Open Photography Forums  
HOME FORUMS NEWS FAQ SEARCH

Go Back   Open Photography Forums > OPF Welcome Hall > Breaking News

Breaking News Updates, innovations, equipment: moderated!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old March 2nd, 2009, 12:57 PM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 1,301
Default Franke & Heidecke Insolvent

Michael Reichmann, at his Luminous Landscape site, reports that Franke & Heidecke GmbH has filed bankruptcy. This clearly puts the future of the Hy6 in some doubt.
__________________
- Ken Tanaka -
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old March 2nd, 2009, 01:02 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 32,744
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Tanaka View Post
Michael Reichmann, at his Luminous Landscape site, reports that Franke & Heidecke GmbH has filed bankruptcy. This clearly puts the future of the Hy6 in some doubt.
Well, Ken,

I suspected as much. However I do not know the rules of the game in Europe. What are they allowed to do after shedding debt? Doed the court appoint a new Board of Directors or can the court sell the assets? I cannot imagine all these assets will be allowed by the market to simply vanish.

I wonder if Nicolas is sitting on a nice present!

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old March 2nd, 2009, 01:35 PM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 1,301
Default

I do not know how Germany handles "insolvency" either, but The German Law Journal offers a lengthy treatise on the subject which I've not fully navigated. (Ain't the Internet terrific?)

In the even of liquidation, however, I doubt that Nicolas would be able to keep his gear. If the procedure is similar to the U.S. proceedings a court-appointed liquidator would recall all such assets so that they could be accounted and then sold (auctioned).
__________________
- Ken Tanaka -
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old March 2nd, 2009, 01:47 PM
Bill Miller Bill Miller is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: So. Calif
Posts: 175
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Tanaka View Post
I do not know how Germany handles "insolvency" either, but The German Law Journal offers a lengthy treatise on the subject which I've not fully navigated. (Ain't the Internet terrific?)

In the even of liquidation, however, I doubt that Nicolas would be able to keep his gear. If the procedure is similar to the U.S. proceedings a court-appointed liquidator would recall all such assets so that they could be accounted and then sold (auctioned).
Ken,

If I'm correct Nicolas did not get his HY6 from them. He received it from Sinar.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old March 2nd, 2009, 02:30 PM
leonardobarreto.com leonardobarreto.com is offline
pro member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 953
Default

I don't know if someone here remembers that when Hy6 was introduced I argued that the system's chances of surviving would be not very high.

One reason for this is that it has no wide angle capability. Not even a 35mm and a 28mm was never even in the pipeline. This was because the camera was designed with a 6x6 angle of coverage when most backs where of 6 x 4.5

But there are other reasons that are now more evident. Too little too late, could be one, the consolidation of Mamiya with FaseOne and the more likable Capture 1 software could be the other, all of this combined with two strong factors: the economic crisis and 24mp DSLR's at $2 to $8 k with tons of available lenses from 12mm to 600mm perhaps?

So, what happens now with SINAR and LEAF ?

It seams that the stronger players now in MF are Phase/Mamiya and HASSELBLAD, probably also LEAF that may suffer a bit for having their own flavor of the Hy6...
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old March 2nd, 2009, 03:04 PM
Michael Fontana Michael Fontana is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 1,557
Default

Well, Leonardo

the earlier owners had different idea's about how to work with the new majority shareholder, the Hans R. Schmid Beteiligungs GmbH.
Mr. Schmid isn't really someone from the photo-scene; he's been making money with office-products, and has been investing > 10 Mio in Franke & Heidecke to resolve the "failures of the past"

"failures of the past"
is out of the the recent press release from Franke & Heidecke GmbH
__________________
http://www.proimago.net
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old March 2nd, 2009, 04:50 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 32,744
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Fontana View Post
Well, Leonardo

the earlier owners had different idea's about how to work with the new majority shareholder, the Hans R. Schmid Beteiligungs GmbH.
Mr. Schmid isn't really someone from the photo-scene; he's been making money with office-products, and has been investing > 10 Mio in Franke & Heidecke to resolve the "failures of the past"

"failures of the past"
is out of the the recent press release from Franke & Heidecke GmbH
There must be a lot of value in the technology. I cannot imagine that the market wont drive interested parties to acquire the assets.

