Kodak-- No further longterm investment in film

Discussion in 'Kodak' started by Gordon Moat, Sep 25, 2003.

  1. It would be noticeable, if it was available. So what you're saying is that,
    instead of the present 60 line pairs current, they could go to 600??
    Skip Middleton, Sep 30, 2003
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  2. Gordon Moat

    Eric Gisin Guest

    | >
    | > I can buy cartridges for my 10 year old deskjet, but for most printers
    that is
    | > not the case. It's not just film, it's also processing and those machines
    | > be too expensive to maintain in 5 years.
    | Most computer printers are designed so that they do not accept
    | cartridges made by competitors and the cartridges do not fit
    | competing printers. One of the best features of the 135 film
    | magazine is that it was an open standard from the start.
    | It was designed to fit already existing Leica and Contax cameras
    | as well as the Kodak Retina cameras with which it was introduced.
    | As long as someone is making photographic film of any sort, there
    | will be 135 film magazines available.
    Irrelevent. Film dies when the consumer market dies.

    | The only commonly used film which actually requires complex
    | machinery to process is Kodachrome, all others can be processed
    | on amateur equipment.
    No, you missed the point. Once film usage drops by a quarter, nobody will want
    to process it. You won't able to get prints for 5, 10, or even 20$ per roll.
    | >
    | > | That is not very likely in the near future either. Film
    | > | cameras are inherently cheaper to make than digital cameras,
    | > | and so there is likely to be continued demand for them and
    | > | thus continued profits in making them.
    | > |
    | > No, digital will be cheaper than 35mm. Just look at auto fuel systems,
    | > throttle body fuel injection is mechanically simpler than a decent
    | > carburator, so it is cheaper as well as more efficient.
    | I'm no expert on digital cameras, but it seems to me that they need
    | most of the ingredients of a film camera plus a lot of extra
    | electronics. The cost of the sensor and electronics is going to
    | have to go down a lot before it is cheaper than a film advance
    | mechanism.
    The cost of electronics is already almost nothing, a single chip. The only
    expensive part is the 3x4 mm sensor. I doubt it costs over 10 bux today.

    Optical zoom costs a lot, but digital can replace it as resolution increases.
    Eric Gisin, Sep 30, 2003
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  3. Gordon Moat

    Mxsmanic Guest

    The technology that Agfa has could increase sensitivity by a factor of
    ten with no increase in grain or loss of resolution; or, conversely, it
    could diminish grain and increase resolution by a factor of ten with no
    loss of sensitivity. As I recall, it involved chemical treatment of the
    silver compounds to lower their minimum threshold of conversion when
    exposed to light (by inhibiting reconversion). I haven't heard about it
    much any time recently, though, so perhaps they are just sitting on it.
    Mxsmanic, Sep 30, 2003
  4. Gordon Moat

    pioe(rmv) Guest

    Those who are saving and storing their images as lossy JPEG only are
    throwing away much of the potential of what their images could have been.

    If you are concerned with quality, you scan or record in RAW and TIFF
    and save in TIFF. With these master files one can convert to whatever
    one wants in the future, knowing that the original has its full quality.

    Per Inge Oestmoen
    pioe(rmv), Sep 30, 2003
  5. Indeed. "Milk the cow". You can't do that unless you at least keep the cow
    alive and in good health.
    All reports of Kodak film's demise are very, very premature. In fact Kodak
    *needs* film to be able to invest the way they hope will bring them market
    leadership again.
    The report says they will no longer invest in film (the word i see in the
    report in this context is "major", not "longterm".). That's still a far cry
    from "film is dead", or even a "second class citizen".
    How about this interpretation: film is doing well; needs no further major
    investment after last years restructuring; though undeniably in decline.
    Kodak's proposing to use the results of film's well-being to fund a shift in
    emphasis, so that new (previously lost) markets can start bringing in money

    Even in the long term projection Carp presented, film plays a major role in
    Kodak's well being. In their projected future, the way Kodak presented it,
    "film is dead" means "Kodak is dead". So no need to roll out the
    "doom-parade" on the basis of this news.
    Q.G. de Bakker, Sep 30, 2003
  6. Gordon Moat

    T P Guest

    No, it does not.

