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Thread: Disruptive Technology

  1. #1
    Old but Crafty RayMac's Avatar
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    Disruptive Technology

    One of Canada's best known camera chains is going out of business. Black's Photography was in business for 75 years but all its mall stores will close in a couple of months. Blacks is following such former US giants as Ritz and Wolf Camera or Calumet Photo into oblivion.
    It was a perfect storm of disruptive technologies that did Black's in.
    • Digital photography decimated their one hour photofinishing and film sales.
    • Smartphone cameras destroyed the point and shoot camera business that often led consumers to buy more sophisticated cameras.
    • Camera sales themselves are increasingly becoming an online business and the majors like Henry's, B&H or even Costco are getting the lion's share of it.


    It's too bad, as Black's was one of the best when it came to photofinishing. I guess it's not just watch retail that has been disrupted by changes in technology.


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  2. #2
    Super Member Raza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RayMac View Post
    One of Canada's best known camera chains is going out of business. Black's Photography was in business for 75 years but all its mall stores will close in a couple of months. Blacks is following such former US giants as Ritz and Wolf Camera or Calumet Photo into oblivion.
    It was a perfect storm of disruptive technologies that did Black's in.
    • Digital photography decimated their one hour photofinishing and film sales.
    • Smartphone cameras destroyed the point and shoot camera business that often led consumers to buy more sophisticated cameras.
    • Camera sales themselves are increasingly becoming an online business and the majors like Henry's, B&H or even Costco are getting the lion's share of it.


    It's too bad, as Black's was one of the best when it came to photofinishing. I guess it's not just watch retail that has been disrupted by changes in technology.
    Yeah, as we move forward with tech, more and more types of jobs and companies will become obsolete.

  3. #3
    30 +years ago I worked for and eventually owned a small piece of a chain in the southwestern US.
    We were positioned primarily in the professional/advanced hobbyist pool, but like Blacks, did alot of photofinishing.
    Even as far back as 1983 the handwriting was on the wall - VCR's - which seemed like a boon a few years previously spawned video cameras and our movie camera and film/finishing sales died.

    It was obvious that something similar would do in still photography at that time.

    I was able to go to dental school then but never was able to get my small amount of capital out. Gradually I watched as they closed stores, then sold the remnants to a guy who faltered and folded rapidly. When you think of that Eastman Kodak, Polaroid and so many other industrial giants could not weather the storm any better than the smaller retail stores it's pretty sobering.

  4. #4
    Licorice eater Strange's Avatar
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    One of the things I miss most about the decline of film photography is the service bureau. If you had access to a good one you could get all kinds of groovy stuff, like poster-sized enlargements of your pix and prints from your transparencies. Of course they also offered high quality photo processing, even for weird film types & formats. They'd also mount & frame pix too.

    There was a really good service bureau I used to go to in Berkeley but they have unfortunately gone the way of all flesh. I really miss the knowledge & competence of the people who worked there. <sigh>


    She said I was the apple of her eye so I told her she was the rutabaga of my duodenum.

  5. #5
    The Dude Abides Nokie's Avatar
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    The more things advance the more the old ways die off.....
    "Either He's Dead, Or My Watch Has Stopped....."
    Groucho Marx

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    Super Member Raza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nokie View Post
    The more things advance the more the old ways die off.....
    Often times though, they do have a revival of sorts, and move into niche, high end products. Look at how leather goods are treated now (and how much the old way leather goods cost). Maybe film may have its resurgence.

  7. #7
    Big Member Chase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nokie View Post
    The more things advance the more the old ways die off.....
    Especially when companies don't evolve with it.

    Have used Black's many many times for processing over the years, but have never bought anything physical from them. Their service may be reasonably good, their staff typically somewhat knowledgable, but their equipment prices were much to high compared to their brick and mortar counterparts never mind the typically substantially lower priced online dealers.

    Hate to say it as it sounds crass, but it's nobody's fault but their own.

  8. #8
    Big Member Chase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raza View Post
    Maybe film may have its resurgence.
    I think it still does, at least in certain circles.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Chase View Post
    I think it still does, at least in certain circles.
    Certainly - but the options have dwindled. When everybody was printing the manufactures could justify production of 'oddball' or vintage processes because they were not so expensive to produce and people would pay for.
    For example - though pricey, film was available for roll film cameras from the teens, 20's 30's until the late 90's. Hobbyists could order them specially in small runs and then resell them. Now it is prohibitive . And the same has happened to some exotic papers. Certain artist types will buy them but they have gotten over what the man on the street will pay. Eventually they will go away also. Kodak and Agfa have admitted defeat and, though I never cared for it, Ilford is becoming the common mans only reasonable choice.

  10. #10
    Member pepperami's Avatar
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    Companies need to move with the times which seems to be exponentially quicker than in the past. Then you get companies like Tom Tom and Garmin that come and go it what's seems like a blink of an eye!

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