No more film R&D, we're going digital: Kodak

Discussion in 'Kodak' started by Bushy, Sep 28, 2003.

  1. Bushy

    Bushy Guest

    Mitsui Gold are good for 100 years and Fuji for about 70.
    According to some lab tech that says they SHOULD last that long. Not bad
    considering that CD burning technology has only been around for 10 years or
    so. I wouldn't like to base my life on the lab accelerated ageing tests!

    Bushy, Sep 28, 2003
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  2. Bushy

    edward ohare Guest

    Buried in the news of Kodak's intention to concentrate on digital
    imaging and to finance the program with a dividend cut is the comment
    there will be no further R&D on consumer films. That is perhaps the
    most telling comment by Kodak concerning its new strategy.

    "The consumer film and paper businesses will receive no further
    significant investment and Kodak expects film prices to continue to

    Full story at

    Kodak prospered for a century on a strange combination film for
    professionals and serious amateurs, and commercial developing
    equipment and supplies, and low grade cameras for consumers. Anyone
    with more than a passing interest in photography knew to buy the film,
    but not to touch the cameras.

    Now, Kodak intends to enter the digital consumer equipment field in a
    serious way, with a consumer equipment reputation largely defined by
    the one use cameras it sells. Will it work?

    Kodak's opportunity was to be one of the first players in camcorders
    and digital cameras. Concurrently, it should have used the marketing
    power it had at the time (a Kodak film display behind every drug store
    counter) to become the dominate supplier of camcorder tape. Its true
    the battle to become a major player in the devices would have been an
    uphill one. Consumers rightly recognized these items as being more
    electronic than photographic devices, giving companies such as JVC,
    and Sony a leg up. For those who didn't see it that way, companies
    known for quality 35mm equipment, such as Canon and Olympus, were the
    preferred choice.

    Kodak's core business is nearly dead. And its opportunity to enter
    the new world of digital was a long shot that passed 20 years ago.

    RIP Kodak.
    edward ohare, Sep 28, 2003
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  3. Bushy

    dvus Guest


    Is it a given amongst serious photographers that digital will replace film in
    the future, or will there always be a place for film in the foreseeable future?

    dvus, Sep 28, 2003
  4. Bushy

    edward ohare Guest

    Many serious photographers will probably resist change. Note the
    continued popularity of the Nikon F.

    Part of the question is what is a "serious" photographer. I took
    pictures for business purposes for many years. I have, at present, an
    estimated 18,000 negatives in storage. That's represents a lot of
    money for Kodak from one individual, between film and processing
    chemicals. It also dosen't count the negatives produced by
    employess... those are just mine. But were I to re-enter that field,
    there's no question I'd take digital pics.
    edward ohare, Sep 28, 2003
  5. It's sad, but what do you expect? Do you want them to keep making
    buggy whips?
    Randall Ainsworth, Sep 28, 2003
  6. Many serious photographers will probably resist change. Note the
    I, too, contributed a lot of dollars to the Great Yellow Father - but
    since going digital I'll probably never run another roll through the

    And they didn't say they were going to quit making film, just not do
    R&D for new ones.
    Randall Ainsworth, Sep 28, 2003
  7. Bushy

    J. B. Dalton Guest

    Good question, dvus.
    Yes, it is getting there. Some folks point to the analogy of the auto
    replacing the horse for transportation, yet there are still a lot of
    folks riding horses, and even a few nostalgic buggies, wagons, etc.
    Races still happen.

    [There aren't many buggy-whip manufacturers according to most econ
    profs, tho. :)]

    I prefer to look at digital photography vs film more like the impact the
    pocket calculator and computer had on slide rules. Slide rules really
    got wiped out, and a lot of folks today don't even know what they were.
    You don't even see the abacus used in Asian marketplaces, much, any
    more. :)

    Film may eventually die like the slide rule as better and cheaper ways
    to record images without silver are exploited.

    Fuji decided to eat Kodak for lunch, back in the '70s, when their top
    management looked at the heavy use of silver in film, and the dwindling
    world supply (hence increase in cost). They went full bore into secret
    development of all aspects of the digital imagery art, much of the work
    being done under contract here in the US, because of our electronics and
    memory expertise. They soaked up what we could provide, and moved it
    very successfully to the far east.

