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Last Roll of Kodachrome Processed

kdawson posted about 4 years ago | from the gimme-the-greens-of-summer dept.

Graphics 359

Wired's Gadget Lab picked up a wistful story from the Wichita (Kansas) Eagle on the processing of the last roll of Kodachrome film that Kodak produced. "Freelance photojournalist Steve McCurry, whose work has graced the pages of National Geographic, laid 36 slides representing the last frames of Kodachrome film on the light board sitting on a counter in Dwayne's Photo Service in Parsons [Kansas]. ... National Geographic has closely documented the journey of the final roll of Kodachrome manufactured, down to its being processed. Dwayne's is the only photo lab left in the world to handle Kodachrome processing..." If you have any rolls of Kodachrome sitting around not yet exposed, better get them to Dwayne's before December 10, 2010.

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359 comments

Figures (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | about 4 years ago | (#33003744)

36 slides

It figures he would make them into slides. Now all he needs to do is invite his extended family over to his house on false pretenses and subject them to an interminably long slide show. Brings back horrible, horrible memories.

Re:Figures (5, Insightful)

Entropius (188861) | about 4 years ago | (#33003808)

What else are you going to make slide film into?

Re:Figures (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33003862)

Confetti?

Re:Figures (3, Informative)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#33003920)

I was going to make a similar commet to yours; they need to mod you up. The GP was doubly wrong; not only was Kodachrome slide film, but I've had many slides printed as prints; no slide show or projector needed. Of course, the slides look better projected, but you could still get prints.

*sigh* I'm getting old, I had to change the tense of all the verbs in this comment, as there is no more Kodachrome.

Re:Figures (1)

red_dragon (1761) | about 4 years ago | (#33004014)

I had to change the tense of all the verbs in this comment, as there is no more Kodachrome.

Last time I checked, Kodachrome film still exists, albeit all of it has already been developed. Just because it's been developed doesn't change the fact that it's still slide film.

Re:Figures (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | about 4 years ago | (#33004356)

If we are going to descend into the depths of pedantry together I'll have to point out that, no, it hasn't all already been developed.

I have some that used to belong to my uncle. The article is about the last roll manufactured. The summary even suggests that if anyone has any exposed Kodachome they need to have it to the only joint still developing it by 10 December.

Re:Figures (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33003972)

Top Ten uses for Slide Film:

1. Goat detection at night

2. Repairing broken transistors

3. Finding out where the moon is

4. Telepathic, brain-damaged, gay crabs

5. Pidgeon shit

6. Linux servers

7. Designing a robot

Re:Figures (4, Insightful)

sleeping143 (1523137) | about 4 years ago | (#33004156)

1. Goat detection at night

Actually, a negative film's higher exposure latitude would make it a much better choice for this.

Re:Figures (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 4 years ago | (#33004294)

What else are you going to make slide film into?

Super-8 mm film [pro8mm.com]

It's called "slide film" because it's reversal stock: it develops as a positive that can go straight into a slide frame, without an intermediate negative. The film doesn't have any physical characteristics that make it appropriate ONLY for projection.

Re:Figures (4, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 4 years ago | (#33003932)

In forty years, those slides will still be sitting in a box and will be viewable. However, it's not like you can put a DVD/CD in your attic and let it sit there, forgotten, for 40years.

At last thanksgiving, my great-uncle brought over a hundred or so slides taken in the 50s. It's quite something to see your grand parents in the prime of their lives and your parents as little kids.

For the rest of us, we just need to hope that flickr/picasa is around in 40 years and someone knows the username/passwords.

Re:Figures (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | about 4 years ago | (#33003990)

Nah, people are getting a lot better at moving their "My Pictures" folder from computer to computer, and also at not only having 1 copy of it. Sometime 20 years from now, user workstations will probably even usually have fault-tolerant file systems running on storage hardware that provides much more fault tolerance than current drives (which actually don't do all that badly when you start thinking about how the storage works and the retail prices).

Re:Figures (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 4 years ago | (#33004052)

Two things:

  1. If you had 100 interesting family photos in digital form, sharing would be trivial and space requirements would be almost nil. It's likely that you would have already seen the photos and kept any that interested you - and the rest of your family would do the same. Basically, the pictures would never go "in the attic" because they are almost free to store on every hard drive you ever own, moving from PC to PC as you get new ones.
  2. If your uncle had an attic fire, bye-bye pictures. And you know what? It wouldn't matter because you wouldn't even be aware that the pictures ever existed. Your Thanksgiving wouldn't have been as memorable, and that is all that would have been lost.

