We agree on many points but I will argue two points.
1. "Kodak has struggled for the same reason any other film company around the world has struggled. It has nothing to do with your 'global market'."
I understand the film market is much smaller than it used to be. The 'global market' has given photographers many more choices of what film to use. Ilford, Fuji, Agfa are not American companies but they have taken a large portion of the existing market. I will have to say that the availability of these products has increased dramatically in past 25 years.
2. I'm not sure why you find it important to note that Kodak is an American company. Are you trying to say that being American is particularly bad? I personally don't see how the nationality of a company makes them exceptionally 'evil'.
Never said being American company is bad or evil. I am American and love America however old large American companies have had problems. Kodak, Westinghouse, All of the American Automobile companies. My point was and still is that Kodak is heading down the same road as Westinghouse did in the mid eighties. I am not blaming or hostile at Kodak. Just making a comparison.
I agree with you on this statement.
"Why don't we use our mental energy in a constructive way? Let's find a way as a community to make film cool again. If our efforts slow the shrinkage of the film market or (God forbid) stabilize it at its current level then maybe our beloved film won't disappear for good."
Local newspaper here in Roanoke VA did a great story a couple of weeks ago where all staff photographers took pinhole photos. All of these shots were in the Sunday paper. They did a great job promoting the use of pinhole. More stories like this will keep it alive.
Any plans on marketing these? Maybe you can post pictures when you get one finished.
Originally Posted by SchwinnParamount
You've offered a very good summary of the photo marketplace. Ron Wisner's statement on digital photography is worth a look, too. Basically, he argues that as long as there's enough demand for film, somebody's going to make it.
Now, what about all those products coming out of Eastern Europe? I switched from TMX and TMY to JandC Classic 400 (Efke) out of simple price considerations. When TMY is over $100. USD for 100 4X5 sheets and JandC400 is about 1/2 that, well... Call me cheap, but I want to be able to afford this expensive little hobby. Dean
Actually, that's not precisely true... the companies that value their customer base do indeed "support" their customers. While it is true that corporations (I have always called them 'soul-less entities') exist for profit, it is also true that if a corporation wants to maximize that profit, they make sure their customers are happy as clams!
Originally Posted by BradS
Look at the difference between Ilford and Kodak. Ilford has an excellent website that offers product info as well as a free forum. They are working hard to bring product to the customer and this includes the introduction/re-introduction of product.
Kodak has a nice website where you can also find useful information... to a point. If you look long enough, there are many topics that lead you to sheets that you must order, or find in one of their books (ie.. purchase). They say "we will be making product 'x' for a long time!" right up to the time when they announce the demise of product 'x'.
So... support is something that is offered up by a company. I am looking at an ad for the "Silver" conference as I type this... so... is Kodak participating in this???? nope.
For me its not about hating or despising Kodak but rather choosing to spend my money on products made by companies that are in it (or at least trying to be in it) for the long haul. Despite what Kodak's PR department says on their website, I don't believe Kodak aspires to be in the traditional B+W market for the long haul. In fact I would be shocked if Kodak didn't have either a short or long range plan for eventually pulling out all together. It might be next month or it might be years down the road, but chances are that it will happen. Its really no secret. Mr. Perez has stated numerous times that Kodak is transitioning to a digital-based imaging company and even if the B+W market stabilized, I don't see why Kodak would stay involved with a niche market once the digital side of their company becomes 100% self sufficient and profitable. Until then they still need your film dollars to make their digital goal a reality. I haven't completely boycotted Kodak since I occasionally buy a few rolls of Tri-X and Plus-X from a local shop, but I have switched 99% of my B+W product consumption to alternate companies. Even if we all bought Kodak products there's no changing the plans of a billion dollar mega-corporation and in the end I'm afraid Kodak will kick us to the curb.
Ilford Photo means quality!
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Kodak are currently the only company on Earth prepared to make me 220 size B&W film, for which I thank them. Long may it continue.
Hard to blame Kodak for divesting in their silver based products. Other then Fuji, which by the way didn’t have much in BW market, most other paper and film companies have had problems. Polaroid, Agfa, Ilford, Forte, and I’m sure others. Ilford is the only one, as of now, that came out of with a plan committed to analogue photography. So much so the divested their digital. They see a niche. I don’t think Kodak could do the same thing. They are way too big and have stock holders to worry about. The jury seems to out for Forte right now.
Know Kodak’s customer service is horrible, at least in the BW dept. When I called last time asking for some data sheets not found on the web, they told me they destroyed all the hard copies of stuff they no longer made. I think the guy was just lazy and didn’t want to do something that couldn’t be emailed, myself.
In the end I will continue to buy the only product that I buy from Kodak for years - Plus-x, for me it is still the best portrait film out there.
I suppose, as is normal, because they are the biggest people expect more, or are willing to make them the villan.
Actually, I'm working from a set of prototype plans that BarryYoung is developing for sale. Barry, my son Andrew and I are 'de-bugging' the plans with these early cameras. As of today, Barry does have a really fine set of plans for general release on his website.
Originally Posted by dphphoto
Barry, Eric and I have been kicking around the idea of selling complete cameras. If it does happen, it will be Barry's enterprise with my son Andrew as an apprentice camera maker.
You have to figure that things are changing so fast that Kodak can't keep a constant plan.
I remember an old timer telling me about early IBM hard drives. He said that they used to consider a product a failure if it didn't have a life of more than 5 years. Now, business students are told to consider hard drives to be like fruit flies are to geneticists--the generations come so quickly that you can see real change quickly.
Given what has happened to Ilford, Agfa, Polaroid, etc., I have a feeling that the execs at Kodak feel something like the guy in this old poster:
Jeanette, Thank you for reminding me of this. For the last seven years or so, I've fed my family and paid the mortgage by working for one crummy soul-less entity after another. I forgot that there actually are companies that care about the customer and not just about making the numbers look good for the quarterly earnings statement.
Originally Posted by BWGirl
At the big blue oval, we used to talk about "surprise and delight" features...yes, that company really does care about the customer. Too bad they're not in the business of making cameras, film, paper and photo chemicals.