Monday, June 22, 2009

Mama, Don't Take My Kodachrome Away

Sad news: This morning the Eastman Kodak Company announced that it would discontinue the manufacture of Kodachrome film, citing declining demand. Kodachrome, with its highly saturated colors, especially red, was my film of choice for many, many years; but Kodachrome now accounts for less than 1 percent of Kodak’s still-film sales, the announcement said.

Kodak estimates that the current supply of Kodachrome will last until October, and if the precedent set by the similar announcement of the demise of Kodachrome II is any indication, hoarding of the remaining supply can almost certainly be expected. The announcement also noted that Kodachrome processing is so complex that only one lab in the United States is still certified by Kodak to handle the film, Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas. Dwayne’s said on its web site that they would likely continue processing Kodachrome through the end of 2010.

When Kodachrome was first developed in the 1920s, it was sold only to the motion picture industry. About fifteen years later, it was made available to the general public as a still picture transparency film, “with five layers of emulsion so thin that the total thickness is no more than ordinary film.” Indeed, the thinness of the emulsion and its additive dye process made it the sharpest, finest-grained transparency film available. Its use was so widespread among professionals that Paul Simon immortalized it in song singing, "Kodachrome, gives us such nice bright colors, gives us the green of summer, makes you think all the world's a sunny day."
Oh yeah!


Anonymous Rich Green said...

I know change is inevitable, and I haven't shot with Kodachrome (200) in years, but there was a comforting feeling knowing that it was still there. Like vinyl records.

10:43 AM  

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