Re:Figures (2, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 4 years ago | (#33004456)

>> sharing would be trivial and space requirements would be almost nil.

Plus, where the heck can you get slides of gay amputee midget Star Wars porn?

Re:Figures (3, Funny)

Anne_Nonymous (313852) | about 4 years ago | (#33004496)

Don't answer that!

Re:Figures (3, Insightful)

Serious Callers Only (1022605) | about 4 years ago | (#33004094)

In forty years, those slides will still be sitting in a box and will be viewable. However, it's not like you can put a DVD/CD in your attic and let it sit there, forgotten, for 40years.

I'll bet you can put pictures on the internet though, and be sure that they will last a lot longer than 40 years, *if* someone in the world finds them valuable. I reckon stuff on the internet will last longer than slides or DVDs, but it is too early to test that conjecture. Perhaps if you lock them into some companies website, they might disappear without your consent, but that would be stupid, wouldn't it?

http://musiclub.web.cern.ch/MusiClub/bands/cernettes/firstband.html [web.cern.ch]

Re:Figures (0, Offtopic)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33004136)

Maybe you can upload your digital pics to Google Mail, and hope they'll still be there in 40 years (crosses fingers). Or copy them to a USB drive and hope that USB is still a usable connector in 2050 (unlikely) or doesn't catch on fire.

I've lost a lot of stuff over the years due to computer rot, but fortunately most of it still exists thanks to anal-retentive persons uploading the files to places like HVSC (C64 music) and AmigaArchive. Emulation is fantastic - keeps the old memories alive. Unfortunately that won't help me preserve those old digital photos that I've lost..... like my cross-country 2000 trip that disappeared when Geocities disappeared.

Re:Figures (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33004268)

That's what ZFS is for, with self healing and the scrubbing you know when things are going bad. You still need a back up, but you still have that possibilities whereas it's difficult to make proper backups of physical media.

Re:Figures (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#33004288)

The kicker with analog storage, though, is that while a lot of it has good retention time without special storage(unless you get one of the chemically problematic ones, like early wood fiber papers, or certain types of movie film...); but getting great retention time can be quite tricky or even impossible, and getting perfect retention simply isn't happening.

Digital, on the other hand, tends to degrade good and fast if neglected(HDD probably won't spin up in 10 years, unless you are fairly lucky. CD/DVD blanks may well have re-blanked in similar time, Flash typically has a rated retention time of only about that long, archival tape should still be OK, but you probably didn't use that...); but it is relatively easy to achieve perfect retention for as long as you can attend to it. Just copy to new media, and store multiple copies.

Re:Figures (1)

gorzek (647352) | about 4 years ago | (#33004504)

With storage media as cheap as they are now, it should be cost effective for just about anyone to keep a few local copies, maybe an additional copy on a third-party service, and periodic backups onto flash drives or DVDs tossed into a safe deposit box. Naturally, how anal you are about your backups should correspond to the relative importance of the data. Your NWN2 saved games are going to be of substantially lower backup priority than your family photos and financial data.

Re:Figures (1)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | about 4 years ago | (#33004534)

I think that is the point of online photo sharing sites like Flickr and Picasa. Why put them away in the attic, not to be seen, when you can put them online and view them all the time (or none) whenever you want to.

With tagging, gps, etc, our photos today have a much better chance at surviving than the older pics that seem to vanish after one or two generations because no one knows who they are or the context.

Besides, there are not many pics worth keeping past your generation anyway except as a way to identify you. No one will care about my recent vacation in 5 years except me, let alone 50. It has a great way of filtering itself.

Re:Figures (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 4 years ago | (#33004558)

In forty years, those slides will still be sitting in a box and will be viewable. However, it's not like you can put a DVD/CD in your attic and let it sit there, forgotten, for 40years.

You can't put slide film in an attic for forty years and expect it to be viewable either. You *may* get lucky, but odds are the heat will degrade the slides into uselessness.
 
Film *can* last a long time, but it isn't magic and poor storage can ruin it in an amazingly short time. That's why professionals use(d) multiple layers of dust free archival envelopes in temperature controlled storage.

Re:Figures (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 4 years ago | (#33004040)

You think 36 slides is bad?

My father modified an old 8mm reel camera to take stills.

I have a reel of 12 thousand slides.

