Future of Qualex (Kodak) Labs?

Discussion in 'Kodak' started by Jeremy, Jul 20, 2005.

  1. Jeremy

    Jeremy Guest

    If consumer film sales have dropped more rapidly than Kodak had
    projected, and if Kodak is laying off 10,000 people, 7,000 of which are
    in the manufacturing end, what must the prospects be for Kodak's film
    processing business? If they're selling less film, surely they must be
    doing less processing.

    I wonder how long before they announce some consolidation of their labs?

    (From today's New York Times: "Eastman Kodak said today it would lay off
    up to 10,000 more people because its film business was declining much
    faster than the company had anticipated.

    About 7,000 of the cuts will come in the manufacturing operations.")
    Jeremy, Jul 20, 2005
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  2. Jeremy

    Ron Todd Guest

    FWIW, you really should net the layoffs against the employment of the
    off shore subcontractors to get a picture of their market's current
    Ron Todd, Jul 20, 2005
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  3. Jeremy

    Gordon Moat Guest

    This has more to do with making prints, something which can be done with
    the same gear using a digital image source. Five years ago, the hope of the
    digital imaging businesses was that people would transition and still be
    making prints. The reality is that less than 1/3 of digital camera users
    make any prints.
    Qualex is more a reflection of labs buying Kodak chemicals, and using Kodak
    controls. With the low cost minilabs, AGFA made some gains in market share
    in some areas, but Fuji made the biggest impact in photofinishing. I
    noticed that Target recently switched from Kodak lab gear to Fuji, which
    must be a huge contract. If Kodak give up on photofinishing, I am sure it
    would make Fuji very happy. People do print images, even from digital, but
    I think there may be less images being printed than five years ago (PMAI
    don't have much in statistics for this aspect).
    I don't think that should be too surprising. If they can successfully get
    films made by Lucky Film in China, in whom they own a large controlling
    interest, then why stick with higher costs in the US?
    Gordon Moat, Jul 20, 2005
  4. Jeremy

    ian lincoln Guest

    'Kodak don't make film for anybody else. ' I'm sure they advertised that
    at one point. Agfa are jessops main own brand supplier. Though i think the
    film structure isn't the newest fine grain but a cheaper older traditional
    type. Most retailers who have built in labs have been pushing digital
    printing hard. For the average punter this is much cheaper. We are talking
    quantities of 50 at 10p a go. Thats cheaper than the film alternative. Its
    also a hellava lot cheaper than doing at home on an inkjet. AT least in the
    6x4 and 5x7 dept. If you go up to 10x12 its a different matter but thats
    not a mass market area. I've seen kodaks instant kiosks in every boots
    store and many other smaller independant shops. These dye sub machines are
    alot more profitable. 30p per print regardless of quantity but almost

    Kodaks main labs in england closed in feb. Long before their existing
    contracts expired. Not profitable to continue. A lot of smaller firms are
    glad to pick up the slack and more and more online printing services are
    springing up at around the 10p per print level.
    ian lincoln, Jul 20, 2005
  5. Jeremy

    Jeremy Guest

    But, unlike film, the processing still must be done fairly close to the
    customer's location. Otherwise it would take too long to get the
    processed film back. So I think that this is one operation that cannot
    be sent offshore at this time.

    Kodak's digital subsidiary recently announced that they were now able to
    return customer's online printing jobs within 2 days, rather than the
    one week that Ofoto had previously been averaging. I believe that Kodak
    may have changed from using one Ofoto location, in California, to having
    the prints made by Qualex labs located closer to the customer. It would
    be very easy for Kodak to distribute the jobs to their lab closest to
    the customer, because the image files come to them over the Internet.
    There is nothing to physically "move."

    When I heard about this, I thought it was good for Qualex, as they would
    be receiving more work from digital to offset the losses from the film
    side. But now that Kodak is trying to tighten their belst, I wonder if
    they will view these labs as not being worth the trouble for them. It
    is primarily low-dollar consumer orders. Perhaps Kodak will just handle
    the kiosk sales to third-parties like pharmacies, and let *them* provide
    the personnel and the square footage. Kodak can derive revenues from
    the same of consumables, and probably come out ahead.