The MF market will grow as Canon, Nikon and Sony push and pull people to expect more. As the market grows, the smaller MF market will be buffered but if MFRs can hang on, they will be able to do well. There's always a demand for the best quality. For photographers who earn a living at the higher ends of the profession, the cost is not trivial but not a limiting factor, really.

The issue is that Sinar is selling its immature evolving magnificent MF systems in a difficult economic time and folk can already buy so much to cover a lot of great photography for less than $13,000 for an entire system based on a Canon 1DsIII or Nikon D3X, for example. .

The market is cruel, like the jungle and there are no federal bailout plans like for bankrupt banks! Hopefully the engineering assets will not be lost to us! The only hope is that with shedding of debt, the company can find a workable business plan.

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old March 2nd, 2009, 04:52 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 32,744
Default

At what price would Sinar or Leaf be competitive with prosumers so as to expand that market? Or are the 35mm offerings as well as Mamiya and Hasselblad so attractive that the question is now mute?
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old March 2nd, 2009, 05:07 PM
leonardobarreto.com leonardobarreto.com is offline
pro member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 953
Default

People criticize Hasselblad, but their strategy was good for the survival of the legendary brand, Leaf is making good backs that can be used with their own brand flavor of Hy6 and Mamiya, the only remaining open MF platform -if Hy6 goes the way of Bronica/Contax- and would receive a blow, but can keep on going. SINAR is probably also in similar situation as Leaf since this is a very precarious industry and they did trow good money in to the 6x6 system.

The Hy6's epitaph, Michael, could very well use the "failures of the past" text. Failure to come up with a new innovative system instead of retrofitting the old and forgetting eve to make it in the format of digital media (the should have made it 100% digital from start). I would have gone to the drawing board with a mirror-less system that could accept old and new lenses (like the Micro 2/3 system) Going away with the reflex system could have made it a more flexible camera with cheaper to make super lenses (range finder lenses are non-retrofocus and lighter cheaper sharper than regular optic).

It was also easy to fail since the target was very far away and very narrow. Canon, Nikon and now Sony where encroaching, Phase-Mamiya-Leaf and Hasselblad are established in the very important rental market, so, not knowing exactly what photographers needed was a sure way to miss the one shot...
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old March 2nd, 2009, 05:49 PM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 1,301
Default

I'm inclined to substantially agree with Leonardo. In the heydays, less than a couple of years ago, the Hy6 could have eked-out a seat at the table. But today that table has shriveled into a tv tray; there's just no hope for such a marginal player with nothing particularly distinctive, no meaningful mindshare, and sparse distribution and service.

But the survivors should not get cocky. One of them is bound to be gone by year end, too. Commercial ad photography, the target stomping grounds for these gizmos, is also shriveling very fast. The market for the $50,000+ digital camera rigs now rests almost entirely in the rental houses. I believe that Leaf will be gone within 12 months, too, due largely to the same factors that killed the Hy6.

When the world's economies begin to meaningfully recover, perhaps two years from now, the commercial photography game will be played by many, perhaps mostly, new players. Will they still need mf cameras? Hard to say. But I can say that I'm not at all confident that the smart money would be on any medium-format digital back makers.

I also am surprised to remark that Hassie may, indeed, have been smart to close their game to protect their brand. It might actually have bought them extra time.
__________________
- Ken Tanaka -
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old March 2nd, 2009, 06:12 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 32,744
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Tanaka View Post
When the world's economies begin to meaningfully recover, perhaps two years from now, the commercial photography game will be played by many, perhaps mostly, new players. Will they still need mf cameras? Hard to say. But I can say that I'm not at all confident that the smart money would be on any medium-format digital back makers.
Ken,

Thinking further along the lines you suggest, it would seem likely that movie cameras, already mass-produced, will be the resource from which the high resolution frames will be composed digitally. I can imagine photographers shooting the model as before but the one frame they like (of hundreds) will be rebuilt to the highest quality so that MF will be not needed!

