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Kodak Alaris CEO asking for input
Old 04-09-2014   #1
slidesandthecity
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Kodak Alaris CEO asking for input

I just found this on APUG and thought, it might be of interest to some.
A video of Kodak Alaris' first CEO, Ralf Gerbershagen, in which he briefly introduces himself and is also asking Kodak users to send him questions/feedback/other input. Video

If you don't want to watch the video: His address is [email protected].


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Old 04-09-2014   #2
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I'll start my comments by asking to bring back Plus-X.
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Old 04-09-2014   #3
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isn't it a bit too late?
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Old 04-09-2014   #4
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We should campaign for the return of 220.
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Old 04-09-2014   #5
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Most important thing to do is to provide some kind of sustainable infrastructure so that people can get their film developed and scanned for a reasonable price and turn-around time.

I would suggest a prepaid envelope. You put your film in. Drop it in the mailbox. And 7 days later you see your fully high-rez scanned film in your account on their website.
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Old 04-09-2014   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedLion View Post
Most important thing to do is to provide some kind of sustainable infrastructure so that people can get their film developed and scanned for a reasonable price and turn-around time.
I agree. High rez scanning at a decent price is the missing link for me.
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Old 04-09-2014   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedLion View Post
Most important thing to do is to provide some kind of sustainable infrastructure so that people can get their film developed and scanned for a reasonable price and turn-around time.

I would suggest a prepaid envelope. You put your film in. Drop it in the mailbox. And 7 days later you see your fully high-rez scanned film in your account on their website.
This is a great idea (for some). Most people don't develop themselves I think. If Kodak could set up processing centers in the US, Europe, Asia/Japan I think that could definitely work.
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Old 04-09-2014   #8
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I like the process/scan idea. I don't see them bringing back Kodachrome or 220.

If nothing else, I would be thrilled if they kept Tri-X, Portra, and Tmax (which I personally find much better than Tri-X, but to each his own).

Ektar 100 could go, for all I care. When it's perfectly exposed in perfect light, it's excellent. But anything less than that and it's garish.

Anyway...I just hope they keep the line of films they currently have.
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Old 04-09-2014   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedLion View Post
Most important thing to do is to provide some kind of sustainable infrastructure so that people can get their film developed and scanned for a reasonable price and turn-around time.

I would suggest a prepaid envelope. You put your film in. Drop it in the mailbox. And 7 days later you see your fully high-rez scanned film in your account on their website.
That's a great suggestion.
I'd like to see a partnership with a scanner producer, be it Kodak's own engineers, or Plustek's, that gives us a one button scanning solution. Pushing that button profiles the film, and perfectly inverts it (c41), leaving us only to select the output file parameters.
Also, perhaps a wide dynamic range reversal film that is designed to be scanned.
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Old 04-09-2014   #10
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I would really love to see Kodachrome come back, but I think that is a lost issue. There probably wouldnt' be enough interest to start up a factory, and dispose of the hazerdous chemicals. But I sure would like to see it. sigh

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedLion View Post
Most important thing to do is to provide some kind of sustainable infrastructure so that people can get their film developed and scanned for a reasonable price and turn-around time.

I would suggest a prepaid envelope. You put your film in. Drop it in the mailbox. And 7 days later you see your fully high-rez scanned film in your account on their website.
Kind of like you snap the picture, we do the rest? Somebody thought of that something like 100 years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tijmendal View Post
This is a great idea (for some). Most people don't develop themselves I think. If Kodak could set up processing centers in the US, Europe, Asia/Japan I think that could definitely work.
We have enough in the States already if they were just used more. One of our members is Precision, who even offer us RFF members a rebate as I recall.

