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



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bdial
08-23-2012, 10:28 PM
sigh.
I guess we'll see what happens, looks like a recipe for disaster though.

Richard Sintchak (rich815)
08-23-2012, 10:39 PM
If they are keeping movie film them we can still get Double X (5222)!

semi-ambivalent
08-23-2012, 11:07 PM
I'd bet they could but they already have the all tools they need to make film.

The only value I see for Fujifilm in buying Kodak's film division is to own the color film market outright.

It seems to me that at least for color film that could easily become a reality, even if they didn't buy Kodak.

For B&W, what then? When Kodak "sells its film business" what does that mean? Are they selling the formulas, the coating machinery, the license to the name of e.g. "Tri-X"? If people are loyal to Tri-X because it has a different look than HP5 could not Harmon buy the formula/process for Tri-X and produce an emulsion that is a complement to HP5? If they owned it Tri-X would no longer be a competitor. In this scenario Harmon wants to make money. If they can net more money by owning and producing a onetime Kodak emulsion, why not? They already own the means of production and I bet it's not running at its full capacity.

It feels like there's an assumption afoot that if "Kodak film" dies then Tri-X (or Plus-X (or Panatomic-X (or Double X))) must die as well. That is not, by necessity, the case. It all hinges on ownership, demand, and cost of production. For all the grousing going on here about this or that film going away you must remember this: It is not outside the realm of possibility that Kodak's death is the key to having again everything you lost.

But then, I'm talking through my hat here.

s-yeah, I hoard Tri-X-a

Brian C. Miller
08-23-2012, 11:28 PM
It feels like there's an assumption afoot that if "Kodak film" dies then Tri-X (or Plus-X (or Panatomic-X (or Double X))) must die as well. That is not, by necessity, the case. It all hinges on ownership, demand, and cost of production. For all the grousing going on here about this or that film going away you must remember this: It is not outside the realm of possibility that Kodak's death is the key to having again everything you lost.

But then, I'm talking through my hat here.

s-yeah, I hoard Tri-X-a

It all still comes down to supply and demand. The last stats I heard about Kodak film was that the commercial side (movie film) is 95% of the business, and the consumer side (everything else) is 5% of the business. They dropped their entire E-6 product line. (I am not hoarding Tri-X, yet. I'm going after the remaining E100G and E100VS!) Kodak will be supplying film for the movie industry through 2015. And then what?

What shape will the movie industry be in three years down the road? How many theater complexes will be all digital in 2015? (The local cinemas are mostly digital, big exception for Pacific Science Center IMAX (http://www.pacificsciencecenter.org/IMAX))

The real question is, how long will we have Tri-X?

nexus757
08-24-2012, 12:09 AM
Desperate plans for desperate times I suppose. But film is the one thing Kodak has made better than anybody in the world for 120 years. McDonald's might as well sell off their hamburger division.

RattyMouse
08-24-2012, 01:14 AM
How and why do people see salvation in Fujifilm?

Because they are not in bankruptcy. Because Fujifilm has publicly stated they still believe in film photography.

lxdude
08-24-2012, 01:28 AM
Because Fujifilm has publicly stated they still believe in film photography.

Yes, their film.
They don't need more capacity than they have already, and they either have or have discontinued their own competition to Kodak's films.

I don't see it making economic sense for Fuji, and that must be their primary consideration.

Roger Cole
08-24-2012, 01:49 AM
Sounds like potential good news to me. Many of us have said for a long time that one way Kodak film could survive would be as a smaller operation sold off to someone who will do it right and hopefully not be under all the legacy debt. This is the first step. I used to contact for a company that supplied IT services to Eastman Chemical (I'm from northeast TN.) They're doing well. I know the film business isn't the chemical business but they've successfully spun off divisions before. Hopefully we will see it again.

And to those asking who cares, large format color negative shooters, for one. Fuji color neg is not readily available in this country in sheets. (Plus Fuji just doesn't have a negative film like Ektar, and arguably not as good as the Portras, in any size.)

Steve Smith
08-24-2012, 01:59 AM
I'm talking about hospital imaging, not dental office stuff.

My dentist uses X ray film and has no intention of changing to digital. There's no point when what you have already works fine.


Steve.

Roger Cole
08-24-2012, 02:42 AM
My dentist is all digital. One of my long time friends is an x-ray technician at a regional hospital and has been since the 80s. He says it's been years since he developed film. All 100% digital.

RattyMouse
08-24-2012, 02:48 AM
My dentist uses X ray film and has no intention of changing to digital. There's no point when what you have already works fine.


Steve.

That's great for cheap dentists like yours, but for patients, that's bad news. Digital X-ray images are manipulated in all kinds of ways by software that dramatically increase the diagnostic value that they provide. Overlays, expansions, rotations, image adjustments, the sky is the limit with today's computer hardware.

I would not step foot in any doctor or dentist office that didnt use the most modern technology to care for their patients. Hell, we pay enough for it.

mikebarger
08-24-2012, 05:35 AM
Our local hospital has been retrofitted with digital x-ray, why do you think other locations aren't doing the same?

Steve Smith
08-24-2012, 05:57 AM
That's great for cheap dentists like yours, but for patients, that's bad news.

If it shows the dentist all he or she needs to see then it's not a problem.


