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Kodak files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

By dpreview staff on Jan 19, 2012 at 19:28 GMT

As film giant Kodak files for bankruptcy protection, everyone from photographers to economists is looking back at the company that was, for so long, synonymous with American photography. The company has entered the US 'Chapter 11' process by which a court oversees its restructuring and protects it from its creditors as it attempts to reorganize into a profitable business. However it emerges from the process, Kodak will never again be the photographic titan it was during the film era. This has prompted many retrospective articles, including a heartfelt and personal piece by New York Times writer and photography blogger David Gonzalez.

Meanwhile, The Economist has also published two interesting pieces on the company: the first comparing its fortunes with those of its Japanese peer Fujifilm, and a blog post looking at how large companies struggle with technology changes. The irony of Kodak's dedication to research and development helping give birth to the technologies that saw its downfall is widely remarked upon.

Kodak's film business (consumer, professional and movie) is still profitable, the company stresses.

Kodak has recently whipped-up a flurry of litigation against large electronics companies using the basic digital imaging processes it created. As well as creating the first commercial DSLR (the Kodak DCS), the company invented many of the technologies on which modern cameras are based (and its patents have raised over $3bn in revenue since 2003). No matter what happens to the company, it should be remembered that Kodak wasn't just the company to create the 20th Century icon 'Kodachrome,' it's also the company that created the Bayer color filter array that underpins the overwhelming majority of digital cameras used across the world.

Press Release:

Eastman Kodak Company and Its U.S. Subsidiaries Commence Voluntary Chapter 11 Business Reorganization

Flow of Goods and Services to Customers to Continue Globally in Ordinary Course; Non-U.S. Subsidiaries Are Not Included in U.S. Filing and Are Not Subject to Court Supervision; Company Secures $950 million in Debtor-in-Possession Financing in U.S.; Kodak’s Reorganization to Facilitate Emergence as Profitable and Sustainable Enterprise

ROCHESTER, N.Y., January 19 -- Eastman Kodak Company (“Kodak” or the “Company”) announced today that it and its U.S. subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for chapter 11 business reorganization in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York.

The business reorganization is intended to bolster liquidity in the U.S. and abroad, monetize non-strategic intellectual property, fairly resolve legacy liabilities, and enable the Company to focus on its most valuable business lines. The Company has made pioneering investments in digital and materials deposition technologies in recent years, generating approximately 75% of its revenue from digital businesses in 2011.

Kodak has obtained a fully-committed, $950 million debtor-in-possession credit facility with an 18-month maturity from Citigroup to enhance liquidity and working capital. The credit facility is subject to Court approval and other conditions precedent. The Company believes that it has sufficient liquidity to operate its business during chapter 11, and to continue the flow of goods and services to its customers in the ordinary course.

Kodak expects to pay employee wages and benefits and continue customer programs. Subsidiaries outside of the U.S. are not subject to proceedings and will honor all obligations to suppliers, whenever incurred. Kodak and its U.S. subsidiaries will honor all post-petition obligations to suppliers in the ordinary course.  

“Kodak is taking a significant step toward enabling our enterprise to complete its transformation,” said Antonio M. Perez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “At the same time as we have created our digital business, we have also already effectively exited certain traditional operations, closing 13 manufacturing plants and 130 processing labs, and reducing our workforce by 47,000 since 2003. Now we must complete the transformation by further addressing our cost structure and effectively monetizing non-core IP assets. We look forward to working with our stakeholders to emerge a lean, world-class, digital imaging and materials science company.”

“After considering the advantages of chapter 11 at this time, the Board of Directors and the entire senior management team unanimously believe that this is a necessary step and the right thing to do for the future of Kodak,” Mr. Perez continued. “Our goal is to maximize value for stakeholders, including our employees, retirees, creditors, and pension trustees. We are also committed to working with our valued customers.

“Chapter 11 gives us the best opportunities to maximize the value in two critical parts of our technology portfolio:  our digital capture patents, which are essential for a wide range of mobile and other consumer electronic devices that capture digital images and have generated over $3 billion of licensing revenues since 2003; and our breakthrough printing and deposition technologies, which give Kodak a competitive advantage in our growing digital businesses.”

Mr. Perez concluded, “The Board of Directors, the senior management team and I would like to underscore our appreciation for the hard work and loyalty of our employees. Kodak exemplifies a culture of collaboration and innovation.  Our employees embody that culture and are essential to our future success.”

Kodak has taken this step after preliminary discussions with key constituencies and intends to work toward a consensual reorganization in the best interests of its stakeholders.  Kodak expects to complete its U.S.-based restructuring during 2013.

The Company and its Board of Directors are being advised by Lazard, FTI Consulting Inc. and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. In addition, Dominic DiNapoli, Vice Chairman of FTI Consulting, will serve as Chief Restructuring Officer to support the management team as to restructuring matters during the chapter 11 case.

More information about Kodak’s Chapter 11 filing is available on the Internet at www.kodaktransforms.com.  Information for suppliers and vendors is available at (800) 544-7009 or (585) 724-6100.

Kodak will be filing monthly operating reports with the Bankruptcy Court and also plans to post these monthly operating reports on the Investor Relations section of Kodak.com. The Company will continue to file quarterly and annual reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which will also be available in the Investor Relations section of Kodak.com.

