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View Full Version : It's official, Kodak is selling its film business.



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markbarendt
08-25-2012, 03:17 PM
That's my point Mark, would you stake your children's inheritance on it ?.

At the right price, absolutely.

Prof_Pixel
08-25-2012, 03:17 PM
When you consider that Kodak has been in the film and camera business for 130+ years, and they decide to go and turn their line around and market solely for "Commercial Movie Film" and Commercial grade printing, leaving the consumer and prosumer market up in the air, it makes you wonder about the original company motto.

You take the picture, we do the rest....



As has been pointed out here many times, by me and several others, the current top management (going back 20 or more years) at Kodak doesn't understand the photographic business, and worst yet, doesn't seem to care it doesn't understand it. It's NOT George Eastman's company any more.

ChristopherCoy
08-25-2012, 03:33 PM
Its NOT George Eastman's company any more.



It isn't any of ours either... But there's still 20 something pages of accusations and blame.

cmacd123
08-25-2012, 04:22 PM
Part of the Confusion is that both "printing" and "film" include a wide range of products. The Kodak Management seems to more comfortable dealing with Industrial sales and large scale products. That is a long time Kodak speciality BTW. Many Things Kodak has sold over the years are Bolted to the floor.

Kodak has also been quietly selling off Product lines for years. I my early working days I used Kodqak Imagecapture Microfilm. That business is now spun off, and has also gone about 99% digital. It is not hard to see why in that case, for one of my other hobbies I was able to buy a single DVD, containing the information contained in what would have been probably 40 100ft rolls of Microfilm, or a couple of 4 drawer file cabinets. The folks who saved this information did a nice index and so I can pull up in a few moments all the correspondence between The Electronics Industry Association and the Electron Tube industry concerning the assignment of Tube type numbers. The tube industry is a prime example of what can go wrong. In 1975 one major TV set maker stoped using Tubes in their entire line, and now if one needs a new tube there are only a few suppliers in the former Iron Curtain Countries who only make the popular types for Guitar Amps.

The Microfilm/Document imaging business is now run by a spinoff and I guess that when they do need a batch of Microfilm, it too is run in the famous Building 38.

Kodak has made it rather confusing by keeping changing the names of the divisions which sell various products, and in the glory days it was actually simpler for them ot have complete silos between products. The Folks using Movie Film do have different needs than the folks doing portraits, the Die-hard News Guys needed different stuff again. Now the market is seeing more similarities than differences.

Several have mentioned what is now called "entertainment Imaging" (I can remember when it was Motion Picture and Audio/Visual Markets") who have 2 quite different product flows. Camera Film like Vision 5219 and lab and Print films. Fuji by the way fights tooth and Nail in both those segments and between the two they have the market sewn up. It is quite common for a production to use one firms Camera film but the print film from another. This is the year when the Print film market deflates substantially as the Motion Picture studios force theatres to no longer work from film prints. although the print stock is probably the less expensive stock that Kodak and Fuji sell on a per foot basis - it is also where the generated the most volume. I am not sure how fast the transition will be outside North America but suspect that volumes of 2383 and 3283 will drop such that Kodak will ship about what was one days worth of Sales back a few years ago over the course of a year in in couple of years.

Arkasha
08-25-2012, 04:38 PM
The tube industry is a prime example of what can go wrong. In 1975 one major TV set maker stoped using Tubes in their entire line, and now if one needs a new tube there are only a few suppliers in the former Iron Curtain Countries who only make the popular types for Guitar Amps.

Er, that's not quite true, fortunately.


Here is a site that lists some major vacuum tube dealers:

http://www.dogstar.dantimax.dk/tubestuf/tubesite.htm


The market is smaller than it was, but it does exist, and you can buy more than just tubes for guitar amps.

Pioneer
08-25-2012, 04:58 PM
My very simple prediction is that the film market will continue to shrink, and that will continue to be painful, for the consumer as well as the manufacturer and their employees. But, just like vacuum tubes, and typewriters as well, it will not go away entirely. There is even still a market for hand planes and for hand saws, but the big shops have not used these tools for generations.

For the photography enthusiast, and for certain professionals, film will continue to be necessary, and it will be available. The cost will likely go up, the number of different types will shrink, and the market will look much, much different than it does today. I had hoped Kodak would survive but now I am not so sure. It will certainly be interesting to see who is left in the market 10 years down the road.

