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  1. #111

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    Quote Originally Posted by gnashings
    People don't "suck it up", they relate to it. There is the difference. People also generally don't go where they're not wanted. Its hard to fathom the "logic" of a statement that lauds Kodak's good will for giving us notice... They do so because they can. Ilford and Agfa "implode without warning" - I hope none of us here "implode" or "explode" or come to any other unfortunate end, but I won't hold it against you if you don't inform me in advance of an event which by its very nature gives no warning of its apporach.
    Peter
    C'mon Peter....

    Do you *really* think Agfa, Ilford, and Forte had no advance warning of their impending dire straits? They didn't forewarn of their condition because they were worried that people would turn elsewhere in a panic. Are you suggesting otherwise?

    I'm not implying any philanthropy on Kodak's part. I couldn't give a damn what their intent is, I'm simply better disposed towards them for not leaving me in the lurch.

    I really don't care what "message" Kodak sends. As long as Tri-X still beats the snot out of the competition (for my purposes, at least) I'm going to buy it. For as long as I can.

    Ilford could go belly-up tomorrow for all I care. And my sentiments wouldn't change if they donated their profits (if any) to save the rain forests. I just don't like their stuff.

  2. #112

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcallow
    My understanding is that film, paper and chems are kodak's profit centers and that they are using the cash generated by the trad products to fuel their money losing efforts in digital.

    The idea being that the trad product are going away and digital won't always lose money.

    They have little or no interest in trying to grow the trad. business because they believe there is no future in it for them. As segments of the traditional business dip below an acceptable profit bar they will drop the segment. I suspect B&W film has a bit more time than Kodachrome and that many of their medical films are not too far behind.

    Colour films and papers will be the last to go.

    I have 15 or 20 rolls of iso 25 kodachrome. Should I sell now or wait until they announce the final dev runs?
    I agree with your analysis. What I disagree with is the suggestion that Ilford's future is rosier. Ilford has better than half of the world-wide B&W paper market already. Even if they extend that to 100% tomorrow - well they would still be selling less paper than they do today in three years if current market trends continue. And I think they will.

    Also, Kodachorme 25 has been out of production (already) for several years. People already pay pretty good money for it.

  3. #113

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    Quote Originally Posted by John L
    Perk up!

    You can buy oil paints, acrylics, charcoal, gouache, and all sort of other supplies for art forms that became small hobbyist niche markets many decades ago. There is no reason why you won't be able to buy B&W film, chemicals and paper many decades from now.

    You just won't be able to buy it from a Fortune 500 company. It'll be made by a small company, focused on small hobbyist markets and sized to be profitable in those markets. You may also pay more for the products, and have to buy them at a handful of specialist shops, from online sources, or even direct from the manufacturer. And the products may be manufactured in China, India, Eastern Europe, or whereever the costs are lower.

    Is that going to be a change that takes some getting used to? Sure. But is that going to mean you can't be a B&W photographer? Absolutely not. It may not even mean you'll have a smaller selection of film and paper.

    B&W photography is in the final stages of evolving from a mass market activity to a fine art. Not such a bad thing.


    So use your dollars to help Ilford and the others successfully make the adjustment.
    Trouble is, China is a command economy and present strategic planning isn't geared towards niche products. It's going to produce the lion share of digital imaging products in the future; it doesn't give a rat's ass about the small hobbyist market.

    India is currently seeing wage inflation of nearly 20%.

    E. Europe is the wildcard but I'm not hopeful. These countries seem destined to become Euro Zones (i.e. use the EMU). That means their cost of capital will go up.

    Ilford, btw, does not have the luxury of producing its film and paper elsewhere; it has an extended lease arrangement for the plant, property, and equipment it used to own outright.

    I hope you're right but I don't see how anybody can put a positive spin on the latest developments. As players drop out of the market, we can expect to pay more. I don't particularly want to be extorted by any market players - regardless of what their mission statement purports to be.

    Do we really think Forte, Efke, and Foma *want* to be in B&W photography exclusively or do we simply assume so and look past the equally plausible explanation that they just lack the capital to compete effecitvely in the digital imaging growth market? These companies, after all, are using production infrastructure that in some cases is more than 50 years old.

    Forte, at least, has entered the inkjet paper market in the past several years. Should we now question their commitment to B&W?

