View Full Version : Signs that Kodak won't discontinue film soon?

Christopher Nisperos
22-Oct-2005, 05:30
I just saw this AP article on Kodak's difficulties in conquering the digital market so far. I thought I'd share it with the group because it includes a line which seems to give a glimpse at the near future of Kodak's film production, to wit:

"Kodak is hoping film, its cash cow for a century, will continue to bring enough cash as it steadies on its new bearing. But the clock is running down. Third-quarter revenues from traditional businesses fell 20 percent to $1.66 billion, and film sales could drop more than 30 percent in the United States this year."


Henry Friedman
22-Oct-2005, 06:33
I'm going to go online and order a few boxes of TMX Readyloads. I hope that helps.

Armin Seeholzer
22-Oct-2005, 08:17
I just got my 3 pakets of readyloads!
Dont buy any digital from them just buy traditional, we have to learn them to produce the right staff!
They should produce a 8x10 readyload holder and TMX 100+ 400 and Trix for it and one it color!
They could sell thad staff very good, they would be heros like to Eastman times!!
They would be the only company with it for a while!


P.S. Greatings to the shareholders of Kodak!!!

John Kasaian
22-Oct-2005, 08:19
It sounds as if Kodak is just too big----they've had the lions share of the market for so long that thier expectations aren't likely to be met in the post digital imaging world unless the market for 35mm grows dramatically---which it its not. With Agfa folding, thats got to send a shiver up the spines of Kodak investors.

Which dosen't spell the 'end' for film, only for big film companies.

22-Oct-2005, 09:51
Do you really think that our buying from Kodak is going to convince them to continue in film? What's a piddling few more orders going to do? They work from the bottom-line up. If you want to encourage a good effort, buy from J&C where it makes more of a difference.

Let Kodak die. It won't even be a dignified death. There's nothing we can do, really.

Brian Ellis
22-Oct-2005, 10:01
It's just amazing to me how totally clueless Kodak sometimes seems to be. There's an article in the current issue of Photo Techniques about Kodak's problems (and Polaroid's). The article says that Kodak is trying to position itself as the only company that can help amateurs and pros make the big change from film to digital. What a great strategy - if only they had adopted it ten years ago. But today? They're going to help people make a transition that has already occurred (with the help of companies much smarter than Kodak was)?

The same article says Kodak is going to convince consumers that it knows digital photography. Good idea since so many people think they don't. But how are they going to do that? With a new ad campaign! Sure. Throw enough money at a new ad campaign and nobody will remember their past digital fiascos. I think they'd be better advised to spend their ad campaigh money on R&D so they can bring out better products than the competition's.

I've never been a knee-jerk Kodak basher, I buy their products whenever there's not a clear choice otherwise just to help out a company that was synonomous with traditional photography for more than a century. But if they aren't more digital-market-savvy than this strategy would indicate then I think they're in even worse trouble than we thought.

22-Oct-2005, 11:03
Kodak is too big. It can't change properly because it's hauling around corporate structure that proves the saying that "All of us is dumber than one of us."

Frankly, I hope they do go 100% digital because they sure as hell are not willing to invest in film R&D any further, and (IMHO) their latest great R&D product promoted T-Grain films which was clearly targeted to the B&W studio photographer, and neither the consumer nor the outdoor photographer who might struggle with realistic daylight contrast issues. T-Grain was a "smart" decision in terms of the literature of technology, but completely unjustified in terms of making the market. It put them into the hocks with new production equipment, technical support; it is a hugely stupid product. Had Kodak left the tgrain technology to Ilford (for example) it would not have hurt Kodak's overall profitablity as much as making it did.

Kodak had a World-Class intellectual center of photographic expertise, and like most huge companies, the expertise exists among a handfull or two of individuals. On the other hand, they have thousands of engineers making more of the same, marketeers, bean-counters, obsolete hangers-on, managers and support people. I hope they go 100% digital, go back to their intellectual center, listen to the best engineers and put the bean-counters back in the closet where they belong and get on with GREAT digital products - probably specialized, high-end, world-class peripherals... as a small company.

