Christopher Bonanos, author of Instant: The Story of Polaroid, has authored a lengthy piece for the Washington Post on what Kodak — and whoever buys its film lines — can learn from the fall of Polaroid. The article offers some interesting facts about, and insights into, the film photography industry:
Yes, Polaroid and Kodak made hundreds of millions of cameras. But that was never their principal business: The hardware existed mostly to sell film. This is what business-school professors call the razor-blade model, pioneered by Gillette: The razor is sold at minimal profit or even given away, and the blades sell for years afterward at a healthy profit margin. Amazon does the same with the Kindle, selling it cheaply to encourage enthusiastic e-book buying.
More than anything else, Polaroid’s desire in the 1990s to keep film sales up and film factories humming was what killed the company. When it should’ve been diving into a variety of digital businesses, Polaroid doubled down on analog-film production, building new production equipment and trying to economize.
The business model Bonanos describes is also known as freebie marketing.
What Kodak could still learn from Polaroid [The Washington Post]
Image credit: razor blade by scottfeldstein
If you’ve been wondering how the Canon 6D compares to the 5D lineup in terms of size, control layout, and ergonomics, here’s a side-by-side comparison photo in which the 6D (center) is placed next to the new Canon 5D Mark III (left) and the older Canon 5D Mark II (right). The cameras are each ever-so-slightly different in their shapes, but the 6D is noticeably smaller than its higher-tier siblings. It’s more than 10% smaller in its dimensions, and is ~10% lighter than the 5D Mark II and ~20% lighter than the 5D Mark III. Here’s a larger version of the image.
Image credit: Photograph by Roger Cicala/LensRentals
Reuters photographer Jose Miguel Gomez was recently covering the 121st anniversary of the National Police in Colombia when he spotted a cadet lying face down amidst her peers. He photographed the apparently unconscious policewoman with his 400mm lens for five minutes before she was finally carried away, and wondered why it took so long for help to arrive.
For his project titled Take Refuge, Los Angeles-based photographer Kevin Cooley shot nighttime landscape photographs with an interesting choice of lighting: military-grade flares — the kind you find in emergency kits. Each image in the series features the same red glow, whether the flare is held in a subject’s hand or hidden behind a feature in the landscape.
Photographers often scour eBay listings in hopes of snagging a good deal on camera equipment, but usually they’re not expecting to find gear worth hundreds of dollars sold for the same price as McDonald’s Dollar Menu items. Well, that’s exactly what one lucky eBayer discovered a couple of weeks ago. The person stumbled upon a strange listing: reputable camera retailer Calumet Photo was selling a brand new Sigma EX 10-20mm f/3.5 lens for Canon DSLRs — worth about $590 — for just $0.99! And not just one lens, but three!
Today Facebook finally launched the photo sync feature that it has been privately testing for smartphones over the past couple of months. The feature is built into the social network’s official mobile app for Android and iOS, and makes it easier to automatically sync your phone photos to the Facebook cloud.
The amount of dedication required for the time-lapse video above is astounding. Titled “Fall,” it shows the colors of New York City’s Central Park changing with the seasons over a period of half a year. Here’s what its creator, photographer Jamie Scott, says about it:
One of the most striking things about New York City is the fall colors and there’s no better place to view this then Central Park. I chose 15 locations in the park and revisited them 2 days a week for six months, recording all camera positions and lens information to create consistency in the images. All shots were taken just after sunrise.
Last week, New York City-based photo retailer Adorama launched a new VIP program to reward regular customers with some sweet perks. If you regularly buy your gear from the company’s website, you’ll be glad to know that membership in the program is currently free. It’s a $149 value that’s available for a limited time.
An interesting photographic first has been announced by a scientist at the University of Genoa in Italy. Enzo di Fabrizio revealed the world’s very first true photograph that shows the double helix structure of DNA, shown above.
During the earlier days of 35mm film photography, many of the popular cameras had distinct design elements that defined the look of that period — the things that come to mind when people hear the words “vintage 35mm camera”: a shiny body seemingly crafted out of a single chunk of metal; a textured covering that gives the camera style and grip; all the manual controls you need, placed in well-thought-out locations at your fingertips.
When cameras started becoming smarter and more automated, many of the convenient physical controls began to disappear. By the time cameras started becoming digital, the consumer market had become flooded with designs that looked nothing like cameras of old and more like the computers that were taking over the world.