    No, for me the wise course of action remains the same. Buy what appeals to me and don't try to second guess the future.

    For now, at least, that means Tri-X, APX 100, Agfa Multicontrast Classic, and Forte Polygrade.

    No Ilford for me, thanks.

  4. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by aldevo
    IWhat I disagree with is the suggestion that Ilford's future is rosier. Ilford has better than half of the world-wide B&W paper market already. Even if they extend that to 100% tomorrow - well they would still be selling less paper than they do today in three years if current market trends continue. And I think they will.
    I am not making any predictions about ilford. I do think that a company can manage its self in a declining market though. I also believe that the decline in b&w will level off. Ilford has a chance to get a bigger share, use its experience and share size to produce at a profit and to use the profits in a manner which will ensure its future -- as in diversification.

    *

  5. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by aldevo
    Do you *really* think Agfa, Ilford, and Forte had no advance warning of their impending dire straits? They didn't forewarn of their condition because they were worried that people would turn elsewhere in a panic. Are you suggesting otherwise?
    Not for a minute - they knew, and didn't tell because it simply is not done and neither would Kodak if it was in the same situation. Their polite "warning" -as in "Here, bottom feeder, we stopped making the slop you eat, so better stock up", comes as a result of the luxury afforded by their particular situation. I am sure Ilford and AGFA new damn well they were in trouble (as did anyone who even looked at a roll of film) - but you simply don't advertise that fact to the world - no one does, not Kodak, not any other company. It is a PR move, but you have to play the role of the orchestra on the Titanic, if for no other reason than to attempt to make the eventuall crash perhaps a bit less forceful. Its just how the corporate world works, has worked and will work.

    And I am not urging you to buy Ilford. If what Kodak is doing does not bother you - keep trucking with Big Yellow. It bothers me, so I won't. I think I stated clearly enogh that the only purpose this choice (yours AND mine) will serve, is your personal satisfaction - it will have no impact on the fortunes of Kodak. Fortunately, Dektol is the only thing I used to use regularly, Trix on occasion - when I wanted that type of thing. I like Ilford, and if they give me a paper developer that matches Dektol for my needs, they will get my money - if not them, someone other than Kodak will anyway. Not for the rainforest or starving orphans - much more selfishly, in fact - because of little ME. I get fuzzy all over, because they... really like me, just the way I am, film and all

    Rats(kodak) off the sinking ship (film photography) and the passangers (us) are watching. Forgive me if I don't throw them (the rats) the last of my crackers.

  6. #116

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcallow
    I am not making any predictions about ilford. I do think that a company can manage its self in a declining market though. I also believe that the decline in b&w will level off. Ilford has a chance to get a bigger share, use its experience and share size to produce at a profit and to use the profits in a manner which will ensure its future -- as in diversification.
    I don't see where they have the latitude to diversify. Part of their severance from Doughty-Hanson (the London buyout firm that cut them loose) was that Doughty-Hanson retained the digital imaging product line that still carries the Ilford name. I can only imagine they have a non-compete agreement here.

    By the way, the "sheer size" of Ilford equates to fewer than 400 production workers.

    Surviving in a niche market means you can do small, irregularly-timed production runs to suit specific distributors. It doesn't appear that smaller players than Ilford (Forte, Sterling, etc.) with lower labor costs than Ilford have managed this successfully.

    I honestly commend Ilford's management team in boldly pressing ahead. But admiration for them won't inspire me to buy their stuff because there's still stuff in the marketplace I prefer.

  7. #117
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    Aldevo, you seem to have the answers. I suspect that there are alternatives other than those that you or i can see. As hard as it may be to believe some of the people running these companies are smart.

    I don't see entering the digital market as a form of diversity. I see it as a very high risk venture. Once Ilford is making money they could buy a biscuit company.

    *

  8. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrcallow
    I don't see entering the digital market as a form of diversity. I see it as a very high risk venture. Once Ilford is making money they could buy a biscuit company.
    Or pie and ladies' underwear!

  9. #119

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    I wonder why Kodak didn't try and spin the paper division off to drum up some cash?

  10. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Howell
    I wonder why Kodak didn't try and spin the paper division off to drum up some cash?
    That's what I wonder. B&W Paper doesn't compete with digital and they have the machinery,patents,personel, distribution, consumers and brand recognition already in place. Seems like that would be more valuable than a write-off.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=



 

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