Will there even be any labs around by then? Or will we be required to develop our own? Or will the labs be tiny little specialty places using Jobo machines to develop small batches? I for one do not intend to miss this. I will most certainly miss using Portra if it goes away, just like I will miss Efke 25. But there will be something else out there.

Maybe someone will manufacture a small machine that resembles what Jobo builds for developing, but that will manufacture your own film when you add in the proper ingredients. Maybe we will be able to go to the craft store and buy film kits. Portra kits, Pan F 50 kits, perhaps even Velvia 50 kits. Lots of options, even if Kodak, Fuji, or even Ilford go away. You make it, shoot it in your camera, and then stick it in a Jobo and develop it. Hmmm.

Ian Grant
08-25-2012, 05:59 PM
As has been pointed out here many times, by me and several others, the current top management (going back 20 or more years) at Kodak doesn't understand the photographic business, and worst yet, doesn't seem to care it doesn't understand it. It's NOT George Eastman's company any more.

Most of us realised that some time ago but that's the first time an ex EK employee has said that properly on this forum, so thank you.

I had a discussion about this 10/11 years ago with a very senior Fuji excecutive and even then it was so apparent that Kodak senior management had no idea how the market was changing. There's almost certainly good reasons for this and having a CEO with no background in imaging technology really was the biggest mistake.

I'm not sure that Kodak as a brand name is really trusted anymore by Joe public and I've no idea how you get around that. Eastman and Mees must be turning in their graves.

Ian

kuparikettu
08-25-2012, 06:23 PM
Antonino Zambino wants to buy the Kodak film business: http://www.savekodakfilm.com/

Diapositivo
08-25-2012, 07:08 PM
Regarding Kodak printing technology, I remember reading some months ago that Kodak was developing, or had just developed, a new technology that would allow the flexibility required for Print on Demand (down to 1 copy) with a quality normally expected from off-set printing technology. This could actually revolutionize the small-publishing industry.

In an interview Perez indicated this printing technology as one of the biggest foreseeable future sources of profit for Kodak.

Regarding motion picture film, I wonder: when the sad day in which all cinemas have switched to digital arrives, there will be demand only for the in-camera film. All subsequent duplication stages would be done digitally. Considering that the copies for cinema theatres require a quantity of film produced which is tenths or hundreds of times bigger than the quantity of in-camera film produced, could it be that, at that point, the cinema industry will find itself also without in-camera film?

When this happens the industry will face a problem, as at the moment they don't have a capture technology able to deliver the resolution that film can deliver. So the distributors might on purpose keep part of the distribution analogue, so that a volume of final film production is warranted to keep the entire motion picture film production alive. Very hypothetical reasoning, I know!

kb3lms
08-25-2012, 07:30 PM
but a buyer may expect to lease production from rump-Kodak to make the relatively low-volume still-photo films. Thus removing the costly and uncertain change of location and personnel, which others have already mentioned. The question then becomes what happens when the movie-film contracts run out in three years or so . . .

Or Kodak may contract to have the MP film produced by the new owner, thereby outsourcing production of the film, getting rid of the legacy assets (Building 38 and the rest of KP) and the required employees. Hollywood gets to deal with the same familiar names and faces at EK and at the end of the three year term, the Hollywood studios will be free to negotiate supply deals with the new company. The new owners also don't have to gear up to handle relations with Hollywood - which is probably not all that easy, especially if you are not in that business already. IIRC, the Kodak/Hollywood deal has a 6 month notification required if Kodak chooses to exit the MP film market. In other words, six months for a "last time buy" with the recommended replacement to purchase film stocks from the "new" company.

In other words, the "Hollywood Deal" represents a three year transition period for EK to exit and a new manufacturer to step in.

This sale deal still sounds very much like it is tailored to a specific buyer, but you can see it is set up to sweeten the deal to potential suitors. They get some of the flagship products to market as they see fit right off the bat and the (hopefully) bulk of the business becomes all theirs after a 3 year transition. Kodak is actually handling their business with the studios probably about as courteously as they can, which is probably a reflection of their long term relationships. I know when vendors obsolete products that my company buys, you usually get a 6 moth notice if you are lucky and sometimes you just get "sorry we don't make that any more and no we don't know where to send you."

