View Full Version : Kodak Color Film Sales

Stpephen Willlard
19-Jan-2006, 16:01
I just spent over an hour talking with the sales people at Kodak for both the chemical and color negative film dividions. Both people said that sales have dropped considerable from the predigital period, but sales have recently leveled off for both divisions and are still very profitable and on solid ground. They also noted that color negative sheet film has shown an notable increase in sales particularly with 8x10. I asked them if they thought color negative film would still be available in 5 to 6 years and they said, "easily and much more".

The film sales person said there will be no sudden production hault for color film like the B&W paper. What you will see is a consolidation of the number of color films made available before color film is finally terminated. He believed that will occur many years from now, if it occurs at all.

When I told them about the concerns on this bulletin board they both laughed. They said there is lots of humors going on out there, but the fact is color film is here to stay for a long time.

Tom Westbrook
19-Jan-2006, 16:17
Good to hear, except that the films that will be consolidated will be the one I use most, like 400NC. As for the piling on of bad news, I expected some companies to fall by the wayside, so no big surprise. I'm gonna go buy some film...

Leonard Evens
19-Jan-2006, 16:27
One of the advantages of getting on in years is that, as far as I'm concerned, they need only last as long as I do.

19-Jan-2006, 16:34
Reassuring to hear that the sales people know better than the CEO. Perhaps we should start a sweepstake on who or what will last the longest. The salemen, the film or the CEO. Place your bets...

Terence McDonagh
19-Jan-2006, 17:12
From a young age, I was taught one truism: Never believe a salesman.

Their interest is not your interest.

Ron Marshall
19-Jan-2006, 17:20
Good to hear. I think many of the users of medium and LF who have the money/requirements to go digital have already done so.

David Karp
19-Jan-2006, 17:30

Not always true. In this case, it is in the salesperson's self interest to make sure that Kodak sells as much film as possible for as long as possible. The chances are strong that if Kodak drops film, they will drop the sales person too. If you want film, think of how badly that sales person wants you to want film. It is his/her livelihood. It is in his best interest to satisfy your needs, and make it hard for Kodak's CEO to drop film, if that is indeed an objective. In general, the modern, more enlightened salesperson is trying to create a repeat customer. This is only possible if they are working to meet your needs, not take advantage of you.

Other examples of trustworthy sales people abound, including Jim at MPEX, who has not led me astray in the several years that I have been dealing with him.

And, even though I don't use much color film, I hope that they are right about how long we will have film, for a variety of reasons.

Terence McDonagh
19-Jan-2006, 18:29
I want to believe. I really do. But the MPEX's of the world are outnumbered by the less scrupulous. That's why folks like MPEX stand out. If the Kodak salesman stands out with high sales he'll be less likely to be fired during a downsizing. Kodak will always be selling something and will need salesmen/women to do this. When a CEO makes statements like Kodak's they are sending a message that shareholders will latch on to and at least try to hold him to if that's what they think is best for the company (and their stock value). Those of us using film are an increasing minority. Every night I walk through Times Square on my way home. I see very few film cameras still in use amongst the masses. Like it or not, the Sirens are singing and the masses listening.

Bob Fowler
19-Jan-2006, 19:58
"When I told them about the concerns on this bulletin board they both laughed. They said there is lots of humors going on out there, but the fact is color film is here to stay for a long time.

Unfortunately, the salesmen don't determine what stays in production, the CEO and the rest of the board steer the ship. Looking at the board of Kodak, I see a heck of a lot of computer industry types there (including the CEO), and not enough photography industry...

If I were a betting sort, my money would be on the Great Yellow Father being out of the film business within 5 years. As far as I'm concerned, that's OK as I don't use much of their stuff anymore, but there ARE a few things they make that I do like...

Mike Cockerham
19-Jan-2006, 20:13
If tech. changes things so fast why can I still go into Best Buy and purchase Sony<apasonic and other manufacturers vcr and turntables. I thought that cdand dvd had killed all of this off. And by the way I know people still buying and shooting 8mm, 16mm, and 35mm movies and schools still teaching film class. I can still buy these films online also and maybe still from Kodak. I have not checked lately.

I have been in photography and consumer electronics for over twenty years and good salespeople will always put your needs first because that will make them the most money. I am so tired of all salespeople being labeled "usedcar" sales.

19-Jan-2006, 20:41
LOL........I read this thread about Kodak everytime one comes up. I like to just watch who sees the cup half empty instead of half full.

Terence McDonagh
19-Jan-2006, 20:50
The days of the salesman who knows his product line are gone. The crap I hear whenever I'm trying to buy anything is straight out of a textbook of how to sell people crap they don't need. Extended service plans? Please. They never cover what you need them to. My utility sends me an offer for a service plan for my furnace at least once a month. Of course, it excludes my type of furnace. They've called too, and I've discussed it with them, but you never get off their list.