Re:Figures (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | about 4 years ago | (#33004212)

I have a gadget that you hold up to your eye, insert a slide, and view the picture. It's very handy.

Re:Figures (2, Informative)

Mantrid (250133) | about 4 years ago | (#33004270)

A viewmaster?

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33004422)

No, a pair of fingers.

Re:Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33004506)

i only have one finger you insensitive clod!

Re:Figures (3, Funny)

Deadstick (535032) | about 4 years ago | (#33004132)

And with dead-tree books going away, he may not have anything to put under the front of the projector...

rj

Still labs around for color (and even real b/w) (2, Informative)

carlhaagen (1021273) | about 4 years ago | (#33003754)

As a photographer I process all B/W film myself (t-max/tri-x etc. - the few times I shoot with real film, that is), but there are still professional labs around my corner of the world for developing all negative and positive color ("slide") film, and I'm guessing there will be for a little while to come, but chemicals and paper is getting harder to come by, though.

Re:Still labs around for color (and even real b/w) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33003896)

There are endless labs that still do film processing, but not Kodachrome, which has very specific and difficult development requirements. "As a photographer" you really should know this already, so I'm guessing you meant "as someone who owns a camera".

Re:Still labs around for color (and even real b/w) (5, Interesting)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 4 years ago | (#33004038)

I'm guessing there will be for a little while to come

E-6 "Ektachrome" processing? Sure. K-14 "Kodachrome" processing? Very unlikely.

Re:Still labs around for color (and even real b/w) (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 4 years ago | (#33004226)

What's the difference?

Ektachrome is newer/better?

http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1730072&cid=33004206 [slashdot.org]

I know I saw calibration slides/targets for Ektachrome but not for Kodachrome.

Re:Still labs around for color (and even real b/w) (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 4 years ago | (#33004310)

Kodachrome looks different. Not better or worse. The selection of one over another is aesthetic, like oil (Ekta) versus watercolor (Koda).

Re:Still labs around for color (and even real b/w) (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 4 years ago | (#33004206)

Does anyone happen to have a Kodak Kodachrome color profile for Vuescan for the Canon Canoscan 4400F?

Some settings for Lightroom which process the colors to something more natural when scanned with that scanner would do to.

Bought the scanner to scan all my dads slides from when we where kids or before that. But the colors turn out very weird. Weird gamma and very purple images I think.

Is this due to exposure when the picture was taken? Does all slides look like this? Is it because of aging? Does the scanner/software just assume the wrong WB/color balance of the film?

Was a stupid idea to buy it in the first place because it took bloody ages and results are poor, so I haven't scanned anything. Should had let some company do it instead because they most likely have way better hardware and knowledge.

Also I think someone said that it was better to scan at a lower resolution for some reason, is that so? Or should I scan at the highest and then scale the images? Don't really remember what the suggestions was. I guess I should run multiple passes? How many? 2 is enough? Would you rather scan in lower resolution and more passes or higher resolution and scale the image to get more of an "average" of pixels that way?

What would you consider the best methods in general?

I know there exist a slide holder for DSLR-camers. I probably should get a D90-replacement once available and such a piece instead. Put in slide, let the sun light it and take a photo of it. Done in an instant, raw and most likely better default WB-settings. I haven't understood how much the lights properties affect that solution but I guess the automatic WB may render that less of a problem.

May even have higher resolution, sure the scanner is 4800x9600 dpi or something such (claimed atleast ..), but for a small slide that don't mean that many pixels (or well, at that resolution quite a bit anyway ..)

Are scanner pixels RGB-pixels or are they single color pixels and then interpolated just as digital camera sensors (in most cases) are?

Does the scanner have higher quality pixels than a DSLR? (doubt that ..)

6+ minutes or so / slide for scanning vs a fraction of a second for DSLR photo of the slide makes a difference ...

I don't know how many slides there is but maybe 1500 or so.

Kodachrome is dead. (2)

mfarah (231411) | about 4 years ago | (#33003758)

Long live VELVIA!

Re:Kodachrome is dead. (1)

Call Me Black Cloud (616282) | about 4 years ago | (#33003900)



Mmmmm....colby, swiss, and cheddar, blended all together.

VELVIA is dead. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33003902)

Long live VELVEETA!

Re:VELVIA is dead. (1)

natehoy (1608657) | about 4 years ago | (#33004384)

"Say CHEESE!"

Re:Kodachrome is dead. (1)

catmistake (814204) | about 4 years ago | (#33004266)

Long live VELVIA!

