Dear Kodak, This is the Best Time to Make Sensors Again

It’s time that Kodak gets back to the image sensor business.

Dearest Kodak,

I remember fondly back to a time when you made imaging sensors. Specifically, I remember the ones you sold to Leica. They were wonderful. The sensors you made too were wonderful. Sadly, the industry didn’t appreciate them. And I hold myself partially responsible for not appreciating what your sensors did at lower ISOs. All we cared about were high ISO results. But if there were ever a time for you to come back to the digital photo world, now is the time, Kodak.

I’m not talking about some of the odd products that you make. Instead, I think you need to sell sensors again. I remember when you sold some to Olympus. And I remember how beautiful the images were. I genuinely thought so since Olympus was a more affordable brand for early 20s Chris. 

The situation is this. There are really three sensor makers right now. Tower Jazz is most likely used by Leica a lot now. Sony controls how a lot of the photo industry functions. But they’re dictating too much over Sigma, Panasonic, and Nikon. Canon isn’t sharing their own sensors. And Samsung pulled out. We need more competition. We don’t need more camera and lens makers. But cameras should shine with solid image quality, and your sensors should be helping those lenses shimmer in the eyes of passionate photographers.

I know many of your employees haven’t liked the truth that’s come from this blog. But you can’t deny that the manufacturers understand the importance of us keeping them all in check. They’ve literally told us this. 

Your focus on film is cool. When Ektachrome was announced, we were one of the few to get the NDA. So why not make a digital Ektachrome sensor? 

Heck, why not make a variety of sensors? A Portra sensor? A Tri-X sensor? A T-Max sensor? An Ektachrome sensor? Or better yet, why not let the manufacturers use that and have that rendered for themselves? 

I’d really love a CCD sensor. Panasonic’s L mount lenses would look wonderful at ISO 50 with a CCD sensor. Nikon’s Z mount lenses would make a Portra sensor at ISO 160 look so wonderful! You could get so much more done in the photo industry, and you could return in a tremendous way.

Another reason why this is the best time is because we’re in a global recession. That’s the best time for a company to grow. Trust me, I’d know. I founded this site in the last one. Cameras started getting killed by smartphones in around 2011. We’re 10 years later. Looking on in the next 10 years, the industry is supposed to come back and evolve. That’s what the watch industry did, at least when the nail was put in the coffin in 2001—cameras and passion products. Passionate photographers buy them. Hobbyists buy them. Professionals buy them. And creators need them. But we need more variety.

To clarify more, you don’t need to make cameras. That’s not necessary. But you can continue on with a B2B model. A Kodak digital brownie would be a super cool idea, but we don’t need it. We need to strengthen the companies currently around. And you and Samsung are probably in the best position to do so.


Chris Gampat

Editor in Chief/Founder