Kodak to Sell Off Film Division, Ilford to Benefit

Kodak to Sell Off Film Division, Ilford to Benefit

As the sad story of the fall of Eastman Kodak continues, news reports coming out state that Kodak is poised to see off its entire film division, looking to exit that segment of the market entirely. That division includes Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging departments which encompass digital scanners, picture kiosks, souvenir photo products, photographic paper, as well as Kodak's film businesses, the once bright and shining star of its core competencies.

The British Journal of Photography is reporting that Kodak hopes to sell off the Personalized Imaging and Document Imaging businesses before June 2013, but it has moved to reassure photographers that it would seek buyers that share the firm's commitment to photography. This is only slightly reassuring, as the number of organizations that fall into this category is small (and shrinking), leaving only a few options to begin with. Telling us of their best intents doesn't really narrow the field, and at this point Kodak is likely more concerned with bailing out the water filling their sinking ship than making sure customers are truly happy with the decisions.

A spokeswoman for Kodak tells said that prospective buyers will be able to use the Kodak trademark with all future film products and added that Kodak "will continue to manufacture all its products (pro film, etc.) during this time [of transition]."

Kodak is banking on the sale of these assets, as CEO Antonio M. Perez said the sales "will be significant milestones toward completing the company's reorganization and emergence from Chapter 11 during 2013."

Looking at things from a broader perspective, BJP's technology contributor Jonathan Eastland said "the news ought to present Ilford with a golden opportunity to net significant gains from the fall-out of Kodak film enthusiasts pondering a switch in allegiance. Fuji has colour but Ilford's HP5+ black-and-white emulsion is up there with Tri-X; they just need to do a lot more to raise their image profile."

So Kodak fans, tell us: does it matter to you who Kodak sells to? Who do you think will buy the beleaguered company's assets? Would you switch to Ilford (if you haven't already)?

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Jaron Schneider is an Fstoppers Contributor and an internationally published writer and cinematographer from San Francisco, California. His clients include Maurice Lacroix, HD Supply, SmugMug, the USAF Thunderbirds and a host of industry professionals.

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I'm depressed! Of the 45 rolls that I've shot this year, 84% of the film has been Kodak, 13% Ilford. I am using B&W film exclusively this year; I have 4 rolls of Kodak Ektar in the frig to shoot in 2013.
I have 10 rolls of Kodak BW400CN in the frig along with Ilford HP5 (3 rolls) and FP4 (3 rolls).
I hope some company buys Kodak's film division; I used Ektar for the final Space Shuttle launch and tour of KSC Visitors Center and I am impressed with the film. I'm hoping to use Kodak Portra next year.

Only at the start of the year did Kodak say they would stick with film as its profitable still. I had a feeling then they were lying and it looks like I was right.

Whoever they have in charge should quit because they are useless. Kodak is film end of. Not printers made in china, not media, not any other crap they want to tout. Film is what Kodak is and film is what they should have forefronted.

When digital came along, they dropped the ball. Now they're paying the price for their stupidity. But dropping film is tantamount to suicide for the company that made photography easy for everyone.

Dropping film will probably be the worst decision Kodak will ever make. They're dropping film in order to pursue their inkjet business. The inkjet business isn't getting any bigger. What a mistake.

Honestly, I wish Kodak would restructure to solely focus on film photography. Film sales were actually up within the past year. Many photographers (myself included) have been making transition back to film. 

Seems like Kodak's management has been clueless for a long time. How sad for a once great company.

Oh no. This is truly sad new. I could live without Tri-X, because HP5 is awesome film too, but a world without Ektar and Portra would suck... I really, really hope they sell the film department to another company who are going to do beautiful things with it and continue making Kodak's films.

I hope that the company buying kodak film division will restart manufacturing ektachrome.

Bad decision... the days of being a large Kodak empire are gone and the choice they made was to take on HP for office printers? My MBA would steer me to suggest they would have done well to go back to their core competency of film and using the Kodak brand to become the go-to niche film company... flat organisational heirarchy... retain and nurture their expertise (which is lost the moment they stop making film) and focus on nurturing and building a film community that allows Kodak to survive as a viable business into the long-term. A small lean modern company instead of a flailing behemoth... sadly I think the problem is the people making the decision are self-interested in trying to maintain a fantasy that Kodak will continue to be a big company. Hands up who thinks of Kodak for office printers? Nope.

They are maintaining a niche film presence -- just narrower and more profitable niches than you have in mind (high-resolution aerial and the remaining cine market). As hard as it may be to admit it, consumer small-format film is dead, medium format film is dying as a pro choice (most of the 120 being shot is being shot on Holgas and Dianas, not on 'Blads, Bronicas, Mamiyas and Rolleis; the majority users of old, the wedding photographers, have gone DSLR photojournalist for the most part) and large-format film is an oddball high-end amateur space (pro production shots have pretty much gone to MF digital backs, either on 645 bodies or on view cameras). Staying aboard that sinking ship would still mean the end of the company.

I'm more surprised to see the SnapLab go, but I'd bet that it was the only way they could entice anybody to take the stills film business at all. That was an area with a foreseeable future in consumables (and they really only had Mitsubishi as an event competitor).

another vote that its a bad decision ... I'll buy ten 100-foot rolls and freeze them ...

I second Rich Maher's comment.
I still shoot film exclusively, but only chromes -- they scan into the computer beautifully and can be converted to B/W easily. Yes, I will deeply miss the Great Yellow Father's products.

Yes it matters who they sell too! This is unbelievable and yes, depressing! Sad that they are just throwing in the towel.

(german bad english .... sorry)

AHHH with film we make money

YEAH lets sell the film devision


wanna make millions sell us scanner and film

i would give you 

1500€ for 35mm film scanner 
2000€ for 120/220 film scanner

or sell us film, prossesing and scanning (48bit ,4000ppi) 20€ all inclusive


no inovation.... just boring boring boring people ! and a computer can make their job. like on wall street computers can trade...

Kodak continued to ignore the Professional Photography market and extolled and supported the consumer market, the amateurs. They have had a long history of poorly thought out marketing strategies, and behind the times decision making. Unfortunately this is where it has led them.  And now they continue to make the same mistakes.  They have brought this on themselves. Such a shame, because they had some fantastic films . T-Max 100, Kodachrome 25 -- well, it just doesn't get any better than those.  They continue to dig the hole deeper and deeper.  I feel sorry for the people who have dedicated their lives to working at Kodak.  The company has let them, and all pro photographers down.  poor decision making -- over and over again.

Professional Photographers killed the film industry, they would rather use their digital cameras chimping as they go. It's the amateurs that are keeping film alive. Pros want maximum profit they use digital

Hello all, I have been an avid user of Ilford products for nearly twenty years. It began when I bought my first medium format camera. I have loved their B&W for their unique texture, these films fit my style for their tonality and they are a good match for my antique equipment (both formats 35 mm and 120). I especially like the results from these films when used in my Leica M6 TTL, and my Rolleicord III, not to mention in the various FED and Zorki cameras.

I shoot mostly Illford and Fuji, and a rare Kodak roll. I have found in B&W no one beats Illford, and in manipulative off the lens work Fuji is so much better. Kodak has been ruining their film ever since digital came out in favor of that market. I'm happy, let Kodak go the way they have wanted, and let Fuji and Illford dominate the market.