Comments

Total comments: 106
mike alonso
By mike alonso (Sep 13, 2012)

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Comment edited 3 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
rein deer
By rein deer (Sep 13, 2012)

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0 upvotes
Paul D TV
By Paul D TV (Feb 6, 2012)

My letter to Kodak:

http://paul-d.tv/blog/2012/02/06/a-letter-to-kodak/

0 upvotes
Navmark77
By Navmark77 (Jan 23, 2012)

I find this very sad. Kodak gave us a vast system that addressed every photographic need in its time. A fond memory to me is walking into a camera shop with an entire wall of every kind and size and weight of printing paper available, shelves stuffed with various options of chemicals for processing, and of course the wide range of films. Not to mention processing services, reference and instructional books, etc. Any other player in the industry would have to measure themselves against Kodak, because Kodak had no peer when it came to a comprehensive system. When I was starting out, I did not find them unaffordable, and I certainly did not have much money. I guess changing times caught up with them but it's undoubtedly the end of an era.

0 upvotes
cononfodder
By cononfodder (Jan 24, 2012)

Unfortunatley, the era ended over ten years ago. Loved the mailers. Send in your slides from anywhere and get them back quickly. Kodak truely had the widest range. By the time I could afford a view camera very few labs were processing 4x5s. Didn't have room at home for a lab, sold the camera. Went to XP-1 & 2 for monochrome. Eventually moved to Velvia because of the rich color. I watched as my favorite camera shops went from selling bricks of film to removing their coolers. The list goes on and all the other bloggers have tons of stories also. Again, Kodak owened the market; they should have seen the changes. At the point where the current CEO was hired they were already to crash and burn. I work in an industry where the will often look to the outside for leadership. Personel should have been drawn from within the industry. If Kodak survives it will be a shell of its former self. I worked for a fortune five hundred who's story is all too familiar.
Deja vue and fond memories.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 10 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Anepo
By Anepo (Jan 22, 2012)

If they want to survive they have to STOP making DIGITAL Camera's which are only HALF the image quality and overall performance of the other brands.
They have had over 10 years to catch up and they are still nowhere NEAR the competition! Just let them die and everything taken away from them!

0 upvotes
mka78
By mka78 (Jan 22, 2012)

you want to survive? You have to convince and offer the costumer various products with affordable price

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
zoneone
By zoneone (Jan 22, 2012)

Oh well, so much for ever cashing in my stock options. they gave them to all employee's in 2001.

0 upvotes
monokul
By monokul (Jan 22, 2012)

Sad!

0 upvotes
John Mackay
By John Mackay (Jan 22, 2012)

I think I identified the potential for this as far back as 2005 when Antonio Perez took over the CEO reins.

Kodak - First in sales but last in profits
http://www.johnmackay.net/2005_07_01_archive.html

A sad day.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 23, 2012)

That was an amazing foresight on your part, John. This Prez guys sounds like a real bozo. And since he is still both the company's CEO and also the company's CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD, there is little chance of him firing his own sorry sorry behind for the havoc he had created, is there?

Talk about "going down with the ship." In comparison, the Italian slimy captain who had jumped off his own cruise ship to save his own fanny first and foremost was an ethical giant.

0 upvotes
Navmark77
By Navmark77 (Jan 23, 2012)

Actually it sounds like Mr Mackay thought that Perez could potentially save Kodak through radical downsizing but had to deal with a recalcitrant board. At least that's what I took away from the article.

0 upvotes
MP Burke
By MP Burke (Jan 21, 2012)

Long before I switched to digital I switched from using Kodak film much of the time to using Fuji almost exclusively so I may have been one of those helping to bring about Kodak's demise.
The Economist article refers to Fuji film as being cheaper than Kodak, but I have no recollection of that being the case. I saw photographic magazines showing results that I liked the look of, obtained with Fujifilm (Superia and Velvia) and then started using these films and liked the crisp results with rich colours.
Such a big company should have diversified more. Kodak knew digital imaging was coming for many years and should have looked for new market sectors, such as medical and scientific instrumentation.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 23, 2012)

Fujifilm has always been about 30% cheaper than Eastman and Kodak stock. Fujifilm was even undercutting Agfacolor in price.

0 upvotes
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (Jan 20, 2012)

I blame the guy Kodak hired from HP (Antonio Pérez). HP was always a crap in photography so I can't understand why the heck he went to Kodak.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (Jan 20, 2012)

When Kodak offered their version of digital cameras with live-view, it offered only the cruder rudimentary type that only allowed preview of framing, composition, and focus. Basically a televised version of an optical view of the same scenery, albeit, with an electronic facsimile of TTL light meter readings.
This meant, like many other competitors having only this basic live view, is that one could not tell what the image outcome would look like, no exposure preview at all. The preview of an image set at the highest shutter speed and narrowest aperture looked identical, autogain to a neutral average look, as a preview set to the lowest shutter speed and widest aperture, with the exact same look.
Only those offering a live-preview that offers exposure preview have maintained a constant lead of all mfrs and it has remained that way for a long time. Such exp sim live preview or ES-LV has been around now for 12 years, and those mfrs offering it the least fall behind or stay at the bottom.

