And why did you decide to pass it along?
Originally Posted by tomalophicon
GCW - your scale of history seems extremely brief. When were you born? Kodak started losing sales
of black and white papers before "digital" was even part of the daily vocabulary, even though they once controlled a sizable piece of the pie. It became just another relatively neglected "me too"
division they didn't have the heart to keep on top of. The business didn't disappear, it just went elsewhere, to manufacturers who wanted that particular business more than they did. Do that too many times, and people start losing faith in you. Like right now - they come out with a home run
film like TMY-2 but are only willing to package the sheets in unrealistic quantities. What percent of
potential customers did that one mistake lose? Did anyone even ask photographers what they want
went that kind of decision was made?
Only because I prefer SLRs.
Originally Posted by michaelbsc
Wow, that was a couple of hours of my life....I have no clue why I didn't keep up with this thread. There certainly are many, many good points made over the thread up to this point. It certainly is a shame that Kodak isn't the company it once was.
I have to tell you though, my two cents on Kodak today is.....it still doesn't really know how to go forward. Let me explain. One of the reasons I quickly embraced film (again) after being dissappointed with the "crapy" digital cameras of the late 90's and early 2000's was Kodak Porta. Got some and threw it in a malfunctioning Minolta XE-7 I bought in "77 at college......this was around 2007 or 2008, can't remember for sure, wasn't taking many pictures around that time because all you could get out of the digital cameras were crap, so why bother, but for some reason I wanted to see if film would still work. Porta ended that, I believe it was then I caught the GAS virus.
Soon afterward in 2009, a little kid that didn't have a choice in life got dropped at my door step and suddenly there was a need to take pictures......and lots of them. Sent everything to the lab, got the CD's, tweaked what need to be tweaked, then printed them (inkjet) or sent via email to family. Then I discovered Kodak's line of then 5+ year old dye-sub printers......the one's that are in those Kodak KIOSKs you see at photo places and such. Mananged to get my first one for $300 used from a computer type liquidator. Looked it up, it was around $2,500 brand new. Price point sound like what has happened to medium format equipment? My only problem is the lab. I have to go there to process and scan because using the Epson V500 is a pain (I did get better than lab scan results from it).
Please Kodak, make it so I can room temperature develop color and B&W film along with color slide film using a Kodak developed developing equipment system that is easy to use and consistent. Then, allow me to use my Kodak film scanner that can take 35mm and 120mm film and allow me to either fix the pimples or quickly print my picture to my Kodak dye-sub printer (that uses real Kodak paper by the way). I think a real dark room is out for most of us, which is a shame. I remember the magic of the picture appearing on the photographic paper......nothing else like it.
Wait, guess I better wake up to reality. Before I go, I will tell you that I love all my film cameras, and the reality of iPhone pictures is amazing, but EVERY mother I have ever met is amazed when I can take that picture of their kid either from their iPhone and put that picture on "real" photographic paper that they can put on their refrigerator in just a few moments. That Kodak dye-sub printer makes me realize just what Kodak was all about in the beginning and pisses me off too, because the great American company it once was is no longer. Why can't everyone else enjoy photography as much as we all do?
I am starting to develop my own film, so perhaps I will continue to drag more people into this arena of fim magic. People just don't get film...I will tell you on another photography forum I was asking about some techniques for using some new studio flashes I just got for taking Christmas tree photos.......I mentioned I was going to use a digital SLR and at least one film camera. Someone asked why film? I didn't want to explain once you see the pictures taken from a 6x6 or 6x7 or 6x9 medium format camera(sorry, don't have the 4x5 yet) you would know why......we all do, it's a shame they don't, but that's good enough for me for now.
Nikon F5, Nikon F4S, Nikon FA, Nikon FE, Nikon N90, Nikon N80, Nikon N75, Mamiya 645 Pro, Mamiya Press Super 23, Yashica Lynx 14e, Yashica Electro GSN, Yashica 124G, Yashica D
You seem to have blacked out sometime around 2000. B&W papers weren't selling. That's why they gave up on that market, not because of management ineptitude. Ilford went broke. Remember? So did Agfa. Remember? KOdak killed their small batch E6 kits. Why? Not selling. You fill in the rest...
Originally Posted by DREW WILEY
Demand has collapsed for most of their film products. I love 'em too and hope they continue to service what's left of the market. They obviously have a sense of humor--if nothing else--to produce Portra 400 and TMY-2 in so many sizes. Buy all you can, shoot all you can. We're drinking up the champagne as the Titanic goes down.
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Ilford went down for wholly different reasons than lack of demand. Once the brand was split (color vs
b&w), each half has been successful. Forte went down due to bad investments, not lack of demand.
And at least around here, Kodak lost all their big volume lab mural business (black and white that is) to
Forte because the papers were not only better priced, but way better performing. Ironically, what tipped
some of my friends in that business into bankruptcy was the obscene service contracts and debts incurred with Kodak, including their own early digital offerings. That was well before it was possible to
get a high-quality large black and white inkjet print. At one point Kodak tried marketing a high-quality
graded paper to compete with Galerie and Seagull G. It varied terribly from batch to batch and I quickly
gave up on it. Just one example of how they'd wiggle a little toe in the water than change their mind.
You either get solidly into a segment of the market or you avoid it. Making a habit from one decade to
the next of being half-hearted is a guarantee of customer mistrust. I'm not too worried about the fate
of black and white film or paper because there are other options; but for color film it would pretty hard
to replace the role of Kodak.
There was a major shift in the way materials were bought by large chains in the early 2000's that saw a tier of the distribution chain shrink enormously. Companies had moved to the supermarket model of buying in at the last moment from the manufactuers. In the photographic industry that resulted in a very large drop in out pu from the factory gates which wasn't in step with actual smaller decline in retail sales.
In the case of Kodak they also re-organised their own supply chain, in the UK closing their own department and contracting a third party who soon went into liquidation. Ironically it's now the ex Kodak employees who knew the market who now distribute for Kodak in the UK
My own experiences when travelling were that Kodak materials other than consumer C41 were too difficult to find whereas Ilford and suprisingly Foma materials were everywhere (South America, Turkey, Greece etc). As a consequence I switched back to Ilford films after 20n years of using Tmax.
I have to agree with Drew, in the UK market Kodak B&W papers were never particularly popular, they changed the products too often and they were just not as good as Ilford, Agfa, Forte, Kentmere etc.
The reality is that over the years Kodak have made a lot of bad decisions and investments but they were a very cash rich company and it didn't really affect their balance sheet. But in recent years it's just poor management people at the helm with the wrong vision of the future.
There is a positive side Kodak's emulsion division is still at the cutting edge of film technology and they have introduced new (updated) films in recent years.