But I sympathize with all the suggestions. Plus-X would be nice, 220 would be nice, Kodachrome would be fantastic.
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Old 04-09-2014   #11
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Kodak tested the waters with scanning to Photo-CD. At the time, affordable home scanners didn't really exist. Photo-CD never took off. What's worse, now's a different time; they'd need to better the best in film scanners. And that would mean at a quality level of drum scanning, which is again far from cheap and would mean a very niche market. I can't see such develop & scan service being a viable business model..

The question is whether Kodak can re-invent itself.. Like Oftheherd said, a century ago, they had a golden concept; you press the button, we do the rest. Kodak's message wasn't about film, it was about the result; it was what people really needed. They drifted away from that, concentrated on maximizing margins by creating cheaper stuff for higher prices and throwing dust in people's eyes (APS). That wasn't about what people needed anymore, and IMO that's been their downfall..

Today, Impossible Project and Lomography are on the upswing; they're not big players, but they have a strong idea about what and why they do what they do, and as a customer you don't get the feel that it's just about the money. If I were Kodak, I'd take my cues from that..
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Old 04-09-2014   #12
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The scanning idea would be good if offered in Australia/NZ as well. Provided they return your negs, of course. I seem to remember reading that some develop-and-scan services don't!
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Old 04-09-2014   #13
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Get thier high prices for B/W film to average price range.
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Old 04-09-2014   #14
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Ektar a special beast and deserves to live, although not my favorite.
My request would be: please don't axe anything more than you already have (and maybe bring back E100G)
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Old 04-09-2014   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvdhaar View Post
Kodak tested the waters with scanning to Photo-CD. At the time, affordable home scanners didn't really exist. Photo-CD never took off. What's worse, now's a different time; they'd need to better the best in film scanners. And that would mean at a quality level of drum scanning, which is again far from cheap and would mean a very niche market. I can't see such develop & scan service being a viable business model..

.
Convenient processing centers are dropping like flies, and those that remain offer lower and lower quality. (I had a roll of film ruined just last week by CVS) Sure, I can still mail off my film and have it developed and scanned, but at $12+ per roll and weeks waiting time for it all to get mailed back, this is only a viable option for the pro or hard-core hobbyist, IMO. But, the hard-core hobbyist is also likely to develop and scan their own, further reducing the demand and so bumping up the unit costs for those few remaining develop&scan providers. So what I'm saying is that current trends in consumer development and scanning WILL NOT support large scale manufacture of consumer film products.

Unless something is done to reverse this, film will end up as a high priced boutique product offered by a small number of boutique firms, thus suitable for a small cadre of pros and serious hobbyists. This scenario won't support the continued manufacture of film by the likes of Fujir or Kodak Alaris, but Ilford "could" possibly survive.

The only way to reverse this is to make film use attractive to more people. I believe this is achievable, since we now have millions upon millions getting more involved in photography in general via using their P&S and cell phone cameras as well as all those DSLR users. The key will be how to entice THEM into including film as a part of their photography. This is a limited window of opportunity.

Marketing efforts by such firms as Lomography may get more people in the front door, but unless the back-end of developing and good quality scanning can be provided, the continued decline of convenient develop&scan will cause film use to fade again and may give the "Coup de grâce" to the large scale manufacture of film (Fuji & Kodak).
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Old 04-09-2014   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedLion View Post
Most important thing to do is to provide some kind of sustainable infrastructure so that people can get their film developed and scanned for a reasonable price and turn-around time.

I would suggest a prepaid envelope. You put your film in. Drop it in the mailbox. And 7 days later you see your fully high-rez scanned film in your account on their website.

Agreed -- I have spent some time sending film to different organizations wondering about quality issues, time-to-complete order, different quirks that each organization has etc. A simple and clear procedure like you suggest would help me.
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Old 04-09-2014   #17
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I can't agree with the Ektar-comment. It is my favorite film, no problems with correct exposure and easy to scan with good color results. Also I would like to have Kodachrome back, but I suspect, that it is more the images (meaning the time and situations they were taken in) than really the film...
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Old 04-09-2014   #18
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Ektar is unique and it's one of the best emulsions available today. Just like Fuji Acros 100 !
I completely agree with the processing/scanning service, that's what makes the difference in the digital age.
I'm always amazed by the quality of scans from some prolabs, but unfortunately it gets very expensive and I can't afford a Fuji Frontier !
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My Suggestion.
Old 04-09-2014   #19
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My Suggestion.

