Flotsam, you appear to be guilty of long-term thinking. Don't you know the accountants and executives think only quarter to quarter? A quick profit this quarter allows one to skate another couple of quarters.
alright--I've had a couple days worth of mulling and forward thinking with my coworkers--we're all in the same boat, last of a dying breed so it seems--so forgive me if this sounds nasty or ranting.
my remark earlier about the volume of material sold & used by amateurs was unfair, but it can't be ignored. I don't expect someone shooting 4x5 and developing it in a tray in their bathroom, to run out and shoot 100 sheets a week. I don't know where to go with this without torquing out. A guy I work with commented that the line of work we do, just doesn't matter. It's a drop in the bucket in the scheme of things.
alright, this talk about the 6 mos. notice. It bugs the hell out me. There was no advance notice. To say so is a total cop out. Kodak gave us a notice with the carousel projectors. The rep they had for gov't sales sent out a nice letter to everyone, thanking them for the years of patronage as customers and it had a timeline of phaseout and extended support for parts and service. Those projectors are still being serviced. They gave this notice almost a YEAR in advance.
Six months notice? You know--there are probably not many royalprints still around--but if you had one of these machines, you'd be screwed right now. You all don't give a **** about these machines, so I won't get into it, but Kodak, like Ilford--both quietly began gearing down years ago. They quit making machines and slowly phased them out. The writing was on the wall a long time ago, it's only now that the pain has begun.
Let's look at Ilford and Kodak in the commercial lab world. I'll try to do this briefly without blowing a gasket, but they had two different approaches. Kodak--very similar to the projectors. Notified customers a year or so in advance and phased out parts over a five year period. At the end of the five years, they actually gave a lab in my dept. all the spare parts left in the region. Gave them for FREE. The rep came and handed them over, and thanked them for 20 some odd years of being a customer.
Ilford? They didn't tell anyone. They changed their story about a zillion times, and they're still doing it. We had a contract with them for ten years at 2000 bucks a year, and they never even told us they quit making parts until they couldn't fix the machine. They took our money for god knows how long, with no parts. The contract ran out with almost a month left on it, and no refund for that time. They were on such bad terms apparently with Serco, that serco locked the doors to the offices they had in Ilford's building in NJ, and wouldn't let any of the remaining parts go. You can still can't hardly get parts for the machines now. Serco is gone. All the original factory trained Ilford techs are gone. Poof--no notice--nothing. No letter sent out thanking customers. Not even a form letter.
But like I said--y'all don't give a hoot about that. sounds like sour grapes or something, but I've never forgotten the lemon processor that fell apart and they practically had to be arm twisted into replacing and wouldn't honor the warranty. Then, ten years later and all that money down the drain and not even a so long. not even a phone call. you know that day they announced their bankruptcy? We actually had a service call that day from Serco. The tech was the plane in Newark and they yanked him off and delayed his visit. Serco didn't even KNOW about Ilford's bankruptcy and they were all ex-Ilford employees from the processing division. They worked in the SAME damn building in Paramus NJ.
so spare me, please. These companies are in business, it's not a damn charity. I used to think somehow it was noble or something to be in business doing a service like preservation, but that too is a business. The numbers aren't there. It doesn't matter if you order almost a half million sheets of paper. It's nothing. If some product is the best thing in the world and will last forever, it won't matter if the numbers aren't right.
so, yeah I have to stop reading this stuff and get back to my little world where we have a warehouse fulll of paper to last for several years. One guy I work with, jokingly says he's going to stockpile enough to last until he can retire and then leave it up to us to figure out what to do. I can't make it that long. I have too many years left, and it looks like it finally caught up with me. I had some naive notion that the archival world was a safe place, but that ain't the case.
So I don't blame you--the hobbyists. I'm just as guilty as anyone, becuase I use digital cameras and inkjets as well. If I was totally clean--film and paper only--then I'd have more of a soapbox to stand on.
so it goes
my opinions only as always
Every image that is produced via a film camera and traditional materials is one less that should have been made with digital means in the thinking of digital companies.
Originally Posted by Flotsam
"Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
I know of a couple schools and one of the remaining custom labs in the area here who are equally pissed about Ilford's handling of the processor business. Essentially the same rant about bailing on supply and support.
