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  1. #21

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    Quote Originally Posted by tomalophicon View Post
    Film has got a LOOOONG future. In my opinion, if recording tape is still being produced today, then we have heaps and heaps of time left with film.
    In fact, I saw blank audio cassette tapes in my supermarket!
    I hope you're right, of course...and I'm sure that B&W will still be available for many years. I'm not so optimistic about color film, particularly transparency and the availability of reasonable quick and affordable processing for E6.

    (And I'm not sure that recording tape and cassettes are a totally comparable product...thin film coating on plastic, etc., is a mature technology and relatively simple(thinking of sticky tape, etc.!), but photo film demands further complex stages in the production of the different types and speeds of emulsions, plus the specialist chemicals needed, coating and cutting in a controlled dark environment, and all the complications of packing and distribution to a small market.)

    I remember also when there was a vast range of cassette tapes to suit every need...the only ones now seem to be the basic ferric setting of just one length...

  2. #22
    CGW
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    Quote Originally Posted by railwayman3 View Post
    I hope you're right, of course...and I'm sure that B&W will still be available for many years. I'm not so optimistic about color film, particularly transparency and the availability of reasonable quick and affordable processing for E6.

    (And I'm not sure that recording tape and cassettes are a totally comparable product...thin film coating on plastic, etc., is a mature technology and relatively simple(thinking of sticky tape, etc.!), but photo film demands further complex stages in the production of the different types and speeds of emulsions, plus the specialist chemicals needed, coating and cutting in a controlled dark environment, and all the complications of packing and distribution to a small market.)

    I remember also when there was a vast range of cassette tapes to suit every need...the only ones now seem to be the basic ferric setting of just one length...
    I can understand the widespread denial here but film has been circling the drain for a decade and the spin is dizzying now. Crappy E6 service used to be easy to find around Toronto; now any type of E6 service, especially quality work, is restricted to a couple, maybe 1 lab. Consumer film has all but vanished aside from a few forlorn rolls of Fuji Superia 400. Cheap 35mm C41 processing is dead.There's insufficient demand to prompt pro photo stores to stock much more than what fits inside a small bar fridge.

    There's no apparent evidence to suggest b&w has a long-term future--wishful thinking notwithstanding. Harmon/Ilford will probably be the last man standing in b&w but only if demand holds and grows. Some miracle may save Kodak's film production but its dealer/consumer unfriendliness will have to shift to an embrace of a small niche market that loves its products. Who knows?

  3. #23

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    Kodak has some issues with the direction they have chosen--- from a film/camera company to a printer company. There are many divisions within Kodak that are still profitable, among them is the film and chemical groups. A restructuring of Kodak that may spin off these parts for us, users of the film and chemistry from Kodak would be the best thing. Kodak also possesses a patent portfolio worth an estimated 3 billion dollars. Spinning this off and selling it is going to produce a one time cash infusion that can keep the rest of the company going through any restructuring--- Just because a company goes through bankruptcy does not mean the products it sells are not going to be available.

    Remember For Kodak, the film is the part that WON'T be going away...
    * Just because your eyes are closed, doesn't mean the lights in the darkroom are off. *
    * When the film you put in the camera is worth more than the camera you put the film in... *
    * When I started using 8x10, it amazed me how many shots were close to the car. *

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Searust View Post
    Kodak has some issues with the direction they have chosen--- from a film/camera company to a printer company. There are many divisions within Kodak that are still profitable, among them is the film and chemical groups. A restructuring of Kodak that may spin off these parts for us, users of the film and chemistry from Kodak would be the best thing. Kodak also possesses a patent portfolio worth an estimated 3 billion dollars. Spinning this off and selling it is going to produce a one time cash infusion that can keep the rest of the company going through any restructuring--- Just because a company goes through bankruptcy does not mean the products it sells are not going to be available.

    Remember For Kodak, the film is the part that WON'T be going away...
    Actually, film *is* the segment that may go away. The scale of industrial production may not meet the hobbyist, niche market demand, especially if almost no new film cameras are being manufactured. Over-priced Lomo stuff is predicated on cheap film and processing.

    The real salvation for Kodak film will be Hollywood. We get the cutting room floor bits. As much as we express concern, a vast number of directors, producers, and cinematographers are probably Reilly concerned. No one knows where the bottom of the film market is making even bankruptcy a problem. That's why the Board emphasizes digital; it has to. But home-based printing has been obviates by Flickr/Facebook. Selling patents to substitute for revenues from that declining market is not prudent. No wonder the stock is tanking.

    I'm not even sure B&W can survive. The whole system of manufacture relies on economies of scale industry-wide. It could reach a point where there is such reduced demand that key inputs rise on price leading to a vicious circle of further decline. $25/roll of 135 HP5 could be the result. RC and SG paper 4x today's prices? No parts for any enlargers? That's a very real outcome.

    As with the worldwide economy, the issue is one of demand. There are ways of solidifying demand, but not from Kodak looking backwards while stumbling forward.

  5. #25
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    Bad news...but it was not the digital revolution -although Kodak made the wrong decisions there- it was most likely stupid management that caused all this. Digi came up....but then downsizing a top heavy management layer is well nigh impossible. It is the blight of our world today. A pity Kodak is not a bank as in that case the tax payer would have been forced to pay for its shaky survival. Let's buy our film and chemicals and paper from companies that know the present-day market and are interested in their products and in their customers.

