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Kodak and Reflex Collab?

I will admit, it has been a hot minute since getting back onto the website to write an article. However, I’ve stumbled across something that rekindled a fire. Now, I will admit, this may be a nothing-burger or it may be a breadcrumb to something huge. So this article is written with facts with the end result purely in speculation. This article will be updated as we get more information from the original sources.

At the end of 2017, the film community got really excited when a Kickstarter was launched: A new multi-lens mount film camera SLR. Backers quickly jumped to back the newly launched Reflex SLR camera. However, development was proved to be an uphill battle as technical complexities slowed down its development. Nearly 2 years later, Reflex continues to update Kickstarter Backers of their camera.

Since the compulsory development of the XH1 shutter ( read updates #17-19 ) we have reached out to senior and industry experienced engineers for support. This is adding value, not only to the shutter design, but also in general technical support and better understanding of materials and the industrial manufacturing process.
As it stands now, we see the first fully functional pre-production series finished by late July and then the actual shipping of the first batches at the end August. We really want to hit this target, as we see it as a bit of an ultimate test for ourselves and for Reflex as a company.

Reflex Update to Backers

As to who are those industry experienced engineers may be, I would immediately look at current camera manufacturers. However, upon reading a transcript of Kodak’s Q1 2019 Earnings Call (which their financials is a separate story within itself) I came across a name I had not expected to see: Laurence Von Thomas, founder and lead designer of Reflex.

On the transcript of the call, Von Thomas introduces himself to both Kodak’s CEO, Jim Continenza, and CFO, David Bullwinkle, and requests present what Reflex does.

Laurence Von Thomas — Reflex — Founder and Lead Designer
Hi. My name is Laurence. I’m the — I’m the founder of Reflex. We are actually in the business making a — the new 35-millimeter in digital camera platform. And sorry to announce myself over here, but it was a bit hard to get through to you, guys. But I was wondering if in one of the next few days, you might give me a little bit of time to explain what we’re doing with the company?

MFT Transcribers

In response, Kodak’s CFO, David Bullwinkle, stated:

David Bullwinkle — Chief Financial Officer
Sure, this is Dave. Hi. We will reach out to you or if you’re already working with — so I think I’ve heard your name from somebody else in the company. So we’ll make a connection, for sure and happy to learn about what you’re doing.

MFT Transcribers

The call ends with with Von Thomas closing:

Laurence Von Thomas — Reflex — Founder and Lead Designer
Cool. I’m — as I — I think I wrote to Jim on LinkedIn. I really don’t want to take up much of your time, but I thought it would be interesting to just explain a little bit of what we’re going to do over the next couple of months and yes, to just share our roadmap with you, with Kodak.

Now, on this call, it may not seem much resulted from it, but I find it extremely interesting that Reflex has reached out to Kodak to share it’s strategic roadmap and it leads to one big question… Why? While I’ve reached out to both Kodak and Reflex, I have not received a response to see if anything resulted from this conversation that took place two months ago.

If I’m allowed to speculate here, I’d like to think that Reflex and Kodak are collaborating in bringing back the first manual focus SLR as the film community desperately needs a new film camera brought back to market. While Kodak has made it very apparent with using the Kodak brand as a muscle to license products, like consumer scanners, batteries, and brand apparel through storefronts like Forever 21 and H&M, it is not unfathomable that an agreement could be made between Reflex and Kodak in using a brand known around the world since 1888.

If I receive an update from either Reflex or Kodak, I will be sure to update it here.


Bill Manning View All

Host and Executive Producer for Studio C-41

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