Kodak revives photo film with new Super 8 camera

06 Jan 2016


Kodak yesterday made a surprise announcement of a brand new Super 8 film camera that it hoped would kick off a revival of the nearly forgotten format.

"By launching its first Super 8 camera product in more than 30 years, Kodak is demonstrating its resolve to ensure that film plays an important role in the future of filmmakers - both professionals and amateurs," read the press release announcing the device.

The concept camera on display at CES in Las Vegas this week combines analog recording with digital convenience - digital recording of audio, an electronic viewfinder as also other modern contrivances. However, it would shoot only 8mm film - Super 8, specifically, an improved, proprietary version of 8mm, first released by Kodak in 1965.

Once users have shot a reel, they would need to send it off to be processed, after which they can receive digital copies of the resulting movie - or run the finished film through a projector, like old times.

According to commentators, this might lead to a comeback for Eastman Kodak.

The company had teamed up with Yves Behar, head of design house Fuseproject, to revive Kodak's Super 8 camera, of 1970s fame.

According to Fuseproject, two versions of the device should launch this fall. The higher end would cost over $1,000 while the lower end would cost less than that price point.

The new camera marks the first time Kodak had made a consumer product in years. The film camera with digital components uses new materials and comes with ergonomic features for filmmakers.

Kodak said, its "Super 8 Revival Initiative reaches far beyond the introduction of a new camera."

"It is an ecosystem for film," Eastman Kodak CEO Jeff Clarke said. "Following the 50th anniversary of Super 8, Kodak is providing new opportunities to enjoy and appreciate film as a medium."

In 1976, Kodak held 90 per cent of the film market and 85 per cent of the camera market, according to a Harvard Business School case study, however, the company, which at one time was practically synonymous with cameras, filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012.

The company suffered a crippling blow with the shift from film photography to digital photography and had not yet recovered from the reverse.

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