    The one aspect of this that has surprised me is the high percentage of
    photographers that do their own printing. I prefer "real" photo prints
    and have always used online printers. But apparently the market for
    online services is not faring too well in competition with inkjet

    These are strange times.
    Jeremy, Jul 20, 2005
  6. Jeremy

    Gordon Moat Guest

    It was my understanding that there are more independent labs than fully owned
    by Kodak or Fuji. The equipment might be sold by Kodak or Fuji (or others),
    but the only recurring sales are from paper and chemicals. Both paper and
    chemicals can be shipped. Kodak certified does not mean Kodak owned.
    Qualex is labs who have agreed to use Kodak chemicals, not labs owned by
    Sure, co-operative agreements, perhaps with a break on some chemical and paper
    Last I saw, printing of any images (film or digital) has been down since late
    2001. It is only slightly increased lately, but still below pre-2001 levels.
    I think you miss the detail that Kodak only sells them chemicals and paper. I
    am sure that AGFA and Fuji would gladly take up the labs orders for those
    supplies. In fact, both of them have gained market share away from Kodak in
    As I understood this, the situation is already this way. I do not know of any
    labs owned by Kodak.
    Inkjet vendors are not doing that well. Paper suppliers for inkjet usage are
    doing a little better, but competition is high.
    A little, though I think more confusing due to statements that make little
    sense. These statements try to influence opinions and perceptions, but the
    real numbers the SEC requires reported do not back up the statements . . .
    very strange.
    Gordon Moat, Jul 21, 2005
  7. Jeremy

    Mike Guest

    My local Target just got brand new Kodak/Noritsu equipment. $3.99 gets me
    a developed roll of 35mm and a CD of decent scans to boot. The scans are
    far better than what I got with a Fuji Frontier processor
    Mike, Jul 21, 2005
  8. Jeremy

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Interesting . . . . maybe Target does not have a national contract for
    photofinishing. The three Target stores in my area are all Fuji, though they
    still have at least one Kodak kiosk do it yourself thing at each store.
    Gordon Moat, Jul 21, 2005
  9. Jeremy

    Jeremy Guest

    I thought that Kodak had bought back their photofinishing business? I
    am surprised to learn that Qualex is not a Kodak subsidiary.
    Jeremy, Jul 21, 2005
  10. Jeremy

    Gordon Moat Guest

    There was a lab owner recently who posted to the film&labs news group. He
    explained the Qualex side of the business. Regardless, I think they have far more
    places that function as labs and just buy their equipment and chemicals from
    Kodak. The latest printing gear from them can give really nice results, so not a
    bad choice for labs.
    Gordon Moat, Jul 21, 2005
  11. Jeremy

    Mycroft Guest

    There was a lab owner recently who posted to the film&labs news group. He
    As I understood it, Qualex were not Kodak owned and Kodalux were. And
    Qualex quality varies widely by location. I would not recommend the
    Qualex lab in Orlando to an enemy, let alone a friend.
    Mycroft, Jul 22, 2005
  12. Jeremy

    Tom Reese Guest

    They're already consolidated their labs to some extent. They closed the
    slide processing plant in Fairlawn NJ last year. I'm strictly a slide
    shooter and I'm wondering how much longer I'll be able to:

    buy slide film
    buy mailers
    use the mailers I already have
    get the film processed anywhere

    I have a stockpile of about 200 rolls of film and 120 mailers. I hope
    they don't close their labs before I use all the mailers.

    I really don't want to get into darkroom work. I tried it a long time
    ago and decided it really wasn't for me.

    Tom Reese
    Tom Reese, Jul 23, 2005
  13. I think slide film and processing will be around for a long time....It is
    one thing that the digital revolution hasn't been really good at replacing.
    The labs will probably become a lot fewer in number, but I'm told that it
    isn't that hard to process your own slide film....You don't need an
    enlarger, and all you really need are the chemicals and good temperature
    control. So if it comes down to that, you can do it yourself as long as film
    is available.
    William Graham, Jul 23, 2005
  14. Jeremy

    Father Kodak Guest

    Kodachrome in particular is what I worry about.
    Uh, E6 or K14?

    Last I heard, there are three labs in the world that still do K14.
    Father Kodak, Jul 23, 2005
  15. Jeremy

    Norm Dresner Guest

    The list is at
    and it says that it was last updated almost a year ago (Nov 2004)

    Norm Dresner, Jul 24, 2005
  16. Jeremy

    Father Kodak Guest

    This guy has some interesting stuff on his site. I only wished that
    the K14 lab list included some indication of how long Kodak has
    committed to keeping the lab open.

    Interesting that the US lab is not Kodak.
    Father Kodak, Jul 24, 2005
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