Here's my suggestion:

Kodak Alaris provide a develop & scan solution which includes:

1. mail-in pre-paid envelopes for people to send in their film
2. a membership website where the scans are stored for further use. With a memberships at different levels, you can pay for more storage, for storage of the negatives, or to optionally have the negatives mailed back to you, etc...
3. Partnership with app developers so that all your scanned photos on the Kodak website are available to be transferred to you iPhone photo library or to be directly imported by a host of mobile apps like Snapseed or Adobe mobile, etc...

So the scenario would be:

1. take photos

2. Drop off my film in pre-paid envelope into any mailbox.

3. X days later, I get an email from Kodak (or I get a push notification from my Kodak app on my iPhone), that my photos are UP. As an optional service, I can have Kodak either hold or periodically ship me back my negatives on a schedule for a fee or as a part of my membership level.

4. I can then download the high-rez scans to my computer for further post-processing, OR I can use any number of mobile apps to get the scan (at an appropriate level of resolution) to post-process, share via tweet or facebook, or to send off to my local Costco, CVS, Walgreens, etc.. for immediate pick up of prints.

Kodak should take a loss initially to keep the costs LOW per roll of 35mm or 120 film in order to increase volume to where the low price CAN be sustainable. Perhaps even have membership levels where the higher the membership the lower the per-roll cost. Ex: You can start off with a low membership level and pay $12 per roll, or have a Pro membership level where you pay only $6 per roll for develop, scan and digital archive.

Customer Convenience:
  • Pre-Paid envelopes
  • Quick turn-around time and reasonable cost.
  • Membership levels allow customers to choose options applicable to their needs.
  • Website storage and App integration give speed and flexibility.
Kodak Business Advantage:
  • Memberships provide a continuous income stream and the storage plus interoperability with other Apps enhances customer loyalty.
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Old 04-09-2014   #20
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So, Kodak-Alaris could go with a "cloud" now that it's so popular. One issue that folks have who scan at home is storage. Yes, I like having local storage but I can fill up a terabyte relatively quickly. In this next round of developing and scanning only black and white film, I'm going to be running about 100 rolls, scanning at 4000dpi x 4 pass which makes a TIFF file greater than 30MB. Granted, that's only 11GB but I'll be taking care of that in the span of a week then processing more and scanning more.

With a "cloud" storage, Kodak users could be ahead of others in that they get to show their real film to family, friends, clients on a laptop, notepad or even a smartphone with a good display. There are a lot of folks out there who still like film. It's a trusted medium on the client side if they don't need results instantly. It has that actual resiliency of being a tangible product that isn't going to be completely destroyed by a cosmic ray knocking a binary digit off of a solid state sector. It isn't instant though so for some work it just doesn't cut it.

I'm not saying that Kodak should go into the phone business, but only the business of expanding their film division to include cloud storage for customers. Not all customers, either. Of course, it would cost money, and those who choose to not store on the "Kloud" would just receive their images digitally and their film back in the mail at a later date. The digital files could be purged from the working non-cloud servers within x number of days.

Right now, today, I would pay a significant chunk of money for this service from Kodak but it doesn't exist yet (hopefully.) If such a service were to materialize, I'd seriously consider selling my Nikon D3 and replacing it with a compact P&S digital.

As for the films themselves, I desperately want to shoot Eastman 5222 in 120. If I could do that, I'd abandon everything else but Delta 3200 (then again, Kodak could bring back a fast B&W.) The old formulation Plus-X Pan would be nice to have as well.

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Old 04-09-2014   #21
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I'll go with the first suggestion...bring back Plus-X!