Unfortunately as anyone who's lost their "guaranteed nest-egg" pension to coroporate A*'s shell games can tell you, big business is often about the bottom line and if those who 1st got 'em to the top don't compute off they go.
The Darkroom Studios ~ Brad Walker
27 North Centre Street ~ Merchantville, NJ 08109
"Film Ain't Dead Yet!"
I'll just use whatever paper is left. If Kodak drops out, I'll use Ilford. If Ilford drops out, I'll use Fuji etc, etc, etc.
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Jim, I think their concern is more fundamental than that. Before they get to that sophistication level, they need to have attained a secure standing in their chosen industry.
Originally Posted by Jim Chinn
Think about the change they are trying to make. Kodak grew up in a high-markup, recurring demand, process manufacturing environment. The film and paper processing was a cash-cow and their challenge was to keep their brand in front of customers. It was a marketing driven, process manufacturing firm with incredible brand loyalty.
They are now in a consumer electronics industry where the life of an innovative new product is measured in months and where the business requires continual innovation in order to make a single sale. The manufacturing is different, the competition is cutthroat, the margins stink initially and then get worse, consumer loyalty is non-existent and stockholder nervousness is at an all time high.
Browse this article. My guess is Kodak was caught by surprise by this trend.
They needed to cut losses far more quickly than anticipated and my guess is they are probably in trouble already.
Kodak is a photochemical R&D and supply company - not an electronics technology company. Their brand name carries little weight, and in fact may be a liability in the consumer electronics industry. In your opinion, who are the top ten consumer electronics/computer technology companies. I'll betcha Kodak isn't on your list. That is the problem Kodak faces.
Stopping production of Black and White paper smacks of a desperation move. They became the #1 digital photography company by cutting prices and profits - not through innovation. They are on the back side of the power curve - having to put more and more energy and money out for less and less profit - just to stay where they are. Shrink the market, miss on a product introduction, rattle stockholder confidence - any one of these will spell disaster. If they do everything right - the will be known as a "me too" market-following has been.
"If you want an example in the photographic business look at photographic chemical specialty prices. Their specialty items that were once made by large manufacturers are priced far higher than they were when there was competition for these items."
If Agfa and Kodak would ever bail out of film production, the smaller producers would have to face some serious problems. They´d loose either the maker of -for example- sensitizing dyes or a large portion of the public commercial market for these materials, resulting in much higher prices or facing a "no availability" situation. We´d may have to live with orthochromatic emulsions, for example. Or low speed emulsions.
Agfa and Bayer are still highly interconnected and Kodak provides some items to smaller producers that no one else is willing to sell to them.
"The next crisis for fiber-based BW paper will be the supply of baryta-coated paper support. There are very few manufacturers."
There is in fact pretty much only one independent out there - Felix Schoeller of Osnabrueck, Germany, those who closed their Pulaski NY based factory a few weeks ago (and the writing was on the wall at that date!).
You can find some statistics on their output on the companies website, it´s quite a lot. I don´t have the URL at hand, but I provided it at APUG at least one time in the past.
"Don't forget - they will be cutting all of the people loose as well. There is a sudden glut of people who understand photographic emulsions."
I don´t think many of the people maintaining the production in Brazil knew any details - if they did, it´s not about making a emulsion, but how to run the damn machine. Those who know about it, will go back to Rochester and all of them have signed a non-disclosure agreement. They won´t talk about it.
yep....one of the techs told me almost all their customers were like us. I was surprised actually how few they had in the US. I understand why they might want to ditch that end of the business, but I can't see how they had a better market as far as volume goes anyplace else. Nobody forced them to keep selling those machines. For every one they sold new, they were just extending the length of time they would have to legally support them. I know they were selling 2150s at the end of last summer, and didn't even hardly have the parts for them. It must have been like a fire sale or something, only they don't tell the customers there are no spare parts. It's like buying a new car and being told you can never get any tires for it. What kind of deal is that? Gee thanks, love the paper. My new 2150 needs a roller, but it makes a great table for these trays.
Originally Posted by thedarkroomstudios
we were offered one by a dealer. I was like "are you nuts?", but anyone who has never had to deal with them, thinks they're this great company because of the paper. We bought a parts machine from this dealer, to keep ours running, and he tried to sell us this new one for $4500, which is a great deal. My boss just laughed at him and said---"why would I want to buy one of those new? I would need two or three of them to keep it running".
