Skip to comments.Kodak to Kill Off Its Camera Business
Posted on 02/09/2012 10:22:06 PM PST by SWAMPSNIPER
Shocking news: Kodak, the company that invented the first digital camera back in 1975, announced today that it is pulling out of the camera market entirely. The phasing out of digital cameras, pocket video cameras, and digital picture frames will likely happen by the end of June. Instead, the company will be focusing on licensing out its patents and brand name
(Excerpt) Read more at petapixel.com ...
Patents have a limited term. Then what?
Sorry to see Kodak fade into the sunset, though. The old Tri-X pan was my favorite b/w film. Must've hand-processed 100s of rolls of that back when I still had access to a lab.
A company once called Applied Science Fiction, of Austin, Texas, sold image correction and enhancement software that got bundled with many film scanners. They called their products “Digital ICE” and “Digital GEM.”
Kodak bought them in 2003.
The main motivation behind the purchase was not the image-correcting software, but rather a do-it-yourself while-you-wait film processor of which the small company had prototypes out in the field.
The customer would come into the store, drop their 35 mm or APS film cassette into a slot, and the machine would develop the film and scan it on the spot...took about 5 minutes. (As you might imagine, the machine internally was an electromechanical marvel.)
The customer could order prints immediately from the built-in printer, or get a CD of the images, or just leave them on the internal hard drive, where they would be available for return visits up to a few weeks later.
The original film was processed in a way that destroyed it; the chemical process left the film unfixed, so the image would go completely black in just a few minutes. The machine simply spooled the still-damp film onto a waste reel which would be unloaded every few days by a technician, who would send it off for silver reclamation.
Kodak bought the company already knowing that consumer film was becoming obsolete, but they figured that this technology might extend the life of their film products a couple of years. Soon, they decided they had miscalculated the market, and they shut the whole operation down.
I presume that Kodak still does something commercial with A.S.F’s original image-fixing products.
Dig the storage medium.
No, I'M old school...I don't have a cell phone.
Interestingly, Kodak did make the first serious DSLRs, one each based on Nikon and Canon bodies, respectively. Kodak supplied the sensor and the electronics.
But N and C soon went their own ways, investing heavily in the technology to produce their own DSLRs. Canon went so far as to fab their own sensors. (Both companies sell or have sold photo steppers to the integrated circuit industry.)
Nowadays, of course, N and C battle it out for the top spot in the DSLR market; but even here, you have tremendously motivated upstarts with deep pockets challenging them at every turn: Sony, Panasonic, and Pentax, to name the principals.
The point-and-shoot market is even larger, and the same companies compete in the wide range of cameras in this category. Here, the competition and market share is more evenly distributed among many players.
The low end of the point-and-shoot market has undoubtedly been eroded by smartphones. But image quality will always be dependent on square millimeters of sensor, and the phones are at the bottom of this heap, with DSLRs at the top, and point-n-shoots in between.
Well, in those days, nobody actually "went" anything. We "said" it.
Like IBM, Personak Computers (PCs) and PS/2 Microchannel Architecture (MCA) -- the best in the world -- for maybe 10 years -- until you fixate on obscene profit margins, proprietary means, and patented mechanisms.
Just my opinion.
A very valid opinion -- seen by Seagram's Distilleries when they sneaked into DuPont and basically sold off the assets while it still was viable. Left it crippled and begging.
This is the other side of capitalism: when executive management fails over 5 decades. How can so many smart people be so stupid? It happens all the time in the marketplace.
Amen. I've worked for a couple of good companies that nearly did themselves in this way.
I probably spend more time with a camera in my hand than most professional photographers. There are 10 or 12 cameras in this room with me, right now, from 40 years old to digital.
I used Plus-X on occasion as well - less grainy, obviously, but overall I liked the quality of the prints from my Tri-X shots better. Difficult to explain fully with few words but with the developer (Agfa Rodinal) and paper (Agfa Record Rapid) I used mostly, the best prints I made had a sort of luminosity that just didn’t come out that way with all the other combinations of film, developer (Ilford etc.) and papers (again, Ilford etc.) I used. And then came the PE/RC (plastic based) printing papers which were slightly easier to process but never even got close to the baryta (fiber based) papers in image quality (much less silver content).
Super-Double-X must have been way before my time - never even heard of it, best as I can remember. Kudos to your dad for teaching you lab techniques. I had to go the autodidactic route (not that it’s rocket science...)
What a waste of a good name! Coca Cola, Ford, Kodak, etc, known and respected throughout the world.
Compare the paths of Kodak and Sony in the past 50 years.
Mamma, don’t take my Kodachrome away!
At the key moment, Kodak was more interested in keeping existing retailers happy with the 3-visit model of film sales than keeping end-user button-pushing picture-taking customers happy. Retailers liked customers coming in once to buy film, once to drop it off, and once to pick up prints - and doing that just a few dozen pictures at a time; once customers are in the door they tend to buy things, even if there just for pictures. Facing the onset of digital photography, retailers threatened to drop Kodak product entirely if that 3-visit model was threatened by Kodak shifting focus to digital (few, if any, visits and taking hundreds of pictures per cycle) ... that scared management over short-term sales figures. They were planning for a transition to digital, but couldn’t stomach the need for such a fast switch by end users.
I tried suggesting a “push the button, we do the rest - your pictures will show up in the mail” digital product, but being a mere peon that went nowhere. So did the company for not doing it.
I had to go the autodidactic route (not that its rocket science...)
It may not be rocket surgery, but it is alchemy.
Still a topic dear to my heart, I guess. I went at it with a Howard Roark-like passion/stringency for a while. Then I chickened out and turned to a more conventional career, and have applied myself to that. I'll go back to the lab when I retire...
The most recent disaster was the P850 I got conned into buying.
>> “Not surprising. Kodak camera quality hasn’t been competitive and they stopped innovating a long time ago.” <<
You’re obviously speaking of something you’ve never used.
Image quality of Kodak digitals is the best in the industry.