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Thread: Kodak is out of the camera business

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  1. #1
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Sigh Kodak is out of the camera business

    They've announced it today. They're going to focus completely on printers and inks going forward as they work through their Chapter 11 process.

    While I prefer digital cameras to film, it's still sad to see the end of an era like this. As a child I remember our family having one of those boxy Kodak Brownie cameras with that mysterious ground glass viewfinder and the 120 roll film. And my first SLR was the venerable Pentax 1000 that I learned how to use in high school photography class. While I don't miss being a slave to processing labs, I will miss the Kodak camera era.

    Nowadays most people prefer to use their cellphone for a camera, but I still prefer a dedicated doesn't-do-anything-else camera. I like the greater control that I can have over the picture with a camera that has a real multi-element focusable lens.

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* TooManyGizmos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kodak is out of the camera business

    ~

    Yes , it is kinda sad. I have those memories too .

    Does this mean our Kodak box cameras in the closet will be worth something now ?

    ~
    ~ "She" says ... ... I have ... TooManyGizmos ~

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    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kodak is out of the camera business

    I'm only old enough to remember using the little 110 cameras, but my dad was an amateur photog who worked at a camera store for many years, I can't recall all the Kodak display crap we had around the house; I still keep my audio plug adapters in an Ektar 25 plastic case.

    You could in theory stuff a cell CCD/flash mem/Li-po cell in an empty 110 film case..

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    *Flashaholic* Flying Turtle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kodak is out of the camera business

    As a kid I remember using a "Hawkeye", and the special Christmas when I got an "Instamatic". Wish I still had them.

    Geoff

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    Flashaholic* orbital's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kodak is out of the camera business

    +

    Kodak developed the OLED years ago and holds the broad Patents on it,..don't count them out yet.

    OLEDs' will change everything, hopefully Kodak is part of it.

    ====

  6. #6
    Flashaholic RBR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kodak is out of the camera business

    I remember well using their Portra- and B&W T-films, that was rather great material, and i´m sure the negatives will outlive me.

    In opposite to most digital pix where i would not bet that today´s formats will still be legible in 40years, beside the problem of safe storage.

    On the other hand side the Kodak-story has many more or less exact analogies.

    Think about all the old time brands that went down the river or are on a good way : Agfa, Grundig, AEG, Blaupunkt, Braun, Nordmende, Mannesmann, Thyssen/Krupp, Büssing, Lanz.... and i´m sure there will be many more US-brands.

    Too many to list.

    But that´s economy, every product(range) has it´s half life and if a company like Kodak depends so very deeply on one product line it dies out with it´s product once it is not in demand anymore.

    Sad anyway

    Cheers

    RBR
    Last edited by RBR; 02-10-2012 at 07:56 AM.

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    Flashaholic* AnAppleSnail's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kodak is out of the camera business

    Quote Originally Posted by StarHalo View Post
    You could in theory stuff a cell CCD/flash mem/Li-po cell in an empty 110 film case..
    If you forego a viewfinder you could build one into a 35mm film can.
    My biggest light-hog is my camera.

  8. #8

    Default

    Steve Jobs' Theory of Decline:

    [A] company does a great job, innovates and becomes a monopoly or close to it in some field, and then the quality of the product becomes less important. The company starts valuing the great salesman, because they're the ones who can move the needle on revenues.' So salesmen are put in charge, and product engineers and designers feel demoted: Their efforts are no longer at the white-hot center of the company's daily life. They 'turn off.' IBM and Xerox, Jobs said, faltered in precisely this way. The salesmen who led the companies were smart and eloquent, but 'they didn't know anything about the product.' In the end this can doom a great company, because what consumers want is good products.
    Last edited by ElectronGuru; 02-10-2012 at 11:44 AM.

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    *Flashaholic* fyrstormer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kodak is out of the camera business

    Canon successfully made the transition from making traditional photography equipment to making high-resolution photo printers. Kodak can do the same if they don't strangle themselves with conflicting executive visions.

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    Flashaholic* EZO's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kodak is out of the camera business

    It is truly sad to see what has happened to Kodak, especially for someone like me, a pro photographer who learned to develop film when I was 9 years old. Kodak has been a big part of my life. While it is true that corporations like Canon or Nikon have handled the transition to digital with aplomb, I don't see this as a meaningful analogy. These are pure camera manufacturers. A more appropriate comparison with Kodak is Fujifilm, a film manufacturer that also designs and builds cameras and competes with Kodak in many if not all of the same fields such as medical imaging, graphics, photofinishing, printing, etc., etc. Fuji has not only held their own in the still viable analog film industry, they make some of the more interesting and cutting edge digital cameras available. They are thriving in these same markets where Kodak has floundered. Sadly, Kodak dropped the ball somewhere along the line. It reminds me a bit of what happened to the American automobile industry; another example of American manufacturers who have been beaten at their own game by the Japanese because they remained too entrenched in the past and didn't quite grasp the future.

    "The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed" ---- William Gibson
    Last edited by EZO; 02-10-2012 at 02:27 PM.

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    Default Re: Kodak is out of the camera business

    Here in Kodak country things are pretty darned clear. As I said before the company is selling off their major patents. Doesn't seem like there's any coming back or hanging on if you sell off most if not all of the last and best of your major assets. Most folks around here expect the end to come within a year at best but there might be a much smaller portion of the company that will survive. It would be nothing like the former industry giant to be sure. The "big yellow box" is already long gone though.