0 upvotes
Sdaniella
By Sdaniella (Jan 20, 2012)

Exposure Live Preview:
Preview Image Look for:
Overall colors setting and accompanying brightness of all surfaces in a single glance
Overall contrast setting
Overall color balance setting
White balance setting
Level of Noise setting (ISO) and associated progressive brightness
Full Dynamic Range limits including highlights too bright, or shadows too dark (or just right where details are retained for either).
Even live R-G-B histograms or Luminance that MATCHED the image preview (one-to-one linked, not unlinked)
All live previews being adjustable uninterrupted live in realtime as one makes adjustments.
Framing/Composition (a given on cruder LV)
Focus (a given on cruder LV)
Analog style TTL light meter reading in digital form (a given on cruder LV). This last one, is purely a remnant of film camera approach to light metering.
To this day, DPR never details such live-previews as listed above for its comparison tables, it just says, Liveview: 'Yes/No', as useless as saying it turns ON/OFF.

0 upvotes
TurboSled
By TurboSled (Jan 20, 2012)

Really... that's all they had to do to make the company profitable?

3 upvotes
cononfodder
By cononfodder (Jan 20, 2012)

I wrote some comments on the NY Times website. This is a sad day in Mudville, however it's not like the fault lies somewhere else. I don't think it was about the demise of film either, that was inevatable. Kodak developed or led to the develpoement of many sensors and firmware. This was caused by management not seeing the course changes early enough and or the arrogance of "we are the market." Kodak could have been a leader in digital technology; they chose not to be that leader. No one cause dictated Kodak's demise and unfortunately, no one solution will save the company.

0 upvotes
MysticX
By MysticX (Jan 20, 2012)

Kodak .... they also had problems with 35mm and 120mm film quality lately, especially in the entry and mid-price range

Some facts that happened to me:

1 - I loaded a roll of Cheap Kodak iso 200 into my Rollei 35s and at some point, about frame 20 the film broke. Never had this kind of problem with Fuji.
That Rollei 35s, it's true, puts more tension in the film when arming the frame.
After the first Kodak fiasco I said, all right, that roll was defective, let's give it one more chance.
I put another roll. This one broke at the holes when arming the film at some point.
So, at least in my opinion, kodak film is more frail.

2 - Managed to do a complete roll of cheap Kodak iso 200 on a Yashica fx3 C/Y '80 dslr. Developed it at Kodak, scanned it there. The results are worse than Fuji@Fuji labs. More grain, too yellow.

3 - When using the 6x6 Rolleiflex I had better results with cheaper Fomapan BW iso 200 compared to Kodak B/W Iso 200 both manual process.

0 upvotes
guillealv
By guillealv (Jan 20, 2012)

I can only speak for the rollei 35s which I regularly use, but the sprocket has broken my films 2 or 3 times already. A couple of them where Tmax, but I am sure I had some troubled Provia 400f too...

I would rather blame it on the camera rather than the films...
but it's just my opinion anyway.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Jan 20, 2012)

It was actually the casette / packaging problem more than the film or camera fault. The casette film slot was pressed too tight.

0 upvotes
Ceesprof
By Ceesprof (Jan 20, 2012)

It is said that the main mistake of the leadership of this company was that the leadership was made-up almost uniquely of chemists. It shows the danger of having scientists with an unrelated commercial discipline in the top of an commercial organization. Kodak fell into that trap.

0 upvotes
Qwntm
By Qwntm (Jan 20, 2012)

Anyone remember "Promise of Excellence?" The first thing they said was "Just the name Kodak is worth 80 billion dollars." When your corporate culture starts thinking they don't have to actually make anything worth buying to be worth something YOU ARE DOOMED.

American management KILLED Kodak, we have a real shortage of leaders in this world today...

And the sad part is, the clueless leadership still walks away with MILLIONS! That is the new world order way: REWARD THE INCOMPETENT ANYWAY!

3 upvotes
KAllen
By KAllen (Jan 20, 2012)

What should not be over looked is the "now" , Kodak colour neg is the best it has ever been. You can argue about noise/grain resolution etc until the Cows come home.
The fact is it makes lovely pictures, I don't need DXO analysis to tell me if it's beautiful or not, it just is. No, software can not recreate the effect and it certainly can not recreate the experience of having only twelve shots on a roll of 120, or the feeling of using a clockwork camera. Yes it requires time money and effort and it's all hands on by the photographer, no menu of effects to choose from.
It is increasingly looking that it is the last chance to get to know and shoot colour film like Kpdaks Portra, you will miss it when it's gone.
Old quality cameras can be had for less than the price of the new Lomo junk, that and a few rolls of film + processing is not going to cost the Earth, well worth it for the crack of a new experience in photography if digital is all you have ever known.
Good luck Kodak.

0 upvotes
T3
By T3 (Jan 20, 2012)

I don't think all that many people will "miss it when it's gone." Most of us haven't touched film in years. Even more people probably have never touched film at all. I enjoyed film back in the day. But I have no strong desire to go back to it. At least there's still Fuji films. I always preferred Fuji's pro films anyways.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 23, 2012)

I touch film constantly, but have been touching Fuji film since the summer of 1970. It's not going anywhere, especially when it comes 16mm and 35mm MP color film stock. After the reorganization, KODAK will still be making movie films as well, I am sure: Super 8, 16mm, 35mm, and 65mm.

If you want lasting quality for the stuff you shoot today, there is still no beating of the good old celluloid stuff.

0 upvotes
HarrieD7000
By HarrieD7000 (Jan 20, 2012)

Kodak enabled for lots of people to be creative. To preserve memories and pictures, like no one ever could before. It hurts to see that their own inventions that made digital photography to what it is today, could not help them to survive. What went wrong? We only can read that in the years to come in history books. Although that will be only a part of the big picture. Even if the firm has to stop, doing business, the name will live forever.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 20, 2012)

"Kodak enabled for lots of people to be creative."

