Wednesday, 25 January 2012

R.I.P Eastman Kodak

I didn't want to write this entry at all wishing circumstances would be better but they're not so here goes.
For me the sad news of Eastman Kodak's seeking bankruptcy protection is quite shocking having grown up in the film era where it's products were almost universally available on five continents.
I've always used them in differing forms and I guess the first starting points for me were acquiring a Kodak Brownie that run 120 spool film and having to go buy my own film at the age of 12 1/4 figuring out what what they called black and white film was and what speed I needed while on a school zoo trip. My classmates had Instamatic cartridge loading film cameras a Kodak invention that made changing film really easy and they had the same thing except most of them used colour!
Typically I got a Twin Lens Reflex camera from Pop in 1980 so I was still on Kodak roll films but by this point I'd caught up with colour having my 6x6 inch negatives printed out.
Then for some strange reason Pop bought me a instant camera - well I knew about them - and he had a Polaroid that you had to peel apart but a bit modern that I tried while hiking.
This was the Kodak sort that had a bit more control over exposures and a lot less messy to handle after taking the picture.
This I think when around the time Kodak seemed to lose it's way with technology as they lost a patents battle with Polariod and had to launch a replacement program as they were discontinued.
The replacement was the short lived Kodak Disc camera using film in form of a shutter protected disc that you inserted into a slim camera but the problem was it just wasn't as good as the now standard 35mm compact cameras also taking less pictures. I used mine to capture pictures of people I met on a training course in 1990.
I eventually moved up to 35mm single lens reflex cameras such as my Minolta XD7 and Olympus OM4 which was where I encountered their specialty film products.
It always used to bug me the difference between the pictures I'd get back from mainstream photo processors so I tried differing types of film of which the first was the sadly long unavailable Ektar 25 colour print film. The detail on this film with high quality fixed length lenses and secure mounting to a tripod was incredible as it could record the resolution I saw through the view finder coming very close to that of 6x6 professional roll film cameras.
The other area was slide films where I used exclusively Kodachrome until 2009 for landscapes loving the fine detail and clear natural colours from KR64 and KR200 for lower light work. These films have been known to keep their original colour balence longer than competing E6 standard colour slide films from the likes of Fuji.
With the exception of Reala, I found too many of Fuji's slide films too unnaturally vivid to be believable but the amateur market felt different and no doubt under pressure from digital for magazine work they left the marketplace missed by many of us.
I feel Kodak failed to make good in its digital expertise while marketing it's amateur products at the arts market as certainly people such as Lomo have made money selling unique 35mm film cameras that used what Kodak made.

1 comment:


Of interest as regads nostalgia over Kodak's demise.