Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 20/01/2004Keep it with Kodak? No, thanks. The company deserves a lot of respect: it saw the problem coming, it took action to avert the consequences and it's been reacting with sanity and far-sightedness throughout.

Tuesday 20/01/2004
Keep it with Kodak? No, thanks. The company deserves a lot of respect: it saw the problem coming, it took action to avert the consequences and it's been reacting with sanity and far-sightedness throughout. But even Kodak couldn't turn back the tide of digital photography, and we won't know for a while whether it'll make the transition to the new world intact. Recently, though, it announced a major retrenchment -- it's stopping a huge swathe of 35mm film and camera products, and is pulling out of a lot of that market worldwide.

Famously, Kodak always saw cameras as 'film burners' and made no bones about exploiting the market. Now film has gone away, and we're all using flash memory and hard disks. Is that where the market will stay? Probably not: storing a picture on a camera in any form is a pretty inefficient thing to do. You want at the least to copy it to somewhere safe as soon as possible and, if you can, sort it into some sort of contextually appropriate long-term storage and publish it as soon as possible.

All these things become a lot easier once proper broadband wireless networking becomes standard. Point and shoot becomes point, shoot and send. Camera phones are just the first wave: why would any camera not sprout that functionality once the bandwidth becomes good enough?

It'll mean a lot more fun for those who take pictures surreptitiously, of course. The old image of security guards pulling the film from the camera and exposing it to sunlight will be history: the modern equivalent of bouncers forcing you to delete your pictures from the compact flash card won't be far behind. Not that this always works: as a bootlegging photographer of my acquaintance points out, very few of these people know that most of these cards use standard filing systems and undelete has no problems with them at all.

Not that this helps Kodak, for whom there may well be no undelete.

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