Right. But Kodak had also enabled its Board of Director to enable 'Clueless Perez' top drive the company straight into the ground. And even after he did (like right now), the Board is apparently "sticking with him." For worse.

If a company is that suicidal, maybe it should not survive.

0 upvotes
robjons
By robjons (Jan 20, 2012)

I have no sympathy for a company that gouged us for years: $7 or 8 dollars for 36 exposures in the 70's? It was outrageous, and kept me experimenting or even bracketing.

Most large US companies are cautionary tales. Next year's bottom line, not product or service, as Jobs incessantly bitched.

The US auto industry is no different with its substandard product or United Airlines with its Greyhound Bus-like service. I only feel bad for the blameless employees.

Good riddance Kodak.

2 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 20, 2012)

1. A roll of 36-exposure 35mm reveral or negative film did not cost $8.00 or even $7.00 in the 1970s.

2. At present time, Eastman Kodak makes the U.S. auto industry look like a bona-fide winner.

3. Employees are never "blameless." Just ask Senior Antonio M. Perez, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kodak.

4. Kodak is not going anywhere. They may get smaller, but for example they will continue to be be making motion picture raw film stock for the next 15-20-25 years.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jan 20, 2012)

That's why Kodak was one of the biggest, most successful companies in the world for over 100 years, providing jobs with benefits and philanthropy. You see, it's called profit. There is almost none in digital cameras which are a commidity with no consumables or repeat business. Now, you can take as many photos as you like and it costs you nothing. Wonderful for the consumer but it's another case where, thanks to technology, the operation was a success but the patient died.

0 upvotes
robjons
By robjons (Jan 21, 2012)

Okay Francis Carver...
1. A roll of 36 exp. film was between $5 and $6 in 1978, and that much again to process it. To me that's an extreme markup for a bulk commodity like film.
2. The US auto industry may have staggered back recently, but everyone knows how they let the domestic market slip away and why: that’s my point.
3. Few employees at large corporations have real decision making authority and are therefore the victims of poor management.
4. Kodak may not be entirely done, but they will be. They are obviously unable to innovate, again like most large US corporations.
I think you like to argue.

1 upvote
Josh152
By Josh152 (Jan 22, 2012)

@AbrsiveReducer

Canon seems to have no problem making a profit selling digital cameras.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 23, 2012)

@ robjons: Just becase YOU paid US$15.00 for a roll of 35mm film w. processing back in the 1970s does not mean that everybody else did, too. You had overpaid for the stuff quite a bit, pure and simple.

KODAK as a company is not going anywhere fast yet. Perhaps you need to look up on Wiki what Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection really is and what it provides to a company.

0 upvotes
guillealv
By guillealv (Jan 20, 2012)

how can the same company that does such fine CCDs for leica and astronomy devices do such bad consumer point and shoot cameras??

i really suffer about the TMax B/W films and the developing products (HC110) that i still use on a regular basis....

0 upvotes
jjandj
By jjandj (Jan 20, 2012)

I can answer that very easily. I used to work at Kodak's ISS (Image Sensor Solutions) Division. EK designs AND manufactures all of their CCD image sensors in a production fab in Rochester, NY. These are used for high-end cameras and camera backs.

But, EK buys all their CMOS image sensors from outside sources since EK has no internal manufacturing facilities to construct CMOS sensors. And, all the consumer cameras are built in China with image sensors NOT MADE BY EK.

Of course, ISS was sold to an investment house months ago...so..who knows what's going on now? I've not been there in 5.25 years.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
1 upvote
T3
By T3 (Jan 20, 2012)

Kodak is now more valuable as a cautionary tale than as a company.

BTW, that is one ugly logo.

2 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (Jan 20, 2012)

Kodak T-MAX ftw.

0 upvotes
brn68
By brn68 (Jan 20, 2012)

Ilford XP2 ftw.
Fujifilm Neopan 400CN ftw.

Comment edited 7 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Octane
By Octane (Jan 20, 2012)

There was Kodak film and there was Fuji film. Today see where Kodak is and where Fuji is.

I think these two companies are text book examples of out times these days. The world changes quickly and companies have to adjust and adapt. One was successful the other one was not.

Fuji was the progressive thinking management, Kodak the conservative one.

1 upvote
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jan 20, 2012)

Fuji is hurting, too (decline of film plus low profits in digital) but they made one crucial decision that helped enormously with film. Kodak was always focused on accurate, realistic color. Fuji showed people samples and discovered that very saturated, somewhat unlrealistic color was more popular for most uses. And Velvia was born.

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Jan 20, 2012)

Kodak has been behind Nat'l Geographic, Playboy, etc. photography for ages, making us think those were "real colors", actually pushing unrealistic reds and yellows, and we have been taught that embellishing our world is what's "real"... and wayy before Velvia.
But Sensia, Velvia and some other Fuji products got us sharper material (by growing crystals) and gained one or two f-stops for the same-sized grain. And when you could've used 100ASA where Kodak offered 25 or 50, that's progress.
Long story short, that story's over. Dinosaurs are also gone but not forgotten.

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 3 minutes after posting
1 upvote
pianopix
By pianopix (Jan 20, 2012)

I think that many of us likely remember that same magic moment of seeing our first print emerge on paper in a tray of developer under the dim amber light in a darkroom... mine was helped along by my high school art teacher, Bernard Perch. Mr. Perch had little time, but wanted to help me along. So he taught me how to develop one roll of black and white film, and one black and white print, and said, 'you're on your own from here'. It was a moment that changed my life. So thank you Kodak, and thank you Mr. Perch, for what you brought to our lives. Now it is up to us to carry on that love and magic and tradition for generations to come.