Then--here's the really sad part. Okay, I know a lab who wanted to buy a 2150 last year. They called Ilford for almost two weeks and they wouldn't answer the phone, or return any of the messages. They go to the largest dealer in the state--and tried to get them to do it. They get nowhere. For a month they try to get this machine, to no effect. So, they say "what's wrong with these people? They don't want our business, so forget it, we'll find someone else". So, like a month or two later, we get offered this 2150 from the dealer. I pass this info along to the other lab, and they said flat out, forget it. No way.
there's no rhyme or reason to any of this. It's like they really didn't want the business. I don't know who else they were selling paper to, or why they even bothered to sell those machines. It would have been worth it to just salvage the parts off them, or just leave them in a warehouse forever.
This is primarily the reason why we used kodak. because when we called them for tech support, they always helped. when we sent them emails, they got right back and used tracking systems. Ilford--you send them an email and disappears into some void. Kodak treated the other lab great with their processors, while we were trying to figure out a way to get our money back from Ilford, because there didn't seem to be any other choice.
Then Kodak--well, they were so into the whole gov't purchasing thing, that the places that bid on the contracts weren't even like consumer stores. Just these big warehouses and that's all they did--sold the materials at super low rates. Even the dealers couldn't compete, it was below wholesale. Dirt cheap. They remember this still---purchasing. To them no more Kodak paper, means no more black and white paper. The last time we ordered paper was about a year ago--and Kodak was 40 dollars a box lower than Ilford. We tried to get some ilford and they couldn't guarantee delivery of the order, so that nixed it. It took less than three days to get the kodak in though. We had waited three and a half months the year earlier, for an order of multigrade.
so--you know, great paper (ilford), but they had this service & supply problem. It was like who cares how good the paper is, if you can't get it? I can only hope they do a better job the second time around.
my opinions only
Processing chemicals aren't a problem -- you can mix them yourself. (There's even a "chemistry recipes" section of this forum to discuss just that.) In theory, some of the more exotic constituent chemicals used in developers might disappear if the market for them shrinks enough, but I've seen developer formulas that don't involve such exotica. (Do a Web search on "caffeinol film," for instance -- the "film" is there just to eliminate unrelated hits.) Also, I'm foggy on the details, but at least some of the specialty photographic chemicals (phenidone, metol, p-aminophenol hydrochloride, etc.) seem to be closely related to chemicals that are much more commonly used in hair dyes and other products. Thus, I expect that some of these will remain available, or at least be things that home-darkroom people could make themselves from other substances. If you're concerned, you could stockpile these items. I've heard of decades-old phenidone working just fine, and it's used in such small quantities that a few grams will be all you'll need for a lifetime, so even without stockpiling, a single normal-sized order may be all you'll ever need.
Originally Posted by snaggs
Film might be another issue, though. That's the item that'll be most important to stockpile if it starts looking like film will become flat-out unavailable in the future. At the moment, I'm not convinced that'll happen for at least a decade, and probably much longer. Fewer choices and higher prices, yes, but complete unavailability? Call me skeptical of the claim that the sky is falling.
Try a few and judge for yourself.
Originally Posted by Jeffrey A. Steinberg
As somebody else pointed out, Ilford ID-11 is often considered a close equivalent. Some smaller manufacturers and house brands are also available. For instance, Freestyle sells one called "Arista 76" that I believe is a close equivalent. (Freestyle's Arista line is basically repackaged stuff from other companies. I don't know who makes their "Arista 76" developer, though.) I've also seen claims that Sprint Standard is a D76 variant that ships as a liquid concentrate, but I don't know how closely equivalent it is in practice -- this could just be marketing-speak to get people comfortable with the idea of using the stuff.
2) What is the equiv. to D-76 (which I like but not love) that is from another manufacturer.
Another possibility is to mix it yourself. The original D76 formula is well known, and there must be dozens, if not hundreds, of minor (and major) tweaks to it available on the Web and in books. Of course, this won't help keep an Ilford or Fuji or Agfa or Foma or whoever in business, but it does have some advantages for you, like lower cost, the ability to mix up as much or as little as you need, and the ability to tweak the formula as you see fit.