Todd Foster
08-25-2012, 07:32 PM
I just ordered a book called Making Kodak Film from an APUG ad. This book promises to tell the inside story of the complex process that Kodak has evolved. It should lay to rest any vague ideas that I or others have had about making their own film. It's a super space age, multi generational accomplishment. Not cheap at $38 delivered, but my usual strategy of waiting for a bargain remainder sale is unlikely to pay off, it's too specialized. A special printing, sold by author, limited to stock on hand.

www.makingkodakfilm.com

copy from the site:

"The technology required to make photographic film has been a secret held by a few companies. This book explains, for the first time, at this level of detail, how Eastman Kodak Company makes film. Photographic film is one of the most technically sophisticated chemical products that is used in everyday life. Over 200 complex chemical components are coated on to film base in up to 18 unique, precision layers which in total are half the thickness of a human hair.

This insiderís view explains in simple terms how the operation works. It is a picture book with over 25 diagrams and over 130 photographs of Kodakís production materials and equipment. Sixty percent of the printed surface area is illustrations. The book is unique; nearly all the illustrations were made specifically for this book."

Let's hope this book is not a sad memorial to what has been lost. I want a copy in any case, especially in the worst case.

Todd Foster. Pioneertown, CA.

Photo Engineer
08-25-2012, 07:34 PM
Mikendawn, Diapositivo;

Kodak makes a top of the line POD printer in Heidelberg Germany which can indeed print one copy or many fully bound documents. It can print a wide range of sizes and in full color. Kodak has plans to make the ink, the consumable, a high profit item somewhat similar to the color printers and processing chemicals we are familiar with in analog photography.

In fact, recent purchases of this product seem to outdo those of similar Xerox and Canon products. Now, how do I know this? My book was done on this unit and it is POD. I can get one copy or hundreds. It can be bound in at least 3 different manners. I have 2 of them right here now and a box of books.

My comments are not outside of the "box" given in the mission statement posted above, but those words translate into a commercial line of printers and inks that Kodak (Perez) hopes will generate a lot of cash.

Oh, BTW, each printer is supported by a Kodak service policy which is glued to the body of the printer for easy and quick reference. Another source of revenue for EK.

At present, they lack good color engineers, and so the inks have quite a bit of metamerism under different illuminants. I just hope that they get that fixed up. The printers are very quick, silent and low in faults.

PE

SkipA
08-25-2012, 08:13 PM
Today, however, Kodak has seemingly flipped the coin and decided to completely forget about their grassroots and move to the beat of the Investors and Board of Directors, instead of listening to the masses (customers) demands.

Sadly, the masses no longer ask for film.



As stated before, they are planning on keeping their CRAP PRINTERS and CHEAP INK as a means of profit for their company.


Yes, it sounds like they are keeping their line of consumer printers. I don't know if they are crap or cheap, but most consumer electronics are, so it wouldn't seem out of the ordinary. But just so you know, Kodak has also made large commercial printers for years, competing with Xerox, Canon, HP, Siemens, OCE, and so forth. They are nothing at all like consumer printers, and it's not a new business they are just getting into.

NB23
08-26-2012, 01:21 AM
All I'm asking for is that Kodak produces at least 100 rolls of Tri-X a year, for my personal usage. And to fire that martinez dude.

mikendawn
08-26-2012, 07:50 AM
PhotoEngineer,

See, I never said that their printers weren't quick... But review after review (we're talking Consumer Printers now) is very disheartening. I have used a Kodak Printer, and it was terrible. Everything was magenta biased. I had tried adjusting the colour profile to try to correct it, and never worked. After 10 prints and trying to get it corrected, I said to hell with it, and printed with the Canon instead. Why would I want to waste any more time with a printer that can't even get the most simplest of tasks done that it is designed to do. And that's PRINT. Sure. it was just a couple of 4x6 photos, nothing fancy, but it is designed to print and failed at doing that.

Canon, and Epson, have never let me down, except in cost of ink. And when there's EBAY there is much less expensive ink. Sure, the Ink costs for the Kodak are very inexpensive, but when you are wasted expensive photo paper, I'd sooner spend a bit more and have a better printer.

Naturally, of course, I only do B&W in a send-away service, or in my darkroom up to 11x14..

Haven't had anything of the caliber of a large scale publisher printer used, and if Kodak has some great large scale printers, great! All the power to them, but consumer based printers are something they are constantly advertising on the Radio and on the TV here.. If they are crappy printers that do mediocre prints, then fix that problem first!

One way or another, hopefully Kodak will emerge a smaller and more profitable company after, but I doubt it.
They have been bleeding money for years, and that will be a near impossible habit to break. So if they sell off their film department and that survives, while the rest of the company flounders. No loss..
That would just mean that they never learned...
Those that don't learn from their mistakes from history, are doomed to repeat them..

jnanian
08-26-2012, 10:24 AM
Sadly, the masses no longer ask for film.