Using many frames, one can cover a range of focus and exposure so that the creatives will have the choice of working with digital tools rather than by setting apertures on the camera or shifting focus plane. Those decisions can be made on the monitor with the Wacom pen.

Having one frame that's close to perfect out of the camera, may no longer be needed. As digital software get better, lenses need not be so well corrected. We just need more frames shot in a range of focal planes and exposure and the rest is math.

So engineering and optical marvels in today's optics-rich cameras may have reached their greatest heights for a while. It does make more sense to use ever cheaper components with dedicated optical engines on chips. So not only MF, but also a lot of the other clunky cameras, (think 1DsIII) may become part of some future "Jim Gallis" exotic camera collections.

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old March 2nd, 2009, 06:32 PM
leonardobarreto.com leonardobarreto.com is offline
pro member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 953
Default

Asher, I remember talking about the Hy6 on our way to B&H in the west side of Manhattan some time not so long ago. By the way, you took some good street photos with your 5D and super fast 50mm, have post some of them?.

Anyway. This is it. The camera was not designed by photographers for photographers and the world is unforgiving.

Ok, the next MF system will be produced by CAMERA RED and will be as you just mentioned ... and 3D ...
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old March 2nd, 2009, 10:13 PM
Geoff Goldberg Geoff Goldberg is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Chicago
Posts: 14
Default must be nice to be right

While I am sure much of what Leonardo suggests has some truth, I don't think that F&H were idly sitting by watching their fortunes fade.

On the contrary, one possible reason for the loss is the usual Rollei affliction: too little too late, and fine fine optics that are a bit too meticulous for the market. Seems that extra edge they provided is just not competitive against the more value-driven products.

A noble effort to be sure, and one which I will sorely miss.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old March 3rd, 2009, 06:13 AM
leonardobarreto.com leonardobarreto.com is offline
pro member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 953
Default

geoffreyg,

I totally agree, Thierry and his team made a fantastic effort of promotion of the Hy6 system and the proof is that most of the comments are favorable to it. If only the concept designers had done their part and had produced sytem that was exactly what photographers needed, at competitive prices this could be a different end game all together... but they did not and it is not...
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old March 3rd, 2009, 06:20 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 32,744
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by geoffreyg@mac.com View Post
While I am sure much of what Leonardo suggests has some truth, I don't think that F&H were idly sitting by watching their fortunes fade.

On the contrary, one possible reason for the loss is the usual Rollei affliction: too little too late, and fine fine optics that are a bit too meticulous for the market. Seems that extra edge they provided is just not competitive against the more value-driven products.

A noble effort to be sure, and one which I will sorely miss.
Geoffrey,

I'm a stubborn but pragmatic optimist. I somehow feel that there is bound to be some other company that can make money out of the value of the engineering investment in the Hy6. What this crisis does is provide cold reality to all those who have interest in this project. This is the time to step in and get some bargains if they are to be ever grabbed by anyone.

OTOH, a quick death might provide more market room for the promised Leica S2. But who will be brave enough to spend premium $ on a new system in these difficult and risky economic times? Who? Leica nuts, that's who, Japanese collectors and some rich dentists! Let's hope that is so! I'm looking forward to holding an S2 in my hand and I don't want to be disappointed. Next I'll need a rich sponsor!

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old March 3rd, 2009, 09:04 AM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 1,301
Default

Well I'm just happy that I found this museum-quality Rolleiflex last summer. It works (almost) as good as the day it was made (circa 1959-1960).