Lee Krohn
Manchester, Vermont
January 19, 2012

0 upvotes
bnudd
By bnudd (Jan 20, 2012)

Having worked in the photo industry for 25 years, including 18 with Fuji, I can say the business plan never included "killing Kodak". We could see they were doing a fine job of that themselves.

2 upvotes
Ahmet Aydogan
By Ahmet Aydogan (Jan 20, 2012)

Kodak has been on this downward spiral for so long it's no longer news. It's been a brand in search of a decent product for decades (perhaps with the exception of Eastman Motion Picture films).

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 20, 2012)

"It's been a brand in search of a decent product for decades."

Wow, as bad as that, huh? Wow. Did not even know that.

0 upvotes
blue camera
By blue camera (Jan 20, 2012)

Kodak has always been a real mix of the good, the bad, and the cheesy. But what got me in the press release was their "... appreciation for the hard work and loyalty of our employees," preceded by "... we have also already effectively exited certain traditional operations, closing 13 manufacturing plants and 130 processing labs, and reducing our workforce by 47,000 since 2003." How many more "loyal employees" will go, and sooner than later?

That's the way the cookie crumbles, the film fogs, and the pixels keep getting re-saved as jpegs...

1 upvote
davecamerator
By davecamerator (Jan 20, 2012)

Glad to see them go! They have been screwing over photographers for years with their constant changing of film formats (620 roll film,110 casettes,126 casettes, 127 roll film ,APS film,and the disc system just to name a few. All this to sell their mostly cheap poor quality cameras ( the German made Retina's were the exception). As far as I'm concerned they are just getting what they deserve.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 20, 2012)

Heck if you don't like what Kodak did with film formats, you definitely don't want to get into the alternative: digital photography. That camera you bought two or three years ago -- it is the manufacturer itself declaring it to be obsolete already and urging you to get the new one. You know... the new one that can actually, you know, take photographs.

0 upvotes
KAllen
By KAllen (Jan 20, 2012)

Eh? I used 35mm and 120/220 from the start and still do use some, I had a camera since I could walk and I'm 54 now. It was up to you to choose a photographic format, Kodak gave you the choice, if bought 110 more fool you..
Plus what price would you put on those family snaps 30 years + down the road, would be forgotten faces preserved on film .... priceless I would say.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jan 20, 2012)

No. Kodak wasn't all that concerned about selling their cheap cameras. You see, they had this nutty idea that whatever camera you had, you would need film. And most people would need that film processed. And then came double prints, enlargements and...more film. What a crazy idea, to keep the customer coming back over and over, buying more stuff and supporting their local camera store and photo lab. Well, that's all behind us now. We buy mailorder at 5% over cost and pay no tax.

It is true that 110, disc and APS were attempts to sell less film for more money but the market responded accordingly. And formats like Instamatic were never intended for serious photographers in the first place.

Comment edited 37 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
freiherrfoto
By freiherrfoto (Jan 20, 2012)

Maybe Apple should buy this company over...with Kodak's patent trove they can start to aim their litigation sights on DSLR manufacturers :-)

2 upvotes
Flyfisher48
By Flyfisher48 (Jan 20, 2012)

I bought a Kodak printer a couple years back. I just hope they continue to make ink for it. It may save me money on ink but it is noisy during operation. Kodak used to make pretty good digital cameras. My first digital camera was a Kodak DX series. Kodak should get back to its roots by making value oriented cameras that outperform their price point. Kodak's mistake may be trying to make tons of different digital cameras non of which can beat the competition.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 20, 2012)

So, if they obviously cannot do something, why should they then go right back trying to do that?

0 upvotes
Deleted pending purge
By Deleted pending purge (Jan 20, 2012)

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi...
I did not think I'd see this company crashing. Almost all movies we have ever seen were filmed on miles upon endless miles of Eastman Kodak material... heck, I used to take photos on that one too... :(
Btw, blaming Fuji is ridiculous. Last 20 or so years they were simply better. Pity, though, to see such an icon crumble, but that comes from having old, self-centered management with too calcified a spine to bend with the winds of Time.
So who's next? Coca Cola? Levi's? McDonalds? Fort Knox?

0 upvotes
LoganVii
By LoganVii (Jan 19, 2012)

One question, did they ever "registered" the look of their film... It was an easy way to make some bucks a few years ago.

0 upvotes
rondhamalam
By rondhamalam (Jan 19, 2012)

Fuji will now be the giant

0 upvotes
J4Hug
By J4Hug (Jan 19, 2012)

Kodak used to provide x-ray film and since the mid 90s had been a very substantial player (along with Fuji and Agfa) amongst the providers for digital x-ray (Radiology).
In the UK they provided probably 1/5 of NHS hospitals with sensors for x-ray imaging .. (these 'sensors' are not as in cameras but photostimulable phosphors) I suspect this side of their business was fairly good except the turnover (no film) was less..... they are now called Carestream so they probably sold that part of the company off!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computed_radiography

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jan 20, 2012)

X-ray film was huge and although it was silver-rich, it was still like printing money. I remember dealing with hospitals and doctors, discussing ways to reduce spending on film and discovered they really didn't care how much it cost. Now, that's the kind of business you want to be in. (I never worked for EK).

