What with all the publicity, you probably realize by now that Kodak is celebrating the 100th year of the snapshot.
In 1888, the first Kodak camera was placed on the market, loaded with enough film for 100 pictures. After making all the exposures, the photographer would take the camera to Kodak where the film was removed and developed, prints were made and mounted, and the camera was reloaded - all for $10.Judging from my recent mail, I wonder if Kodak is trying to mark the anniversary by introducing 100 new photographic products this year!
Earlier this year, the people down the yellow brick road in Rochester, N.Y., introduced a number of new cameras; the incredible T-Max P3200 black-and-white film; a line of new Kodacolor Gold print films that gives the amateur sharper pictures with richer colors; a new Vericolor 400 professional film; a new Ektachrome 100 Plus slide film, again with increased sharpness and brighter colors; a number of new minilab processing machines, and a customer-operated enlarging machine that will spit out prints as large as 11- by 14-inches in as little as 4 minutes and 30 seconds.
In the last week alone, I've received announcements about new and improved Kodak batteries, including some designed specifically for use in cameras, two more new Kodak films and two new Kodak cameras. I don't ever recall such a burst of energy from what has in the past always been a rather slow moving firm.
In the battery department, starting in September look for Kodak's new AA and AAA Photolife alkaline batteries.
A company spokesman explains: "Today's sophisticated electronic flash equipment and cameras often call for great amounts of energy in a short period of time. Photolife batteries are engineered for superior performance in these specific applications."
Consumers can also look this summer for new improved Kodak Supralife alkaline batteries in AA, AAA, C, D and 9-volt sizes. New Kodak Ultralife lithium 9-volt power cells will also be available. Kodak claims the new improved batteries will last hours longer than their predecessors.
In the camera department, designed for the 5- to 12-year-old, look for the Kodak Mickey-Matic camera, a pocket-sized 110-format camera that features a picture of Mickey Mouse on the body. It has a suggested retail price of $11.95, comes in either rose or blue, has a wrist strap, and is packed with a 24-exposure roll of Kodacolor Gold 200 film and a book of rebate coupons worth $5 on Kodak films and batteries. The camera, Kodak claims, is rugged, very simple to use, and can be used indoors with either 8- or 10-bulb flip-flash units.
The second new camera, the Kodak S300MD, is due in September and lists for $89.95. This 35mm point-and-shoot camera features automatic film advance and motorized rewind, has a built-in flash and sleek design. It's a fixed focus camera with a focus range from 4 feet to infinity. It comes with Kodak batteries, detachable camera strap, instructions and a roll of Kodak color print film.
Finally, two new color slide films offer amateur photographers richer colors with high film speeds.
The first is Kodachrome 200 film, the first amateur slide film offering Kodachrome image quality in an ISO 200 product. This new film is three times faster than Kodachrome 64, which means amateur photographers should be able to use longer telephoto lenses and higher shutter speeds to reduce blur from camera motion. Amateurs should also be able to shoot in lower light levels with this new film.
The other new slide film is Ektachrome 100HC. Kodak claims this new slide film has very fine grain, very high sharpness, high resolving power and improved color.
"This film provides amateurs with slides featuring richer greens, yellows and red," a company spokesman said. "Those who value the versatility of Ektachrome films and the wide availability of processing will appreciate this film."
Both the Kodachrome 200 and the Ektachrome 100HC are designed for exposure to daylight or electronic flash without filters. These 35mm films are due this fall and will be available in 24- and 36-exposure rolls.