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Old 04-09-2014   #22
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Id be happy with them keeping what they have..
As far as the film services suggestions above.... maybe.. sure.
But nothing that will cost too much and make them get rid of another line of film..
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Old 04-09-2014   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedLion View Post

Kodak should take a loss initially to keep the costs LOW per roll of 35mm or 120 film in order to increase volume to where the low price CAN be sustainable.
That doesn't sound like a great business strategy in 2014. Film is dead to the average consumer.
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Old 04-09-2014   #24
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Actually, that's a pretty great idea. I'm sure you've all used online printing services, like Snapfish and the like, which actually have had cloud storage for as long as I can remember.
But it's horrifically slow and hard to navigate. I always wondered who they thought was uploading and sorting hundreds of photos on this interface that looks like it's out of the 90s... Something that syncs to iPhoto/Aperture/ etc would be pretty nice.
My 2¢--I don't have high hopes to bring back slide film or 220, but I'm surprised there isn't a slow-speed traditional-train film in their lineup.
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Old 04-09-2014   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Get thier high prices for B/W film to average price range.
They are the same as Ilford for the most part so I am not quite sure where this is coming from. They just rose the price on TMY2 in 4x5 up quite a bit, whatever it takes to keep that amazing emulsion around. Other than that, they are pretty much equal to Ilford in price.

All this talk of bringing stuff back is insane, I don't see people beating Ilford to a pulp with these witch hunts, so why Kodak? Plus-x, Kodachrome, Extachrome, it is not coming back because not enough people bought it, why is that so hard to understand?

A sane person would want to keep what is currently offered still around which is *really* good, not for what is not coming back.

As far as developing and scanning infrastructure, the numbers just are not there and people who are serious about using film have already engaged in the means in which to get that result. A D800 with a macro lens on a masked light table is damn near as good as my Nikon 9000ED for a quick and dirty scan for web and all that jazz and will even print good. In order to do better, one has to get a high end Imacon or drum scan.

The real future of film is black and white and that is in the darkroom, scanning does not come close to what that process offers and that is why Ilford has hedged the bet they have and will continue to do better and better with it.

I left APUG for good since it is all bashing and negativity and hardly any talent. I see a lot more fine imagery being made here and less bashing, so use the Kodak, Fuji and Ilford films you love and keep it positive, otherwise you will turn this place too into a graveyard of has beens as people go elsewhere.
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Old 04-09-2014   #26
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Some good ideas here - if they were to re-introduce film stocks, it could make sense as a seasonal thing - like craft beer. One run every 2-3 years even would suffice for most buffs who stock up anyway. If fuji drops e-6 completely I'd hope they reconsider theIr e100 films.

So far has anyone here actually sent any of their ideas to Kodak?
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Old 04-09-2014   #27
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I think all the talk on getting back dead emulsions is not going to happen. I agree with KM-25 about keeping the already good emulsions going. Maybe even dropping slide film altogether and concentrating on negative film only for color products. I also like the idea of a film processing and scanning service specifically for color negatives.
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Old 04-09-2014   #28
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I agree with Noll...do runs of film like Ilford does with ULF B& W films. Set a date and if there is enough of a demand, make a run of the film. I'd love to see IR color silde film again. Kodachrome would be nice, but I doubt that'd happen due to the toxic chemicals used in it's processing.

What I'd like to see is a ISO 25-32 T-grain film.....that would be utterly grainless !

And seasonal runs of developers---Microdol-X...prepackaged D-23...or at least SELL the formulas for the stuff they don't want to make anymore.
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Old 04-09-2014   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrFujicaman View Post
I agree with Noll...do runs of film like Ilford does with ULF B& W films.
It does not work that way....

Those emulsion types and base thicknesses already exist in other sizes, they simply cut larger sizes off of master rolls that serve current catalog numbers. Ilford makes Pan-F in 35mm and 120, same base thickness. But they do not and will not offer it in large format, despite people asking for it.

