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Mama Don't Take My Tri-X Away


Mama Don't Take My Tri-X Away
Kodak filed for Chapter 11 today - everyone knew it was coming but its still kind of a bummer.
The story is well covered on my favorite blog, The Online Photographer.
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10 Comments:

Anonymous Mencken said...

Some have said that Kodak resisted digital technology,
but it's my recollection that Kodak invested $400,000,000 into the technology. There were several problems for Kodak along the way from my perspective.

Their first SLR digital was around $24,000 and the view screen was so small I couldn't see the image or focus it.
Later models were still in the $20,000 range but were so unreliable from a battery perspective that I recall Metzger's/Cord Camera refusing to either sell or rent them out.

Later models featured lower price tags but then Nikon introduced the D1 for $5,500 and it was game over. Thousands of pros invested their life savings into a shoddy product only to watch the latecomers get a usable digital for $5K.

Kodak then put its efforts behind medium format backs and even priced them significantly lower than the Phase One models. Phase One H20 backs were selling for $25,000 and the Kodak backs were running around $12,000 even though the H20 was using Kodak's CCD.

Phase One was getting far superior results by developing better firmware and software. Let's face it when your competition beats the hell out of you, using your components while charging twice the price, it's time to exit the field.

I miss Tri-X dearly. Developed in D-76 diluted 1 to 1 it rendered beautiful tones and grain. You could easily push and pull it. I use to buy 50-100 rolls a month. Hell I even loved the smell of it.

Etta James and Kodak, dead on the same day. RIP.

January 20, 2012  
Blogger Kyle said...

Mencken, was the D1 the catalyst of your move to Nikon?

January 21, 2012  
Blogger Tim Fitzwater said...

Kodak actually invented the digital camera.
They also wasted all that money pushing Advantix - and all not long before everything went digital. I've read their film business had already been heavily undercut by cheaper consumer films made by the likes of Fuji throughout the 80's.
Everyone seems to agree that Kodak was terribly mismanaged the last few decades.
Being that they filed Chapter 11(not Chapter 7) this probably won't be the end of Kodak. Hopefully they can live on as smaller different spin-offs and make some money from the tons of patents they have....and they keep making Tri-X.

January 21, 2012  
Blogger Tim Fitzwater said...

Stobist posted this Kodak commercial from 2006 - he said its funny that all this stuff ended up happening - just without Kodak.

January 21, 2012  
Blogger Tim Fitzwater said...

Mencken - you're right about the smell of Tri-X. Shooting Tri-X with my parent's Minolta XG1 in high school is what got me into photography. There is nothing like developing your own film and making your own prints. Digital, Photoshop, and printers make for better quality but the feeling will never be the same as making something by hand/watching that image appear in the tray...

January 21, 2012  
Anonymous Mencken said...

My move to Nikon was in 1972 when my Mamiya-Sekor 1000 DTL was stolen in Boston. I took the insurance money and bought a Nikon FTn.

My first digital camera was a Polaroid PDC-1000 that I inherited from an ad agency who couldn't figure out how to use it. Had to spend $3,000 on a Mac with a 180 mhz processor to use it. Not sure if the juice was worth the squeeze but that's how I got started.

January 21, 2012  
Anonymous Mencken said...

Correction. That was a Polaroid PDC-2000.

January 21, 2012  
Blogger Kyle said...

Just watched the Kodak promo video. Taking one full minute to get to the terrible punch line is pretty bad. Imagine how many online viewers stopped 45 seconds in having just been reminded why they don't buy Kodak.

I really hope Gingrich wins in South Carolina today.

January 21, 2012  
Anonymous Mencken said...

Be careful what you wish for Kyle, Chuck Norris has endorsed Newt Gingrich. That would be one bad ass ticket: Newt & Chuck.

http://www.wnd.com/2012/01/my-endorsement-for-president/

January 22, 2012  
Blogger Kyle said...

Ha. One of my favorites: Chuck Norris was shot today. The bullet's funeral is tomorrow.

January 23, 2012  

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