Kodak cameras could return to store shelves

Posted at: 01/21/2013 6:49 AM
Updated at: 01/21/2013 5:34 PM
By: Ray Levato

Did you hear? Kodak is coming out with a new camera, except it's not really a Kodak camera.

The "S-One" is a mirror-less interchangeable lens camera.

Kodak, the company that produced the first consumer cameras for the masses and invented digital photography, announced last February that it was getting out of the digital camera business. It was an effort by the company to save money and it costs 400 jobs, 30% of them are in Rochester. But now, the Kodak name lives on, on a camera.

Kodak entered into a multi-year agreement with JK Imaging LTD, to license the Kodak brand name for certain consumer products. JK Imaging's CEO said their decision to use the world-recognized Kodak's brand was a natural fit.

Joe Atick, JK Imaging CEO, said, “With more than a century of imaging firsts, there is great significance and value in the Kodak name. We intend to continue this legacy and bring to market the next generation of 'must have' portable, personal electronics that enhance the lives of consumers worldwide."

Brighton Securities' President George Conboy says Kodak is essentially renting out its name.

George Conboy, Brighton Securities, said, “It's a cutthroat competitive business and Kodak couldn't make a profit at it. But this small company, JK Imaging, felt they could make their own cameras and by adding the Kodak name get attention in the marketplace. After all, who wants to buy a camera called JK Imaging when you can buy Olympus, Canon, Panasonic. At least the Kodak name offers a familiar name to the consumer.”

News10NBC Ray Levato said, “ It may seem ironic that here you have this little company that sees the value of putting the Kodak name on a camera, and yet Kodak doesn't.”

Conboy said, “ The marketplace is filled with examples of companies that can't make a profit of doing what they were doing and selling or renting their name to someone else. The Polaroid name is still in the marketplace, but it is no part of the Polaroid company that once existed.”

Kodak President Laura Quatela says, "Kodak remains a strong and trustworthy brand in the consumer space and this agreement reinforces how valuable our brand is."
But at Scott's Photo by Rowe, manager Jim Brennan wonders whether a new Kodak camera would sell.

Jim Brennan, Scott's Photo by Rowe, said, “It's hard to tell. I think it's been too long. People have already forgot about them as a camera manufacturer. For the last several years they were making the cameras, Kodak wasn't making them itself. They were making them overseas, and putting their name on it. So it's hard to tell what's going to happen with it.”

JK Imaging plans to launch its first products in the second quarter of 2013. This includes digital cameras, pocket video cameras, and portable projectors.