Indeed. I always felt Ektochrome had a more intense color saturation and was sharper than Kodachrome at the same iso. Long live Fuji Film!

Re:Kodachrome is dead. (1)

budcub (92165) | about 4 years ago | (#33004466)

From the early 1990's on, Ektachrome had some excellent emulsions. I believe it was up until the mid to late 1980's when Kodachrome was king, before Fujichrome started to take over market share. Then Kodak spent most of its R&D on improving E-6 films (Ektachrome) and let Kodachrome alone.

I used a fair amount of Kodachrome when I first started with slides but mostly moved on to Ektachrome and Fujichrome before going digital. I found Kodachrome excellent for certain situations, like on a sunny beach or high noon on a summer day when other slide films couldn't handle the contrast. Kodachrome would soak up all the light without losing shadow detail. I read that even though Kodachrome didn't have the fine granularity of more modern slide films, it had a excellent accutance (edge sharpness) which help make up for that.

Re:Kodachrome is dead. (1)

TheTrueScotsman (1191887) | about 4 years ago | (#33004492)

Indeed it does - in the same way that vomit has a more intense smell than lilac.

So, *will* it be missed? (3, Interesting)

Entropius (188861) | about 4 years ago | (#33003786)

I shoot digital only so don't really have any experience with film, but was there actually anything about Kodachrome that made it unique (in a good way) and will have anyone mourning its demise (other than Paul Simon), or are the newer films universally better?

I've thought about borrowing my dad's OM-1 just to shoot a few rolls of Velvia, but have never gotten around to it. (I have a few OM-mount lenses that I use on digital.)

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 4 years ago | (#33003868)

From TFA, Kodachrome processing involves different chemicals. These chemicals contain the actual dyes. Regular film has the dyes on the film itself.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (3, Informative)

Shinobi (19308) | about 4 years ago | (#33003898)

Durability/Longevity. All the quality photographic film can survive longer in storage than CD's/DVD's can. Even HD's have a higher deterioration rate.

But overall, with film, it still is the king when it comes down to absolute quality(Both in resolution and colour representation). A top-quality 35mm film with superb emulsion can reach pretty damn good resolutions(equalling todays top-of-the line DSLR's). Then you move up mid-format and large-format cameras and you get even more insane results.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33003940)

He asked about the difference between kodachrome film and non-kodachrome films, not between film and digital.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (1)

StikyPad (445176) | about 4 years ago | (#33004018)

What's a king without a kingdom?

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (2, Informative)

aliquis (678370) | about 4 years ago | (#33004338)

Ken Rockwells scanned film vs digital camera images:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/filmdig.htm [kenrockwell.com]

Film:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/images/filmdig/4990scan.jpg [kenrockwell.com]
Digital camera:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/images/filmdig/digital.jpg [kenrockwell.com]

"If you do fret the pixel counts, I find that it takes about 25 megapixels to simulate 35mm film's practical resolution"

Camera was a $700 Tachihara 4x5". lens SChneider Symmar 150 mm f/5.6, film Fuji Velvia, scanner a cheap Epson 4990.

2003, $1500 Microtek 1800f scanner:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/images/filmdig/1800fscan.jpg [kenrockwell.com]
2005, $500 Epson 4990 scanner:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/images/filmdig/4990scan.jpg [kenrockwell.com]

I don't know what digital camera he compared to.

film @ 2400 dpi: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d200/images/film/2400dpi.jpg [kenrockwell.com]
Nikon D200: http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d200/images/film/KEN_5127-nn.jpg [kenrockwell.com]

http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d200/d200-vs-4x5.htm [kenrockwell.com]
Nice shots.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33004414)

A low end DSLR can beat 35mm film today. high end dslr's utterly kicks the crud out of 35mm in resolution.

The getting old Canon 5d Mark II is 21.5 megapixels which is 1.5 megapixels greater than the absolute best 35mm film+best camera+best lens can do. Honestly 90% of all 35mm film shots are less than 12megapixel in resolution due to low end glass and cameras as well as being processed less than perfect. And that's just the mid level stuff from Canon. high end digitals that reach the 60 megapixel mark utterly destroy 35mm film even when used with the best of everything.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | about 4 years ago | (#33003954)

According to the Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] :

The additive methods of color photography, such as Autochrome and Dufaycolor, were the first practical color processes; however, these had disadvantages. The réseau filter was made from discrete color elements that became visible upon enlargement, and the finished transparencies absorbed between 70% and 80% of light upon projection, requiring very bright projection lamps, especially for large projections. Using the subtractive method, these disadvantages could be avoided.