Jim Ewins
22-Oct-2005, 13:37
I visited the Kodak plant in Rochester two weeks ago and was told by a guard that the acetate plant (35mm) was down 90%. No more tours for the public. The Paper plant down. Building #2 being dismanteled. More to follow. It is sad.

Mark Woods
22-Oct-2005, 13:59
The highest profit margin in Kodak is the Motion Picture Imaging division. The new stocks they've introduced show their commitment to that division, unfortunately that division does virtually no B&W, so there is little spill over to what we do.

Kind Regards,

Paddy Quinn
22-Oct-2005, 15:42
Like a series of falling dominoes, all the major cash cows f0r Kodak have fallen to digital while they kept their heads in the sand hoping it would never really happen - medical imaging, police, military, scientific and so on. The only cow left is motion picture - and that really is only a matter of time

John Boeckeler
22-Oct-2005, 15:56
Looks like EK may be a good prospect for short selling. I sure wouldn't go long on this company.

Wayne Crider
22-Oct-2005, 16:32
What digital segment is it that Kodak is into now; Chips?
For the profit margin, inks seem to be pretty high priced.

Frank Petronio
22-Oct-2005, 18:34
My neighbor was the last head of film R&D for EK and now he gardens a lot. Employment in the area has declined from 60K to 15K over the last 20 years. The most profitable areas - digital prepress, digital consumer, etc. don't require as many US employees as traditional production. I suspect they will sell off more and more divisions and end up being concentrated on being a friendly consumer brand along the lines of many other favorite old time brands now owned by disparate investors. They may also do well as prepress - digital printing supplier (Creo and Scitex, etc.)

But I doubt they will still be selling us professional film in a few years, as the remaining consumer stuff will come from China.

Abe Slamowitz
22-Oct-2005, 18:36
I don't think Kodak will be out of business soon. I do think that they have given away their photo business by doing very dumb things. I used to support Kodak completely years ago. I still remember the sign over my shop that said "we use Kodak products for a good look" Kodak was supporting the photographers and we were supporting them. Until, they charged way too much, added stupid junk like photo disc, aps etc. and spent millions trying to get new customers who knew little about photography and forgot about their hard core customers, the professionals and photo enthusiasts. It's a shame! They've given away the maket that they made to others! But, Kodak is in everything! Chemicals, medical, and many other products that we don't realize they're involved in. Kodak will be in business, but not in the photography business. Eastman must be turning over in his grave.

Duane Polcou
23-Oct-2005, 01:34
Kodak will continue to produce film. They will merge with Agfa to form Agfak, only to come near the brink of bankruptcy, but be saved at thel last minute by merging with Polariod to become Polagfak.

23-Oct-2005, 03:07
Kodak is the largest supplier of professional chips for the digital industry. 22, 30 and 39 megapixel ccd´s are made by Kodak (and Dalsa) I was at hospital visiting a friend a few weeks ago - all their new high tech scanning devices where from kodak. I am sure film and chemistry was a big thing for Kodak some years ago, but I´m sure they have made serious thought before going digi. Motion picture ??? the complete starwars saga where shot on Sony digis...not film..I am sure Kodak will exist well in 10 years. they have to feel the pain of reconstructing a huge company from old to new. unfortunately this affects us as being retro classics, still using film.
I think when agfa is gone, there might be a bit more room for other manufacturers. I work in a pro camera store in Copenhagen, Denmark - the only agfa product we have been stocking for the last 5 years is Rodinal 500ml..kodak is still doing fine. unfortunately Kodak in Denmark has been reduced to 2 persons with cellphones and a switcboard in Sweden, no stock, no showroom etc.
I still have positive thoughts on analogue photography, but there will comes changes that has to be accepted as progress, not as downfall

adrian tyler
23-Oct-2005, 08:16
i do not know of on single photographer or laboratory digital or otherwise here in madrid that have a good word to say about kodak. i have never heard such sustaind bad critiism towards any single company ever. it really is olymic medal winning stuff, i mean they must have really been deliberatly trying to make people, hate them...

