Thanks Dave, I'll give that a try. I've got a stock of Velvia 100F to finish off before I order any more film.
Originally Posted by Satinsnow
Kodak has officially announced that they're out of the B&W paper business. The last I checked, some of their paper products are still in stores, but the pipeline is going dry. Note that this applies only to B&W paper. Kodak is still making color paper, color and B&W film, and color and B&W chemistry.
Originally Posted by Digidurst
Kodak's CEO (or some other person high up in the hierarchy) made a stupid off-the-cuff "film is dead" comment that's been widely reported and discussed, but Kodak has not made any official announcement about an exit from the film business. Perhaps the statement referenced at the top of this thread is an attempt at damage control over this comment.
There was a recent thread here on APUG about Kodak exiting the photochemistry business, but that was pure speculation/rumor mongering.
As a side comment, I'll add that Digidurst's comment shows the danger of rumors by customers and of ill-advised comments by company officials. Somebody who's not paying very careful attention can easily get confused about what is and is not happening. (Note that I'm not criticizing Digidurst; nobody can pay full attention to every detail about everything in life.)
Maybe, Kodak's CEO is dead.
He is, but only from the neck up.
Originally Posted by BradS
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
Regarding film salses, Kodak is becoming its own worst enemy. Perez's "off the cuff" remarks create a "chilling effect" on consumers who switch to other brands further exacerbating the decline in Kodak's film sales.
Corporate downward spirals are never pretty to watch - witness GM and Ford...Big Yellow is a very confused organization right now.
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Eastman and You
Open Letter to APUG Members
This is a first for me. I don't like being on the web and I prefer to share my ideas in person with my students. But several events have recently occurred that I find disturbing enough that I feel it is time to share at least some of my thoughts on photography, the future of film, and Eastman. This will offend a lot of people, but it is my opinion based on 36 years of photography, teaching, writing, and observing the industry first hand.
I'm going to start off by paraphrasing John Sexton who, referring to the lack of RC paper in his darkroom, said, we speak with our pocketbook. I'm going to continue with a statement I have been making for nearly a decade: Kodak is not your friend.
A few of you may know me as the author of The Darkroom Cookbook, The Film Developing Cookbook, The Variable Contrast Printing Manual, and a teacher of photography, especially darkroom, since 1979.
In researching and testing material for my books (in particular) I slowly came to the realization that in every single case, film for film, paper for paper, Kodak products were and always have been inferior. Ansel supported Kodak products, as does John Sexton (whom I consider to be one of the finest b/w practitioners working today), but the ugly truth is that both of them were in Eastman's payroll.
ASIDE: I once asked Ansel why he had been such a big fan of HC-110 and then stopped using it altogether. He told me quite candidly that his first impressions were that it was really good stuff, but after thorough testing he found it wasn't that good after all. However, due to his connection to Eastman he quietly stopped using HC-110 without saying anything against it. In the meantime, many of his students, not as discerning as Ansel, were using HC-110 and swearing by it. The point is, don't always go for what the superstars say.
Since the mid-eighties I have had a privileged position inside Eastman - a mole so to speak. There have been literally dozens of middle-managers in Research and Marketing, both b/w and color, who would speak with me off the record about new products and directions.
A full year before Eastman dropped b/w papers I already knew about it. I was sworn to secrecy, as was usually the case. Even so, I tried to let people know in the pages of Camera Arts. I wrote a "round-up" of b/w papers world-wide and ONLY listed one paper for Kodak. The omission of AZO and other papers was intentional. This was the only way I had to warn photographers at the time.
(Immediately after the article was in print a prominent LF photographer and long-time acquaintance called me on the phone and yelled at me for not mentioning AZO, claiming it would destroy his business AND that Eastman would never, never, never drop AZO from their paper line, not as long as he lived.)
Whether you want to believe it or not, T-Max film is an inferior product. A good photographer, such as Sexton, can make it work in certain lighting situations, but the entire reason for the development and marketing of T-Max film was because it cost less to make (to Eastman pennies count) and could be sold for more than Tri-X, a better film all around.
The two people most responsible for developing T-Max were the ones that first confided in me that T-Max was designed specifically to maximize profit, not to provide a quality product. They also told me the reason it was inherently an inferior film. My own testing for The Film Developing Cookbook convinced me as well.
One thing that almost all my contacts inside Eastman agreed upon was that if Kodak were to divert even a fraction of the money spent on marketing, specifically to convince photographers that Kodak was the best and that Kodak loved you, into improving the quality of their materials they really would be the best in the world.
Having said that, EVERY DOLLAR YOU SPEND WITH KODAK, EVERY ROLL OF TRI-X YOU BUY, EVERY ROLL OF EKTACHROME, IS ONE LESS DOLLAR FOR ILFORD, EFKE, FUJI, FOMA, FORTE, all of whom are struggling to survive in a shrinking market.
And that's not the end of it. In the early eighties Eastman received a contract from the U.S. military to develop the first digital camera. Rather than opening a separate division to develop this camera, Eastman diverted funds from R&D on silver and by 1984 had gutted the world's greatest b/w research laboratory, through lay-offs and forced retirement. It was around that time that the CEO of Eastman first pronounced that film was dead and that from that point on all available resources should go into digital development. And it has been that way with Eastman ever since.
Now, imagine that you are an investor reading the Wall Street Journal. The CEO of Fortune 500 company Eastman Kodak announces that the future is digital. Where are you going to invest your money? Eastman put a stake through the heart of film - intentionally or not - and their own heart as well (Kodak has not made a profit off digital since the beginning - Worldwide sales of film and paper, mainly color, is what keeps them in business).
Eastman Kodak does not give one good darned (I won't say damned in this forum) about you, about film, about photography, about silver. Fuji and Ilford have valiantly struggled to keep silver alive. And yet I read in this forum comments from photographers "I don't have any brand loyalty..." "I use what is best..." Well you just go ahead and use what is "best." Give your dollars to Eastman while Ilford and Fuji go down the tubes.
If you ever bother to really, really test the products you will find that the Ilford b/w films and papers are not only better than Kodak, but they always have been. Fuji color products are at least as good, and in my opinion better - though I'm not an expert in color materials.
I have more to say but will reserve further comment until I see how APUG members respond to this, my first real foray into the world of web controversy.
The Darkroom Cookbook
The Variable Contrast Printing Manual
The Film Developing Cookbook
The Nude at Big Sur
I, for one, would like to hear (read) more.
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
Interesting ... I wonder what Ron will have to say.
FWIW, Kodak's B&W products don't interest me, since I mostly shoot Velvia.
I prefer many Ilford products for B+W but in no way would I label Kodak products as being generally inferior. Granted I hate Tmax but I also dislike Delta films which are a variation of a theme. I love Ilford Warmtone but I feel that standard MGIV pales in comparison to Polymax Fine Art. This is a matter of taste not a matter of inferiority. In terms of quality control and manufacturing to high tolerances, Kodak set the standard so it may be helpful if you could elaborate on your position.
Ditto Robert. Ron was one of those R&D people at Kodak. Wonder if he knew in 1984 since he knows and did know the past top people personally. I personaly stopped using all things Kodak when they got rid of verichrome pan. I do use some of their chemistry, but havew been researching other products.
Originally Posted by roteague