Those losses compare pretty well to overall demand losses across the board; almost nobody producing consumable or durable goods has fared well over the past year or two. And petrochem has been especially volatile.
Originally Posted by Aristophanes
Also, the losses in EK's film sector probably have less to do with decreasing demand than an overall lack of internal strategy for how to maintain demand while expanding market share. A small, streamlined company possessing brands, capable manufacturing equipment and knowhow, and not encumbered with a lot of overhead and legacy expenses could probably grow their market share even as film demand weakens. There is good precedent of this; think of the tobacco industry. Few industries have had their bottom line so singularly attacked... realize that it actually became illegal for the tobacco industry to do their most effective advertising. Nevertheless, Philip Morris grew revenue very substantially, mostly by claiming a bigger chunk of the market share in the US, by looking abroad for other consumers.... and by looking at adjacent sectors and reaching into those.
So, a smaller, more agile company with less flab to carry might be just what the doctor ordered for EK.
I am not sayiing it's all roses, mind you; I am just saying it is possible that a film-focused spinoff could do better than the company as a whole.
Why exactly are you here, then?
Originally Posted by PKM-25
Anyone who thinks any photography forum is really about high art is bonkers. The value in these things comes from *some* technical discussions, and periodic threads about where analog photography is going. This thread falls into the latter category.
There has been a possitive side to Kodaks coating division in the past 2-3 years with the continued introduction of imroved films despite the dire problems with the rest of the company.
I'd pick up your last sentence because I had to switch from Kodak Tmax films about 5 years ago because I just couldn't get tnem easily when outside the UK, there was plenty of consumer C41 but nothing else, Iford & Foma films are very mucheasier to find.
Originally Posted by pbromaghin
"At the bottom end, how difficult can it be to build a 21st century version of an Instamatic or Hawkeye? How difficult can it be to partner with an existing manufacturer to produce a film version of an existing dslr by taking out 90% of the circuitry, adding film handling hardware and slapping on a Kodak label? I doubt those companies have forgotten how to build a film body. If they dust off an old design, startup costs would be very low, mainly for tooling up the manufacturing.
Producing products for a niche market is very possible, especially if that niche is actually world-wide via sophisticated web marketin"
We're not living in an "Instamatic" or "Hawkeye" film world any longer. I see bins of old film p&S and low-end AF SLRs giveaway-priced and collecting dust at the outlet of a large camera chain in Toronto. There are no new film cameras because there's no demand sufficient to warrant production. These fact-free arguments won't turn back the clock. I'm hoping Ilford stays afloat. Kodak? We're all guessing.
right on max !
Originally Posted by MaximusM3
i wish i had 200 rolls of tri x, instead i have 300 rolls of plus x
happy shooting !
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I totally agree. it's a niche product unable to compete with digital, so it has to occupy a different space in the consumer mindset. In artistic and cultural terms this could be a silver [sic] lining. Kodaks' new films (Ektar and Portra) and their unique look are what got me back into film photography.
Originally Posted by pbromaghin
Any company buying Kodak assets to do this will need a lot of up-front capital, and that's where the problem lies. They have to cover operations, taxes, supplies, power, labour, management, etc. You have correctly identified the engineering resources being retained as critical. Absolutely. I would look not to the film photography clique for any saviour, because that's been coasting on the gross revenues of the motion picture side. There's where a white knight may be due to the strong allegiance and deep pockets of some very successful people who relied on film for their careers and have deeper pockets than anyone in static photography.
Financially, Kodak's film production and distribution cannot shrink as fast as the demand market is, and Kodak cannot see the bottom. Maybe someone wiser can if the production assets go for a fire sale. All I am saying is it's a lot of risk because the other side of the coin is the razor as opposed to the blade, and in 2004 Kodak (and others) stopped making film cameras. Now we have the other shoe dropping. Kodak was always relying on "someone else" to supply those cameras (at least Fuji has put our a couple of models in the last 5 years). Any purchaser of the film assets also has to rely on "someone else" to mas produce a few lines of cameras. Lomography is not that someone; their model is essentially parasitic, and now the host is dying.
