Kodak Should Have Seen It Coming!
The latest headline in the photographic world is that Kodak Discontinue Film Production marking the end of an era.
It is a shame that Eastman Kodak are having such problems "keeping up with the Jones's". I can't help thinking it is their own fault.
Kodak have pretty much pioneered "hobbyist" photography since the late 1800's with the introduction of the Kodak Brownie. Therefore, this news comes as a shock to many.
Whilst they are now starting to break ground with the innovative Easyshare One system, it is something that they should have "jumped on" long ago. Easyshare One allows you to e-mail images direct from your camera,
Did Kodak Discover Digital?
There was a fascinating story in the news recently.
NBC News says that in 1975, a Kodak employee called Steve Sasson had stumbled upon a new and revolutionary technology. I was using the simplest of cameras at that time from my new "spy kit" at just 8 years old.
To quote the article;
"Steven Sasson knew right away in December 1975 that his 8-pound, toaster-size contraption, which captured a black-and-white image on a digital cassette tape at a resolution of .01 megapixels, "was a little bit revolutionary."
When anyone asked, the Eastman Kodak engineer ventured that it would become a commercial reality in 15 to 20 years."
So why then did it take Kodak so long to realise that the days of film were numbered? This new "invention" was about as significant (well almost) as the first images that were made using silver halides. Process used with various chemicals by the likes of Monsieur Daguerre and his "Daguerreotypes".
With the success that they were having at the time, surely this deserved more time from Kodak. As a result, more energy and effort plus a little foresight could have really exploded them into the 21st Century.
Kodak Discontinue Film Production, Sony Stole the Show
It was companies like Sony however, that pushed the innovation in the 1980's and is now one of the market leaders. Kodak did try to take charge of the DSLR market with their full frame sensor Pro range. This has now sadly been scrapped.
So what now for Kodak? They are streamlining their workforce and giving everything they can to take control of the digital compact market. This is during an incredible "free-for-all", as more digital camera companies emerge and more digital cameras are released.
For one, I am glad that I don't review cameras as a day job. The reason being that quite frankly I couldn't keep up. I am happy to work with what I have, take the best images I can and upgrade only when necessary.
Hopefully Kodak can cut it in the new digital era in some way. After all, they have played a large part in my "photographic life" since the early 1980's, as did Ilford (RIP).
Update 2012: Kodak files for Chapter 11