Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kodak files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

kodak brownie

Eastman Kodak Co. of Rochester, N.Y., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this morning.

Like most photographers who got started before the digital photography resolution, I used a lot of Kodak film

My first camera was a little Brownie Holiday Flash like the one in the photo. My first camera is long gone, but I found this on on eBay a few years ago. It takes 127 film and yields 4x6 prints.

My parents bought it for me in the summer of 1955 when we went to kodakYellowstone National Park.

Over the years, I’ve used Kodak 4x5 sheet film in cumbersome old Speed Graphics and miles and miles of Kodak Tri-X black and white film. I used so much Tri-X in my Pentax Spotmatics that I found it cheaper to buy it in 100-foot rolls and load my own reusable 35mm cassettes with a bulk loader. I used to process and print my own black-and-white images but relied on commercial processors to develop and print the stuff I shot on Kodachrome and Ektachrome.

I switched to Fuji and Agfa color films in the 1990s because I wanted more color saturation than I could get from Kodak films.

Kodak partnered with Nikon in the mid-1990s to produce the first real digital SLR, but somehow they failed to exploit their early digital advantage.

Chapter 11 doesn’t necessarily mean the company is done for. Kodak may emerge as a leaner, more competitive company once the reorganization is complete.

I hope they’re around for awhile. I just bought a Kodak copier/printer a couple of months ago and would hate to have to retire it prematurely for lack of ink cartridges.

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