Kodak Price Increase and Hiring Spree 2023: What Do You Want Kodak to Focus on Moving Forward?

Summer Dreaming

A
Summer Dreaming

  • 5
  • 0
  • 111
It's Winter

A
It's Winter

  • 4
  • 1
  • 103
Cottonwood II

A
Cottonwood II

  • 2
  • 2
  • 96

Recent Classifieds

Forum statistics

Threads
181,847
Messages
2,516,086
Members
95,424
Latest member
GRInfratech
Recent bookmarks
0

Scott J.

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2017
Messages
78
Location
Wyoming
Shooter
Large Format
As most have probably heard by now, Kodak intends to raise film prices beginning in March of this year. The average price increase expected in the U.S. is reportedly 17%, while other regions (e.g., Japan) are expected to see higher price hikes. It seems likely that these newest price increases are intended to address at least two ongoing issues: 1) to offset elevated, inflation-driven costs in the manufacture of film and chemistry; and 2) to expand the company's manufacturing capacity (i.e., equipment and manpower) in an effort to keep pace with current film demand, which has reportedly surged in the last few years.

Point #1 above is almost certainly true just based on general economic trends occurring around the world. And point #2 seems likely true based on recent statements made by Kodak regarding the company's push to hire more people for its film manufacturing division. However, I've seen some people in forums optimistically speculating that this newest round of price increases might also be driven by an interest within the company to expand its current product lineup (i.e., film, chemistry, etc.). It's that last speculative point that interests me the most, for if true, I think it might help to soften the blow that many are feeling about these newest price increases. If Kodak is looking to offer more products but needs additional revenue to do so, I think a lot of film shooters would be cautiously willing to accept the increases (especially if only temporary).

I don't know to what extent Kodak reps read these or other forums in an effort to understand what customers want (it would certainly be in their best interest to do so, of course), but I'm curious to know what one or two "projects" film shooters would like to see the company pursuing in the near term (say, the next 2-5 years), whether it was changing a current product, bringing one back from the dead, or offering up something completely new. There are no right or wrong answers, so feel free to dream. I'll go first:

1) Bring back Kodak E-6 chemistry -- In February of 2019, Kodak announced it was exploring the possibility of offering its own E-6 chemistry, which was likely spurred on by having brought back Ektachrome E100. No firm plans were announced, and I now notice that the original announcement on the official Kodak Instagram account no longer exists (which might be a bad sign). With Fuji-Hunt having eliminated their 5-liter E-6 kits in October 2021, now would be a good time for Kodak to begin offering its own 6-bath home kit in comparable sizes (e.g., 1-5 liters).

2) Add another color slide film option -- I'm glad E100 was brought back a few years ago, but I'd like to see another offering from the company. I imagine it'd be easier to revitalize an older film than to develop one from scratch, though it's conceivably possible that EPA rules have changed sufficiently in the last 5-10 years that any "old" film might need to be tweaked to meet current regulations (this is reportedly what killed off Velvia 100). Personally, I'd love to see Kodak bring back E100VS. With Fuji Velvia 100 being completely gone in the U.S and Velvia 50 no longer available in sheet sizes, E100VS seems like a no-brainer, as it would fill a void for shooters looking for a punchy, saturated color positive film. Opinions obviously vary, but this was one of my favorite films in the early 2000s.

3) Bring back Aerochrome - There's virtually zero chance of them actually doing this, but as an Aerochrome user, I'd love to see it, even if it was only made available as an infrequent special order every few years. The (re-)startup cost would probably be astronomical, but given what new-old-stock rolls and sheets go for online (~$250 per 120 roll!), I'd be curious to know what the company's break-even price would be. Maybe it's less than $250 per roll?

Have fun.
 

MattKing

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Messages
41,482
Location
Delta, BC, Canada
Shooter
Multi Format
As Kodak Alaris sold the still film photo-chemistry business to Sino-Promise, E6 photo-chemistry is probably a non-starter, unless that segment of photo-chemistry can be bought back from Sino Promise.
 
