Jerry Magee is Eastman Kodak's Marketing Manager for Future Product Development of Z-series digital compacts. He's worked on the 1st
DSLR, witnessed the change from film to digital and now his eyes are fixed firmly on the future and Kodak's latest offering from the Z-series.
“Life's changed, the industry is evolving and the new sensors and lenses found on camera such as the Z980 means we can do things we never thought we could do,” said Jerry. “Technology has changed tremendously and people can now experience photography like they couldn't before.”
The digital technology Kodak are working with now is very different to the equipment and products they worked with during the film days something Jerry says they haven't destroyed: “ People are still taking pictures for the same reasons they were when using film it's just times have changed. People are still buying film and we sell film to motion picture and the medical profession. But it's a technology that's no-longer used and as a result we will continue to discontinue lines as there's no point building items if people don't use them.”
Jerry doesn't think there's much room in the market for cameras that emulate as some of Kodak's customers have never shot on film and wouldn't know what he was talking about.
“You have to remember digital became mainstream around 2002,” added Jerry.
With nearly everyone owning more than one digital camera now Jerry believes features are a must even if there are already too many.
“Our cameras are appealing to other users who didn't even know about Kodak. Many Kodak consumers are now in or under their twenties and they want features and products which they can access Youtube on.”
Kodak are a company who have always tried to “make picture taking easier” and have a brand-name and a reputation which means customers are still staying with them 100 years after they were first created.
“We've had a challenging five years but we are still going strong. People are still purchasing our products.” He added: “We are here because customers want us to be here and we are still investing in things.”
The Z980 is one such item Kodak have invested time and money in. Jerry wanted to create an item that would stand-out from the crowd and he challenged his team to fit a vertical release to the camera.
“28% of photographs are taken vertically and we proved this in our printing labs. The function has credibility and it allowed us to stand-out. It promoted ease of use and was a unique feature, even though yes, we did steal the idea from a DSLR.”
The success of cameras such as the Z980 had led Kodak to be comfortable and happy with the position they have in the consumer market and as a result have no plans to enter the popular, money-making area of DSLRs.
“Kodak won't do a DSLR, we will never say never but it's highly unlikely. We left the DSLR market, we couldn't own the lenses and market profits weren't good. Our job is to return profits to the corporation and it's a competitive market and we want to do well. We tried in the DSLR market but profits were just not that high.”
Finally Jerry said: “We just want people to know that Kodak didn't go anywhere, we are still here. We are a different company now and the industry has changed that but we still believe that taking great pictures is the most important thing.”