Kodak built its reputation on film photography for several decades, and the company now is transitioning to digital photography, including offering many easy-to-use Kodak cameras. According to a report from Techno Systems Research, Kodak cameras ranked fifth worldwide in 2007 with 11.56 million digital camera units manufactured, equal to an 8.8% market share.
George Eastman founded his company, Eastman Dry Plate, in 1881 in Rochester, N.Y., after inventing a machine that allowed him to mass-produce photographic dry plates. By 1888, Eastman was manufacturing a simple camera for consumers under the Kodak brand name. Eastman is credited with bring the "snap shot" to photography with the easy-to-use Kodak cameras. The company name officially became Eastman Kodak in 1892.
Kodak introduced the first color film for video for amateur videographers in 1928. In 1936, Kodak introduced the first color film aimed at consumers, first in a 16mm format, then in the popular 35mm slide format. Kodak introduced the Instamatic camera line in 1963, eventually selling more than 50 million units of the easy-to-use camera.
In some circles, Kodak receives credit for creating the first digital camera in December 1975. The 8-pound unit stored black-and-white images on digital cassette tape. However, Kodak did not commercially begin manufacturing digital cameras for another two decades.
In 1995, Kodak introduced its first digital camera, the DC40 Point-and-Shoot. Kodak has focused its digital camera lines on easy-to-use models aimed mainly at beginners. In 2008, Kodak unveiled the world's first 50-million pixel (50 megapixel) image sensor, aimed at use in cameras for professional photographers.
Kodak's transition from one of the world's leading producers of film for consumers to the digital photography arena hasn't been without problems. Kodak posted some heavy losses in the past several years while making the transition. Unlike some of its long-time competitors, such as Polaroid and Agfa, however, Kodak has managed to avoid bankruptcy.
Today's Kodak Offerings
Kodak's EasyShare digital cameras work best for beginner photographers.
- C Series. Kodak offers some of the least expensive digital cameras in the market with its C models, which range in price from about $75-$125. C cameras are colorful and thin, but they offer mostly below-average features.
- M Series. For beginners who want a thin, colorful camera, Kodak offers its M models at about $100-$200. All are easy to use and offer only basic, average features.
- V Series. Kodak's V models offer large resolutions with small optical zoom lenses. They cost about $200-$250.
- Z Series. Beginner photographers with a little photography experience will appreciate Z models, which range in cost from $200-$400. The Z models are large point-and-shoot models, and they often contain large zoom lenses and resolutions.
- Related products. Kodak offers many products related to digital photography, including digital picture frames, docking stations, batteries, cables, camera bags, memory cards, compact printers, ink cartridges, and photography printing paper, among many other items. Kodak sells some accessories directly through the Web site. The site has some film and film processing products from Kodak, too.