The only way to make these specialty films that have slow sales is to be able to economically make them in smaller quantity than is possible with Kodaks coating lines. If you have to run a mile of 40 inch wide base stock to operate your coating line, then you have to sell a bunch of finished goods. Now, some film producers, including Kodak have "test" coating lines that are much smaller. I guess what is needed is an "intermediate" coating line that could coat a mile long roll of 10" wide base. Just speculation on my part, but it "IS" possible that some manufacturers might see potential profit in making short runs of specialty product for sale at much higher prices, if the coating line exists to support this.
Last edited by PHOTOTONE; 11-14-2007 at 04:03 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Kodak is already using pilot and research scale equipment to make production runs of small runners. I have just posted details elsewhere.
But, just as a reminder, it is easy to be an armchair ref. Not many of you have actually done this. D'oh, oh, probably none of you have.
I see these news from Kodak relaxed. Why?
1. Discontinuance of the Ektachromes: I'm not surprised that Kodak stops the production. I was surprised that Kodak has produced these films for such a long time. These films are from the eighties, technologically completely outdated materials. All other slide films from both Kodak and Fuji has surpassed these films some years ago.
Or in other words: Do you expect from a car manufacturer, that they produce the same model for 20 years?
I think Kodak made the right decision to concentrate on the modern films.
2. HIE: The demand for this film is to weak to justify the production. And what are the reasons for the decreasing demand?
- decreasing interest in IR film photography? May be, but not very likely, because Ilford, Maco/Rollei and Efke introduced new IR films. So they must have seen a sufficient demand for IR films.
- loosing market share in the niche market IR films because of the increasing competition from Maco/Rollei, Ilford and Efke? Possible. HIE is a unique film, no doubt, but the other films have their strenghts, too. They are much easier to handle, not so expensive, and the Rollei for example is very flexible. You can use this film as a high resolution panchromatic film, as a replacement for Agfa Scala, and as an infrared film with fine grain and high resolution as well.
Therefore it is possible that the HIE was killed by the competition. On free markets such things are normal.
Perhaps another manufacturer will fill the gap. There are some rumors in Germany that a new film with extended red sensivity to 850-900 nm will be introduced next year.
We will see,
Kodak did not discontinue all its "older" technology E-6 films. EPP is still around. This is the film I still use every week for my work. I shot 300 4x5 sheets of it last month.
Originally Posted by JanaM
Running on empty
Regarding the HIE discontinuation, (to muddy the water a little more) I got our (Silverprint's) wholesale Kodak supplier to check into how the HIE was running down. They reckon that supplies will be OK until March 08.
This could be accurate (but then it might not).
Therefore, the way I'm going to approach it is to aim to keep several hundred rolls of HIE in stock at any one time over the next few months. As it goes out we will re-order. It's too expensive & perishable to buy a mountain of it, but we can be reasonably sure that around 10 x normal stock level will find end users. If other dealers put a bit of investment into a moderate amount of stock they won't lose out either & it will give something of a buffer zone.
Last edited by Martin Reed; 11-19-2007 at 12:02 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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HIE's sales foundation was always the US Department of Defense, for aerial reconnaissance. Consumer sales would never have been enough to keep the original Kodak Infrared, or High Speed Infrared, in production. HIE isn't going away because of competition from another film.
The DoD probably kept buying it 10 years after their primary equipment went digital, and 5 years after they scrapped the cameras they could use it in. The DoD has always been cool about buying stuff they don't, or can't, use. It's a huge machine, doesn't take turns very fast.
After all, the DoD was still buying huge quantities of vacuum tubes (remember them?) in the 1980's. Lots of DoD surplus lots with tubes with 1980's date codes have been sold in the last ten years.