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David S Carroll

Kodak Preparing to File Chapter 11

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Er ... what...?

 

 

 

I add "negative cutter" to the list of jobs I don't want to do like "brain surgeon" or "bungie chord tester."

 

I would have a nervous breakdown doing that jo

 

@Keith

Fine, you don't want to be a neg. cutter. Don't play yourself off as someone who is qualified to talk about that job then!!!

 

If either of you want to take my anger personally, that is entirely up to you. I can't think of a way of non-passionately pointing out that neither of you have ANY position to either save or destroy the use of 35mm color photographic film in television or motion picture production.

 

Yet you generate content on here again and again as if you were Kodak's number one customer last year! What incredible arrogance!

 

 

 

If either of you make further "contributions" that are devoid of any basis in reality or fact, I will continue to call you out for not being in the real world. I think you are doing all young filmmakers a huge disservice by telling them they can continue to rely on Kodak's existence in the future. Have you ever considered that an 18-y.o. filmmaker may have no idea whether a name on the internet is credible or non-credible?

 

 

@Jason: I am not attacking your ability to be a hobbyist, enthusiast, student, advancecd amateur. Just pointing out that hobbyists, at this point, are not the ones keeping film in production.

 

 

Back in the mid-20th century, amateur 8- and 16mm filmmaking used more volume of film than all professional production put together. In 2012, 35mm film production for theatrical film distribution and film, television production, produces the bulk of film sales that Kodak, Fuji, Agfa-Geveart generate.

 

 

Wanting to shoot some obscure format of sheet film for years and years do not help these companies stay in business.

 

When I hear anyone, absolutely anyone talk about Polaroid, as you did, I ask them: "Oh, so you are a fan of instant film, good! How many boxes have you shot since those investors bought the Polaroid factory in Europe? Oh, you haven't bought any? Then what *qualifies* you to speak about it, one way or the other?"

 

"How can you possibly presume to say that there is a market for this material when customer after customer of that company have had nothing but bad things to say about it, and the Fuji instant materials, which were licensed by Polaroid, continue to remain in production for half the price without any of the technical defects?" [*I continue to use instant film for lighting tests, quick hardcopy in my work.]

 

 

I welcome opinions, but when people spout off nonsense on here that has no basis in reality, it tends to make those of us that work with film, and experience all of its hassles every day, ANGRY that yet another generation is being brought up to think of photographic film as some sort of magic, perfect medium.

 

The "magic" that you are experiencing is specialized human labor and skill that film manufacturers have been pretending is a characteristic of their raw, unexposed product since the dawn of the film industry.

 

 

I assure you, if you take a $10 sheet of 8x10" film, put it in a camera, and underexpose it 3-1/3 stops, no amount of "magic" in the emulsion will make for an award-winning image. Rather, repeated trial-and-error use of this material is the only thing that is ever going to place a "magical" image on it.

 

 

 

There is nothing "magic" about film, the companies that make it, or the people that are willing to be their shareholders.

 

 

 

Just for the record, how many shares of EK do you own, Jason? What about you Keith? Ah, I see, you own NO shares, have NO say in what, how these companies make, price their products, but you are going to get on here and tell us all why Eastman Kodak company *has to* survive? Because you want it to, without contributing a cent, either as a customer or as a shareholder to said company?

 

 

 

 

Please, both of you, quit playing off anecdotal information for fact. I am going to get back to work now, and I am sure that both of you will contribute another 5-6 responses each, trying to refute what I say, or use my anger as somehow being proof that I am wrong.

 

I'm not writing a technical dissertation here, and as I freely admit my future is tied to the future of the Eastman Kodak company and the affordable availability of photosensitized panchromatic color silver-halide materials in general, that I am going to become violently angry at anyone who wryly, sarcastically quips about some anecdotal account as being somehow proof of anything outside of their own minds.

