Much of the problem with this sort of thing is that in the 1980s, Kodak
demolished all of their older alleys that were capable of small production
runs, under the general impression that production would always be
increasing and they could do specialty runs on the longer alleys.
The downside of this is that it is now very difficult for them to do
the short production runs that are needed today, in a cost-effective
manner. My sneaking suspicion is that Tri-X costs a lot more to make
than HP-5 because Ilford has alleys that are designed for smaller runs
with shorter jumbo rolls.
The guys at Kentmere in England are now making still films in very short
runs with little baby jumbos that are only 25 cm wide!
So, I am very happy to see Kodak restructure and spend some money building
facilities that will allow them to make film in shorter runs in a profitable
way, but I can't help but say "I told you so" when they knocked down the
facilities that previously allowed them to do this.
Kodachrome is a real sticking point from my perspective, because it's
the one product that Kodak had that was totally unique and which still
filled a huge role in the digital age. Kodachrome is the perfect archive
medium for your digital photos as well as valuable for in-camera and
printing use. If Kodak had tried to sell it as such, they could have
developed new markets for it.
But instead, Kodak has been spending the past twenty years trying to kill
Kodachrome off. Kodak claims that they discontinued the material because
nobody was buying it, but our local camera store spent two years trying
to get Kodak to fill an order for a brick of 35mm K-64 still rolls. If
you don't SHIP the film, people won't PAY for the film.
At this point Dwayne's Photo has stopped processing Kodachrome... if they
were going to bring the stuff back a year ago while Dwayne's was still
running the line, they would have done a lot better than if they tried to
bring it back today.
I am honestly convinced that Kodak has the worst management in the world,
even worse than Ampex had. They only thing that kept them alive was that
they made the best sensitized products and everybody wanted to buy them.
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