When I first started out in photography, two big names in the industry were Kodak and Fujifilm. While they both made cameras, it was not their gear that they were famous for. Kodak and Fujifilm were known for their photographic films. Kodak was the long-standing big dog on campus, while Fujifilm was the distant runner up. Back then, almost everyone used film, as digital capture was new and not particularly good, and so there was a lot of business to be had. These two companies were rivals, and they both battled very hard for your business.
When the film industry collapsed, it was very abrupt. Within a couple of years, both companies went from record profits to full-fledged panic. Film sales dropped about 25% each year for many years in a row. Kodak, the giant in the industry, fell especially hard, eventually going bankrupt. What remained was divided and sold, and Kodak today, in its various forms, is mostly insignificant in the current photographic industry. Fujifilm, on the other hand, made some smart decisions, such as diversifying by applying their unique knowledge to other fields (such as cosmetics and pharmaceuticals), which allowed them to not only survive, but grow. Now photography is a small part of their overall business model, but nevertheless it is a successful and profitable arm of the company. While Kodak had the upper hand for a long, long time, Fujifilm won in the long run.
When I purchased my Fujifilm X-T30, I wanted to upgrade to a better camera neck strap than the one that came with the camera. I browsed the web for different ones, and I ended up going with a vintage Kodak strap. A cool feature is a built-in film canister holder (it can hold up to three), which is completely useless in today’s photographic world, but would have been handy 20 years ago. I’m not completely sure how old the neck strap is, but it was in great condition, like it was barely used, if used at all. It adds a retro touch that nicely compliments the retro-inspired design of the X-T30.
It might seem strange to put a Kodak strap on a Fujifilm camera. At one time these two companies were serious rivals. Back then I used film made by both of them, as well as other companies like Ilford and Agfa. I supported these companies with my hard-earned dollars. It’s sad that film has become a small niche market. It’s sad that the mighty Eastman Kodak Company experienced such a big fall. I’m happy to display their logo on my gear in honor of the pictures that I made with their products. I’m also happy to use a Fujifilm camera today, as it’s such a great photographic tool. While it may seem unusual to unite these two brands together in this way, I feel privileged to do so, since both have played an important role in my photography.