 

 

In plain, simple English: It's easy to write a critique, it's hard to waltz out onto the stage, in front of the camera, onto the assembly line and do a better job of it yourselves! Please don't presume to think that because you can critique something that that somehow qualifies you to do a better job at it yourselves! To put it another way, *watching* a movie doesn't qualify you to *make* movies. There are probably at least a million young men worldwide who would be infinitely better off if they had someone teach them this lesson.

 

 

 

 

Being a "film fan" is just as harmful to remaining 35mm production as being a "digital fanboy." Neither of these groups has any concept of the actual technical, logistical hurdles on the set. You instead latch onto marketing materials generated by the Eastman Kodak Company, the Fujifilm Holdings Corporation, Sony, Canon, RED, Arri, etc., and then have the audacity to volunteer your time, energy, efforts into distributing free marketing for them!

 

Notice that, while I am an acknowledged fan of photosensitized emulsions, I am among the MOST CRITICAL of the limitations of the media produced by Fujifilm, Eastman Kodak.

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There are huge numbers of people who would like to shoot film more than they do, me among them. They - we - don't, because it is so hideously, cripplingly expensive. There is no political will here, no ulterior motive - nobody's creeping around trying desperately to kill Kodak or any of the labs. It's just too damned spendy.

 

 

In a situation where you can buy a really very respectable digital camera for a half day's worth of consumable costs on film, I don't think it's reasonable to shout at people for not using it, and much less so to look for political arguments about it. The elephant is firmly seated in the corner here.

 

P

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There are huge numbers of people who would like to shoot film more than they do, me among them. They - we - don't, because it is so hideously, cripplingly expensive. There is no political will here, no ulterior motive - nobody's creeping around trying desperately to kill Kodak or any of the labs. It's just too damned spendy.

 

 

In a situation where you can buy a really very respectable digital camera for a half day's worth of consumable costs on film, I don't think it's reasonable to shout at people for not using it, and much less so to look for political arguments about it. The elephant is firmly seated in the corner here.

 

P

 

 

Phil: Notice I am not attacking either of them for not shooting film, rather for portraying themselves as "big industry shakers, movers.

 

You? I know where you come from. You are NEGATIVE, CRITICAL, but you are an equal opportunity critic. You attack 35mm film all the time, usually 16mm as that's what you had a personal failure ("experience") with. For all of your technical know-how when it comes to the programming and use of computers and software, it still surprises me that a mechanical marvel like a 16mm film camera would trip you, your production up, but I digress.

 

You can say whatever negative things you want about Eastman Kodak and I will usually let your comments be because your comments have a basis in reality, in fact.

 

 

 

Anecdotal accounts gleamed from industry magazines, which in themselves are gleamed from intentionally deceptive press releases are not reliable sources of information. As such, they really have no place here. Similarly, still photography, especially B&W sheet-film still photography is not something that should be somehow used to justify the use of motion picture film.

 

You notice I am not on here gloating about how much 35mm film I shoot every year either. I provide a niche, specialized service that, hopefully, augments the use of 35mm, 16mm film in motion picture cameras. I have never said, nor pretended to be a leading Hollywood Cinematographer, a major stockholder, or the inventor of color film.

 

 

 

But I am sure you can tell that I know what I am talking about. As such, I think one shouldn't throw the baby out with the bath water, nor take what I say with a grain of salt solely because I am brutally blunt, honest, etc.

 

Would you rather work with someone who is nice to talk to on the phone but a major pr*ck to work under on the set? I am as blunt in a post as I am on the set, in the lab. A lot of people tend to take this personally, probably due to insecurity, and therefore brand me as "venomous."

 

 

I'd prefer that people learn the hard lessons of life here, where there is really no risk of death, poverty, bankruptcy, etc., than in the harsh, cold world of the stock market or film production.

 

 

I guess the lesson I'm trying to keep everyone mindful of is "If Wishes Were Horses." Wanting to accomplish something is often very very different than actually accomplishing it.

 

On a positive note, Kodak is currently up 1/16 today (that's $0.06 for those of you who don't still trade stocks in fractions in your head.)