The exceptions are so exceptional that they become legends.

Kodak's film will be gone before we know it. Their infrastructure is too big to adapt to the smaller market. Stockholders will not stand by while they stay in an unprofitable (for them) business for the sake of being dedicated to their customers. Look at what they've already cut out of their lines.

Stephen Willard
19-Jan-2006, 23:32
Exactly my point Terence. Because they are still selling film, then they must be profitable otherwise Kodaks shareholders would not stand for it. This is what the sales people were telling me. The decline of film has leveled off and film is profitable and here to stay for a while.

Well put Terence! Thanks.

jonathan smith
20-Jan-2006, 03:37
As far as seeing few film cameras among the masses, when did you ever see film cameras among the masses? Many people carry cameras that never would have before, in their cell phones, or because it's the trendy gadget. It doesn't hurt film photography if 99% of people goof around with digital images. They never would have bothered with film cameras anyway.

Serious photographers going to digital is a different story. Also serious family-photo recordists, that's a loss of revenue, if it continues. But for some reason this reminds me of the digital watch fad in the 70's. For a while, you could hardly find a regular watch with hands. They were all LCD and LED. Then people realized they didn't really like them, and started buying the ones with hands again. Now you can get both kinds, but mechanical watches are in the majority.

I think lots of people who embraced digital for its advantages will go back to film for its advantages. I'm one of them; I thought digital was gonna be great until I saw the pictures.

This may be more of a pendulum swing than just a straight deterioration. A nice photographic print is usually better than an ink-jet print. Running out of batteries every two hours is a hassle. Cables and memory cards can be annoying.

ronald moravec
20-Jan-2006, 05:36
I hope you are correct, but I believe the CEO before I`ll believe a salesman.

Jim Rhoades
20-Jan-2006, 07:20
Being a solid Tri-X guy for as long as it lasts, I hate to say this. Last May at the Large Format Conference the Kodak salesmen pledged everlasting love to the L/F crowd. Less than a month later Kodak killed Azo.

When you buy a car do you pay list price because the salesman tells you that's the best he can do?

tim atherton
20-Jan-2006, 08:48
"Serious photographers going to digital is a different story"

Burtynsky was talking about the possibility of going digital with the new MF 39 mp backs coming out from Imacon/Hassleblad etc which he is busy testing. If they meet the quality and convenience he wants he will use them - if they don't he won't. (For one thing he finds LF with a Linhof MT a pain for aerial shots and believes these will be an improvement for that in particular). If he finds they do what he wants with less hassle than 4x5, then he will use them. If not, then no. (for example, he can still get a faster look at detail by shooting a test Pol type 55 shot and looking at the neg with his 10x loupe in a few seconds than he can waiting for a digital file to run through the system)

Terence McDonagh
20-Jan-2006, 09:11
Given the tourism in NYC, cameras have always been prevalent here. On average I'd say I see over a dozen per day here even when I'm not in the more touristic spots.

I'm a die-hard film user myself. I don't like to sit in front of a computer more than I need to for work. But when I was in a town of 5000 in Turkey last year and tried to buy film, the clerk at the store asked me why I wasn't shooting digital.

Stephen Willard
20-Jan-2006, 09:34
Keep in mine comrades, despite all the short comings of salesman they made one very good point. Color film will not just instaneously vanish. The process of terminating color film will start with the consolidation of the number of different types of film you can buy followed by the final demise. The considation of color film has not happened yet. I believe it will start first with consumer grade films and then finally the professional film will disappear.

Until then chill out and enjoy life.

20-Jan-2006, 11:38
Salespeople are very similar to politicians. [Caveat] Oftentimes, they'll tell you what you want to hear in order to placate you and win your vote/support. And, when asked a straight-forward question that directly contradicts what management/party line tells them... surely, they're NOT about to divulge the honest contradicting answer!

Secondly, as Bob F. has already stated... the sales force isn't "usually" the one to make these types of decisions. It's normally the CEO and the Board of Directors that steer the future of a corporation such as Kodak. A sales force may have a "sense" of what's going on in "their territory" but it's the global numbers from the entire sales force. that a CEO/CFO/Board of Directors will have available, that will drive the decision to continue producing (or not) a certain product line.

Therefore, as much as I'd like like to take the salespersons' word at face value... I think I'd be more likely to believe what the CEO says instead. :)

Lastly, by the time film finally disappears from the shelves, digital backs/systems will be much improved and will have matured somewhat as a product. Therefore, their pricing will be more affordable than what it is today. And, since I now have enough film in my freezer to last a good number of years... I'm not going to worry about unknown "evenualities" in the next 10 years with regards to film!

Time to go and burn some film now! :)