    Kodak has floundered for years, with pretty poor strategic planning,
    according to some observers. It refused to admit that technology was
    making its unique skills in chemistry obsolete. In some ways, it is
    still wandering without much (pardon the expression) focus. :)

    J. B. Dalton, Sep 28, 2003
  8. Bushy

    Pulver Guest

    While only the professionals knew it, Kodak was already dead when
    it introduced "Instamatic".
    Pulver, Sep 28, 2003
  9. Bushy

    edward ohare Guest

    True. The point is, its the run out on an obsolete product. Kinda
    like VCR's are now.
    edward ohare, Sep 28, 2003
  10. Bushy

    Pulver Guest

    As digital equipment quality improves and prices drop, film sales
    will decline exponentially.

    Photographic films, particularly colour films, have very short
    shelf life, made shorter by warm environments. Pros have to buy
    large quantities of one batch number and keep it in a freezer,
    and have to shoot a dozen or more test rolls of each new lot, in
    order to get consistent results. Amateurs frequently get bad
    results despite excellent equipment and techniques.

    I found it simpler to buy 1,000 foot reels of 5254 colour
    negative movie film which gave me 300 plus rolls of consistant
    quality film.

    Video has already killed that source. In addition the cost of
    processing amateur photos has risen.

    Poloroid was an instant success, despite high prices and poor
    quality, because it was "instant". With digital, anyone can take
    some family pictures on the lawn, go inside and print enough
    pictures to give everyone a set in 10-15 minutes. How can
    Photomat beat that???
    Pulver, Sep 28, 2003
  11. Bushy

    Pulver Guest

    That is mostly among the pros who do advertizing print work. As
    the digital resolution gets finer they will all come over.
    Pulver, Sep 28, 2003
  12. Bushy

    Pulver Guest

    Naaah! They would not do that too well either
    Pulver, Sep 28, 2003
  13. It all began when they discontinued Panatomic-X.

    Daniel J. Stern, Sep 28, 2003
  14. I think that's a tad farfetched. The Instamatic was simply a latter-day
    Brownie: A cheap consumer camera not intended for professional use. And
    some of them weren't so cheap at that -- there were motor-driven models
    with Schneider lenses! The Instamatic range of cameras was very successful
    for several decades, so how d'you figure it was a harbinger of Kodak's
    death any more than, say, Pentax' 6x7 cameras were devalued by the
    introduction of inexpensive Pentax point 'n' shoots in the 1980s?

    Kodak's efforts at instant cameras are another story altogether, and a
    solid argument could be made that chasing Polaroid's firetruck was a
    stupid and very expensive maneuver for Kodak.

    Daniel J. Stern, Sep 28, 2003
  15. Bushy

    Pulver Guest

    It will not be long before the market for xray films and
    photographic films will decline so that it can not support the
    top heavy bureaucracy at Kodak and it will fold. They have
    always been resistant to change. When Ron Globus perfected the
    Globuscope panoramic cameras, he demonstrated them for Kodak,
    whose execs said no no they will never work. Meanwhile,
    thousands of pros are using them.
    Pulver, Sep 28, 2003
  16. Bushy

    Pulver Guest

    You are right on focus there. Kodak management has been
    regressing for thirty years or more. Now it seems to be
    consistent with crumbling limestone.
    Pulver, Sep 28, 2003
  17. Bushy

    edward ohare Guest

    Well, I don't know. The question is, how long has it been since Kodak
    produced a serious camera? Its not within my memory. And that, to
    me, is what makes it tough for them to go digital.

    The Instamatic series, first in 126 format, then in 110, was actually
    pretty clever. A great way to help them sell film in what were
    originally unique formats where they were the only supplier. But now,
    trying to sell decent consumer equipment with no reputation as a
    supplier of decent consumer equipment.... looks like a no go to me.
    edward ohare, Sep 28, 2003
  18. Bushy

    edward ohare Guest


    You're not supposed to remember that! <G>
    edward ohare, Sep 28, 2003
  19. Bushy

    edward ohare Guest

    Do I recall correctly that they were also sued by Polaroid over patent
    edward ohare, Sep 28, 2003
  20. Bushy

    edward ohare Guest

    Actually, I'm sad that another company originally an innovator got fat
    and sassy and ran out of ideas.
    edward ohare, Sep 28, 2003
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