    The report says Kodak will no longer invest R&D funds in *consumer*
    film. There is no suggestion that Kodak's R&D investment in
    professional and specialist films is being discontinued.
    T P, Sep 30, 2003
  7. Gordon Moat

    B.Rumary Guest

    "Most people"? And just how many camera owners have a film scanners?
    Probably less than 1%; which is why the cost of them has not dropped
    anything like as much as flatbed scanners. The trouble with most of your
    arguments is that you are making the common mistake of thinking "everyone"
    is like you. I suggest that, as a dedicated amateur or "semi-professional",
    you represent part of a tiny minority of the photographic products market.

    Brian Rumary, England

    B.Rumary, Sep 30, 2003
  8. Yup... They have it sitting on the shelf right next to the 100 miles per
    gallon carburetor...
    Dennis O'Connor, Sep 30, 2003
  9. Gordon Moat

    Alan Browne Guest

    The film business, even if depressed, remains a high volume high margin
    business. It is a cow to be milked.
    That is their plan. But I doubt they will ever be front dog.
    They will be investing ... in cost reduction. Part of any good "milk
    the cow" strategy.
    That is their plan; but the statement "film is doing well", should be
    "although film is showing signs of decline, it is still a profitable
    business to be in."
    Long term projection? Excuse me while I get up off of the floor. As
    one analyst put it recently these are the guys who can't forecast
    quarter to quarter, forecasting to 2006 and 2010 is not impressing a
    single investor.

    "doom parade" is language that we "film adherents" seem to use. I
    suspect by the end of 2006, one way or another that my (and 90% of film
    users here in the NG) film use will be a nostalgic memory. And there
    will be fantastic choice available to the digital shooter.

    As Kodak, for the first time in its history faces a future of low
    margins and strong broad based competition in the many digital markets,
    their current corporate thinking will not survive. They are making
    acquisitions and bringing in new talent (from companies that aren't
    exactly blazing a trail in digital) to try to turn this around...

    Alan Browne, Sep 30, 2003
  10. No disagreement so far.
    True. But that's not the important bit.
    The important bit is that in any remotely realistic future scenario "no
    film" = "no Kodak".
    Now it's my turn to scramble up from the floor, where reading this, your,
    "long term projection" made me land.
    The end of film by the end of 2006? :)

    But the way the band leaders marching in this "doom parade" would have us
    believe film is going, there will be plenty of still fresh, unsold stock of
    film left by the end of 2006.
    So i'm not worried. ;-)
    That may well turn out to be true. Yes.
    Kodak isn't driving the market, but is being driven instead. Maybe the
    market will wash Kodak up somewhere where it can prosper again. Maybe this
    digital wave will turn out to be a fast saturation, then very slow moving
    thing that can only survive as a low-priced low-margin market. Maybe digital
    sales will be and remain high, but without offering profits to mention.
    Maybe the film market will find a economically sustainable level, providing
    more security than whatever way the digital market will go.
    Kodak's executives perhaps don't know, i have no problem believing that. But
    who does know?
    Q.G. de Bakker, Sep 30, 2003
  11. Gordon Moat

    Mxsmanic Guest

    That's barely more than 24 months away. I don't think so.
    Even less likely.
    Mxsmanic, Sep 30, 2003
  12. Gordon Moat