The capital problem is that it may require miles of film production to be profitable, while demand may not equal miles of film. If there are no new cameras, then any investment is dependent on eBay and local sales of increasingly old equipment, and that equipment is sustained by a rapidly decreasing number of service companies.
That's a very difficult business model for any creditor extending capital to a white knight to get behind. That's the stumbling block I see, and it is huge because the issue is not a cash purchase of the assets, but the operational capital to keep it going. Distribution is especially problematic because of the high cost. You are right about centralized, internet-based marketing and distribution being key. This will also apply to (as Ilford has done) a mail order processing and scanning system. "...we do the rest" is a slogan in need of resurrecting.
For cameras, it's not Instamatic or Hawkeyes that are the need. It's higher quality, mid-priced stuff using decent glass, because a film camera will be a second (or third to the smartphone) camera for the enthusiast; a sidebar to their main digital shooter. Marketing will be nostalgia and heritage, and, ironically, convenience (there's a certain curse in having your PC as your darkroom). There will need to be PDAF autofocus in the mix, especially as high developing costs require less missed shots to avoid consumer disappointment. Any partnering is really a subsidy by the film manufacturer to the digital body, shutter, and lens maker. Will that premium passed along to the consumer be acceptable? Hard to say.
Well, that statement is not exactly true. Leica, Voigtlander and Zeiss all market high-quality film rangefinder cameras. There are low-end film SLR's from Vivitar and Cosina/Voigtlander, Hasselblafd makes a medium-format SLR with an available film back. The current incarnation of Roelli sells medium-format film cameras. There are a wealth of large-format cameras from makers all over the world. One can still get disposable cameras preloaded with C-41 film.
Originally Posted by CGW
Any corporate entity buying the film assets will pretty much need to also buy those cameras and give them away free to spur sales of film. I am the grateful recipient of some of those bargain bin SLR's (at Henry's downtown T.O....right?) and they are fantastic. But you are right; they do not sell side-by-side with a wall of digital products. Where they are is the wrong sales channel for anyone who values analog film. and somewhere in that same store is likely a new analog Leica and $20,000 worth of lenses.
Originally Posted by CGW
As someone who recently got back into film after the better part of a decade away, the biggest impediment is developing, printing, and scanning. Ilford seems to have clicked into that gap with their mail order service because the home darkroom hobby market is far too small to sustain industrial emulsion production. We all want Kodaks' crow jewels to survive, but they need more elements to do so than just some buyer to keep the factory churning out Tri-X and Portra. All of Kodak's documents demonstrate is a continuous downhill slide in film demand, at 10%+ per annum, with more than 90% of the historic high point gone within the last decade. Any solution for analog roll and cartridge film survival will require a whole circle of products.
Let's say it's true enough. What about Canon/Nikon/Pentax/Minolta(oops, eaten by Konica, then Sony), Olympus? You know, the stuff that filled the shelves in 2000 that's nowhere to be seen now except on eBay, swap meets, Craigslist, and around/on our necks and shoulders. Leicas, Hassies, Rolleis and LF cameras weren't and aren't mass market. Yup, dollar stores are the "go-to" for new film cameras--got 10 Kodak flash disposables for my New Year's party for <20 bucks!
Originally Posted by PHOTOTONE
I'm so glad to see CGW and Aristophanes play their single "film is dying" tune *again*. How are you so sure that demand for photographic film is in free fall right now? Does ANYONE know anyone who shoots lots of film but will go digital real soon now? Funny, I see a lot more people going the opposite way right now ... Who in his right mind would spend 1$ on an old crappy P&S if you can get a decent one for less than film&dev costs in a year of moderate shooting? The reason few new film cameras are made is because there is a prolific used camera market. Film cameras used to last for 20+ years and were exchanged for digital cameras well before they were to break down, so the used market is flooded and will stay that way for a while.
For ten years people have predicted the imminent death of film, and I can still get color film, B&W film, chems and paper. As I said before, you remind me more of Clippy than Cassandra if you screamed about the downfall of Troy for ten straight years before it eventually happened.
Trying to be the best of whatever I am, even if what I am is no good.