23-Oct-2005, 08:30
martin the complete starwars saga where shot on Sony digis...not film

Are you absolutely sure about that? The re-release of Episode 1 was remastered to digital, but was it orginally digital? I think now. The University of Illinois Circle Campus, did some of the 'digital' work: the rendering of the rotating mothership, taking weeks to rotate it, but that's about the only digital I'm aware of.

Annie M.
23-Oct-2005, 09:53
From an recent article from Business Week...

"Kodak executives, while exuding optimism, are preparing a change in the company's organization that could make it easier to sell off assets. Starting in January they'll divide the company into four distinct units -- consumer digital, commercial printing, health care, and traditional film -- each with its own financial report. "

I am curious if someone purchases the film unit are they also purchasing the emulsion formulas? Also in the same article it is mentioned that Kodak is selling off patents... is it possible that they are selling their formulas or is this more likely to be part of the cannibalization of acquisitions? Thanks!

Mark Woods
23-Oct-2005, 11:04
I think the biggest asset is Bldg. 19 where all the new Vision Motion Picture films are made. It's an amazing factory! And engineering accomplishment.


Gregory Gomez
23-Oct-2005, 14:09
I see little indication that Kodak will continue making film for the long run, and I see little indication that Kodak will survive as a company. If film will soon die, then Kodak must survive in a digital world, right? How will Kodak manage that?

If I want a digital camera, I am going to buy either Nikon or Canon, not Kodak. If I need a tripod, I will buy Gitzo, not Kodak. If I need a printer, I will by HP, Canon, or Epson, not Kodak. If I want a film scanner, I will buy Nikon, not Kodak. If I want a flatbed scanner, I will buy Epson, not Kodak. If I want a computer, I will buy either a Macintosh or a Dell, not Kodak. If I want a monitor, I will by Macintosh, View Sonic, or Sony, not Kodak. If I need digital memory for my camera, I will buy Scandisk or Lexar, not Kodak. If I need photo-editing software, I will buy Adobe or Express Digital, not Kodak. If I need inkjet paper, I can buy Bergger, Brilliant, Canon, Epson, Ilford and many others. Why would I buy Kodak?

Let’s face it, Kodak doesn’t even make products for many of the categories listed above, and when they do, that product category is very crowded.

I am not a Kodak basher. I love shooting with Kodak Tri-X for 6x9cm and for 35mm. I also like Kodak HC-110. After I finish putting my refrigeration system together early next year, I plan to stockpile these items so I can continue using them for the rest of my life. I will not count on Kodak to supply them for very much longer.

Robert A. Zeichner
23-Oct-2005, 15:00
"martin the complete starwars saga where shot on Sony digis...not film

Are you absolutely sure about that? The re-release of Episode 1 was remastered to digital, but was it orginally digital? I think now. The University of Illinois Circle Campus, did some of the 'digital' work: the rendering of the rotating mothership, taking weeks to rotate it, but that's about the only digital I'm aware of."

Actually there have been a number of "traditionally film" projects that at least in part, were mastered digitally using the Sony F900 Cine Alta camera as modified by Panavision. But, the real news is that Sony has developed a 12 Megapixel CCD chip that is currently used in the Panavision Genesis which now makes a total of three electronic cinematography cameras with single 35mm size chips: The ARRI D-20 and the Dalsa Origin are the other two. I've been following the development of these products over the last three years and have looked at the output on high resolution monitors. Pretty impressive. The big difference between these and the Sony F900 is that the Cine Alta is still a 2/3" prism optic 3 CCD camera. The ARRI and Dalsa both have optical viewing systems and they both, along with the Panavision Genesis use 35mm film optics which means same DOF characteristics as with a film camera.

