Some thoughts on the Kodak situation

Edited from a comment I made over at TOP:

I’m getting increasingly grouchy reading uninformed Internet comments from people who actually, honest-to-God firmly believe that death of Kodak = death of film.

Apparently none of them are aware of Ilford, Fujifilm, Foma, Efke/Adox, Rollei and a motley of Chinese film manufacturers such as Lucky and Shanghai. Or that Kodak don’t make or sell black and white photo paper. Or that they haven’t made Kodak branded photo chemicals for several years. It’s somewhat akin to saying that air travel will cease to exist because American Airlines are currently in Chapter 11 protection.

Kodak’s film lines going away completely would suck for film shooters, but certainly isn’t the end. For color shooters it would represent a significant loss of choice and the best color print emulsions that we’ve ever had (Ektar 100 and New Portra). For black and white shooters, there are more than a few other options, which may or may not be acceptable. Personally, I’d have a hard time telling the difference between my Ilford HP5+ and Kodak Tri-X negatives if I didn’t have the edge markings to tell me what they were. Your mileage may vary, but lets be realistic here: there’s a lot of choice available for something which is a niche within a niche.

To address another apparent internet misconception, Chapter 11 bankruptcy means Kodak could survive in some form. It’s not a guarantee; creditors might not agree to the reorganization plan or the company may emerge from bankruptcy only to fail later. But it offers the possibility of continuing normal operations while they figure out how, or if, they can get their act together. That, in fact, is the whole point of Chapter 11. If they wanted to just wind down they’d file Chapter 7 or keep plodding along burning their cash reserves and hoping for a miracle.

Either way we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.