OP
OP
Scott J.

Scott J.

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2017
Messages
78
Location
Wyoming
Shooter
Large Format
As Kodak Alaris sold the still film photo-chemistry business to Sino-Promise, E6 photo-chemistry is probably a non-starter, unless that segment of photo-chemistry can be bought back from Sino Promise.

Matt -- Do you know what Sino Promise's status is? Last I saw (2022), they were in financial trouble due (at least in part) to supply chain problems.
 

MattKing

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Messages
41,482
Location
Delta, BC, Canada
Shooter
Multi Format
Matt -- Do you know what Sino Promise's status is? Last I saw (2022), they were in financial trouble due (at least in part) to supply chain problems.

They were in trouble, and are probably still struggle, but we are starting to see some new product in various parts of the world.
The manufacturing segment in the parts of China they operate in is still extremely affected by Covid.
Eastman Kodak is expecting them to return. Or perhaps that should be "hoping they will return".
 

mshchem

Subscriber
Joined
Nov 26, 2007
Messages
9,531
Location
Iowa City, Iowa USA
Shooter
Medium Format
Important to differentiate between three distinct organizations. Eastman Kodak, Kodak Alaris, and Kodak SinoPromise.

I would like to see EK thrive, make money, expand the finishing/conversion department.

I hope that K SinoPromise survives and can regroup. I have used their C41 and RA4 chemistry for years, great product. Keep the black and white chemistry right and on the shelves.

K Alaris is in the best place to be the voice of the end user. Keep the product flowing, this is probably the most challenging task, and impacts all of us.

Make a color film called Kodachrome, C-41 or E6. 😊
 

ic-racer

Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2007
Messages
13,044
Location
USA
Shooter
Multi Format
The only thing I'd ask is for lower prices on B&W rollfilm and sheet film. Ditch the color film; digital color is here to stay.
 

momus

Subscriber
Joined
Jun 14, 2009
Messages
5,472
Location
Lower Earth
Shooter
Medium Format
I suspect that the only reason any company increases prices is because they think they can. It increases their profits. More money for executives and shareholders, might even trickle down to the workers. If it gets to that point, they will start talking about new price increases that are needed in the future.
 

removedacct1

Member
Joined
Nov 12, 2014
Messages
1,877
Location
97333
Shooter
Large Format
/me wonders how long it will be before this thread turns into chimpanzees throwing feces at the glass.
 

Steven Lee

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2022
Messages
374
Location
USA
Shooter
Medium Format
Putting aside that the Kodak brand is used by different companies, I want to return to the original question:

What Do You Want Kodak to Focus on Moving Forward?

This may be a controversial opinion, but perhaps it is a good idea for them to return to their original goal of owning more than just the first step in the imaging chain.

For majority of photographers getting to a high quality image file produced from film is a painful journey. Minilab scanning and available home scanning options are not great. I am not suggesting Kodak resurrects their acquired Creo line of scanners, I am simply pointing out at the market and thinking that its size is just right. I doubt this problem is interesting enough for Japanese electronic giants like Canon, but EK is fairly small (and hopefully still competent) to be interested in it.

Remember when Kodak did all of processing of their films? What would a modern incarnation of this look like? I can see Kodak films sold with pre-paid processing, when you finish the 3-pack, mail it to Kodak and get an invite to a web/mobile application where essentially you have a Lightroom-like interface to tweak your high-bit length neutral scans (with auto-everything button for those who don't want to), download high-resolution images, pair that with web albums, social media integrations, printing services, etc.
 

Kodachromeguy

Subscriber
Joined
Nov 3, 2016
Messages
1,549
Location
Vicksburg, Mississippi
Shooter
Multi Format
Last edited:
OP
OP
Scott J.

Scott J.

Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2017
Messages
78
Location
Wyoming
Shooter
Large Format
This may be a controversial opinion, but perhaps it is a good idea for them to return to their original goal of owning more than just the first step in the imaging chain.