 

 

 

I found a very interesting article, Phil, that I think you alluded to earlier, that this hasn't been coming merely for the past five years, the past twelve years, but rather almost the past THIRTY YEARS, and they really have no-one to blame for their predicament but themselves.

 

For those of you too young to remember, the term "video" or "electronic" was 1980s speak for "digital. . ."

 

Embattled Kodak Enters the Electronic Age [1983 - Forbes Article]

 

 

Personally, I had had no idea the writing had been on the wall for that length of time. To put things in historical perspective, in 1983, the Eastman Kodak company was still reeling (pun intended) from having almost completely lost the Video News Film market (stocks that they kept in production, regardless, until 2004). They had just lost the bulk of the home movie market, and they were in fear that production of 35mm dramatic content would rapidly shift next.

 

Note the article almost prophetically refers to the inroads that video had already made into the still photography markets and the "Sony Mavica" the first digital camera, that was already being used to produce content for Japanese newspapers at that time.

 

The article says that a "sufficient replacement for [35mm still] film is 'at least 10 years away [1993]'" In reality, the Kodak DCS digital camera system was already on the market in 1990, at a staggering $20,000 ($40,000 in today's USD). It'd take about 9 more years for 35mm film to be completely supplanted by DSLRs, and it has taken another 13+ years for 35mm motion picture film to be supplanted by HD cinema.

 

I would say Kodak, at this point has at most another 4-1/2 years left. That doesn't give me any pleasure, but I think those of us who enjoy working with 35mm film need to understand that our dreams can't lie around on a shelf for an eighth of a century without consequence. We've had a quarter century, already, past what this 1983 article gave Kodak.

 

That is a pretty damned good run, and I am not ashamed to go down with the ship. If those of you on here wish to keep working with motion picture production in the future, you can either choose to die honorably as I have done, or you can choose to swallow your pride now and adapt.

 

 

 

Eastman Kodak's bankruptcy signals the demise of 35mm film as a whole. Even if FujiFilm continues to manufacture it, I am sure my dream about price increases isn't too far-fetched. Maybe it won't be 9%, but when a company enters into a situation where it has a veritable monopoly on 35mm negative film, there is sure to be a board meeting where it decides to increase the price of all its products, eliminate any innovation, improvement.

 

Maybe FujiFilm will continue (in futility) to compete against HD acquisition, but as you've already pointed out, Phil, 35mm simply cannot compete on price. It'd be as if BMW suddenly tried to compete against the Honda Civic on price. It cannot be done, producing such a high-quality product for such a low price.

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This is the last thing I'll add to this particular discussion and that is that you're characterizing my motives and my experience (and Keith's, it would seem) when you just don't know anything about either my motives or my experience.

 

There simply is no way to rationalize ad hominems against people here.

 

For your own sake, and I really mean that, as odd as it may sound when realistically I don't know you either, but seriously, you shoot yourself in the foot when you attack people personally and read all sorts of things into their statements that just aren't there. You and I actually probably agree on quite a bit here, but at this point, why would I want to get into it any further? The reason I say you shoot yourself in the foot is that you actually probably have a lot of useful knowledge about all sorts of aspects of the industry to share (right off the top of my head, I'm thinking of the great link to all of the large format theaters around the country that you posted in the Dark Knight Rises thread; I truly appreciated that), but again, give me a reason why someone should want to wade through the bile to get at it. But life is short and I just don't see the benefit of getting into tit-for-tat pissing contests and having to diagram my sentences or lay out syllogisms for people in order to not be misinterpreted. And again, I'm not saying that to be a d*#%, I just feel you could truly benefit from someone pointing that out, and should we interact on other threads, I'll pretend none of this ever happened. I really hope you go on to shoot some amazing projects that you love, things that remind you why you got into this in the first place, on whatever format you feel is the best choice, and I'm going to go back to shooting things I enjoy or things that help pay my rent and I'm going to keep enjoying them, whether it's with my 5D or my RB or my Sinar F or the Deardorff or my cell phone or the 16mm project I'm working towards, making cyanotypes and toning them with tea, or working in the darkroom, or whatever, just making the best images I can with whatever particular tool I care to use, and no one gets an apology for any of that.