__________________
- Ken Tanaka -
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old March 3rd, 2009, 09:27 AM
leonardobarreto.com leonardobarreto.com is offline
pro member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 953
Default

Ken

It is interesting that you mention this camera, since this is basically what the Hy6 used as model to design their new system. The Rolleiflex is 6x6 format for the simple reason that a square has no horizontal and no vertical positions. If this camera was, say, 6x 4.5 you could not shoot portraits. Later cameras like Hasselblad adopted the square format since it was somehow established and because it also afforded the advantage of working with a simple waist level finder making the system cheaper and lighter. The Mamiya came with a solution to the problem by introducing a 6 x 7 format with a revolving back. This camera began to gain followers of the square format for the reason that printing material often comes in a non-square format and transparencies had to be cropped less on top of having more real state from the start. ( 6x6 as opposed to 6x7 )

So, Hasselblad understood that this square legacy had no meaning in the new world of digital and immediately, and with the help of Fujifilm, moved to the 6 x 4.5 format.

Franke & Heideck went in another direction.... the HYBRID one. They wanted to go in to the future with one foot while having the other one in the past. A camera that would be able to shoot 6x4.5 film 6x6 film, backward compatible with 6x6 lenses and at the same time the best solution for 6 x 4.5 available digital backs plus future 6 x 6 yet to be announced hypothetical ones for which there are not even available sensors.

So, a fighter/interceptor jet that is a bomber and troop carrier ...



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Tanaka View Post
Well I'm just happy that I found this museum-quality Rolleiflex last summer. It works (almost) as good as the day it was made (circa 1959-1960).

Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old March 3rd, 2009, 11:18 AM
Geoff Goldberg Geoff Goldberg is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Chicago
Posts: 14
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by leonardobarreto.com View Post
Ken

It is interesting that you mention this camera, since this is basically what the Hy6 used as model to design their new system. The Rolleiflex is 6x6 format for the simple reason that a square has no horizontal and no vertical positions. If this camera was, say, 6x 4.5 you could not shoot portraits. Later cameras like Hasselblad adopted the square format since it was somehow established and because it also afforded the advantage of working with a simple waist level finder making the system cheaper and lighter. The Mamiya came with a solution to the problem by introducing a 6 x 7 format with a revolving back. This camera began to gain followers of the square format for the reason that printing material often comes in a non-square format and transparencies had to be cropped less on top of having more real state from the start. ( 6x6 as opposed to 6x7 )

So, Hasselblad understood that this square legacy had no meaning in the new world of digital and immediately, and with the help of Fujifilm, moved to the 6 x 4.5 format.

Franke & Heideck went in another direction.... the HYBRID one. They wanted to go in to the future with one foot while having the other one in the past. A camera that would be able to shoot 6x4.5 film 6x6 film, backward compatible with 6x6 lenses and at the same time the best solution for 6 x 4.5 available digital backs plus future 6 x 6 yet to be announced hypothetical ones for which there are not even available sensors.

So, a fighter/interceptor jet that is a bomber and troop carrier ...
Leonardo -
I can't disagree with your observations as that is a true recounting of facts as they happened. But there is a difference between the factual development pathway and the designers choices. True, its likely that Hassy and Fuji were smarter with the 645 format, but I'd hope there's room in the world for a bit of classical photog still - and the 6x6 is really a superb format for some of us. I know, the mags need horiz or vertical cropping, but I'm still hung up on 4x5 proportions and the 6x6. Over time, the 35 mm proportion has kind of lost its appeal, and the 645 right with it. Its hard to see those as serious photographs for the composers' eye: they are overwhelmed by the 2:3 proportion which dominates the message. There is a satisfaction and a more rigorous sense of composition with the square format - I just keep finding those are the keepers, and the other proportions, while often decent shots, somehow don't get printed up. If one follows one's feet, there is a message there perhaps.