    There are many museums, buildings, and large portions of the university (campus buildings, medical center, college of music, etc.) that owe much if not all to the company and its founders. That history will live on but the company is all but doomed.
    "Show them a light, and they'll follow it anywhere..."

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kodak is out of the camera business

    Quote Originally Posted by EZO View Post
    "The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed" ---- William Gibson
    I love that quote. I first saw it in a Michio Kaku book.
    "...and the diode multiplied and grew in brightness. And God saw that it was good."

  13. #13

    Default Re: Kodak is out of the camera business

    I spent about a decade in professional photofinishing and then digital reproduction, and had some pretty close ties with the eggheads in Rochester. I have mixed feeling about the company given they employed so many intelligent people but then wasted so many resources on dead-end projects with no vision of the future. The inside joke at the time was Kodak only cared about the aethestics of 50yr old professional photographers and not 20yr old professional photographers, and hence it's a big reason their film / paper division stalled and lost market share. Everybody threw a fit on their blog when Kodachrome was eliminated, but the fact is most pros abandoned the fickle emulsion a decade or more earlier for the better performing stuff in the green boxes that could be processed anywhere with greater consistency.

    I'm hearing some of the same luddite explanations here I've heard for years, and ironically some of it is the same attitude I encountered with Kodak. First, color chromogenic films and papers (E6, C-41, RA-4, EP-2, etc) *do not* last in a pristine state for 20yrs, let alone 10 - Unless you have your color film stored in an argon sealed container at 50F. Even Kodachrome requires dark storage and low temperatures to reach it's much bragged about archival capabilities. Engineers I knew at Kodak were always uncomfortable about the claims of their marketing dept in this respect. Also, the display life of both Kodak and Fuji RA-4 papers is greatly exagerated, although pigment based ink-jet is rapidly displacing the medium. My pigment based ink-jet prints don't fade no matter what I do to them, but I can't say the same for displayed Endura and Crystal Archive Prints I have on walls which show problems in less than 10 years. A $100 desktop ink-jet printer now does a better job than a lab outfitted with $500,000 worth of wet-lab gear. When your income relies heavily on those labs buying chemicals, papers, service contracts and selling point and shoot film cameras chances are you are going to fall on hard times.

    As for digital formats being orphaned, I'm sorry if you're still using Windows 3.11, Pagemaker, floppy disks and proprietary .PCX or .EPS formats. I don't have any issues opening 20yr old TGA files, TIFF files or any Photoshop medium. The bigger problem with digital content is making it go away in a few decades (see current Facebook fiasco) or not having your blockbuster movie shared instantly on pirate web-sites. Film, especially color film starts to degrade the second it comes out of the processor dryer not to mention good luck getting two existing labs to make the same looking print twice in a row. I'll take ones and zeros in a file format and not some mystery industrial film dye that reacts to airborne gases in unpredictable ways and depends on an impatient teenager for quality control.

    One issue that's facing the entire industry right now is photofinishing is either flat in some market segments, or headed down. People are taking more pictures than ever right now, but they are posting those images to Facebook, Flickr, etc., and then are done with them. Malls, grocery stores and dept stores are booting their photolabs because they are losing money, and those people that are fussy about prints either use online pro labs, or print them themselves. I print all my high end stuff onto dye-transfer metal without any chemicals or Kodak gear in the loop, and the results are astounding. However, with due respect to Kodak, I know there are likely dozens of Kodak patents and software tables involved in the loop that allow me to get there.

  14. #14
    *Flashaholic* Burgess's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kodak is out of the camera business

    Just stumbled upon this thread.


    I well remember (at age 9) Christmas 1962,
    getting my Kodak Brownie Fiesta camera kit.

    Twelve exposures on a roll of 127 film.

    Complete with (slip-on) flash attachment, for AG-1 bulbs.

    (hey -- i can STILL vividly remember how they SMELLED when they went off !)


    Each and every flash photograph was An Adventure ! ! !



    Then, 40 years ago, I bought my first "REAL" camera, a Canon TL 35mm SLR.

    Set up my own darkroom in our basement, using Lots of Eastman Kodak equipment & supplies.


    Processed many hundreds of rolls of Kodak Plus-X and Tri-X panchromatic film.

    Some Panatomic-X, also. But that was simply too darned Slow !


    Eastman Kodak was a very, very important part of my photography past.


    Alas -- they haven't had anything to interest me in a long, long time.


    Sad.


    _

  15. #15
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kodak is out of the camera business

    I remember those AG-1 bulbs and that smell also! And I remember being astonished by the bulb's visual transformation after being flashed.

    I also remember those large edison-based screw-in flashbulbs. Those were so cool looking! We didn't have a camera that used them but I inherited a package of them from a relative when I was little, so I kept them for experimentation. Once I wired up a 120v socket in the back yard for nighttime lighting, and I was unsure of my wiring job so I didn't want to test it with a live 120v circuit. So I screwed one of those big flashbulbs into the socket, walked across the yard to the other end of the wire, touched the leads to a lantern battery and . Wiring verified!

    And Blasterman, I agree with you on your feeligns about film vs digital and Kodak vs the "green box" brand. We should have treated this as a wake-up call, much like we did with the automobile industry, but it was a case of too little too late. Very sad indeed.

    On the upside, they might have a chance to make some money on their intellectual property and patents. It won't bring back the glory days of the yellow box, but it might keep a foot in the door as imaging technologies progress.

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