0 upvotes
tnnd
By tnnd (Jan 22, 2012)

I noticed from a few recent visit to my doctors -- dentist and cardiologist, they all use digital X-ray shown on computers! I am not whether there are films along with them, but I bet the trend is the same as photography -- X-ray films' days are numbered.

0 upvotes
carlgt1
By carlgt1 (Jan 19, 2012)

goodnight, sweet prints!

6 upvotes
magneto shot
By magneto shot (Jan 19, 2012)

next!

0 upvotes
Feud
By Feud (Jan 19, 2012)

Fuji achieved their mission statement: "Kill Kodak".

0 upvotes
DioCanon
By DioCanon (Jan 19, 2012)

what Fuji!!!???
if you ever used as I did a Kodak digital camera you know what killed kodak!

6 upvotes
regova
By regova (Jan 19, 2012)

No, Kodak killed himself. Fuji just helped a little bit. Even if Fuji didn't ever exist, Kodak couldn't last long.

2 upvotes
Franka T.L.
By Franka T.L. (Jan 19, 2012)

Absolutely, no body kill Kodak, Kodak kill itself

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 20, 2012)

Feud killed Kodak!

0 upvotes
cassano
By cassano (Jan 19, 2012)

the article from Economist is pretty inspiring....

0 upvotes
regova
By regova (Jan 19, 2012)

Arrogance kills,................. so sorry for the employees who have to deal with the bad economy.

5 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Jan 19, 2012)

It wasn't solely the economy that hurt Kodak. It was their inability to adapt to the digital age. In the early years of digital, Kodak made some very nice professional DSLRs with quality sensors. I haven't the slightest idea why they couldn't use some of their expertise in this area to update their business model. A cheesy Easy Share P&S was not the right move.

1 upvote
regova
By regova (Jan 20, 2012)

Agree. History repeats. Kodak management stopped at some point to learn from history. They could have been still in business if they were not so disconnected from " real life", market trends, customers' demands, , etc. However, I do acknowledge their contribution to advancement of photography and wish they can make a comeback, learn from their mistakes and provide better and cheaper HIGH END products with better customer service. I hope it's not too late now. we will see.

0 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jan 20, 2012)

Yes, they had (and have) terrible, clueless management. But they stuck to film because they couldn't find a replacement that was anywhere near as profitable. And nobody else has, either. What I will always wonder is why, when they finally found a way to bring in some money (ink) they decided to low ball it.

0 upvotes
IcyVeins
By IcyVeins (Jan 19, 2012)

Film is dead!

5 upvotes
samhain
By samhain (Jan 20, 2012)

Not by a long shot.
More and more people each day, all over the world, are realizing that uploading 300 crappy pictures of their cat, sorting through them to find 5 or 6 decent ones, spending excessive time post-processing them, converting them to b&w, printing them, re-printing them to look right, etc....is really tiresome and a quite a pain. Film forces you to be a better photographer- to spend more time with the camera and less time in front of a computer. Digital just forces you to buy bigger hard drives & memory cards. I sold off all my digital(with the exception of an underwater p&s) and went back to film and I couldn't be happier.
Film will be back in vogue, you watch.

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
4 upvotes
CarlPH
By CarlPH (Jan 20, 2012)

Good for you Samhain, but if you love film so much what are you doing in a digital review website?

2 upvotes
Sohoza
By Sohoza (Jan 20, 2012)

Can I be here, CarlPH? I have both digital and film gear, and while digital is certainly more convenient for some things, I have to agree that forcing yourself to slow down and consider each of your 36 shots does simply result in a much faster learning curve. I also agree that film is seeing a resurgence (though obviously never to reach the heights it fell from again). The people most interested in my Minolta ( another sad loss, if only in name) rangefinder when I'm out and about are almost invariably in their teens or early 20's. It fails to occur to the people jabbering about the death of film that we have an entire generation of kids who have never known any way to make an actual physical recording of light. As this generation gains more and more purchasing power, I think the result is going to surprise many of us who have lived through the entire digital revolution. They crave and are fascinated and excited by "real" things and experiences. So am I. =)

0 upvotes
IcyVeins
By IcyVeins (Jan 20, 2012)

Film forces you to spend money on film that you could have spent on a better camera.

Film forces you to take fewer shots, so it takes you longer to learn what works and what doesn't.

Film forces you to make up babyish arguments about what's wrong with digital, like suggesting that digital photography is responsible for people taking pictures of their cat.

1 upvote
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 20, 2012)

I have a pet theory that still needs indie validation. People who scream at every corner "Film is dead!" are already dead themselves. Digital zombies, as they were. Just a pet theory, mind you. :-)

Film had its issues, but a whole of of this brave new digital domain is pretty much awful, isn't it though?

0 upvotes
KAllen
By KAllen (Jan 20, 2012)

God yes, if photography was not my living I would ditch all this digital nonsense and just stick with the Rolleiflex, the money I spend on L glass and top line Canon computers to stick it on is insane. I'd rather spend it on rolls of film and processing.

0 upvotes
ssh33
By ssh33 (Jan 20, 2012)

Film is not dead, it just smells funny.

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 23, 2012)

@ KAllen: No clue what you are talking about, What COMPUTERS does Canon make, please?

But if you really cannot afford a roll of film and the processing cost, film is indeed not for you.

0 upvotes
Gregm61
By Gregm61 (Jan 19, 2012)

No one to blame but themselves.

