Public corporations can't afford to keep making unprofitable
products that have no prospect of growing market.
The intent of my post wasn't to bash Kodak. I don't have a problem with
their aggressive reorganization plans to eliminate unprofitable operations
and products. The market today is what it is, and film companies have to do
what is required to survive. This isn't anything new, most industries and
companies therein have to re-invent there organizations periodically to
survive with changes in the world of business. Think of GM for example.
The current Kodak president Perez takes a lot of heat for his decisions,
personally I support them, as bitter as they are some times. Kodak has moved
from 20 billion dollar a year sales to about 1 billion for sensitized
products. What company could survive that loss of sales without major
changes? It's my opinion that if Kodak goes down the tubes that will be a
sure sign that the entire world film industry is also in jeopardy. In some
ways we live in the best of times for film technology but as the cost of
film spirals upward every year, film sales continue to drop along with film
camera sales. It's a popular thing to kick Kodak but what other film company
does what it does? Ever tried calling Fuji or Ilford for technical support
or going online to retrieve product information for their respective
products? They can't match Kodak for consumer support, IMO.
Now in terms of technology, I am not sure if anyone knows what
are the factors that lead to the different results between
Kodachrome and Ektachrome-type films. My guess is the couplers
and the way couplers are applied. Can Ektachrome-type films be
made to reproduce the Kodachrome look? If anyone trid it? Is
anyone going to try? I don't know.
However, as far as I'm concerned there isn't a replacement for the old
Kodachrome 25 I or Kodachrome 25 II or Ektar 25. There are a lot of great
color films on the market still but no equivalent product to our lamented
Kodachrome - digital or film.
A lot of things Kodak has done make perfect business sense. Whether they
succeed or not, time will tell. Look at the release of the new TMAX 400
film, IMO that does show a commitment to film, though it may signal the near
future loss of other B&W products as they continue to consolidate their B&W
film line. How long will Plus-X be around? And they are doing the same thing
with color film products.
I think what healthy traditional photographic community needs
is more positive light, such as discussion of in what
situations film is better than digital, and spreading such
views through making more work that reflect the technical
uniqueness or superiority. (Two such things are night
photography and swing lens panoramic images.)
There is no doubt that there are still things that film technology can do
that digital photography can't do. But saying that the film community needs
a more positive outlook to me is simply not going to change the evolution of
the film or filmless photography market. Kodak's HIE IR film is gone now. Is
their an equivalent film or digital methodology out there to replace it? The
answer is no. All of Polaroid is gone now. Are their replacements for
Polaroid products? No!
The last brand new 8mm film camera was shipped in
1984. Electronic video camera killed the 8mm. Twenty-four
years later, one can still buy 8mm film and have it processed
commercially, although the selection and price may not be as
good. Brand new film cameras are still shipping.
This year, more dSLRs are expected to ship than the annual
number for fSLRs in its peak year. So what? Most of those who
buy dSLR don't even have the digital editing skills comparable
to darkroom printing. Sure, the software is getting better to
make dSLRs a digital idior camera. If you are aiming low end
commercial photography job on craigslist you are SOL but we
aren't doing that here.
Well did the consumer back in the heyday of film have the skills to process
and print? No of course not! At one time the photo finishing industry was
the 10th largest in the US. Where is it now? Gone are the days of mega labs
processing 10s of thousands of rolls of film of all types. Now the consumer
is primarily left with self serve kiosks or online services.
Gloom and doom? See below.
Sorry I disagree with your assessment of my post. I view it as being
intellectually honest about the implication of the state of the photo
market. But it was really intended to be a lament about Kodachrome. I'm not
loosing sleep over it, just moving along with a sad look back. I continue to
use film mostly but I also love using my DSLR, Photoshop, and my inkjet
printer for prints and digital negatives.
All of this digital vs. film - film vs. digital stuff has been hashed and
rehashed ad nauseam on the net. Let's not repeat it here, please.
From: Don Bryant <email@example.com>
Subject: RE: Kodachrome/mold
Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2008 12:38:32 -0400
> Dear Alters,
> Sorry Chris, I don't mean to hijack your thread, but what is really sad
> me is the whole saga of Kodachrome film dying a slow death. It appears
> it will be discontinued this year or next.
> No, I'm not trying to preach doom and gloom as the moderators on APUG are
> fond of saying. The year that Kodak stopped producing K25 was the year I
> stopped shooting Kodachrome. There was something special about how that
> responded to light that I've not seen digital imaging or other films
> Man, give me a roll of Kodachrome 25 and a Nikon/Leica camera and I'm all
> set. Just look at the color work of Ernst Haas, Harry Callahan, Fred
> Esther Bubley, Jim Hughes, and Helen Levitt to name just a few.
> For a little bit of Kodachrome inspiration take a look at some of the work
> by Herzog:
> or Haas
> In all honesty though, Kodachrome processing is really costly, complex,
> nasty; so it's demise is just a sign of the times. As its legacy fades
> the past at least the slides won't fade away so quickly.
> Don Bryant