How all of this relates to Kodak is somewhat difficult to predict. While electronic cinematography gets better every year, Kodak continues to develop new motion picture emulsions that are well received and bought in high volume. In addition to that, there is the constant demand for printing stock, which even the digitally mastered shows get transferred to. When local movie theaters can afford digital projection equipment and the films can be distributed electronically, that's when we may see the demise of motion picture film. That could take quite a while. George Lucas says he'll never shoot film again, but Steven Spielberg says he'll be the last guy shooting film, so how it will all shake out is anyone's guess. If it's like everything else that involves money, film may eventually go away even in this field. One statistic that may drive this faster is the percentage of people that actually go to the theater as opposed to renting a DVD. On the small screen, particularly a television screen, the argument for mastering electronically is getting stronger. If the camera operators and directors of photography feel comfortable with the quality of Genesis, D-20 and Origin, that may be the way it eventually goes.

RJ Hicks
23-Oct-2005, 15:16
Its too bad shooting digitally doesn't help the actors act or makes the story better, because man, those new Star Wars movies blew.

Christopher Nisperos
23-Oct-2005, 16:22
"Kodak will continue to produce film. They will merge with Agfa to form Agfak only to come near the brink of bankruptcy, but be saved at thel last minute by merging with Polariod to become Polagfak."
--duane polcou 2005-10-23 00:34 PDT

Duane's joke brings an old thought to mind, and I invite all of you to pick the idea apart: —Is it so ridiculous at this point to wonder why the last remaining film companies (at least a couple of them) haven't yet merged? From a survival standpoint, this would only make sense. If someone from Ilford or Agfa reads this, can you perhaps tell us why this WOULDN'T work ? Sure, some jobs would probably be lost in such a merger, but that beats a whole company going under, doesn't it?

Obviously, from a consumer perspective (ie: pricewise) it would be a nightmare to have a single film manufactucter left in the world, but if I were a matchmaker it'd be something like: Ilford + Agfa, or either one + Forte, or either one + Foma, or Foma+ Forte, or Forte+ Foma+ Efke, or Kodak + Lucky (oops), or .. well, you get the idea.

Ed Richards
23-Oct-2005, 18:55
Putting aside Kodak, which is a huge company that lots of non-film stuff, for the others the problem is economic - if you have excess equipment, merging with another company with excess equipment does not provide any synergy. It is better to hope that you are last one standing. For Kodak, the rational move might be to sell off the LF film division, but who would care to buy it?

John Kasaian
23-Oct-2005, 19:04

I'd buy it (if they'd take payments!)

Mark Woods
23-Oct-2005, 19:11
There is no large format division. In terms of still photography there is the Professional and the Amature divisions. The film is made in sheets about 2 meters in width and I'm not sure how many hundreds of feet long. After the base is coated (an amazing process I've witnessed with their infrared cameras), it is "slit" or cut to the width they want. Those cuts are then cut to length. If you think about it, only the base changes for the different formats while the emulsion remains the same. So there is no LF division, and the same equipment will make everything from 8mm color to the largest neg (or pos) film they make. The equipment must be adaptable to all the products if it is to be cost effective.

Kind Regards,

23-Oct-2005, 19:46
If you think about it, only the base changes for the different formats while the emulsion remains the same. So there is no LF division.

If I think about it I wonder how they manage to roll that heavy 4x5 film base onto 120, or 35mm spools. Perhaps you are in err?

23-Oct-2005, 19:50
jj you are an idiot. Did you not read the man's post? He wrote that the base does change!


Your Loving Self

24-Oct-2005, 12:12
On Topic

Kodak's spin

Bad news: Kodak reported a $1.03 Billion Dollar loss for the recent third quarter.
Good news: For the first time in history, digital accounted for more sales than film.

Reality? If 5% of your revenue comes from film, and you quit making and selling it, then whatever else you make will account for more sales, even if the sales are inadequate and help account for a Three Billion Dollar loss.

