Kodak should have licenced the brand to mobile phone manufacturers years ago much like how Sony Ericsson uses the Cybershot brand and Nokia has Carl Zeiss optics.
Kodak is knocking its line of budget digital cameras on the head, part of its plan to revive the fortunes of the troubled firm. Out go its YouTube-oriented handheld video cameras and digital photo frames too. Production will have ceased by the middle of the year. Kodak will continue to support these products, and honour …
Kodak never made a profitable dime in the digital consumer electronics area. Nothing. Its only digital profit came from the professional products, like packaging. Kodak sold its profitable professional image sensor fabrication plant last year for cash.
As for licensing, brands don't mean anything. The "Carl Zeiss" optics in a Nokia are designed by Carl Zeiss Optics. Kodak never developed a consumer brand for lenses, just bottom-grade consumer cameras and fabulous film. How many Kodak brand sensors are in cameras? Plenty, but would you ever know it? The Pentax 645D 40Mp camera has a Kodak sensor, but you'd never know it from looking at the box.
I still use a Kodak point and shoot digital camera. It has an optical viewfinder that works better than a screen in bright sunlight, and came with twice the internal memory of the competing brands' offerings in the same price range. Tough too. The only way I know they can be killed is by running them over with a car.
Kodak pioneered color photography, and invented a dye-based grainless slide film that made images that can be enlarged up to the limits of the enlarger without noticeable loss of resolution possible.
The end of an era indeed.
So they're killing off their digital photography arm - exactly how are they going to make any money now? Just by licensing their name? I guess they make printers too, but I can't imagine there's a ton of money to be made there either unless your name is HP.
Kodak is a photography company that's no longer going to have cameras. Unless they're planning to return to their core competency and sell film cameras again...
In some ways, I am pretty glad that Kodak are killing off their consumer digital line, apart from the inevitable job losses. They have always been beat up on review sites/shows etc by gadget geeks. Whatever can be said for their sometimes poor specs they all pretty well all lived up to the Kodak’s mantra of “You push the button and we do the rest”. They are devices you could give your mum or even granny and not expect too many “How do I” support requests.
I would say Kodak is not so much a ‘photography (capture) company’ but an ‘image storage and consumable company’. I think the executives big failing, has been not pushing their commercial side and using any press exposure, to basically punt some cheap consumer device which just put’s across a tacky message.
Document Imaging and Digital plates are good business. The fruits of Kodak technology are not always so obvious. Your microwave meal will probably have a cardboard sleeve with a nice Kodak colour photo of some delicacy printed on it, for you to look at when you eat it’s incommensurate contents.
Even photographic paper is still a reasonable business, apart from the kicking they are receiving lately from extortionate silver prices.
I am sure my mother in law is going to use this as a reason that digital cameras are evil, and should not be used.
We gave her two good, easy to use digital cameras, and she still insists to using 35mm, and no, she does not store the negatives safely, if the house burns down, the photos, negatives, etc are gone. She feels more comfortable with them being securely stored sitting below the TV in the living room then on three backup servers across town, across the country, and around the world...
Posting as an AC in case any of that part of the family happen around these parts.
The last Kodak camera I tried (in 2007), a 10MP, £300 model; gave worse photos than my first ever digital camera, a FujiFilm 1.3MP fixed focus camera from about 12 years ago.
After one summer holidays worth of appalling photos, I gave it to the children at my kindergarten and bought a Nikon.
Kodak has been dead for years, but like any colossus, it takes a while for the corpse to stop twitching.
Kodak had made some great cameras, their dslr offerings (dcs14) were excellent and their sensors still are awesome for medium format (albeit spun/sold) off these days. I've never used much of their film, besides some porta as I tend to favor fuji but its highly regarded).
Its a shame they didn't downsize the company a long time ago, drop what they couldn't compete in (all those consumer cameras, photoframes etc) and concentrate on film and sensors and licencing / developing IP. I hope they pull through!
"Kodak's camera line had a low-end focus - a market now being consumed by smartphone sellers - and few models won particular praise for the firm."
Actually in the early days of digital Kodak made some pretty good stuff. Back before you heard the word megapixel bandied about (because compacts didn't generally boast that many) Kodak's compacts were well regarded. They also sold some pretty impressive full frame DSLRs, actually based on Nikon and Canon SLR bodies, that were well ahead of the stuff Nikon and Canon were making themselves. Indeed I know of at least one award winning pro who still uses Kodak branded DSLRs even though they've been off the market for six years.
In short Kodak started really well in the digitial camera market, but went right down the tubes due mainly to poor management decisions.
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