 

Enjoy the rest of the thread, folks.

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The latest news on Kodak:The three previous segments were the graphic communications group, which provided digital equipment and software to printing industries, the consumer digital imaging group, which focused on print images, and film, photofinishing and entertainment, the company's traditional film and photographic paper products.

 

The commercial segment will take up the graphic group and the consumer segment will take all of the consumer digital imaging group. The traditional film business will be broken up into the two new segments.

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Not too bad after all!

 

http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/2140216/-film-division-profitable-kodak

 

 

...."Silverprint, a UK distributor and retailer of film equipment, agrees, stating that "over the last 12 months our sales figures of traditional film and paper have risen." It adds, on its Facebook page: "Silverprint has never been more determined in our commitment to supplying all our analog users worldwide, with everything they require to enjoy and develop both their careers or simply their love of analog photography. We feel that the press has currently converted the KODAK Story from "133 Year Old Company...Dead!"...to "Film...DEAD!". This is simply not the case, both in terms of sales figures and the current online buzz surrounding analog imagery and techniques. Variety is the spice of life and surely we are all commited to that idea!"

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It is good that companies are showing increases in film processing. We had a 250% increase in film processing last year. . . BUT HOW MANY LABS WENT OUT OF BUSINESS THAT WE PICKED UP, OTHER LABS STARTED SUCKING?

 

 

The real figure to look at are the billions of feet/year figures for Kodak, Fuji. They are in very real decline, especially Eastman Color Print (theatrical film prints), and this is a worrying figure, because it may take Kodak's film sales into the red if it drops to zero.

 

The United States will very quickly become 90% digital. All of the chain theatres have already inked deals to convert.

 

 

 

There is no room for making 35mm film production, coating, manufacture more efficient at Eastman Kodak. I'm sure FujiFilm is in a similar predicament.

 

If the volume drops, I assume they can cut some more cost and make it profitable, but from what I understand, there are only a DOZEN people working to manufacture roughly half the world's color film at Kodak. There aren't any more jobs to slash there. There are very real issues with the rpice of silver last year that hopefully will be fully abated in 2012.

 

But the volume of a low profit margin product like Vision 2383 are still offset by the shear volume of it that they are losing.

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After watching the marketing of Sundance, I realized that Kodak is going to have hard time surviving in the digital age. It has a long way to catch up. It would have to create a digital motion picture camera that can compete with the other high end digital cameras. Second, it would have to do create a marketing campaign that would attract people to use film. Right now their marketing to use film is absolutly bland. Some famous or semi-famous DP talking about how great film is just is not doing it. Kodak offers very little assistance once you buy their film. No lab discounts, no pro advice, nothing to help aleave the economic burden that made people switch to digital. Just buy Kodak and you are on your own. I'll give the company another year before it bellys up.

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Right now their marketing to use film is absolutly bland. Some famous or semi-famous DP talking about how great film is just is not doing it. Kodak offers very little assistance once you buy their film. No lab discounts, no pro advice, nothing to help aleave the economic burden that made people switch to digital. Just buy Kodak and you are on your own. I'll give the company another year before it bellys up.

 

 

Ditto K.M. I could care less about some big time director or DP talking about how great film is. It's like a Russian tycoon saying that he'll always prefer rolls royce. Their worldview is completely unrelatable to that of 99.9 percent of all filmmakers. Kodak needs to figure out how to reach to THOSE filmmakers if it wants to save its hide. Believe me people would LOVE to shoot on film if there was a more affordable streamlined workflow. Hell that's what half of the digital revolution has been, trying to imitate the look of film (which drives me nuts when they sing the praises for some new gadget because the depth of field is so shallow the subject has to stand perfectly still or they'll fall out of focus!)

