Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Kodak addresses Digital SLRs

We found this great story at the Imaging Insider. It is a story by Amateur Photographer UK from last Friday talking with Kodak VP John O'Grady and marketing director Philip Scott about Digital SLRs. Check out the story for all the details.

As you may recall Kodak was among the first to have professional DSLRs out there, way back when they cost a whole lot more than they do now. For a quick reminder of all the Kodak DSLRs, please check the Kodak camera database at dpreview.

Some people, me included, think that what really killed Kodak DSLRs was their pyrrhic victory at Photokina 2002. They won the press release, they beat Canon by out-doing them with a 14 megapixel full frame DSLR versus an 11mp Canon full frame DSLR. But the DCS 14n was not ready. By far. It was not ready a year later. It was not ready until a lot later. This damanged Kodak's reputation beyond repair, and even when most of the issues were fixed, the vast majority of users was caught in yet another round of Canon vs Nikon with occasional Foveon, Fuji SuperCCD and Four Thirds flares. This doomed the poorly named DSLR/C and DSLR/N that came next at PMA 2004. And that was the last we heard from Kodak DSLR-wise.

Yes, they continue to make sensors for many other manufactures, and they are part of 4/3rds but so far their 4/3rds contribution has been of the sensor variety.

Ever since then there were some occasional user-initiated discussions as to whether Kodak would come up with a 4/3rds DSLR once prices reached the affordable for the masses level. And we are almost there right now, with an increasing number of $500-ish DSLRs, including Canon and Nikon.

So what do you think Kodak? The answer appears to be of the LBA variety. Because Kodak does not have their own lens mount, they cannot sell lenses at a profit margin in order to justify a potential DSLR investment. I am assuming this refers to consumer DSLRs, because they used to sell professional DSLRs without their own lens mount :)

A couple of interesting factoids there, Kodak says that 70% of DSLR photos are taken in auto mode. Well, here's another factoid: The majority of DSLRs sold are of the entry level variety :)

But there is some hope for prosumers, while Kodak is concentrating on the mass market at the moment, they said that they have not abandoned the "bridge" cameras, that might be "up to the level of a digital SLR". The last Kodak camera to attempt this was the popular (after the price cut) Kodak P880, introduced in August 2005. Time for another one please? :)


Anonymous said...

I own one of the DSLR/N models and it does take wonderful photos. I've printed to 20x30 with ease and could easily go larger. However, the bargain basement consumer Nikon film camera guts incorporated into the Kodak camera has really limited its use. Pathetic really that a $4500 camera used a $250 film camera mechanicals. The A/F performance is so horrific, the camera is regulated to landscape photo duty only. I had to pick up a Nikon D2h for any dynamic subject photo duty. On the plus side however, I've been shooting full frame forever with the Kodak and still have my wonderful WIDE angle glass collection that will work with the new D3 upgrade quite nicely. :-)

1001 noisy cameras said...

Very good points! It was only recently that Nikon became more "generous" such as "giving" the D200 body to the Fuji S5.