That just recently changed. Now all PX is discontinued.
Originally Posted by jnanian
Originally Posted by BrianShaw
at least they are still making a few ( other ) emulsions in 35mm ...
hopefully the sale of their gelatin plant will
help them scale down operations, so they can
still develop, test and sell world class film ...
From what I've read, the trouble with Kodak is that it's so huge. It has to sell an awful lot of product just to break even. Ilford is a smaller company, Many people say that if Kodak had stayed committed to the film market instead of putting all their bets on being competitive in the digital realm, they might not be dying the slow death that they are. All I know is Ilford, to the best of my knowledge hasn't dropped any of their products while Kodak continues to do so.[/QUOTE]
My understanding is that both Kodak and Fuji problems are due to scale. Their plants, like Afga and Forte, are very large, huge, they cannot afford to run small batches of film or paper. Ilford, Forma, and the other Euro film producers that remain operate on much smaller scale. As I recall, although I dont how accurate the statement is, on another chat room Fotokomika can make films runs of just 2000 rolls and still make money. Kodak's future is not with film and paper, but they have a double edged issue, digital has a very low profit margin, which is why IBM sold and HP is selling their PC operations. I dont know if Kodak can evey sell its plants.
Kodak isn't nearly as huge as it once was. Down from 70,000 employees in Rochester to 6,000. But in a city with high property taxes (nearly 3%), so underutilized property becomes a major financial burden.
Kodak has an amazing automated production line. For motion picture film production, a special-order run for all the camera negative film for one movie is feasible. (I suspect that's the status of the B&W Eastman negative films, made-to-order.) But it's probably reached the point that a year's sales of PX135 were less film than it takes for one motion picture worth of camera negative. (One roll of PX135-36 is just 3 seconds of movie film.)
As for the Plus-X Aerecon, I bought a few expired 200' rolls in 35mm, and find that it's a LOT slower than ISO 125 if you want to develop it to a normal gamma of around 0.6, and much grainier than Tri-X. Now maybe that's how those rolls have aged. But aerial film is normally processed for quite high contrast, so the speed will fall a lot when you lower the contrast.
I've never really been a Plus-X user. Never really warmed to the look. So I'm not heartbroken. Nor was I surprised.
Kodak must shrink or die. It appears they prefer death.
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In their line up of BW films they can't shrink much more before they are gone. The only one they have left wich I like is tx 400, and then there is tmax 100 and 400 wich I don't care about. If that (or less) is what Kodak is planning to offer of bw films to their customers in the future, then I'm thinking about subscribing to a company wich has more to offer and is still innovative.
Kodak has a lot of great (discontinued) products and a lot of knowledge. I don't understand why they don't do some serious changes in their production lines to be able to produce smaller volumes of several different film types, and do it with profit. If the businessplan is to offer just 3 (or less) products and not do any innovation, then the customers will gradually disappear. Sure, Kodak has done some great work with the new Portra films, but that alone won't save Kodak.
1. Should I stock up and buy like a 1000 rolls of the discontinued Plus-X? Wich will not give Kodak a dime from me in like 10 years.
2. Should I buy fresh film regularly from other manufacturers to help them survive?
3. Should I buy fresh tmax100 regularly and use it even though I don't like it just to help Kodak survive?
Option #2 is the most likely for me, and I guess many others. Option #1 I guess is also an option for many, but that will not help Kodak and it will not help keeping film production alive in other companies.
Originally Posted by wblynch
it seems like they are doing everything they can do to stay alive.
they still offer a large selection of film ( color and b/w ) in all sizes from 35mm - 8x10,
and larger. canham camera does special ULF orders.
shrinking, in their case means not making films that don't make a certain % profit, and they have been
doing this same thing for as long as i can remember ( i was not happy when 127 vp was discontinued )
if more people bought their film, they could keep it running, but there is no point in making products that
don't sell in a shrinking market.
A significant part of their problem is distributor and retail gouging. There is a retailer where I live (a 'pro' one at that) that sells a 5 pack (120) of TMY for $32 and Ektar for $35 - and blame Kodak for the price jumps even though they did that hike a year before they had a reason to. A 4 ltr pack Dektol cost me $6.50 and I went in last week to find they now only sell 1 ltr packs for $4.00. That's effectively more than doubling the price. Yet 100' supplies are within $1-$2 of the norm. It's like they don't want my business.
I would love to buy Kodak C41 chems, but cannot find a local distributer to sell them. No one wants to ship liquids with out you second mortgaging the house.
Kodaks biggest problem is they choked their one pipeline to the customers. They shipped a lot of product direct when they were everywhere. Since they closed up shop in most places, they did not establish viable distribution. That is why they are getting killed so fast.
I totally agree with your comments about distribution. Kodak used to direct-distribute - your local camera store was your distribution source, and they could order almost everything for you.
Originally Posted by mrred
On the chemistry issue though, have you seen this post of Mike Wilde's from (IIRC) the "Canadian Source" thread?:
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Actually being big gives economies of scale that make producing film cheaper ad easier to break even.
And Kodak came to the digital world too late and was betting too much on film getting too late a start towards digital cameras.