I just wonder

Film Photography & Darkroom discussion

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Ornello
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I just wonder

Postby Ornello » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:45 pm

If any Kodak executive spent even an hour working behind the counter in a camera shop.


pirateoversixty
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Re: I just wonder

Postby pirateoversixty » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:20 am

expand on this thought a littlebit for us.
jim

Ornello
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Re: I just wonder

Postby Ornello » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:25 am

pirateoversixty wrote:expand on this thought a littlebit for us.
jim

Well I worked in photo retailing for a number of years. Kodak always seemed out of touch with reality, starting around 1974. The introduction of the K-14 Kodachromes, in 1974, was botched. Early versions of K64 were quite green because they had not aged enough. I did not use it for that reason for a number of years. It just seems that Kodak marketing people had no clue about the market.

They kept introducing one 'simplified' system after another, Instamatic 126, 110, disc, etc., each of which gave poorer quality than the last. The Japanese did Kodak a big favor by bringing out cheap, easy-to-use 35mm cameras (Minolta and Canon, especially). The owners used a lot of 35mm film, far more than the little old ladies who used Instamatics.

foolscape
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Re: I just wonder

Postby foolscape » Wed Feb 15, 2012 10:49 am

Kodak's marketing folks relentlessly pursued the consumer market, and since most pictures never make it over 4x6, those cameras seemed like a sound decision. Lots of folks, believe it or not, bought them. That's why thrift stores are chock full of them these days. The interesting thing was that they didn't have to retool in order to produce the film, i.e. Disk film = Minox, and Advantix = 110 instamatic. Yes, Kodak has been run badly. They were caught flat-footed by digital, even though the technology has been available to the public since the 1980s. Ansel Adams even talked about it before he died. Kodak has been slow to change, and yet too ready to get rid of products that aren't producing like they want them to. They've gotten rid of lots of fine emulsions lately, forgetting that market penetration is important as well, and that a film that doesn't sell as well may improve sales of another film, just by being next to it in the store.

--Gary

Ornello
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Re: I just wonder

Postby Ornello » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:19 pm

foolscape wrote:Kodak's marketing folks relentlessly pursued the consumer market, and since most pictures never make it over 4x6, those cameras seemed like a sound decision. Lots of folks, believe it or not, bought them. That's why thrift stores are chock full of them these days. The interesting thing was that they didn't have to retool in order to produce the film, i.e. Disk film = Minox, and Advantix = 110 instamatic. Yes, Kodak has been run badly. They were caught flat-footed by digital, even though the technology has been available to the public since the 1980s. Ansel Adams even talked about it before he died. Kodak has been slow to change, and yet too ready to get rid of products that aren't producing like they want them to. They've gotten rid of lots of fine emulsions lately, forgetting that market penetration is important as well, and that a film that doesn't sell as well may improve sales of another film, just by being next to it in the store.

--Gary
Yes, they bought them, but how much film did the Instamatic user take per year? I can tell you. Maybe 5-7 rolls. The 35mm user would use that per month, easily. The point is that Kodak marketing people always underestimated the consumer, always trying for the lowest quality acceptable.

pirateoversixty
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Re: I just wonder

Postby pirateoversixty » Wed Feb 15, 2012 2:25 pm

I'm just speculating here, of course, but my thoughts are:
the instamatic cameras, et al, were maybe aimed at the younger consumer, the young families that wanted to shoot the fun things and the babies, and didn't want to fool around loading and rewinding slrsand rangefinders. Put a cartidge in, shoot it, take it out, and drive up to the drugstore. Gimme those prints to show Aunt dot and gramaw and gramps. I even used a spring-wound instamatic when I was in the Army. The level of development of the 110 and 126 camera designs seemed to validate Kodak bringing out these formats (despite film flatness issues). I can't speak to advantix, as I was in to slr 35mm and mf by that time.
I do think that the disc format was a misstep, as I never saw many of those around, that I recall.
Would it be safe to say that that was Kodak's first step on the slippery slope? I don't know. How much resources was committed to that project?
Jim

Ornello
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Re: I just wonder

Postby Ornello » Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:08 pm

pirateoversixty wrote:I'm just speculating here, of course, but my thoughts are:
the instamatic cameras, et al, were maybe aimed at the younger consumer, the young families that wanted to shoot the fun things and the babies, and didn't want to fool around loading and rewinding slrsand rangefinders. Put a cartidge in, shoot it, take it out, and drive up to the drugstore. Gimme those prints to show Aunt dot and gramaw and gramps. I even used a spring-wound instamatic when I was in the Army. The level of development of the 110 and 126 camera designs seemed to validate Kodak bringing out these formats (despite film flatness issues). I can't speak to advantix, as I was in to slr 35mm and mf by that time.
I do think that the disc format was a misstep, as I never saw many of those around, that I recall.
Would it be safe to say that that was Kodak's first step on the slippery slope? I don't know. How much resources was committed to that project?
Jim
My point was that Kodak kept bringing out new formats and cameras to go with them about every 10 years (Instamatic 126, 1963; Instamatic 110, 1972; disc, 1983). It was the Gillette model, of cheap cameras and expensive film. What I was saying is that the Japanese did more for them than they did for themselves. I used to work in a camera shop and the guys who owned 35mm equipment bought tons of film and finishing, lots more than the little old ladies and girls who owned Instamatics.

http://www.subclub.org/shop/disc.htm

On the other hand, despite repeated requests, Kodak would not produce film for Minox cameras.

I think Kodak has always had this "mass-market" mentality that kept them from seeing the marketplace as it actually existed, from behind the counter. In the late 50s and early 60s, Kodak could have bought Canon or Nikon or Minolta or Pentax. Instead, all of these camera lines were imported by others (Honeywell, EPOI, etc.).

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FatBear
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Re: I just wonder

Postby FatBear » Tue Feb 21, 2012 7:35 pm

I don't think Kodak's problem was that they sold entry level cameras. My first camera was a beat-up 25 cent Brownie from a swap meet barrel. My second camera was a new Instamatic 126. One day I noticed that there was a little switch in the flash cube mount that was depressed when you mounted a cube. I took some shots without a cube, followed by the same shots with a toothpick stuck in there holding the switch down and discovered that the camera had two shutter speeds. I didn't understand shutter speeds at the time, but I knew that by sticking a toothpick in there I could take pictures in lower light ... I had learned that I could control it! After that it was time for cameras with more and more adjustments. And to do that I had to move away from Kodak products.

Which takes us back around to what I think was Kodak's problem: they did not pursue a more vertical market. They had the finances and clout to do so, but I guess they were just either stupid or lazy.

--Brian


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