What people are asking for with films like Plus-X and E-6 to be re-introduced is a much, much bigger capitol investment, far too risky for a company who just got out of bankruptcy.

I am just at a complete loss as to why people keep asking for films that were discontinued because they did not sell enough, went out of date and become a loss proposition for both the company who made it and the retailers who sold it.

Again, a person who is actually into making great photographs will clearly see that the best we can hope for is that the rate that films get discontinued slows down....because it is not going to stop...

Three things you can count on in film photography:

1. Prices will continue to rise.
2. The selection of films will shrink.
3. Black & white will be the last man standing.
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Old 04-09-2014   #30
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Read the interview. He has about 30 seconds of comments about film and it's pretty apparent that it isn't a big priority for him. He looks at it as 'retro'. If anything good is going to happen it's going to be via a business partner who comes on board and does the heavy lifting and the financing. Kodak is NOT going to put any more money into a small market product. I wouldn't be surprised to see them exit the film business within two years if they don't find a dance partner to take it over.
Just my opinion as a 35 year customer of Kodak's and a close observer of the current company.
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Old 04-09-2014   #31
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Took a look at the interview with the Kodak Alaris CEO just now.
http://www.democratandchronicle.com/...ickly/7465411/

D&C: What about the camera film business? Are there growth opportunities there at all?
RG: We will continue the film business as long as there's a profitable market out there. Film is still in demand. We're happy to provide this ... as long as it makes sense for us. And at the moment it makes sense for us.
D&C: Given the trend lines you've undoubtedly been looking at, is this a business that has three years? Five years? Ten years? How long does this last?
RG: You never know. Maybe next year there's kind of a retro, how do you say ....
D&C: Like LPs?
RG: That's a good example. They're coming back right now.


I think you're right. Looks like they're just going to continue to ride it out. For color film, it looks like it's up to Lomography to try and buck the trend. With the continued decline of cost effective and convenient development and scanning facilities, DIY B&W will be the last man standing.
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Old 04-09-2014   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KM-25 View Post
It does not work that way....

Those emulsion types and base thicknesses already exist in other sizes, they simply cut larger sizes off of master rolls that serve current catalog numbers. Ilford makes Pan-F in 35mm and 120, same base thickness. But they do not and will not offer it in large format, despite people asking for it.

What people are asking for with films like Plus-X and E-6 to be re-introduced is a much, much bigger capitol investment, far too risky for a company who just got out of bankruptcy.

I am just at a complete loss as to why people keep asking for films that were discontinued because they did not sell enough, went out of date and become a loss proposition for both the company who made it and the retailers who sold it.

Again, a sane person who is actually into making great photographs will clearly see that the best we can hope for is that the rate that films get discontinued slows down....because it is not going to stop...

Three things you can count on in film photography:

1. Prices will continue to rise.
2. The selection of films will shrink.
3. Black & white will be the last man standing.
Hi,

My guess is that they didn't sell in the quantities Kodak were geared up to make and so were abandoned. Ilford etc aren't geared up to make the same sort of quantities as Kodak did at their peak and so I guess Ilford have less problems and are even expanding.

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Old 04-09-2014   #33
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Film's all Kodak Alaris has got, CEO better wise up!

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Old 04-09-2014   #34
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My unsolicited opinion is that the split between Eastman Kodak's Printer Division and the Alaris Division is strictly to keep the imaging business from becoming even more of a drag on the printing side. The printing side is quite healthy and is the only thing that's kept them going this long. Well, that and the patents that they hold.
The big tipoff to me is that the name of the company is Kodak Alaris. Did any of you EVER know an Eastman Kodak employee who did not always refer to the company as Eastman Kodak?
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Old 04-09-2014   #35
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Failing to see how profitable is a drag. I doubt Sigma's making any money on those Merrill's though.

