I would have said, "Phsah--just a rumor", until I checked the newsgroups. The source for this is Richard Knoppow, someone whose opinion I respect a lot.
Originally Posted by Flotsam
He does only refer to paper, not film, in his post.
As to "A buck's a buck", I used to work with a guy who had spent years at GE research. He said that GE felt that if they weren't #1 or #2 in the world on something, it wasn't worth their time. Money or no money.
Before we get into weeping and gnashing, how many people actually use Kodak B&W paper? Since the demise of Ektalure, I haven't. (AZO excepted, but that's a special case). Kodak hasn't made a world class B&W paper in 20 years.
They are still making film and that's a market where they do lead the pack.
I've been using Polymax for years although I have been less enamored with it since they discontinued it in single weight.
Originally Posted by Tom Duffy
It is a very popular paper from what I have gathered on APUG.
That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
I still use Polycontast RC for test and working prints, I really like the new version. I would use Kodabromide #3 and 4 RC if I could get it without special order.
40 years ago, when I was in college, a campus group invited a vice-president of Rich's Department Store, then the largest retailer in Atlanta, to give a presentation. He made a statement that I have never forgotten. He said that companies are not in business to support their customer's needs. Instead, companies are in business to make money. Supporting their customer's needs is HOW they make money.
Thanks to digital technology, the market for photographic materials is shrinking. That's a fact. But the expectations of Wall Street are moving in exactly the opposite direction. The executives who manage Kodak know that to keep their jobs, they have to increase both share price and earnings per share.
It is a fact that a business the size of Kodak can't meet the expectations of their shareholders by engaging in a series of small, niche markets, even if those market segments are lucrative. Because they are large, they have to engage in businesses that are commensurately large.
I agree that it would be nice if Kodak could maintain a few boutique lines to satisfy traditional market segments. But the reality is that attempting to do that would distract corporate management from what they need to be focusing on - making the larger, growing businesses successful. Furthermore, those boutique lines would have to compete internally for investment and development money - and the fact is that they won't win those internal competitions. And if the investments aren't being made, then the product quality will deteriorate - and that doesn't meet customer needs.
So the reality is that for a company like Kodak, exiting the black and white paper business makes a lot of sense. It also makes a lot of sense for the industry because with one less player in the field, the market share of the other guys will increase. And if those other guys (Ilford, Kentmere, Forte, et al) are scaled to match the niche size of the black and white paper market, they stand a far better chance of survival than does a giant like Kodak. The statements made by the recently-restructured (and downsized) Ilford suggest that they are developing their business plans around the concept of competing in a shrinking market. Furthermore, because they are more appropriately scaled to the markets they are serving, they will be in a better position to support the product requirements of their customer base.
I see only two negative aspects of this news. The first is that it adds to the doom and gloom attitude that seems to prevail among traditional black and white photographers. That's unfortunate, because black and white photography should provide an emotional uplift, not funereal depression. Second, the only black and white printing product where Kodak retains market leadership is Azo, and this news may meand that we can look forward to a disruption in the supply of that excellent product.
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i just can't ____ believe it. I'm not naive or anything, but they HAD the b/w market. the place I work for was all kodak for decades, and there's a lab near me that I don't think has ever used anything besides kodak, and they use some godawful amounts of polycontrast yearly. talk about timing. they just ordered an 18K b/w paper processor. for once, I am so glad we have an ilford machine....
You say it's "good for Ilford"? How? What do they inherit? The dying lab industry they wrote off ten years ago when they got rid of their processor division? The mom & pop labs eeking by with the portrait studios, trying to either stay in business or decide to close up shop and retire? The fine art crowd, that has never even come close to ordering the millions of sheets of paper a year that gov't archives and the like used to order? The same systems that are going into digital now because the products have gotten better and are accepted more & more?
What do they inherit? The same climate that kodak had. Just today my boss told me that if this were true, our darkroom was history more or less. We've talked about phasing our film darkroom & print room together and getting a wide format printer for one of the rooms, and changing it into the computer room. Looks like that's more of a reality now, a reality none of us wanted--but in our world, just because someone makes paper on the other side of the world, doesn't mean we're going to be able to use it.
I read on a forum, that the "average" large format shooter uses less than 60 sheets of film a year, as they figured it in this bulls*** survey they were doing. Why b.s.? Because if that miserably low figure is true--then y'all asked for it. You asked for film and paper to die. I shoot 100+ sheets a week and always thought that was low. So, now if we order a half million sheets of polycontrast, somehow that's not enough? Why--because the hobbyists are using a 100 sheets a year or some b.s.?
time to move on I guess.
The key to this is HAD, that market no longer exists. The hobbist was the tail of the market, now it becoming the market. When I worked for the wire 30 and 20 years ago I shot 100s of rolls of TX a week, as a hobbist I shoot 10 to 12 a month and maybe 25 to 30 4X5, some months none at all. For better or worse, better in terms of cost, worse in terms of quality digital is here to stay. As long as I afford to stay in legacy photography I will, but as some point I may need to move on as well.
From the Azo forum--
Posted by: Michael A. Smith Posted at: 10:32:06 AM PT, 6/15/2005
I have an appointment to speak with KOdak at 9:00 A.M. tomorrow. I will let everyone know what transpires. As of this moment I am not worried. There is five years worth of Azo on the master rolls.
ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Eastman Kodak Co. said Wednesday it will discontinue production of black-and-white film paper for the professional market by the end of the year as its transition continues to digital photography... more
Blame someone else for your own short sightedness? If thios is the situatiuon at your lab IU'd start looking for a new job. Every decent lab, big and small, has already gone this route and diversified. As a major lab, if you haven't invested in a Lambda, Lightjet, Chromira, Frontier etc, and possibly wide format inkets to go alongside your analogue line, along with the expertise to go with it and already started building a reputation, it's probably too late. Your competitors are already well ahead of you.
Originally Posted by DKT
Either that or become a small boutique B&W hand print lab
Sad but true.