Yes, it sounds like they are keeping their line of consumer printers. I don't know if they are crap or cheap, but most consumer electronics are, so it wouldn't seem out of the ordinary. But just so you know, Kodak has also made large commercial printers for years, competing with Xerox, Canon, HP, Siemens, OCE, and so forth. They are nothing at all like consumer printers, and it's not a new business they are just getting into.

they aren't crap or cheap, and from all reports they work very well.
and the ones in the wings, are supposed to give the pro-line stuff others produce
a run for their money ..

copy shops have the large printing machines that bind into books
they are pretty impressive, you're right skipA not consumer and not a new market for kodak at all ...

Photo Engineer
08-26-2012, 11:02 AM
PhotoEngineer,

See, I never said that their printers weren't quick... But review after review (we're talking Consumer Printers now) is very disheartening. I have used a Kodak Printer, and it was terrible. Everything was magenta biased. I had tried adjusting the colour profile to try to correct it, and never worked. After 10 prints and trying to get it corrected, I said to hell with it, and printed with the Canon instead. Why would I want to waste any more time with a printer that can't even get the most simplest of tasks done that it is designed to do. And that's PRINT. Sure. it was just a couple of 4x6 photos, nothing fancy, but it is designed to print and failed at doing that.

Canon, and Epson, have never let me down, except in cost of ink. And when there's EBAY there is much less expensive ink. Sure, the Ink costs for the Kodak are very inexpensive, but when you are wasted expensive photo paper, I'd sooner spend a bit more and have a better printer.

Naturally, of course, I only do B&W in a send-away service, or in my darkroom up to 11x14..

Haven't had anything of the caliber of a large scale publisher printer used, and if Kodak has some great large scale printers, great! All the power to them, but consumer based printers are something they are constantly advertising on the Radio and on the TV here.. If they are crappy printers that do mediocre prints, then fix that problem first!

One way or another, hopefully Kodak will emerge a smaller and more profitable company after, but I doubt it.
They have been bleeding money for years, and that will be a near impossible habit to break. So if they sell off their film department and that survives, while the rest of the company flounders. No loss..
That would just mean that they never learned...
Those that don't learn from their mistakes from history, are doomed to repeat them..

Please please, read what you posted here and what I posted in my previous post.

I am not talking about the tiny home printers!!! Kodak is not concentrating on them. Their big hope is in automobile sized printers with huge capacity (and huge price). These printers are the hope of Kodak management (although some think that hope misguided). And some are so expensive that they are not bought, only leased.

Yes, Kodak makes a small printer. IMHO it is not very good! They may even advertize it, but not here in Rochester. However, there has been talk of EK getting out of this end of the market due to the high competition.

At the high end, their competition is much less and includes Xerox which has troubles of its own. Xerox has similar printers to the Kodak model and there are just 2 or 3 manufacturers of these. They are all competing to create POD centers (small print shops) all over the world.

In this field, Kodak is surprisingly able to pull ahead by a small margin.

That is my point. That EK is not relying on the home printer to save them!

PE

Sirius Glass
08-26-2012, 11:08 AM
To echo PE, Kodak stopped serious work and investing in home and small office printers a while ago. I believe that they are keeping those markets open as a cover for underselling the other companies' ink cartridges.

cmacd123
08-26-2012, 11:57 AM
Er, that's not quite true, fortunately.
The market is smaller than it was, but it does exist, and you can buy more than just tubes for guitar amps.

What I was saying is that the MANUFACTURE of tubes is mainly confined to the ones used in Guitar amps and other sudio equipment (Ignoring Magnetrons) No one is currently making 50L6GTs for example. Unlike Film - Fortunatly_ tubes don't have an expiry date so some dealers have gatherd up tubes that date back as far as WWII to make them available to those who use them.

ic-racer
08-26-2012, 01:40 PM
What I was saying is that the MANUFACTURE of tubes is mainly confined to the ones used in Guitar amps and other sudio equipment (Ignoring Magnetrons) No one is currently making 50L6GTs for example. Unlike Film - Fortunatly_ tubes don't have an expiry date so some dealers have gatherd up tubes that date back as far as WWII to make them available to those who use them.

Thread from a few years ago:
http://www.apug.org/forums/forum205/52146-22-years-later-vacuum-tubes-still-available.html