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



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Klainmeister
08-27-2012, 02:25 PM
I once made a trip deep into the backcountry in Utah with a fresh Kodak battery in my camera.... shot one roll and it died....I was pissed to say the least.

Photo Engineer
08-27-2012, 04:02 PM
To the best of my knowledge, Kodak never actually made any of the batteries that carry their name. A battery company was spun off from Kodak - Ultralife Batteries, which makes a wide variety of Lithium based cells.

Fred;

Whether Ultralife made regular AA and AAA batteries for Kodak or not, there were Ultralife batteries in Kodak trade dress, and I have some.

PE

Felinik
08-27-2012, 04:37 PM
Felinik - yeah, Kodak made batteries. I tried them once. There are also quite a number of Chinese counterfeiters of batteries right now - they sometimes get deliberatedly mixed into shipments of the real brand by unscrupulous importers, just like counterfeit auto parts.

This is, was, probably one of Kodak's great mistakes, positioning and brand identification is not to be taken lightly. What would be next, Kodak making remote controls for TV's ?

:P

SkipA
08-27-2012, 04:46 PM
I've gotten normal life out of Kodak 2CR5 batteries in my EOS 3. They last as well as the Varta batteries.

Prof_Pixel
08-27-2012, 04:50 PM
Ron, yes there were lithium cells in Kodak dress. Right from the start though, the alkaline cells were from an outside source.

FWIW, I worked with Jack Chang setting up a battery research lab in B-81 when there was some though of making (coating) Kodak alkaline batteries that could be attached to the disc film cartridge (a la Polaroid instant film with batteries). We coated and tested lots of cells, ordered equipment and interviewed people that led to setting up a larger group effort in B-82. That (in part) spun off into Ultralife. Both Jack and I were just there to jumpstart the effort based on our background; neither of us were interested in continuing after we got things started.

Photo Engineer
08-27-2012, 05:12 PM
I have normal AA batteries in Kodak black and yellow trade dress in a Kodak blister pack that burst before i could use the batteries. I still have them.

Yes, I remember you working in 82 as we used to go to lunch. You were closer there than in 65.

Jack Chang came to see me just before I left. He asked me not to retire. He was the last person at EK that I had a meeting with before I left. The subject was KEDS and ESP. ;) Sorry. I talked to Liz Chang at one of the last KRL retiree lunches. Jack had not retired yet. Thanks for the memories.

PE

robbalbrecht
08-27-2012, 05:21 PM
Nah, let's not...

Instead, let's go out and shoot some film, showing any potential buyers of Kodak Consumer Film who their customer is.

This sounds like a great idea. Think I'll go shoot some TriX, then go stock up on Portra and Ektar at my local shop.

Prof_Pixel
08-27-2012, 05:29 PM
Kodak started using alkaline batteries in Kodak trade dress in instant cameras with built-in electronic flash. They were from an outside source. Some of the Disc cameras used non-user replaceable Li/MnO2 cells from Panasonic.

I enjoyed working with Jack.

Photo Engineer
08-27-2012, 06:25 PM
These batteries were probably from an outside source, but even so they were the bottom of the heap! Kodak could certainly have done better for themselves either way.

PE

lxdude
08-27-2012, 06:50 PM
They should have been called Ultra-short-life. 9 volt ones worked OK for me. The AA's sucked, though I never had any burst.

I wonder if they were made by the same company that made Radio Shack batteries. I had one of their alkaline D-cells burst and spew all inside the Maglite I'd had for decades. Ruined it. I don't buy anything there anymore. Why can't these companies understand that when you sell junk customers stop bothering with them?

Prof_Pixel
08-27-2012, 08:32 PM
This thread has gone weird, so I'm going to make it weirder. Were Kodak branded flash cubes any good??? :)

I remember Kodak branded Christmas tree lights and picture puzzles, but I don't remember any Kodak branded flash cubes. The FlipFlash bars we packaged with the early instant cameras were made (and branded) by GE (I still have a few around).

kb3lms
08-27-2012, 08:45 PM
We can still find Kodak AA, C and D batteries in the dollar store around here!