Yes, its personal, but its not just one person's opinion. There is some support for the square format. Is it a majority? no way, but then again, speaking of majority, the P&S crowd takes that prize before all of us. If we are operating above the Canon/Nikon threshold, then we are all working in smaller margins, with particular niche preferences, and no single way to do it. If there is good economic sense, then the product is fine. If not, well, the product may be fine, but maybe something else went south.

All this is to say I think the Hy6 is a fine product, and well engineered. It has both modern and traditional comforts, and while not the whiz-bang of the Hassy H series, is a preferable package for some users. Perhaps there were enough customers, but the company itself (a small integrated specialized manuf concern) had other serious issues. My guess is that a company of that size and with their peculiar distribution issues would have failed even if they were making the Hassy H camera: they just didn't have the muscle to get over the hill of small niche production. Trying to sell Hy6 as a film camera with lens for $8/10 k just is not the way to success.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old June 12th, 2009, 07:27 AM
Gary Connors Gary Connors is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 4
Default

Geez--I hadn't heard about the BK. It's tragic that a 80+ year old company would be in this position--I guess a sign of the economic times. I have several of their old Rolleicords and they still work perfectly and get beautiful pictures.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old June 13th, 2009, 08:00 AM
leonardobarreto.com leonardobarreto.com is offline
pro member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 953
Default

There seams to be news about Franke & Heideck apparently they may not be able to continue production or pay employees after all. Yes, this has not been independently verified, but there is also no official denial of it --as I post this-- from Afi/Hy6 or Leaf or anyone, so, even if the rumors are just that, the damage continues as long as there is no reassurance from F&H, Sinar, Rollei that they will be able to deliver products and continue production ..

I got in to some trouble here and in another forum for pointing out that this particular system was conceived in the wrong way, (6x6 format when all available backs and sensors are 645 or smaller format) and that the chances of surviving in such a challenging field, with pressure from 24mp 35mm at $2k, for example, was in question.

It has been argued that the troubles with F&H are not related to the design, success or lack of, the Afi/Hy6, and this are the same people that say that, who knows, maybe someone will come at the 11 hour and rescue them from complete closure, and they may be correct, but, was the system (or systems) hugely adopted? I don't think so.

There are a lot of photographers that hold to their CONTAX 645 and to their H1 H2 Hasselblads. Some have migrated to H3 and some have sold their CONTAX 645 for Mamiya AFD. Others went the 1DsM3, D3x way.

Phase One has lost about 30% of sales but it is surviving thanks to the big new back, Mamiya will come out with low end -cheap- Phase One technology backs and is improving quality with the help of the back company.

Hasselblad has not only survived adopting a closed architecture for their H3 system, but seams to be doing well.

There are a lot of people affected by the F&H troubles and are at Leaf, Sinar and Rollei. Leaf is a very popular back maker, and they lost a lot of time and treasure with the Afi, so they are probably the most affected by a final collapse of the experiment...

It is interesting that there are two companies that want to actually join the MF digital, Leica and Pentax, and they are both, proposing almost same size sensor MF bodies. The sensor is just a bit larger than that of a FF Nikon, or Canon, and in effect they are going the exact opposite of the concept of the Afi/Hy6 that wanted a larger than 645 sensor size (w/out consulting the companies that make this sensors).

Probably Leica and Pentax think that there is a perfect niche just up from Canon and Nikon with a camera much faster, smaller and agile than the Hasselblads and Mamiyas, and they are probably correct.

That would leave the Afi -if it survives- to compete with the super high mega pixel flag ship backs from Hasselblad and Phase. Since cost comes more from chip size than pexel count, a 6x6 sensor would have to cost much more and only give you an out-of-mainstream form: square, and a bit larger sensel size....

But anyway, we will probably see some more news soon, and I will promise not to say: I told you so
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
hy6 bankruptcy

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:47 AM.


Posting images or text grants license to OPF, yet of such remain with its creator. Still, all assembled discussion 2006-2017 Asher Kelman (all rights reserved) Posts with new theme or unusual image might be moved/copied to a new thread!