They are #1 for "termal home printers". What? They would be as well off selling wood stoves.

They are #1 for digital medical X-Ray stuff. That's cool, but by what margin?

I am so confused.

Paddy Quinn
24-Oct-2005, 16:45
In addition to that, there is the constant demand for printing stock, which even the digitally mastered shows get transferred to. When local movie theaters can afford digital projection equipment and the films can be distributed electronically, that's when we may see the demise of motion picture film. That could take quite a while.

As I've said before - the studios are losing their historic control over distribution (and there is a certain amount of below the surface panic in hollywood about it all as the more prescient realise they may have missed the boat by hanging on with their death grip to the current system) . Distribution (where the huge bulk of film stock from Kodak etc is used)
will be digital - but possibly not even primarily to the theatres. The demographics and habits of "moviegoign" atre changign and the industry isn't quite keeping in step. The theatres (and
blockbusters) are dying - witness the failure of Cinderella Man this
summer as a prime example.

cf this succinct recent discription:

"The MPAA and the studios have

utterly, completely, dropped the ball on this and they do not seem to

realize. The reason for their incredibly delayed entry into streaming

movies is simply that they are waiting for Digital Rights Management

to be acceptable to them. Intel is about to introduce chip-level DRM

later this year, which will undoubtedly go into the intel Macs, at

which point Steve Jobs (he runs Pixar, remember) will introduce some

kind of streaming movie service modeled on and probably integrated

with iTunes. This will be combined with a wireless video streaming

box which will send HD pictures from your computer to your TV. This

is why you should buy Apple stock now, or even better in six months

when it tanks because of poor sales of the PowerPC macs.

The studios are rightly terrified of what this will mean because

their stranglehold on distribution will be largely gone. The only

person who is ahead of the curve on this is Mark Cuban and his 2929

prodco (google for this and you'll see what I mean).....


either way, big changes are already coming to the movie industry which
will certainly lead to significantly less film used in distribution,
whatever happens at the production end.

Gregory Gomez
24-Oct-2005, 19:26
Nothing like old news, but it's grim news if you ask me. Please note that film sales are expected to drop 30% this year. Better stock up now before there's no film left.


Kodak Loses $1 Billion
Wednesday October 19, 4:40 pm ET
By Ben Dobbin, AP Business Writer
Eastman Kodak Now Generates More Sales From Digital Imaging Than From Film but Reports $1B Loss

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) -- For the first time, Eastman Kodak Co. is generating more sales from digital imaging than from film-based photography, yet its massive makeover brought more pain in the third quarter -- a $1.03 billion loss largely due to one-time tax charges.

Even excluding restructuring and other charges, analysts said Kodak's results missed Wall Street forecasts.

Its stock fell $1.08, or 4.7 percent, to close at $22.06 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange after tumbling earlier to $20.91, its lowest level since September 2003.

Kodak lost the equivalent of $3.58 a share in the July-September quarter, compared with a profit of $458 million, or $1.60 a share, a year ago. Its loss from continuing operations, excluding one-time charges, was $103 million.

Sales rose 5 percent to $3.55 billion, up from $3.37 billion in last year's third quarter.

While stung once more by the rapid slide in film sales, Kodak found solace in its steady drive into the digital era. Its overall digital sales in the quarter surged 47 percent to $1.89 billion, while revenues from film, paper and other traditional, chemical-based businesses slumped 20 percent to $1.66 billion.

"This is an important milestone in our transformation journey," Kodak's chief executive, Antonio Perez, said in a conference call with analysts. " ... We're building a strong digital company for the future."

The quarterly loss, Kodak's third in a row, included a non-cash charge of $900 million, or $3.13 a share -- an accounting requirement directly related to its huge overhaul. In July, Kodak disclosed plans to lay off 10,000 employees on top of 12,000 to 15,000 job cuts targeted in January 2004.