    Hans
    Digital is best taken with a grain of silver.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by clogz View Post
    Bad news...but it was not the digital revolution -although Kodak made the wrong decisions there- it was most likely stupid management that caused all this. Digi came up....but then downsizing a top heavy management layer is well nigh impossible. It is the blight of our world today. A pity Kodak is not a bank as in that case the tax payer would have been forced to pay for its shaky survival. Let's buy our film and chemicals and paper from companies that know the present-day market and are interested in their products and in their customers.

    Hans
    With respect, you should look at film sales since 2000 and rethink this. Management/marketing/strategic blunders aside, digital imaging inflicted lasting pain at Kodak. "Companies that know the present-day market" may well decide to abandon it when it comes to film and chemical sales. Sorry but wishful thinking won't change the damage done in the past decade.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aristophanes View Post
    Actually, film *is* the segment that may go away.
    Actually film is one of the areas in which Kodak makes money. While the Kodak board is perhaps the worst corporate board in the known world, if they were to drop one of the products that actually brought money into the company they would deserve an evil fate.
    * Just because your eyes are closed, doesn't mean the lights in the darkroom are off. *
    * When the film you put in the camera is worth more than the camera you put the film in... *
    * When I started using 8x10, it amazed me how many shots were close to the car. *

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Searust View Post
    Actually film is one of the areas in which Kodak makes money. While the Kodak board is perhaps the worst corporate board in the known world, if they were to drop one of the products that actually brought money into the company they would deserve an evil fate.
    We don't know that. How Kodak internally cost-shifts and subsidizes is referenced in analyst concerns. What we do know is that Kodak and morin picture film is the make or break, and that cinema is increasingly digital. That's not to say inevitable as the entrenched industry has some advantages.

    Still, it is hard to manage any company that loses 90% of it's core biz in a decade. The problem with Kodak is not the choice to be a digital player, but the execution. If there is an asset sale the film unit may not survive outside of a comprehensive Kodak environment of retained and sustained technical knowledge and new capital. Without new capital, they may be forced to shut down film. I am right now involved in an industrial deleverage where a very profitable and newly invested product line is dragged down by another product line so much so that both are likely to perish because of a lac of capital. All the engineers are already leaving the ship. It's very sad.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Searust View Post
    Kodak has some issues with the direction they have chosen--- from a film/camera company to a printer company. There are many divisions within Kodak that are still profitable, among them is the film and chemical groups. A restructuring of Kodak that may spin off these parts for us, users of the film and chemistry from Kodak would be the best thing. Kodak also possesses a patent portfolio worth an estimated 3 billion dollars. Spinning this off and selling it is going to produce a one time cash infusion that can keep the rest of the company going through any restructuring--- Just because a company goes through bankruptcy does not mean the products it sells are not going to be available.

    Remember For Kodak, the film is the part that WON'T be going away...
    Apparently Kodak should have long ago ceded the printer market to Epson and focused on their strengths - film, chemistry and paper and continued their digital sensor and camera technology work.

    Instead, it appears that they became obsessed with unseating Epson as the printer king and continued to head butt a brick wall. Not a smart move.

    Kodak is now paying for their poor decision making. Poor decision making pretty much equals poor management, or lack of strategic vision and planning at the very minimum.

    Going to war with a company who is the world leader in a given market segment in an attempt to steal a chunk of their cash cow looks to be a fool's errand. Common sense should tell a corporation to follow the money - their own money, not another company's money.

    JMHO.
    Last edited by lensworker; 10-04-2011 at 03:36 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    "My idea of a good life is that I wake up in the morning, go out and look around and make four rolls of film a day." - Josef Koudelka

    "There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are." - Ernst Haas

    "Nothing happens when you sit at home. I always make it a point to carry a camera with me at all times…I just shoot at what interests me at that moment." – Elliott Erwitt

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by lensworker View Post
    Apparently Kodak should have long ago ceded the printer market to Epson and focused on their strengths - film, chemistry and paper and continued their digital sensor and camera technology work.

    Instead, it appears that they became obsessed with unseating Epson as the printer king and continued to head butt a brick wall. Not a smart move.

    Kodak is now paying for their poor decision making. Poor decision making pretty much equals poor management, or lack of strategic vision and planning at the very minimum.

    Going to war with a company who is the world leader in a given market segment in an attempt to steal a chunk of their cash cow looks to be a fool's errand. Common sense should tell a corporation to follow the money - their own money, not another company's money.

    JMHO.
    But that's the problem.

    Their shareholder value was tied up in a revenue stream from film that had been obliterated. Sensors are now dominated by CMOS and by electronics companies: Sony, Canon, Samsung, and Panasonic. Kodak clings to some CCD processes, but with tiny volume. Public companies and sometimes their entire product line can disappear along with share prices.

    Film might be profitable if it avoids competition with digital, but the real issue is investor capital. It's vanishing. When it goes, the expertise goes, the technical knowledge, etc. One can hardly blame the management for going digital as that's where the consumer went and 99.99% of the market. Kodak customers overwhelmingly have gone digital. Even for B&W survival of mass manufactured film depends on end product demand. This demand can, in the short term, be met through legacy cameras, but with no new film cameras being made en masse, who will recapitalize a film factory? Hollywood/Bollywood?

    I scan tech portfolios looking for any interest in film and camera manufacture and there is no investment interest anywhere. No new cameras in volume = no new film in volume.

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