This is precisely where my mind has gone as of late. Having everything done in-house by a single company is appealing to me for the simple reason that I suspect (though can't guarantee) it might remove a lot of the barriers to growth and innovation. As it is now, it seems there's a lot of inertia in this triune system comprised of Eastman Kodak, Kodak Alaris, and Sino Promise.
 

MattKing

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Messages
41,482
Location
Delta, BC, Canada
Shooter
Multi Format
Ditch the color film; digital color is here to stay.

If the color (sp) film went away, the machines would be shut down the next day.
Ilford makes more black and white film than Kodak does. Kodak makes way more colour film than it makes black and white film.
 

MattKing

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Messages
41,482
Location
Delta, BC, Canada
Shooter
Multi Format
Remember when Kodak did all of processing of their films?

How old are you? 😉
They haven't done that for decades and decades - close to 100 years.
Even 50 years ago, their percentage of the colour negative develop and print market was a tiny percentage of the total.
Where they made much of their money was selling to the independent labs.
 

cmacd123

Subscriber
Joined
May 24, 2007
Messages
3,319
Location
Stittsville, Ontario
Shooter
35mm
How old are you? 😉
They haven't done that for decades and decades - close to 100 years.
Even 50 years ago, their percentage of the colour negative develop and print market was a tiny percentage of the total.
Where they made much of their money was selling to the independent labs.
Part of that problem was Kodak were hit in the States with an anti-trust ruling that for many decades forbid Kodak from selling film with processing included. AND for many years they would ONLY process their own brand of film.

Major hilight of thios was that Kodachrome was sold world wide as processing included (ie KR-135-36P ) except in proably Kodak's Biggest market at the time (The US)
 

MattKing

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Messages
41,482
Location
Delta, BC, Canada
Shooter
Multi Format
Part of that problem was Kodak were hit in the States with an anti-trust ruling that for many decades forbid Kodak from selling film with processing included. AND for many years they would ONLY process their own brand of film.

Major hilight of thios was that Kodachrome was sold world wide as processing included (ie KR-135-36P ) except in proably Kodak's Biggest market at the time (The US)

True.
But it has been about a hundred years since Kodak sold negative film and did all the processing.
And as successful as Kodachrome was, a lot more negative film was used and sold. And that became even more the case after the minilab industry exploded.
 
Joined
Jul 31, 2012
Messages
2,693
Shooter
35mm RF
My fear is they are pricing themselves into the stratosphere. Maybe pricing the whole market into oblivion. Shooting film is not a necessity anymore. It is a hobby for the most part. I think there are already a lot of people who just said screw it and just started using a digital camera. There is a whole "hip" movement now to use old digital point and shoots by the same "new user" demographic that has bolstered film sales in the previous decade. Gonna be interesting for sure to see what happens.
 

warden

Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2009
Messages
2,186
Location
Philadelphia
Shooter
Medium Format
there may not be a good business case for this, but if they ever get around to making P 3200 in medium format I’ll be buying it. Similarly if they make a traditional grain slow speed film something like Plus X I would be interested.
 

Sirius Glass

Subscriber
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
43,767
Location
Southern California
Shooter
Multi Format
My fear is they are pricing themselves into the stratosphere. Maybe pricing the whole market into oblivion. Shooting film is not a necessity anymore. It is a hobby for the most part. I think there are already a lot of people who just said screw it and just started using a digital camera. There is a whole "hip" movement now to use old digital point and shoots by the same "new user" demographic that has bolstered film sales in the previous decade. Gonna be interesting for sure to see what happens.

I do not drink coffee, but I see that every time the price of coffee increases due to frost, ... , the ones that gripe the most still buy and drink the same amount of coffee every day at work.
 

Derek Lofgreen

Subscriber
Joined
Feb 8, 2006
Messages
843
Location
Minnesota
Shooter
Multi Format
I have stopped using Kodak for all of my B&W work for now. I just can't justify the cost. I mean, my negatives are not twice as good when I use Kodak film. Why should I spend twice as much for nominal performance over other brands? Illford and the others make really great products. Even the "cheap" film is really good in the correct circumstance. I can still get the look I want with other brand films.

