what products Kodak has discontinued versus how many years they have been in the business. The cannot make everyone happy, but they still offer many emulsions and products. Why so negative ALL THE TIME?
     
  5. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Messages:
    3,221
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    S.E. New Yor
    I haven't used HP5 for many years but I LOVE TriX. Versatile, Great tonal range, it responds well to development changes. 400 is an excellent speed, especially if you favor using filters and handholding, and it pushes and pulls beautifully. Not to mention the pure tradition of it. I'm sure that it was the first B&W film that I ever shot and it was also the last (yesterday). I always have at least one, and usually a couple of bodies loaded with it.
    If that disappeared, I'd go into mourning.
     
  6. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

    Messages:
    4,532
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Sorry Ronald, but I will keep on using Tmx 400 until they stop making it.
     
  7. Tom Stanworth

    Tom Stanworth Member

    Messages:
    2,027
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree. Life is too short. Whilst I agree with supporting Ilford all the way (and lets not forget the Eastern European manufacturers!!!!!), I for one, will not stop using a product I like to punish them, tempting as it may be. I am looking to replace HP5 plsu with TriX as in the dull British climes, I would like more punch, as much as I love HP5 plus when things are brighter. I also would not pass up a box of polymax fine art at the right price when I next need cold paper. Its a beut.
     
  8. Tammyk

    Tammyk Member

    Messages:
    114
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2004
    Location:
    TN, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It sucks. :sad: I heard the same rumour only minutes ago.

    Directly from the Kodak website you can read their mission statement with the new acquisition of Creo, Inc.

    Part of the success of the company now, seems to include the

    "Implementation of its digitally oriented growth strategy"
    and further, a "Transition from analogue to digital imaging" and "reduction of inventories".

    Whatever you think. TriX is my staple black and white film- particularly since I shoot it all over the place and in all formats.

    Kodak mentions its "analogue-to-digital transition" several times within its new release as a contingency for continued growth in the imaging marketplace.

    I'm personally a bit flattened out by all this going on in the film/chemistry industry.

    -Tammy
     
  9. Loose Gravel

    Loose Gravel Member

    Messages:
    921
    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2003
    Location:
    Santa Barbar
    It's too bad that photography has come to this, but I have long hoped that someone big would step away so that others might survive longer. I'm glad it was Kodak.
     
  10. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Messages:
    3,221
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    S.E. New Yor
    I just can't believe that within their transition to cash in on the popularity of digital, they can't run a factory to supply and profit even from the admittedly contracted traditional photography market. They already have the machinery, patents, personel, reputation and an existing worldwide distribution network. Granted, their film division will become a small part of the overall company but hey, a buck's a buck.
     
  11. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

    Messages:
    1,303
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I would have said, "Phsah--just a rumor", until I checked the newsgroups. The source for this is Richard Knoppow, someone whose opinion I respect a lot.

    He does only refer to paper, not film, in his post.

    As to "A buck's a buck", I used to work with a guy who had spent years at GE research. He said that GE felt that if they weren't #1 or #2 in the world on something, it wasn't worth their time. Money or no money.

    Matt
     
  12. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

    Messages:
    963
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2002
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Before we get into weeping and gnashing, how many people actually use Kodak B&W paper? Since the demise of Ektalure, I haven't. (AZO excepted, but that's a special case). Kodak hasn't made a world class B&W paper in 20 years.

    They are still making film and that's a market where they do lead the pack.

    Take care,
    Tom
     
  13. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Messages:
    3,221
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    S.E. New Yor
    I've been using Polymax for years although I have been less enamored with it since they discontinued it in single weight.
    It is a very popular paper from what I have gathered on APUG.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,669
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I still use Polycontast RC for test and working prints, I really like the new version. I would use Kodabromide #3 and 4 RC if I could get it without special order.
     
  16. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

    Messages:
    1,691
    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Location:
    Saratoga Spr
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    40 years ago, when I was in college, a campus group invited a vice-president of Rich's Department Store, then the largest retailer in Atlanta, to give a presentation. He made a statement that I have never forgotten. He said that companies are not in business to support their customer's needs. Instead, companies are in business to make money. Supporting their customer's needs is HOW they make money.

    Thanks to digital technology, the market for photographic materials is shrinking. That's a fact. But the expectations of Wall Street are moving in exactly the opposite direction. The executives who manage Kodak know that to keep their jobs, they have to increase both share price and earnings per share.

    It is a fact that a business the size of Kodak can't meet the expectations of their shareholders by engaging in a series of small, niche markets, even if those market segments are lucrative. Because they are large, they have to engage in businesses that are commensurately large.

    I agree that it would be nice if Kodak could maintain a few boutique lines to satisfy traditional market segments. But the reality is that attempting to do that would distract corporate management from what they need to be focusing on - making the larger, growing businesses successful. Furthermore, those boutique lines would have to compete internally for investment and development money - and the fact is that they won't win those internal competitions. And if the investments aren't being made, then the product quality will deteriorate - and that doesn't meet customer needs.

    So the reality is that for a company like Kodak, exiting the black and white paper business makes a lot of sense. It also makes a lot of sense for the industry because with one less player in the field, the market share of the other guys will increase. And if those other guys (Ilford, Kentmere, Forte, et al) are scaled to match the niche size of the black and white paper market, they stand a far better chance of survival than does a giant like Kodak. The statements made by the recently-restructured (and downsized) Ilford suggest that they are developing their business plans around the concept of competing in a shrinking market. Furthermore, because they are more appropriately scaled to the markets they are serving, they will be in a better position to support the product requirements of their customer base.