It was an improvement over previous color film technologies in that it didn't require as much light to project the resulting image, and the resulting photos looked much better when blown up.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33003998)

Kodachrome has the distinction of being fairly fine grained (outmatched by modern films, but very good historically), having good colour realism, and being remarkably stable over long periods of time (many decades). You can pull a slide out of a collection that is 50 years old and as long as it was stored in darkness it will look like it was shot recently.

I always found it gave a little more "bluish" cast to images compared to my preferences, so it was never my favorite choice, but I still have hundreds of Kodachrome slides. Will anyone mourn the passage of Kodachrome? Probably. But given that I went completely digital years ago, I don't miss it much. I certainly don't miss the expense.

More details about Kodachrome [wikipedia.org] at the usual wikipeida page.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (1)

alen (225700) | about 4 years ago | (#33004056)

for a long time digital quality was worse than film. it was good enough for most people, but not pro's. years ago when digital was still new our army photo guys got some $10,000 digital cameras in and they said the quality was no where near as good as regular film.

and i've heard some pro's say that film had faster exposure so you can shoot faster. my wedding photographer was a pro and one thing i learned when he took pictures is to take as many as you can as fast as you can and sort it out later. it's how all the pro's catch famous people in all the crazy poses and facial expressions. think all the GWB pics in the last decade

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33004186)

If anything, digital cameras can be faster because they don't have a film transport to deal with. Nikon's D3s shoots at 9 frames per second.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 years ago | (#33004358)

Digital cameras have gotten better, over time, particularly if you are willing to compromise on resolution, and don't go for the cheap seats(a high-quality sensor dumping images into a huge RAM buffer will be worlds ahead of a crummy sensor struggling to gather enough light, and dumping directly to a cheap SD card); but a good mechanical transport can be pretty damn fast(just ask Hiram Maxim...)

10FPS is totally doable for a pro film camera with a motorized transport(where the DSLR will really shine, if equipped with enough RAM buffer and a fast storage card, though, is sustained shooting. 10FPS is cute; but it will empty a 36 or even a 48 shot roll in under 5 seconds. A digital could easily be shooting into a multi-thousand frame storage device...)

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (1)

Zerth (26112) | about 4 years ago | (#33004410)

And now, if you don't mind dropping $20k+ on a RED, you can take 12 MP pictures at 30 shots/second or 6 MP at 120 shots/second. Until you run out of disk, anyway.

Or if you don't want that many shots/second and want higher resolution, a Nikon D3x will do 24 MP at 5 shots/second for under $7k.

Yay, the future is here.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (4, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | about 4 years ago | (#33004082)

RTFA -- Paul Simon was right. Colors especially come alive when you shoot on a rainy day, but are vivid and vibrant any time. Personally, I miss Kodachrome; digital photos don't have the spectrum (ar at least seem not to have the spectrum) of colors Kodachrome gave.

Unfortunately, you'll never get the chance to shoot with Kodachrome. Sometimes it's nice being a geezer; I wonder what my grandfather was able to experience that I'll never get the chance to?

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (5, Funny)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 4 years ago | (#33004146)

> I wonder what my grandfather was able to experience that I'll never get the chance to?

Polio epidemics.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (4, Funny)

MightyYar (622222) | about 4 years ago | (#33004194)

Sometimes it's nice being a geezer; I wonder what my grandfather was able to experience that I'll never get the chance to?

Tuberculosis.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (2, Funny)

RandomFactor (22447) | about 4 years ago | (#33004560)

Wouldn't that be wheezer?

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (3, Interesting)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | about 4 years ago | (#33004262)

Digital cameras still don't have the gamut of film - at least not consumer level cameras. And very few digital displays can even come close to displaying the full gamut of which film is capable.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33004324)

Get a better digital. The Fuji pro cameras produce Incredible color. I prefer the photos take on my S5 pro outperform in color my Canon D5. But a friends Hassleblad H4D-60 while sold as a "medium format" Digital it really is not I call it a larger than full frame insane resolution camera... But it produces photos that have a dramatic dynamic range and color range that cant be touched...

I wish I had his budget, but I dont like wedding photography let alone rich people wedding photography so I dont get paid $9K per weekend like he does.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (1)

iluvcapra (782887) | about 4 years ago | (#33004336)

RTFA -- Paul Simon was right. Colors especially come alive when you shoot on a rainy day, but are vivid and vibrant any time.