 

As is the process is so damned convoluted. Buying the film, finding a lab and dealing with them and getting a telecine or an HD and all that.

 

For starters, how about a package deal, like they used to do in the old days when the cost of processing was included in the cost of consumer film. How about they partner with some labs, so when I buy the film, I'm set, just have to shoot it, and send it off for processing and telecine?

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For starters, how about a package deal, like they used to do in the old days when the cost of processing was included in the cost of consumer film. How about they partner with some labs, so when I buy the film, I'm set, just have to shoot it, and send it off for processing and telecine?

 

I totally agree.

Also people seem to get way to caught up to realize it really comes down to nothing but the consumer and, the hot flavor has been digital so everyone's jumped ship, but imagine if people all still used film then the cost would be much lower and easier to shoot on because that's what people wanted. I don't think Kodak coming back from this one.

Edited by Paul Bartok

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For starters, how about a package deal, like they used to do in the old days when the cost of processing was included in the cost of consumer film. How about they partner with some labs, so when I buy the film, I'm set, just have to shoot it, and send it off for processing and telecine?

 

I'm surprised Kodak doesn't have anything to compete with Fuji on these grounds -- at least not outside US. Here in Europe there are Fuji's Complete16 and Film Stock Clearance. Kodak on the other hand doesn't even have a web store for us to buy film from...

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I'm surprised Kodak doesn't have anything to compete with Fuji on these grounds -- at least not outside US. Here in Europe there are Fuji's Complete16 and Film Stock Clearance. Kodak on the other hand doesn't even have a web store for us to buy film from...

 

Same as Australia

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I totally agree.

Also people seem to get way to caught up to realize it really comes down to nothing but the consumer and, the hot flavor has been digital so everyone's jumped ship, but imagine if people all still used film then the cost would be much lower and easier to shoot on because that's what people wanted. I don't think Kodak coming back from this one.

 

Well, it seems that I was somewhat wrong -- there was something along the lines of Complete16 before: Sweet16mm. However, that deal doesn't seem to be available anymore and it looks like it was restricted to music videos and commercials. Sweet16mm in the Internet Archive

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Ditto K.M. I could care less about some big time director or DP talking about how great film is. It's like a Russian tycoon saying that he'll always prefer rolls royce. Their worldview is completely unrelatable to that of 99.9 percent of all filmmakers. Kodak needs to figure out how to reach to THOSE filmmakers if it wants to save its hide.

 

I think at this point, instead of Kodak's marketing campaign being directed only at industry players (cinematographers and the such), it should put the dollars in educating the theater goers and consumers of film products (home video market, etc) . Getting the message out in ads and the such that a movie was ,"shot on film" (just as they ad things like, "only in theaters", or 1080p HD, etc). To brand that as a mark of quality. The consumer doesn't need to know what that means at fIrst, but let them continue to see that message and get around to asking, "what does that mean?". I don't know if it is some sort of a co-op with the studios, but on the ads for films (both print , radio and tv, etc), they should say at the end, "shot on film", or some other catch phrase to slowly make the consumer ask, "what does that mean?". "Why is that better?". I think they need the public at this point to start playing a part in keeping their medium around. They need to be educated. Sure, there is a large portion of the public who can't tell the difference, nor cares, but I think there is a large portion that does. Or at least a portion of the public that needs to be educated why one film they felt looked better, but which they weren't able to quite pinpoint what that quality was, is the fact attributed to that film being "shot on film". Then slowly they can get into the details of why it is important for the consumer to push and to ask for this in the products they buy or go to see. Slowly, the word can get around to the producers that this is something that a portion of the public is educated on and wants.... this is just a quick run through on this concept, and not fully thought out, but I think you get the idea of what I am suggesting ...

 

-T

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Kodak : Made in America

Kodak : An American Icon

Kodak : Keeping Industry Going

Kodak : For When it Counts

Kodak : To Remember

Kodak : For Her

Kodak : For Him.