Photo Engineer
08-27-2012, 09:05 PM
Kodak flash cubes were used in 126 cameras. I still have one camera and one lonely cube here. Yes, they were quite good. Four flashes per cube, pop out and put in another. Every one worked.

PE

Photo Engineer
08-27-2012, 10:24 PM
I had nothing to do with it.

PE

PKM-25
08-28-2012, 12:39 AM
According to this USA Today article, the motion picture film division might be up for sale as well:

"Kodak made a point of saying that businesses, such as consumer inkjet printing, motion picture and television film, and specialty chemicals, are outside of the core. Ken Luskin, president of California wealth management firm Intrinsic Value Asset Management, said the company seems to be indicating that it will also sell those businesses."

http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/retail/story/2012-08-24/eastman-kodak-sells-still-photography-business/57289302/1

I also got an email from Audrey this evening that states Kodak film and pro paper will be represented at the Kodak booth at Photokina in Germany next month. At that time, they will launch the updated Kodak Professional Film website and brochures. It is expected to take until early to mid next year to finalize the sale of the still film unit.

The key thing to remember here is that Kodak is marketing both Kodak still film and the Kodak still film customer to the potential buyers, so we are all literally in the spotlight together at the moment.
So my feeling is lets not blow the chance we have all been talking about for years to get Kodak film in the hands of an eager new owner that could very well want to keep the products in our hands for longer than we thought possible.

Keep buying it, shooting it and for god's sake, keep the vibe as positive as you can, I am going to.

Thomas Bertilsson
08-28-2012, 09:12 AM
The key thing to remember here is that Kodak is marketing both Kodak still film and the Kodak still film customer to the potential buyers, so we are all literally in the spotlight together at the moment.
So my feeling is lets not blow the chance we have all been talking about for years to get Kodak film in the hands of an eager new owner that could very well want to keep the products in our hands for longer than we thought possible.

Keep buying it, shooting it and for god's sake, keep the vibe as positive as you can, I am going to.

This, I think, is important. I'm not a huge volume shooter, but prefer to spend my pennies on yellow box film - just because I love it. Results are entirely predictable, and of perfect quality every time; the films are tough as nails so small mistakes when unloading the wet film from the film reels, or hanging them, usually has no impact on the results at all.

I also agree that perhaps it's best for Kodak film to have someone owning it that is as passionate about the product as the people who work in the Kodak film division, someone who can expand the wonderful fun factor of using film, perhaps to a broader audience.

railwayman3
08-28-2012, 11:38 AM
[QUOTE=Thomas Bertilsson;1386042
I also agree that perhaps it's best for Kodak film to have someone owning it that is as passionate about the product as the people who work in the Kodak film division, someone who can expand the wonderful fun factor of using film, perhaps to a broader audience.[/QUOTE]

That's so true! Another group to maintain Kodak color products, just as Harman has done so successfully for Ilford B&W.

PKM-25
08-28-2012, 11:47 AM
I could be wrong, but I think color is going to be a tough sell, it has been riding on the coat tails of color motion picture stock for some time now.

After 2015, it is hard to say how that will look. I'd say given the coating complexity, storage requirements, lack of labs and lack of popularity of color over black and white, it stands about a 50/50 chance of being viable 2016 onward...

Felinik
08-28-2012, 12:34 PM
I think for the right buyer this entire Kodak sell out of film manufacturing could become a great business. Obviously they must know exactly how the development curve for sales has been decreasing during the years, and a new owner that doesn't need to feed 50k employees, could be very flexible and make sure there's always room for profit in the end, no matter how small batches they need in 5, 10, 15, 20.... etc. years...

Prof_Pixel
08-28-2012, 01:35 PM
... a new owner that doesn't need to feed 50k employees, could be very flexible and make sure there's always room for profit in the end, no matter how small batches they need in 5, 10, 15, 20.... etc. years...

I think the problem is that the production coating machines that are still in service aren't suited for producing small batches. As I understand it, the smaller, research coating machines that were designed for small batches have been 'decommissioned'. I'm sure PE will have more to say about what coating machines are still left.