    Alan Browne Guest

    Not neccesarily so. If Kodak can pull a few digital bunny rabbits out
    of the hat, they just might be 'also rans' beside the other digital
    wannabes. Kodak have run the red and yellow flag as 90% of their
    marketing visibility since before WW II (not sure when the yellow bit
    began...) The Red and Yellow flag is not enough and will not be enough
    in the cuthroat digital world.
    I never said that film would be dead by then, just that I and most
    people here in the NG will, likely, no longer be _using_ it. Maybe
    even you...
    You shouldn't be. Finding reliable quality film processing may begin to
    be a worry... If processing volumes begin to fall, there will be the
    usual falling of service and only the most efficient ($) will survive.
    It appears to me that the most efficient ($) are Wal*Merde and the like.
    I'm tempted to buy a couple minilabs and E-6 machines and be THE high
    quality film processor in the area... assumes that I'll be able to get
    chemicals, paper, service and parts, however...
    That last question is the * question ... Kodak's exec's are foolish to
    say what the far future will bring in revenues. That is why their stock
    tanked nearly a 1/5 on Thursday. $1B in stockholder equity destroyed by
    a press release that was too farfetched for investors too believe. If
    Kodak had come out with a less optimistic, more concrete proposal,
    investors might have hung on. Kodak should perhaps have announced a
    higher dividend (if not as high as in the past...)

    Rationally, investors should have hung on for the dividend payment next
    month, even if it is reduced from historic values. But they dumped it,
    knowing that everyone would dump it and damn the dividend. Investors,
    blind to what bothers you and me, could smell the horseshit and had a
    good notion that their shares would drop in value more than the dividend
    payout is worth... kaboom. Trading the day of the p/r was 8x the usual
    volume for Kodak and it still hasn't settled... (A look at the volume
    and price for the past month has a stinky look to it too).

    Alan Browne, Sep 30, 2003
  13. Gordon Moat

    Peter Irwin Guest

    Why? The consumer market is 96% c-41 film, and yet the film companies
    put out a great variety of slide films, black and white films and
    special purpose films: litho, infrared, microfilm etc. Film base
    is nothing exotic, emulsion making and coating does not have to be
    done on a gigantic scale to be profitable.
    I really doubt it. The $5 loss leader at the grocery store
    may go away, but there are lots of specialty shops for every
    hobby and I don't see how film photography is likely to be
    any different.
    Do you know what the optical requirements are to get six
    honest megapixels on a 3x4mm sensor?

    Peter Irwin, Sep 30, 2003
  14. I can't imagine that 1Ds like cameras can be had for around $1000 in
    two years. Other than general unavailability of film or processing,
    I can't think of a reason for switching to a dslr in two years.

    I guess there are plenty of people who are not going to spend more than
    $1000 just because someone thinks that film is obsolete.
    Philip Homburg, Sep 30, 2003
  15. I can assume your "if" must be read as "unless"?

    The thing is that unless Kodak indeed can pull out a few digital bunny
    rabits out of the hat, the "no film = no Kodak" scenario is the one
    remaining certainty in Kodak's foreseeable future.
    It really is "the important bit". They can't survive at all, let alone
    invest in digital, unless they keep their market share in film (though
    declining that market may be).
    Well, no. Why would i abandon film?
    Does anyone expect digital technology to surge ahead, reach quality levels
    previously undreamed of? And do that while the trend is definitely steering
    towards cheaper, because competition is murderous, and corners must be cut
    somewhere to remain in the game?

    On the other hand, yes, i can see how many people give up quality as
    something of value, just because they want something that is in a buzz-word
    category. I can also see that this "buzz-word attraction" is not effective
    across the board, and many people are not preparing to jump on the band
    Despite many, many prophets promising the end is nigh, we are yet to see the
    end for what exactly that will be.
    That is the least of my worries.
    If anything else fails i can always process my own film (i do so with the
    majority of it anyway).

    You don't need to own a minilab to process E6 or any other colour process
    succesfully. Nor for producing prints. It's not that difficult. Remember
    that the minilab boom happened to serve the booming P&S market. We all have
    been processing and printing much of our own stuff before they came about.

    And anyway, for the stuff i don't do myself, i only need *one* lab. And i'm
    sure there will be no problem finding one, just as iot will not be a problem
    for one lab to survive, if it is the, or one of the, last labs around.