4 upvotes
AbrasiveReducer
By AbrasiveReducer (Jan 20, 2012)

Completely wrong. I can't believe I'm defending Kodak but their big "mistake" was in not converting from a high profit business (film/paper/processing) to a very low profit business (endless, expensive R&D leading to low-profit digital cameras).

0 upvotes
bladerunr50
By bladerunr50 (Jan 19, 2012)

So what? I've watched venerable institutions fall by the wayside my whole life. I worked at Montgomery Wards until they shut us down. I then went to work in microfilm until that died a quick death. I watched my favorite movie theater get turned into a parking lot and so on and so forth. I didn't get choked up about Kodachrome either because I haven't used it in years. I also got laid off from Ritz camera when printing died. They survived and they're a leaner, meaner company. I hope Kodak is able to survive because competition and innovation are good in the photography world. Personally, I'll purchase from whomever produces what I need at the price I can pay, no matter who they are.

3 upvotes
Peiasdf
By Peiasdf (Jan 20, 2012)

Totally agree. Tons of company will die due to mismanagement and lack of vision but those that didn't went on to develop and produce better products.

Just these past three weeks we have Fuji releasing a new system, Lytro releases their lightfield camera, Canon shows off their EVIL/mirrorless camera, Olympus and Panasonic working on their flagship m4/3 and Pentax on a K-mount EVIL/mirrorless. This is in addition to Canon, Nikon and Sony's FF announcement later this year.

0 upvotes
Doug Pardee
By Doug Pardee (Jan 19, 2012)

The linked article to The Economist (comparing Kodak with Fuji) is excellent. Some of the observations — Kodak wanted to get their products right rather than take the modern path of ship first and fix later, and that digital is for smaller companies and Kodak was too big to survive solely on digital — I haven't seen elsewhere.

I'm not convinced that Kodak's problems started with digital. When I was young and the waters of the Great Flood were just receding, Kodak wasn't just cameras and film and processing and papers. Kodak knew photography. Some of the best books and pamphlets on how to take and process photos, both for Mom and Pop and for the pros, were produced by Kodak. But in the '80s or so, Kodak got away from that and concentrated on the industrial side.

Maybe if they'd kept an eye on photography, the article wouldn't have had to say, "A brilliant boss might have turned this idea into something like Facebook."

4 upvotes
dennis mol
By dennis mol (Jan 19, 2012)

Sad, for a person of film's time. You could almost say they were film. They did it so well.

4 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 20, 2012)

Eastman Kodak and film are different things in my book. There is nothing wrong with film, in fact if anything Fujifilm will be selling a whole lot more of it now, both for photo taking and as 16mm and 35mm motion picture raw stock.

0 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Jan 19, 2012)

I don´t waste a tear.....

Kodak has been widely criticized by environmentalists and researchers as one of the worst polluters in the United States. According to scorecard.org, a web site which collects information on corporate pollution, Kodak is the worst polluter in New York state, releasing 4,433,749 pounds (2,011,115 kg) of chemicals into the air and water supply.
The Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, which compiled the Toxic 100, ranked Kodak the seventh largest polluter in the United States in 2002. In 2004, the Citizens' Environmental Coalition's (CEC) of New York awarded Kodak one of its "Dirty Dozen" awards to highlight its consistently high rates of pollution

9 upvotes
Tim Robson
By Tim Robson (Jan 19, 2012)

Who cares about all of those environmental outfits, now that Kodak's been criticized by you, Hank? Now you can focus your formidable Wikipedia cutting and pasting talents on taking down ExxonMobil.

One suggestion, if I may. If you're going to blatantly rip off something you found on the web, you might at least be intellectually honest about it. Your cut and paste job was a bit selective; you omitted the following:

"However, in 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted Kodak the EnergyStar Sustained Excellence Award for "outstanding and continued leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions through superior energy management."

7 upvotes
marike6
By marike6 (Jan 19, 2012)

However Henry came about the info about Kodak, that doesn't make his point any less valid. Who cares? Hopefully a lot of people as presumably this, and ALL countries, belong to the people and not the corporations who seem to have little regard for anything other than their bottom line.

4 upvotes
antares103
By antares103 (Jan 19, 2012)

According to your score card site, yes Kodak was something like second or fourth in New York. But it was in the bottom 10% from what I could see. Also, the data is 13 years old.

besides, bankruptcy does not mean that will change or that they are going away, only that they are reorganizing. Not surprising considering a company of that size in an industry that has changed as rapidly as photography has.

At least they were manufacturing in the US that has some environmental laws (some good, some not so much). This is as opposed to apple and the majority of stuff each of us owns. And if any industry (IMO) should get some forgiveness for inherent environmental impact, it would be teh photographic industry. Without photography, the eco champions would have a tougher sell than they do now.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 15 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
brn
By brn (Jan 20, 2012)

"usual uneducated american"

Anytime anyone makes that kind of generalization about an entire population, it's clear extreme biases are in effect. Nothing you say afterward is worth reading.

P.S. I also find it entertaining when someone refers to a population as "uneducated", but fails to properly capitalize a proper noun.

2 upvotes
Henry M. Hertz
By Henry M. Hertz (Jan 20, 2012)

well the former american president thinks africa is a nation.
and he was educated at an elite university.

have youy seen the videos on youtube?
education and health care in america is for the rich.... and there are not so many rich people in america anymore....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q566ys0sqVQ

my english is sure not as good as that of a native english speaking guy.
but hey.... i can speak 4 languages more or less. :)

often i think most americans don´t even know there are other languages.
i mean lets face it..... i write in english to you because you are unable to learn another language!!

how many languages a normal american girl or boy learns in school?
not even their own i guess... as most struggle with their own language.

he hung or hanged himself?

