SPEC Kit 329: Managing Born-Digital Special Collections and Archival Materials · 141
Rutgers University
RUcore. Born Digital Still Images
IBB RUcore Preservation Standards Born Digital Still Images Rev: 11/18/2010
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January 7, 2003: Konica and Minolta, once both strong names in the film and film camera
businesses respectively, announce they will merge to form a single company. This is largely
viewed as the result of dwindling revenues from analog format sales, as both companies seek
to share their digital technologies to strengthen their position in this market.
December 2005: Kodak announces that for the first time, revenue from digital cameras and
digital storage media has exceeded revenue from film-based sales.
January 11, 2006: Nikon announces that is has discontinued all but two 35-mm Single Lens
Reflex (SLR) cameras: The F6 and the FM10. It also announced it will discontinue the
manufacture of all large format analog lenses, and all but nine interchangeable lenses to
support the F6 and FM10. In addition, Nikon’s photography division announces it will focus
almost exclusively on the development of its digital product lines.
As of 2010, the Nikon F6 and FM-10 continue to be manufactured, although the FM-10 is
made by Cosina, and rebadged as a Nikon.
January 19, 2006: Konica Minolta announces it will exit the photography business
altogether, discontinuing both analog and digital film camera lines. It will sell its technology
to Sony, which has indicated it will continue to support existing Konica Minolta digital
camera lines, and develop new lenses compatible with the K-M lens mount.
July 22, 2009: Kodak announces that it has manufactured its final batch of Kodachrome film
after 74 years of production. Kodachrome was well known for its longevity and color
stability. The last stocks of Kodachrome film have an expiration date of December, 2010.
January 2010: Canon exits the analog film camera business by quietly discontinuing the
manufacture of the EOS 1v. While remaining stocks of new EOS 1v cameras can still be
purchased at retail stores, and while most lenses Canon makes for its digital cameras will still
work on the film EOS line, all of the cameras Canon currently makes are digital-only.
As of this year, digital images are estimated to account for 90 percent of all professionally
taken photos according to market research firm InfoTrends.
At the same time that film-based companies are seeing the need to adapt or perish in the digital
realm, digital cameras have improved dramatically in image quality. While there was once a time where
the idea of using digital photographs to preserve images and keep permanent records was laughable,
manufacturers are now producing affordable digital cameras some aimed at entry-level users -that can
meet or exceed the image quality produced by some 35mm film types.
These events point to one conclusion: analog film will continue to serve a greatly reduced role in
the field of both amateur and professional photography as time progresses. While it is unrealistic to say
that film will altogether become extinct, the prevalence of the common traditional formats (35mm, 110)
are on the decline. It is very likely that film will be relegated to a limited range of formats for special-
purposes applications and niche audiences, while more common general-use and utility-based
photography will overwhelmingly shift to digital.
The need for baseline standards
The shift to digital photography has not been easy, and has been fraught with many painful
lessons on what constitutes acceptable image quality. Indeed, early digital camera models produced
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