Steve.

summicron1
08-24-2012, 06:06 AM
When APUGgers unite and buy up all the Kodak film and put it in the freezers, do they become the biggest hoarder group on the planet for the Kodak film?

We are not beating hoarders, instead we are becoming hoarders ourselves :).

darn right! I just bought another 100 feet of arista 400 from freestyle -- that's tri-x, you know. Now have about 500 feet of that plus an equal amount of 100.

And everyone SHOULD buy an extra 100 feet of some Ilford film right now to give that company a boost.

then throw that roll away so you have to buy more immediately as well. Maybe we should all just send $20 to Harmon and be done with it?

markbarendt
08-24-2012, 06:13 AM
If it shows the dentist all he or she needs to see then it's not a problem.


Steve.

Agreed.

It is simply about reaching the needed threshold for the job at hand.

One of the biggest problems of many systems for me, is that there is too many ways to manipulate data and more detail than necessary becomes required input. I'm not being specific to photography but the logic applies there too.

MaximusM3
08-24-2012, 06:43 AM
It all still comes down to supply and demand. The last stats I heard about Kodak film was that the commercial side (movie film) is 95% of the business, and the consumer side (everything else) is 5% of the business. They dropped their entire E-6 product line. (I am not hoarding Tri-X, yet. I'm going after the remaining E100G and E100VS!) Kodak will be supplying film for the movie industry through 2015. And then what?

What shape will the movie industry be in three years down the road? How many theater complexes will be all digital in 2015? (The local cinemas are mostly digital, big exception for Pacific Science Center IMAX (http://www.pacificsciencecenter.org/IMAX))

The real question is, how long will we have Tri-X?

Exactly. Watched the documentary "Side by Side", by Keanu Reeves, last night. Highly recommended for anyone to understand where film really stands. If Kodak will start bailing out on cine and/or deliver questionable product, or supply becomes an issue because of their current ordeal, the demise will accelerate beyond recovery.

EdSawyer
08-24-2012, 07:00 AM
The only way I can see good coming out of Kodak's attempted sale is if some sort of angel investor or group buys it up, and also hires all the current film/paper group staff, to keep continuity. Then funds it with plenty of $ for R&D and marketeering/advertising, to bring the image of Kodak films back in the public eye. Something along the lines of the Impossible Project (only with much better actual products to sell, e.g. current-quality Kodak stuff. And with way more funding.) I doubt any of the current players (Ilford, Fuji) would be interested, for reasons already mentioned.

The value of the film/paper business is in the existing coating lines, and the people who run them. Despite what people may think, the 'brand', and the names of products (tri-x, et. al) are worth a whole lot less than the ability to actually continue producing the product. I could give a rat's ass what it's called, but as long as the quality of the product is the same, that's what matters. There's plenty of examples of empty-shell "brands" that were once great: RCA, polaroid, etc. - having the name doesn't mean squat really, when the products are crap.

So here's hoping that if it sells, it sells to someone who knows what they are doing enough to not screw it up, hire the right people, and keep the existing products in place at the same level of quality. That's a lot to ask, esp. considering the asshats currently running Kodak (perez, etc), but hopefully it comes to pass. In the meantime, I've already started stocking up. I figure sheet film will be the first to go if supplies get interrupted or cut. There's nothing like Ektar or Portra out there, and it would be a crying shame if those disappear.

RattyMouse
08-24-2012, 07:56 AM
If it shows the dentist all he or she needs to see then it's not a problem.


Steve.

And if it doesnt? Then what? Run out and buy a digital X ray machine? There's a reason why X Ray film is dying and it is because the alternative offers vastly more powerful diagnostic ability.

jrhilton
08-24-2012, 07:58 AM
What is the sale price and how does that compare to the liabilities as a result of past activity (e.g. pensions, environmental, buildings dilapidations etc) and potential future liabilities if production continues as is, at the same locations - that is going to be an important question for any buyer in addition to what future film demand holds.

Putting emotions aside I wouldn't go near it unless you could buy without the existing liabilities, which is difficult as many of the environmental liabilities for example are tied in with the current factories and ongoing production. With cinema duplication decreasing each year, in five to ten years time you run the risk of being a much smaller company unable to sustain the current overheads or honour the liabilities unless you can buy it without those at the start.

From what I can see as a mere observer, the Ilford Management buyout appears to have been a success, but it must be remembered that compared to Kodak's film side it is/was a much leaner company with a cost base now well matching its current cú24m (2011) annual turnover. I can't see that sort of success being emulated easily by the buyers of Kodak's film business unless there is some dramatic downsizing or cherry picking of lines/production resource by a buyer to better match costs with realistic long run demand and turnover.

RattyMouse
08-24-2012, 08:00 AM
Agreed.

It is simply about reaching the needed threshold for the job at hand.

One of the biggest problems of many systems for me, is that there is too many ways to manipulate data and more detail than necessary becomes required input. I'm not being specific to photography but the logic applies there too.

In medicine you dont know what the threshold is. That's the problem and why it is utterly foolish to rely on film X-rays. Disease is not predictable in many cases and new technology is needed to succeed in many cases. A former coworker of mine is alive today because of a single drug that came on the market just 6 months before she contracted a fatal form of cancer. There are people alive today because X-ray imaging is vastly better than it was during the film era.