Several analysts calculated that Kodak earned between 19 cents and 23 cents a share before one-time charges.

"It was a weak quarter," said Shannon Cross of Cross Research in Short Hills, N.J., citing an unexpected slowdown in consumer digital camera sales and shortfalls in the health-imaging division's digital business.

But Ulysses Yannas, a broker for Buckman, Buckman & Reid, said he was encouraged by signs of improving gross profit margins. "The picture doesn't seem to be as bleak as the numbers tend to indicate," Yannas said, singling out a jump in photo-kiosk sales at major retailers.

Kodak warned last month that a sluggish economy and delays in medical-imaging installations would likely crimp its digital profits this year, forcing it to build fewer digital cameras and home printers for the end-of-year holiday season. It had projected profits of around $275 million to $325 million.

The 124-year-old company is also battling a steep drop in demand for conventional silver-halide film, its cash cow for decades. Film sales look set to drop by more than 30 percent in the United States this year.

Kodak said its digital camera sales rose 20 percent in the quarter, while sales of home printers and accessories soared 45 percent and kiosk sales were up 48 percent. Helped in part by a reallocation of certain costs to its traditional business, its digital profit rose to $10 million from $6 million a year ago.

Health imaging sales eased 1 percent to $635 million, and operating earnings fell to $90 million from $106 million.

But graphic communications sales nearly tripled to $886 million, helped in part by its $980 million buyout of Canada's Creo Inc., and operating earnings were $15 million, compared with a loss of $16 million a year ago.

Two years ago, Kodak acknowledged that its analog businesses were in irreversible decline and outlined an ambitious strategy to become a digital heavyweight in photography, medical imaging and commercial printing by 2007.

The transition triggered nearly $3 billion in acquisitions but has carried a high cost. The shutdown of film and other manufacturing operations around the world looks likely to drop its global work force below 50,000, down from 75,100 in 2001 and a peak of 145,300 in 1988.

For the first nine months of the year, Kodak lost $1.33 billion, or $4.60 a share, versus a profit of $615 million, or $2.05 a share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $10.07 billion from $9.76 billion a year ago.

Aaron van de Sande
25-Oct-2005, 08:48
Fuji has been beating them for years in the consumer film market AND the digital market. Cameras make money one time for you (original sale) and that's it. Printing systems make money on the sale and continually on consumables. Everyone knows what a fuji frontier is, but what does kodak make? Though I would be suprise if Kodak doesn't have something similar, Fuji is the leader in this market.
I have a hard time finding color kodak processing, fuji/noritzu is everywhere.

Bruce Watson
27-Oct-2005, 20:51
What I don't understand Kodak's lack of decent digital printing. The consumables are there - in digital printing - papers and inks. Where the hell is Kodak? I look at the printer I use every day (more or less) and it says Epson on it. The papers come mostly from Hahnemuhle in Germany. The inks come from Cone in Vermont (and who knows where he's getting them from).

Not one bit of it (yes, that's a pun ;-) comes from Kodak. Kodak nearly completely unknown in photographic digital printing. Why???

Frank Petronio
27-Oct-2005, 22:27
Bruce, Kodak actually invented a lot of the digital printing technology and color systems now in use. Adobe, Apple, MS, Epson Sieko, HP, and Canon pay Kodak big royalties. Plus they own what was IRIS, Scitex, etc, and maybe Encad (but I forget...). Kodak makes $$$ with their patents so don't write them off just yet.

But why they never captured the market like Epson did when they introduced the Epson Stylus Photo in the mid-1990s - corporate stupidity - they had internal fights over the Dye Sub printers versus InkJets. And outside of NASA, who wants a Dye-Sub print anymore?

28-Oct-2005, 07:22
Odd factoid: Kodak has all but discontinued their 5" rollfilm but continues making its 9.5" rollfilm available. That tells me that the aerial mapping people are still using it.

Frank Petronio
28-Oct-2005, 08:30
No No, it's all the Cirkuit photographers using it...