When I do shoot color, which isn't very often, I will use Kodak films because they are amazing. Really. I make so many better photos (in my opinion) with less work on Kodak color films than I do with my digital kit. I do use a hybrid process for my color work.

With that said I think it would be great to have a "Provia like" kodak film. Neutral color pallet, great reciprocity and make it 400 ISO while your at it. All formats of course.

Also, as stated above I think it would help Kodak in the long run to support their customers with a solid advance in digitizing negatives. Not some little yellow digitizer that makes 8 MGPXL images. Something like a consumer version of the flex tight. Now that would be nice. I would like that instead of some janky camera stand light table goofiness or dealing with soft flatbed scans that don't do the neg justice or even those gritty/pebbly lab scans from a frontier (hate those).

My 2 cents. It never matters anyway.

D.
 

Steven Lee

Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2022
Messages
374
Location
USA
Shooter
Medium Format
How old are you? 😉
They haven't done that for decades and decades - close to 100 years.
Even 50 years ago, their percentage of the colour negative develop and print market was a tiny percentage of the total.
Where they made much of their money was selling to the independent labs.
True, but after being forced to open up, they have gone full McDonalds with those franchises. Remember PhotoCD?
 

MattKing

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Apr 24, 2005
Messages
41,482
Location
Delta, BC, Canada
Shooter
Multi Format
True, but after being forced to open up

Outside of Kodachrome, they weren't forced to open up.
They did everything they could to expand the number of independent labs, because they made a lot more money supplying labs than they did operating them themselves.
And Kodachrome was a special case, because it was always intended to be a more complex than standard, high volume process that was oriented toward movie film.
After the US consent decree in 1954 a number of independent labs tried to make money processing Kodachrome, but none of them succeeded for long - if at all. In the meantime, in every area outside the USA Kodachrome was sold with Kodak processing included, because no other entities set up competing processing facilities.
By 1995, there was no reason to keep the Consent decree in place, as there were no competing Kodachrome processors, so the Consent decree was withdrawn.
 

Agulliver

Member
Joined
Oct 11, 2015
Messages
2,412
Location
Luton, United Kingdom
Shooter
Multi Format
Some things that *might* be more realistic than hoping for Kodachrome, Panatomix-X or whining that they increase prices because they're sadists....

Going forward I hope that E-K and K-A are able to stabilise production of C41 colour films and get them distributed adequately such that retailers are in stock most or all of the time. I know from talking with someone at K-A that's their aim. And I think that is the single most important issue, getting film in the retailers such that availability does not need to be questioned and we aren't constantly wondering how many weeks or even months it will be for the next batch. That goes for all their films but C41 films have been the worst hit. The bottlenecks and delays of the last four years have hurt E-K, K-A, retailers and photographers alike.

Going forward regarding any new products, I'd consider TMAX 3200 in 120 format. I don't suppose that's too difficult for them to achieve once their primary objective of stabilising production and distribution is achieved - although I am aware that the emulsion and base are different to 135 TMZ.

The return of Plus-X would be most welcome, across all formats including super 8

This one might be too difficult, but an Ektachrome 200 or 400?

I'd love for them to offer Max 800 film in 135 and 120. That's what's in their single use cameras and is believed to be what's in the Lomography 800 C41 films. So presumably that one is possible, even if it would be a low priority it's achievable. It's a niche within a niche, but high speed colour negative film is either hugely expensive (Portra, Cinestill 800T) or unobtanium (Lomography 800). It just happens to be a niche that I enjoy using.
 
Photrio.com contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.
To read our full affiliate disclosure statement please click Here.

PHOTRIO PARTNERS EQUALLY FUNDING OUR COMMUNITY:



Ilford ADOX Freestyle Photographic Stearman Press Weldon Color Lab Blue Moon Camera & Machine
Top Bottom