There's also the profit margin, which is very much valid also in software/services business.
The author of the very fine article did not mention another consideration -- the billions of dollars Kodak had invested in wet lab facilities. There was a Kodak lab in Palo Alto California that was one mile square. How much money did Kodak have invested in the late, lamented Kodachrome, manufacturing and processing?
If Kodak could make a penny or two from every digital image that is spewed out a cross the globe, and every digital image that posted on the Internet, they would really be filthy rich.
But I am not worried. Analog photography is becoming a niche, a subset in the photographic arts and after the fall to its own natural level many companies will see an opening to market some fine products. Fine film cameras are going up in price these days.
It's actually sad. And interesting.
Originally Posted by snapguy
Sad how Kodak totally missed it wasn't a chemistry company but rather memory storage company. Had they understood that, they would now have 1 mile square cloud server facilities, and with a better vision they could easily be what Apple is today (they could probably easily buy Apple with Steve Jobs in 80s, and we could have a Kodak phone today).
But it's not just Kodak. It's also Nikon, Canon and others. These guys are in big trouble. Revenues, profits, forecast, all are pointing down. They jumped on the digital bandwagon and cut Kodak out of the game. Yaay, they suddenly have the complete control. Sell the same bodies they were selling 20 years ago to the same market - but this time digital. No photographic innovation at all. At all!!!
Example, Canon EOS 5 film vs EOS 5D Mk III:
Max shutter speed: the same, 1/8000
Flash sync: the same, 1/200
FPS: 5 (film) vs 6 (digi)
Eye focus: Yes (film) vs No (digi)
AF assist: Built in (film) vs External flash only (digi)
DEP mode: Yes (film) vs No (digi)
Huh, I mean, really? Absolutely no progress, no innovation. Just pixels, pixels, pixels. Yeah sure, it has live view. So does Lubitel. It has video. I don't care, I'm not into motion pictures.
Anyway, suddenly people realised their phones are making pretty good photos. In fact, I much rather use phone than (D)SLR with a kit lens. Again, a mistake. They sell the crappy lenses which really don't differentiate the kit from the phone - other than optical zoom capability. My god. Just ship the camera with 50 f1.8 lens and you can beat the phone - shallow DOF is modern and cool. With the cheap lens people can suddenly make nice family photos. How can you miss this?? Then again, this gap can probably be closed with some clever software algorithms and some new hardware. I'm sure we'll soon have phone cameras capable of detecting distance and produce shallow DOF in software.
At the same time, camera manufacturers have been ignoring resurrection of film. Holga movement is there. Hipsters like to use something which is a bit old school. And more importantly: if you take film photos, you can be pretty sure they are private - you don't need to digitalise them. It's a gamble, but somebody could just buy kodak and start going this way.
The digital market as they knew it is not there anymore, and they desperately need new ideas. Or they will follow Kodak's steps pretty soon.
Actually from what i've seen, most people dont even use cameras anymore. They have this weird looking flat thing that they talk into. This friend of the family i talked to during the one of the holiday gatherings argued that it was just as good as a camera but the lens on that thing was microscopic...so i laughed...he seemed a little peeved...he seemed to really like that flat thingy, he kept poking at it all the time with his thumbs
Last edited by Alexis M; 01-06-2014 at 08:41 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I think you state 'Analog is becoming a niche, a subset in the photographic arts'
The first bit is fine, I've operated in a niche for 25 years + ie monochrome photography as a
proportion of all photography, the second part I would subtly restate
'analog is the photographic art'
What do I mean ? All photography is great and fun and each to his own, I really think a photograph taken on any medium has value.
Where analog photography, be it Colour or Mono or any of the alt processes elevates the work ( I will not even use the word 'art' but to me it always will be ) is absolutely simple, YOU PRINT, you produce a single piece of unrepeatable work that no one can exactly duplicate and that will continue to exist
long after you do.
To me, to make a great photograph and not to print it is like making a great meal...... and not eating it......
Simon ILFORD Photo / HARMAN technology Limited :
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Bravo Simon. You have said it very well.
I would like to add that at the time Kodak did move towards digital, Mr. Perez was driving the entry into home printing which he believed was the future of digital. His model was invalid and the push by Kodak was a failure. His vision did have merit but people did not want printers. They used "cloud" storage.
Ah yes, storage in "the cloud." Here are the problems with "cloud" storage.
- I currently pay a monthly bill just to have access to the internet. If all my photos are stored on "the cloud" and nowhere else, if I fail to pay the Internet bill, I lose access to my photos.
- There's a periodic (monthly? yearly?) bill I have to pay to have the cloud storage. If I fail to pay the bill, I lose access to my photos. After some time of not paying the bill, chances are my photos will be erased. This one can be mitigated somewhat by local storage, but again that has to be updated periodically (hard drives typically last around 5 years or so?) When I die, who is going to want to pay the monthly bill just to maintain access to the photos stored in the cloud?
This is all mitigated by having physical copies of the photos. Slides can be viewed with a light source and a lens, either to magnify them or project them. Prints, while IMHO not as vibrant as slides, can be viewed with nothing more than the human eye. Storage is cheap - store them in slide trays, slide boxes, photo albums, or even shoe boxes.
Simon and PE, you said it very well.
Shoot more film.
There are eight ways to put a slide into a projector tray. Seven of them are wrong.
At the time we were developing the first digital camera (around 1990) company management was concerned about the margins of electronic equipment. Having come from the neg/pos area, I was convinced there was a consumer market for prints from digital files that would make money. Kodak owned a company that was a leader in ink jet technology, but the decision makers were so fixated on thermal dye sub printing I couldn't generate any interest in consumer ink jet. A few years later, Epson owned that market. By the time Perez wanted to get into that market, Epson and HP had it sewed up.
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
Don't forget Canon.
Anyhow, Perez forged ahead with his plans in the face of the opposition. In fact, some HP people did not thing Perez was high caliber enough to run a company like EK. IDK. Just hearsay.
I had access to the biggest market research that you normally have to pay thousands per document to get at. Most healthy companies that do well here have a profit margin of 10% of revenue.