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 12 minutes after posting
1 upvote
liquidsquid
By liquidsquid (Jan 20, 2012)

Kodak was a large polluter because it was a HUGE chemical manufacturer. The largest by far in the country for a variety of chemicals. They even made a lot of really nasty stuff for who knows what. Chemicals in support of film manufacturing such as solvents were recycled as much as possible, but they can only capture so much when evaporation is part of the process.

I mowed lawns during summers at Kodak, and right across from where I worked there was a distillery for manufacturing vitamin E. Entire train tank cars were filled with the stuff, and it smelled of rotten jelly doughnuts.

Kodak also manufactured mile after mile of plastic sheet materials of all types. Incredible amounts of it. I wonder who makes it now... Many other basic material products were produced and designed there. It is no wonder they polluted. Hard not to on that scale. There was feet of accumulated small plastic pieces on the ground blown out of the large overhead doors where the sheets were manufactured.

0 upvotes
liquidsquid
By liquidsquid (Jan 20, 2012)

Continues...

Henry,
That is because once you learn English, you are burned out since it is so darned confusing at times. Fine example of hung and hanged. I stink at English, but know several computing languages. Easy stuff by comparison...

I grew up in Webster, NY which is downwind of Kodak, and yes, health problems tend to concentrate around Kodak. The price of advancement is usually the sacrifice of something else. It isn't pretty. Now we just shovel all the stuff under a carpet called China so we don't get sick with the pollution ourselves.

0 upvotes
Tim Robson
By Tim Robson (Jan 20, 2012)

Sorry to disappoint you, Heinrich, but I'm neither American nor uneducated. I'm Canadian, and I managed to finish not just public school but law school as well. And personally, I've got a lot more time for the "uneducated Americans" you have such contempt for than I have for you and your volk; they've got a lot less blood on their hands, even though most of them don't speak four languages.

Incidentally, Heinrich, most Americans are unable to speak other languages because they have no need to learn a language which is spoken by only a very small and ever diminishing proportion of the global population (Deutsch, for example). If, on the other hand, you're a squarehead from Dusseldorf who wants to post scheisse on dpreview, you haven't got much choice but to learn English.

Comment edited 49 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 20, 2012)

@ Henry -- please be an environmental troll and eco-terrorist someplace else.

0 upvotes
snowboarder
By snowboarder (Jan 19, 2012)

The worst part is the managers who killed that company
over they years still made their millions...

5 upvotes
Nounours18200
By Nounours18200 (Jan 19, 2012)

Snowboarder is very true: I have professionnally visited Kodak at the very beginning of the digital era (a few months before): all the employees I talked to, said that they all knew that there was no hope for the Company to survive, and they said they the reason.
They told me that it was because the shareolders have refused to invest in digital, in order to preserve their profits ! They told me that the company did have the resources to invest , but the shareolders cupidity was too high....
The future has shown that they were right...

1 upvote
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (Jan 20, 2012)

If that is true, it makes me very sad. Kodak was one of the pioneers in digital photography, and released several very nice DSLRs. Failing not because they couldn't keep up, but because they were handcuffed by shareholders and forced to watch as competitors beat them at their own game....that's just harsh.

I've also heard that they sold their digital sensor department. If that's true, I don't see what they have left.

0 upvotes
Camera Nuts Jim
By Camera Nuts Jim (Jan 20, 2012)

As I am a resident of tha United States and used to work across the highway from one of Kodak's regional film processing locations. I have mixed feeling about the whole fiasco which was Kodak.

FIRST OF ALL - The processing site was leveled and is now part of an official SUPERFUND site. Chemical pollution. If the Japanese who I used to work for across the highway can do the camera thing less expensively and more environmentally
effectively, (though I doubt it) SO BE IT!

0 upvotes
sonic dowling
By sonic dowling (Jan 20, 2012)

I have a Nikon camera (and a Canon), I love to take photographs, so mama don't take my Kodak away....

0 upvotes
lcsjk
By lcsjk (Jan 20, 2012)

I started with Kodak slide film and a pawnshop 35mm Ricoh fully manual viewfinder camera. (still works) and a 120 BW, Welmy-6 (pawnshop).
My Slides from the '50s are still perfect. (dev. by Kodak). I started using Fuji print film in the early '80s because it was cheaper than Kodacolor, and just as good or better.

As I think back on the days when Kodak was the only one, I wonder how many rolls of KodaChrome were on ASA 10. Nostalgia for a minute as I think back, but would not trade my 15MB Pentax digital with ISO 3200.
I hope Kodak will survive and become a player again. However, they never were known for really good cameras, just film. It's going to be a difficult climb back to the consumer market, but they have their fingers in a lot of pies. Good luck Kodak!

0 upvotes
Francis Carver
By Francis Carver (Jan 23, 2012)

Started using 13 DIN 8mm color film in the late 1960s, I think it was the same as ASA/ISO 25. Then when it went up to 15 DIN (ASA/ISO 40), it felt like a highly light sensitive film.

We had 27 DIN (ASA/ISO 400) B&W stock as well, but back then color (8mm and 16mm movie film) only went up to 18 DIN (ASA/ISO 80).

0 upvotes
Total comments: 106