    But that's all hypothectical. I'm not worried about this at all.
    I think you'll find that the sudden drop in share price was not (!) so much
    caused by any long term plans laid out by Kodak's executives, but very much
    by the very short term promise of Kodak to seriously cut payment of
    That hurts, and it hurts now. Not maybe, in a couple of years.
    (And many investors were just waiting for dividend, to sell their shares and
    invest their money elsewhere as soon as the shares went ex-dividend anyway.
    They're no longer waiting to sell now that Kodak has announced what it
    intents to do with dividends.)
    Indeed! They did the opposite.
    Ah! I should have read on before starting my reply. ;-)
    They dumped their shares because they "knew" (in that special way
    speculators "know" what the future will bring) that others would, so that
    share value would drop below its present level increased with whatever
    dividend is left.
    If we wait a while we will see them returning. Kodak shares are getting very
    cheap, trading for well below their "true value". Then they'll go up again.
    Only after some more going up and down we will find out what investors
    *really* think of Kodaks position and plans.
    Q.G. de Bakker, Sep 30, 2003
  16. I'm not so sure. Since the "disposable" digital camera is here, that's
    going to kill off the disposable camera market quickly. For those that
    are not aware of them, you pay $10 and get a little camera. You take
    a load of pictures (I've forgotten how many, but i think it was 50)
    and return the camera. You pay more money and get back 4x6 inch prints
    and a CD ROM of your pictures.

    User reports say that the pictures are not any worse than the ususal
    disposable cameras.

    Since most people don't enlarge their pictures, and often don't reprint
    them, no one is going to notice the lack of negatives.

    The processors will love them as they can "refill" them for very little
    money, mostly a wipe with a cleaning cloth and 25 cents worth of batteries.

    I expect that this will kill of the disposable film camera becauseof the
    profit potental for processors as they will push people to them. After
    the newness "wears off", places like K-Mart, etc will offer "film and
    processing" specials, e.g. a "disposable digital camera" and processing
    for less than the price of a roll of film and processing.

    Once that happens, you will see the disposable 35mm camera, and as the
    disposable digitals become more sophistocated, the cheap point and shoot
    camera go the way of the disk camera.

    This could easilly happen in a year or two, and very likleythe hot
    photographic item of the 2005 Christmas season will be a 2mp digital
    point and shoot for about $30. At 4x6, 2mp is more than enough. If you
    print the entire frame to 8x12, and hold it at the normal viewing
    distance for a print that size (about 1 foot), 2mp is just right.

    If that happens, I'll be the last person in the family to use a film
    camera, and probably only for "art" shots. :) or should I say :-(

    Keep in mind that in 2 years, the percentage of people with computers capable
    of processing these images will be close to 99%. Computers without USB, or
    small hard drives will all be 6-8 years old and on the shelf in somebody's

    On the other hand, I'm looking forward to being able to buy those old
    worthless film cameras at bargain prices. :)

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Oct 1, 2003
  17. I think it would be a mistake to assume the current rate of digital
    purchasing will accelerate indefinitely, though digital SLR sales at
    the monet are quite startling. People will probably want both.

    Michael Scarpitti, Oct 1, 2003
  18. Gordon Moat

    Mxsmanic Guest

    I've seen a recent shift from film to digital cameras among tourists;
    the transition was quite rapid. However, disposable cameras are still
    going quite strong, and film still leads among serious amateurs and many
    amateurs with tighter budgets.

    Nevertheless, the time will come when most people who want a digital
    camera will have one, so companies rubbing their hands over current
    sales and trends should not get too used to it.
    Mxsmanic, Oct 1, 2003
  19. Gordon Moat

    Mxsmanic Guest

    Why? It would have to be cheaper than the disposable film camera. Is

    What happens for people who only take two shots and then decide to set
    the camera aside? How long are they allowed to keep it?
    Maybe in the U.S. But there are still six billion other people in the
    world, and they are likely to continue shooting film for quite some time
    to come.
    Mxsmanic, Oct 1, 2003
  20. Gordon Moat

    Alan Browne Guest

    Given the quality levels that have been reached in the past couple years
    and the prices for camera like the D10 it is inevitable that even more
    film users will jump. Film prices and even processing may fall to brake
    the trend but it will not last terribly long..

    Personally I'm in no hurry to jump, but the reality checks say the jump
    is comeing

    Alan Browne, Oct 1, 2003
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