Kodak to sell its film business
In an announcement, they say they have “initiated sale processes for its market-leading Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses.”
Now that includes a lot more than just films, but the film business is the one that will have some photographers worried (I note that the cine film business is not included).
The reason for all this is Kodak’s dire financial situation, where they need money fast, and if that involves selling off the silver, then so be it. It’s already looking as if they will fall far short of the $2.5 billion they’d hoped to get from the sale of patents, so more is needed.
In the last week or so I’ve been making major changes to the layout of the Northlight site, and been updating quite a few old articles (checking links are still alive etc.) – it’s interesting that in 2004, when I moved to digital in a big way, that I thought film had at least 10-15 years of demand, even if it was in more specialised areas. The recent drop off has been sharper than I thought – I’d forgotten the way old technologies can crumble away quite rapidly as a critical level of interest and support is reached.
Of course any death of film story (as I saw it on BBC news) wouldn’t be complete without wheeling out someone from the photography establishment to suggest that film is alive and well… (I didn’t see the ‘undergoing a resurgence of interest’ line this time).
In this instance we have that venerable organ, the BJP. This from the BBC
The British Journal of Photography said the news would concern the industry.
“A lot of professionals still shoot with film and like the quality it gives them,” Olivier Laurent, news editor at the journal, told the BBC.
“The resolution is still a thousand times higher than most digital cameras can offer so long as a good scanner is used.
“A film photograph has a different mood thanks to its grain – it’s about the love of the image and digital still has a hard time trying to reproduce that feeling.”
What proportion of working photographers still use film? Actual working photographers that is, not just BJP readers?
A thousand times higher? I’m presuming this would be all those pro photographers who shoot 10×8 large format – did you see their massed ranks at the recent Olympics?
As to the grain… well, I’m happy to add it afterwards ;-) [DxO FilmPack review] if it makes a shot look better (and it can in some instances).
Nothing wrong in saying that any loss of film is a loss to photography, since photography benefits from a variety of means of expression. What I don’t like is that contrived story about just how serious it is, and that from a work point of view, many professional photographers are really that bothered – much as I thought at the ‘Death of Kodachrome‘.
I’m optimistic, and believe that some of the products will live on, when the business is sold. However, my business brain says, why should someone else be able to make a profit from the current (film) business, when Kodak themselves haven’t got close for several years.
This is what’s currently in the range – come back in a few years and see what’s left? (not to mention what it costs and where you can get it processed).