I'm not sure which German camera company starting with "L" you are referring to. Does it end with an "a" or an "f"? If the former then I cant comment, but I dont think its an accusation that can be levelled at the latter - even though their products can hardly be described as cheap!
Originally Posted by Sirius Glass
I think you're partly right, but you don't take into account another factor. How many TLRs did they produce - sell back then? Probably few, but a lot more than they do today. So, given as a fact that the smaller the production, the bigger the price, it's not that strange that the price is so high. Mass production is not an option for them.
Originally Posted by JPD
There is a bottom price, set by (amongst other things) how many of them you can sell in a year.
The higher it gets, the fewer cameras you sell. And if it gets higher than anyone will be ready to pay for it, it's time to throw in the towel.
And that's what Rollei did.
But then Franke & Heidecke Mk II took over.
They know now that Rollei did the right thing.
Rollei's direct competition, Hasselblad, also was/is very expensive. But their history is rather different: they not made a penny selling cameras for many, many years, Victor funding the camera manufacture out of his other, highly lucrative, ventures.
(A lot like Zeiss' camera lens division - also not a big money making machine, but kept running out of a sense for tradition and - perhaps - love for the craft.)
If only Rollei/F&H Mk II had had such a backer ...
So they're dead...at least the film isn't.
What I find surprising, is that Kodak sold Leaf to Phase One. That seems like a bad move, to me.
True, but it's a downward spiral. The only way to hold the prices down would be selling more of simpler cameras to keep the cash flowing in. The bulk production at the old Zeiss Ikon, Agfa and Voigtländer factories were simple amateur cameras. Back in the mid 1900's they didn't need to sell expensive "special editions" to collectors every and each year to stay afloat.
Originally Posted by Anon Ymous
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And the only thing at the end of that spiral is bankruptcy...
Originally Posted by JPD
I'm not sure if they could make something cheap and affordable. You see, all the other companies you mentioned made these cameras when there was a market for them. Folders, TLRs, whatever, people would buy them. So, Rollei would have to make a product for a specific target group. Of course, there should be a return of investment and then some profit. I suppose (or speculate) that since the 80s, Rollei had lost that opportunity. The market was saturated with choices by many manufacturers. Let's not forget that the Japanese manufacturers copied Rollei cameras but, from some point on, didn't need to. They had the know how, plus they had done their research & development. As a result, they dominated the market. So, Rollei was left with fewer and ever decreasing choices. I guess they were dead some time ago, but they just kept things going, until it became futile. Just like Kodachrome...
Originally Posted by JPD
What Franke & Heidecke Mk II apparently tried to do is make their camera business not their core business, but concentrate on their expertise, and see what else they could do that would make money. They billed themselves as fine mechanical and optical engineering company.
A good decision, i think. But was it too late already?
Other firms can (and many do) do the same: see what it is that they can do that does make money and has a more certain future.
Agfa, for instance, is still doing well.
You can make money in a market that's spoilt for choice. Why would other manufacturers succeed in such a market, while that same market would be the reason why Rollei would not?
Rollei could have dominated the market instead of whoever did. Why, they had firmly cornered a large portion of that market, but let it slip. Japanese manufacturers (by the way, they had been in the business for almost as long as Rollei, so not a freshly emerging force, that first had to learn the trade) could take market share away from Rollei by offering thingies people wanted more than Rolleiflexes.
And that, not a saturated market, is why Rollei eventually folded.
Take their final attempt, the AF system: it was introduced as "new" several times, at several separate occasions, several years in a row. It failed to raise interest each and every time.
And that not because people aren't interested in AF. But the market was wanting something else more than 'just' the option to use AF with 3 lenses. A classic case of too little too late.
The thing that keeps puzzling me is why Rollei quit their digital line. They were among the first to offer 'Rollei brand' digital capture options for their system. Had they kept that up, had they continued targeting the emerging market, they would still be here, doing well.
Kodak needs money to service its debt. Kodak will receive IP licensing payments from the Phase One under the terms of the deal.
Originally Posted by AutumnJazz
This is preferable to not being able to provide the capital needed to grow the unit and, ultimately, winding up with nothing of value.
Maybe not the most optimal of long-term strategies but - in my opinion - this is a classic case of "Poor Man's Syndrome". That means Kodak does what it can rather than what it should.
Digital Photography is just "why-tech" not "high tech"..
Originally Posted by Q.G.
Only Agfa Graphics, producing printing plates etc. has acceptable results. These figures are for 2008, before the real beginning of the crisis - and that crisis hit the printing industry very hard.
Sorry, but "doing well" is something different.
Yes... Change that to "were doing well".
The point was that they dropped the loss making branch before it pulled them down.
Doesn't guarantee that what they are left with will be a success in the end.
Such a complex thingy, busines...