    I see only two negative aspects of this news. The first is that it adds to the doom and gloom attitude that seems to prevail among traditional black and white photographers. That's unfortunate, because black and white photography should provide an emotional uplift, not funereal depression. Second, the only black and white printing product where Kodak retains market leadership is Azo, and this news may meand that we can look forward to a disruption in the supply of that excellent product.
     
  17. DKT

    DKT Member

    Messages:
    504
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    i just can't ____ believe it. I'm not naive or anything, but they HAD the b/w market. the place I work for was all kodak for decades, and there's a lab near me that I don't think has ever used anything besides kodak, and they use some godawful amounts of polycontrast yearly. talk about timing. they just ordered an 18K b/w paper processor. for once, I am so glad we have an ilford machine....

    You say it's "good for Ilford"? How? What do they inherit? The dying lab industry they wrote off ten years ago when they got rid of their processor division? The mom & pop labs eeking by with the portrait studios, trying to either stay in business or decide to close up shop and retire? The fine art crowd, that has never even come close to ordering the millions of sheets of paper a year that gov't archives and the like used to order? The same systems that are going into digital now because the products have gotten better and are accepted more & more?

    What do they inherit? The same climate that kodak had. Just today my boss told me that if this were true, our darkroom was history more or less. We've talked about phasing our film darkroom & print room together and getting a wide format printer for one of the rooms, and changing it into the computer room. Looks like that's more of a reality now, a reality none of us wanted--but in our world, just because someone makes paper on the other side of the world, doesn't mean we're going to be able to use it.


    I read on a forum, that the "average" large format shooter uses less than 60 sheets of film a year, as they figured it in this bulls*** survey they were doing. Why b.s.? Because if that miserably low figure is true--then y'all asked for it. You asked for film and paper to die. I shoot 100+ sheets a week and always thought that was low. So, now if we order a half million sheets of polycontrast, somehow that's not enough? Why--because the hobbyists are using a 100 sheets a year or some b.s.?

    time to move on I guess.
     
  18. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,669
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The key to this is HAD, that market no longer exists. The hobbist was the tail of the market, now it becoming the market. When I worked for the wire 30 and 20 years ago I shot 100s of rolls of TX a week, as a hobbist I shoot 10 to 12 a month and maybe 25 to 30 4X5, some months none at all. For better or worse, better in terms of cost, worse in terms of quality digital is here to stay. As long as I afford to stay in legacy photography I will, but as some point I may need to move on as well.
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,942
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    From the Azo forum--

     
  20. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

    Messages:
    552
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8231657/

    ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Eastman Kodak Co. said Wednesday it will discontinue production of black-and-white film paper for the professional market by the end of the year as its transition continues to digital photography... more
     
  21. tim atherton

    tim atherton Inactive

    Messages:
    552
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Blame someone else for your own short sightedness? If thios is the situatiuon at your lab IU'd start looking for a new job. Every decent lab, big and small, has already gone this route and diversified. As a major lab, if you haven't invested in a Lambda, Lightjet, Chromira, Frontier etc, and possibly wide format inkets to go alongside your analogue line, along with the expertise to go with it and already started building a reputation, it's probably too late. Your competitors are already well ahead of you.

    Either that or become a small boutique B&W hand print lab

    Sad but true.
     
  22. Flotsam

    Flotsam Member

    Messages:
    3,221
    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Location:
    S.E. New Yor
    If photography actually does disappear, and I flatly don't believe that I'll ever see that day, I will have to find new medium for my creative impulses but I doubt if it will be digital image manipulation and mechanical inkjet printing. No satisfaction there.
    Perhaps I'll take up interpretive erotic dance :cool:
    That'll provide an international incentive for keeping photography alive :D
     
  23. AndrewH

    AndrewH Member

    Messages:
    112
    Joined:
    May 27, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
    "As to "A buck's a buck", I used to work with a guy who had spent years at GE research. He said that GE felt that if they weren't #1 or #2 in the world on something, it wasn't worth their time. Money or no money."

    Not entirely correct.
     
  24. juan

    juan Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,745
    Joined:
    May 7, 2003
    Location:
    St. Simons I
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What's the best paper to use for salt and albumen prints? Salt, eggs and silver nitrate are pretty cheap. Maybe buy up all that paper that's been opened and is offered on ebay.
     
  25. Jim Chinn

    Jim Chinn Member

    Messages:
    2,512
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2002
    Location:
    Omaha, Nebra
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    This does not surprise me in the least. kodak has been steadily eliminating products for several years. I imagine that within the next year we will be reading about Kodak leaving the B&W film and chemistry business.

    Whenever I bring this up people argue that they just spent millions building a new fiilm coating facility. In the over all scheme of US business practices those millions are simply a one time right off against revenues. Stock holders only see the gains from laying off workers and shuttering facilities.

    I still hold out hope that we will see TriX and ane maybe Tmax produced overseas, perhaps in China under a licensing agreement with Kodak. Yes the quality will probably suffer, but what does Kodak care? There name will not be on it but they will get a small percentage of the profits.

    Last year I bought equivalent of 10 gallons of HC110 concentrate. It is still a favorite for ULF film and that should last me forever. That is about the only chemistry they have that I cannot duplicate from scratch.

    Michael Smith has mentioned the possibility of someone else stepping in and making a Chloride contact paper. Hopefully this comes to fruition. I would be willing to place substantial order for such a paper to demonstrate commitment to the new mfg.

    If that does not happen I will purchase a freezer and start to buy AZO in quantitiy.

    Otherwise it is simply live and adapt with what is left. As i have said before, when this all shakes out there will be 3 or 4 choices of paper and perhaps the same number of film emulsions to choose from before niche mfgs began to re-introduce older offerings.
     
  26. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,669
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Does Lucky made photo paper?