Yesterday Kodak’s stock fell 64 cents, or 26.9%, to close at $1.74 — the lowest the stock price has been in 38 years. Investors were reacting to news that the company (which hasn’t netted a profit since 2007) had taken out a new $160 million loan. The plummeting value of the company is bad news for the photography pioneer but good news for companies that might be interested in buying it — a list that is rumored to include Google and Microsoft.
Microstock did a lot of damage by turning traditional stock photography on its head, but now a company called Stipple is trying to give microstock a taste of its own medicine. The company, which offers technology for tagging people and objects in photos, has launched its new Image Marketplace website for publishers who want to use photographs without having to pay for them. Instead of publishers paying the photographers or agencies for licenses, brands step into the equation by paying money to advertise through the photos. The photographer then collects money based on the number of clicks and hovers their photographs receive.
Japanese business newspaper Nikkei reported yesterday that Nikon is on the cusp of announcing its entry into the mirrorless camera market. What’s more, the paper stated that the camera would cost between ¥70,000-¥100,000 ($900-$1,300), a pretty common price point for this type of camera (though it may be somewhat high if the camera only packs a 2.7x sensor). In response, Nikon put out a strange press release titled “Comments on Media Reports about Nikon’s imaging product”:
Nikon understands that some article appeared in the media regarding Nikon’s imaging product. Please note that Nikon has made no announcement in this regards.
Nikon’s stock price has jumped roughly 6% since Wednesday. The latest word is that the camera is scheduled to be unveiled on September 21st. Unless Canon has something crazy up its sleeves, it looks like Nikon has beaten it to the mirrorless game.
If you look at the price of Kodak’s stock, you’ll see that the company is currently worth about $600 million — a figure that may be significantly lower than what its digital imaging patents could sell for. With the risk looming that a buyer might try to acquire the patents by simply taking over the company, Kodak is taking evasive maneuvers:
The Rochester photo and imaging company said Monday that its board had created a special class of stock to serve as a firewall in case someone tries to take a majority interest in the company.
Under the terms of the deal, if any investor tries to buy 5 percent or more of the company over the next three years, Kodak would issue all current stockholders shares of preferred stock. As a result, any takeover attempt would require the purchase of additional shares that could make the cost prohibitive.
In the business world, this tactic is known as a “poison pill“.
If Fujifilm has been waiting to see whether the retro-tastic FinePix X100 would sell well before working on an interchangeable lens followup, they’d better start calling the engineers into the office. The camera is finally starting to become available in the US, but every time a handful of the cameras appear on Amazon, photography blogs alerttheir readers and the inventory is sold out within minutes. Reviewers are also heaping their praises on the camera — here’s what Steve Huff has to say about it:
The Fujifilm X100 ROCKS and it ROCKS HARD. No, it is NOT perfect but neither is the Leica X1, or NEX-5, or E-P2, or Ricoh. What the X100 has is a combination of looks, size, performance and technology all wrapped up into one classic and sexy well built design. $1200? It’s priced right folks. To be honest, this could be my only camera and I would be happy. It’s light enough to take anywhere, it’s a joy to use, and once you get used to how it operates and exposes, the results are up there with the best of the APS-C cameras. [#]
Look at the bright side: the price of the $1,200 camera has dropped on eBay from $2,000-$3,000 used to $1,600 new with Buy it Now!
In the past week or two there has been an interesting controversy regarding the use of stock photography: vegan blogger quarrygirl.com published a post on April 13th accusing the nations leading vegan magazine VegNews of using non-vegan stock photos to illustrate its vegan recipes. An example presented is a “Vegan Spare Ribs” article that uses a Photoshopped iStockPhoto image of actual barbecue spare ribs (shown above). Read more…
Slate magazine just published an interesting article on David Hobby and his popular blog Strobist, and shared this interesting example of how the photography industry is drastically changing due to low barriers of entry:
To get a sense of just how bad things are for professional photographers right now, the story of Robert Lam is instructive. When Time needed a photo to illustrate its “New Frugality” cover story in late 2009, it purchased Lam’s image of a jar of change from stock-photo agency iStockphoto. The going rate for a Time cover had typically been $3,000 to $10,000. Lam was paid $31.50. Nevertheless, Lam declared, “I am happy”—the payment was more than he’d expected the photo to generate, and he was delighted to have a Time cover in his portfolio. Veteran professional photographers were livid, calling Lam an “IDIOT,” among other unkind words.
The article also mentions how Robert Lam earns just $4,000 from his stock photography hobby, and that the Time cover photo was shot using DIY equipment purchased from a local sign store. What are your thoughts on the changing landscape for professional photographers?
The stock prices of major camera equipment manufacturers took a major — and expected — dive after the earthquake on March 11, 2011. Though they made a brief recovery afterward, they’re continuing to fall due to the risk that gear prices may soon skyrocket soar once decreased production isn’t able to meet demand.
This video by FotoTV features “microstock king” Yuri Arcurs leading a workshop and imparting all sorts of useful tips that you’ll find useful even if you have no interest in doing microstock — things like working with models and capturing emotion. Get out your pen and paper and start taking notes!