February 09, 2012

Picture This: No More Kodak Cameras

It was my first. I picked her up from a local store since I had heard good things and the price was right. I couldn't believe the concept: a camera that used no film and hooked up to a computer to show the pictures. It seemed like the whole Polaroid instant film concept taken dangerously far into the technology realm.

It was the Kodak DC-215. It was my first digital camera.

No, it wasn't the best I ever had. That honor still goes to my Olympus C740-UZ, with it's 10x zoom and amazing depth of field. The DC-215 wasn't even the most reliable, as anyone who had one back in the day can attest. It's one big weakness? The battery tray. It had a habit of not staying shut and popping open at the worst time, splaying your batteries all over the floor of wherever you were: your home, front lawn, Disney World, etc. However, it had the distinction of being the first, for me and I'm guessing for a fair number of people. It ushered me into the new world of digital photography, with better than average picture quality and a seemingly unlimited number of pictures.  And with that in mind it was perfect that the company that delivered this was Kodak, a company whose name was synonymous with photography. When you think cameras, Kodak comes to mind.

But no more. This is the year that Kodak will halt production on it's cameras. As in: it's not going to be in the camera business anymore. At all. Period. Oh, and did I mention that Kodak invented the entire concept of digital cameras? Well, it did. And now it shutting down because it can't compete in the industry it created.
Competition from other manufacturers, as well as modern-day camera integration into all cell phones, has battered this former industry leader. Unable to eke out a living in their own industry, they're shutting down.

Not to bemoan the subject, but what kind of a world is it where the Kodak company exists but doesn't make cameras and doesn't make film? A strange world indeed. Perhaps at some point it will come back as a niche or upscale offering, with a luxury camera that appeals to die-hard professionals or techies. But until then, since it can no longer compete in the consumer space, it's time to wave goodbye to the last of the Kodak cameras. By the end of this calendar year they'll be nothing more than a sizable piece of history. And hopefully, that history will contain pictures captured by Kodak cameras.

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