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Old 04-09-2014   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Hi,

My guess is that they didn't sell in the quantities Kodak were geared up to make and so were abandoned. Ilford etc aren't geared up to make the same sort of quantities as Kodak did at their peak and so I guess Ilford have less problems and are even expanding.

Regards, David
Agreed. The age-old debate is that film isn't going away; its just a changing and shrinking market. If you look at a lot of industries with big players like this, historically they fell not because people stopped buying the product, but because they are too invested in high-volume and couldn't switch gears fast enough to stay profitable. Much like the camera industry is doing now: people aren't *not* buying cameras, but the market has changed and Canon/Nikon are struggling to keep up. The CEOs remark about vinyl seems pretty accurate: its a viable craft now undertaken on a smaller scale.

Ilford, Impossible Project, and Adox are all humming away making film. Now, lest this devolve into another 'is film dead' thread, I'll say that I'd like to see Kodak maintain current BW emulsions, since that's a niche that isn't competing directly with digital in the same way color is.
I also would disagree that their isn't a need for scanning services; I think there's a middle tier that would like a convenient process-and-scan option. Here in Seattle, I know of only two independent shops that do high-end scanning, and thankfully our local Bartell's drugstore chain does it on-site with marginal results. I think of a lot of hobbyist photographers shooting film (such as the handful of Lomographers I know) who don't have a middle ground between Bartells/Walgreens and shelling out big bucks and time for a home scanning solution.
I think here on the forums a lot of us are very serious about film, wet printing and being entirely self-sufficient, and it's easy to forget that not all casual hobbyist photographers are shooting digital or as control-oriented as we are (or in the case of my mother, has me to develop and scan all her photos!)
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Old 04-09-2014   #37
KM-25
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Originally Posted by Ranchu View Post
Film's all Kodak Alaris has got, CEO better wise up!
He is *plenty* wise, he has just taken over a company that is still regrouping into what it needs to be and it needs to be a lot more than just film, like it or not….

Cumulatively speaking, he has hundreds of years of top notch expertise in regards to the manufacture, marketing and industry of film at his disposal, those people keep him informed. Not any of the arm chair speculators have the numbers he and his management staff has, have no idea if they are trying to re-engineer Bldg. 38 to be able to take on industry needs other than film, create a new more cost effective facility or scrap the whole idea after a few years because the numbers just don’t add up. And if they don’t add up, then THAT IS BUSINESS, at least they are still trying or did try.

As far as Ilford being the size of operation they are, they got to the new pie first, and in all reality, there may not be enough in terms of year end sales in the next decade to support a whole bunch of makers of film anyway.

None of us have any idea in how close or how far they are away from settling on a solution for keeping the quality films they have currently going into the future or not. And you are not supposed to know, that is none of your business. There are plenty of business in the world that don’t share information, most for that matter and yet somehow, people on the good old internet seem to think it is right to keep prying their way up the nose of a company like Kodak and cry foul when they don’t make a special trip to your front door step to fill you in.

Kodak Alaris needs to make all they have at their disposal work as best as it can. If changes need to happen, you can expect them to be prudent in their decision making and that might include making changes to product lines including Kodak film offerings.

We have a brand new Kodak here that is still trying to chart a course through scalability issues…
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Old 04-09-2014   #38
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Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
I'll start my comments by asking to bring back Plus-X.

Hear! Hear!
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Old 04-09-2014   #39
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Originally Posted by RedLion View Post
I would suggest a prepaid envelope. You put your film in. Drop it in the mailbox. And 7 days later you see your fully high-rez scanned film in your account on their website.
Would this invite anti-competitive accusation ?
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Old 04-09-2014   #40
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Here's an idea... A subscription-based membership model that would sustain his ROE. One would choose from a tiered set of packages that could include film stock, developing and scanning. Get sent film once a month. Send it back for processing or freeze it for the big trip. X number of rolls per year or month. Choice of films....
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