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In case you missed these articles about KODAK STILL Film sales, have a read:

 

http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/2140216/-film-division-profitable-kodak

 

Silverprint, a UK distributor and retailer of film equipment, agrees, stating that "over the last 12 months our sales figures of traditional film and paper have risen." It adds, on its Facebook page: "Silverprint has never been more determined in our commitment to supplying all our analog users worldwide, with everything they require to enjoy and develop both their careers or simply their love of analog photography. We feel that the press has currently converted the KODAK Story from "133 Year Old Company...Dead!"...to "Film...DEAD!". This is simply not the case, both in terms of sales figures and the current online buzz surrounding analog imagery and techniques. Variety is the spice of life and surely we are all commited to that idea!"

 

http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/q-and-a/1735570/kodak-there-real-resurgence-film

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In case you missed these articles about KODAK STILL Film sales, have a read:

 

http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/news/2140216/-film-division-profitable-kodak

 

Silverprint, a UK distributor and retailer of film equipment, agrees, stating that "over the last 12 months our sales figures of traditional film and paper have risen." It adds, on its Facebook page: "Silverprint has never been more determined in our commitment to supplying all our analog users worldwide, with everything they require to enjoy and develop both their careers or simply their love of analog photography. We feel that the press has currently converted the KODAK Story from "133 Year Old Company...Dead!"...to "Film...DEAD!". This is simply not the case, both in terms of sales figures and the current online buzz surrounding analog imagery and techniques. Variety is the spice of life and surely we are all commited to that idea!"

 

http://www.bjp-online.com/british-journal-of-photography/q-and-a/1735570/kodak-there-real-resurgence-film

 

I guess we'll see what stories wind up being true.

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I'm sure that story is true.

 

 

And I'm sure it's irrelevant, because losses elsewhere have still brought total film sales down 30-40% in the past year. Profits tend to be dropping at least 30% year over year over year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marketing film?!?! To the consumer? Are you guys nuts? Half those idiots in the theatres think their camera phones are good enough to shoot movies with (the resolution is technically a bigger number than theatre screens at 2K).

 

Saying "this film was shot on 35mm" will be received as "who cares" by about 70% and "it'd be better if it were DLP" by the other 30% many of whom are the same IT guys that regularly post here with a delusional sense of authority.

 

 

 

Sorry, but this all seems way off base. Kodak needs big film productions, therefore its ads are geared towards them. They have PLENTY of support in the US for filmmakers. You just stamp "shot on 35mm film" on the tail of a print, and you'll give the cleaning crew a good laugh. About 2% of movie customers, if that, stay 'til the projector rolls out. . .

 

 

 

 

Anyway, I guarantee that most of what is being said here is irrelevant. In a year 90% of US screens are going to be digital. That is going to cause another 30-40% drop in film sales, at which point we will see if it is profitable for Eastman Kodak to continue making film at all.

 

Probably the other 10% of theatres are going to go out of business if they can't organize and fight the studios, who want Eastman Kodak dead as much as the chains.

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Well Karl, you can take this to the bank.

 

I'm going to start shooting my new doc this year, and I'm gonna shoot as much of it as money allows on 16mm.

 

I was considering the Orwo film you've so helpfully advised in the past, given they've got their North American site up, but I'm thinking would I be more patriotic to buy American, and shoot double-x?

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No, you should shoot whatever slow-speed stocks or high speed stocks you need. Kodak discontinuing Plus-X without a suitable replacement is their problem. I would never shoot Double-X in broad daylight.

 

 

I'm just saying that some of these ideas would actually make things worse rather than helping anything.

 

 

Anyway, unless you shot a lot of XX, you're not going to offset even a 1% loss. Not knocking what you're doing. Just keep in perspective the amount of film they're losing compared with a single 16mm doc. Who knows how much Kodak makes (if anything) on B&W. It's certainly not their profit leader. If you want to help Kodak, you need to shoot 35mm, their 500T (or whatever their most expensive neg. stock is - yeah and no discount 500T, '80, '60?)

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