It's probably because the ambient color temperature on an overcast day is higher and the clouds diffuse a broader spectrum... :)

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | about 4 years ago | (#33004404)

I shoot large format, and I've always wished I could have had a chance to shoot 4x5 Kodachrome. Unforunately, as far as I know, only Ansel Adams ever shot large format Kodachrome back in the 50s. I'm sure the transparencies are unbelievable to behold, even today.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (3, Interesting)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 4 years ago | (#33004134)

but was there actually anything about Kodachrome that made it unique

I'm 43 and shot a lot of Kodachrome & Ektachrome in High School (1980 - 1985). WRT Kodachrome, it's exactly like Paul Simon says in his song - The colours were very rich and warm, particularly the blues, and the blacks were very, well, black. The developing process (called K-14) meant the film had almost no grain. The main limitations to the film was the very low ASA (ISO) rating. Even on a bright sunny day on the top of a snow capped mountain you were shooting Kodachrome 25 at F2.8 at 125th/second. Well, I exaggerate, but you get the idea...

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33004138)

Yes there was a big difference in color over standard film. Much richer I guess you could compare it to bumping up the gamma while retaining the full range of contrast. It was for all reasons the best color film ever made... and as for Slides... that is the preferred choice for color film photography. I have worked with everything from 35mm to 11" x 14" view cameras. It was my preferred film for color but I mostly worked in Black & White...

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (5, Informative)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 4 years ago | (#33004252)

It was incredibly stable, the colors were very well-saturated but otherwise pretty accurate. The last version (kodachrome 64) was a little too contrasty for my tastes - I liked Kodachrome 25. You can't compare it to any digital until your pixels get smaller than a silver molecule, at least not any "35 mm" digital camera. Used to us it in 120 and just looking at them on a light table made you feel like a hero. "Kodachrome Red" was pretty famous, red always looked great. And it was perfectly well-suited for skin tones.

        The film that effectively put it out of business, Fuji Velvia, is spectacular for landscapes where it pumps up the color saturation, and has all the colors like Kodachrome did red. It's very warm as far as color balance goes, and skin tones are almost cartoonishly shifted. It's essentially useless for portraits because of that. But it's far easier to process and you can still get it processed locally. Dwayne's Photo has been the only place processing it for years, and if you took it to a shop, that;s were it eventually ended up. Typically in recent years the turnaround time is on the order of two weeks. E6, you can still get overnight.

          As far as I have seen, there's no real general-purpose replacement for Kodachrome. OR, rather, its digital - where the lack of image quality is offset by far superior color accuracy (much better on a general basis than ANY film) and easily manipulated and printed images.

        But the handwriting is on the wall for just about all 35mm. It's always been marginally acceptable for sports and photojournalism because it was cheap and the little cameras were reasonably portable. The lack of overall image quality compared to 120 or larger (other than in the hands of masters) didn't really matter for magazines or newspapers. But everything 35mm could do is more-or-less easier or better with digital aside from the image quality, and the image quality of digital (since the mid 00's) has been sufficient to the point that it didn't matter.

          When I go on photo trips, I now carry 4 cameras - a Canon point-and-shoot for quickies, a Nikon digital SLR for anything that moves, and two Yashica-Mats, one with Velvia 100 and one with Tri-X, for things that don't move. I will typically take the same shot with the Velvia 100 and the Nikon just in case, and meter the Yashica-mat shots with the Nikon (to back up spot meter readings).

      BTW, if you get out the OM-1, be sure and check the foam light seals on the back. I have a 1977 version and the foam is decaying severely. and bear in mind that you can't get the batteries for the meter any more - they make some replacements but most of them don't put out the right voltage.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (3, Informative)

bitslinger_42 (598584) | about 4 years ago | (#33004298)

Having been taking pictures pseudo-seriously (i.e. not a pro, but not just doing birthday pictures of my kid) for a couple decades, I can say that there are pluses and minuses to each.

Kodachrome was a really high-quality film. It had great grain characteristics, wonderful color reproduction, and extremely good shelf-life. It's been very popular with the NatGeo set because it worked so well for capturing things like sunsets on the Serengeti. On the down-side, it was only made in relatively low speeds, ISO 200 or slower, so it wasn't well suited for photojournalism, sports, kids playing in the back yard, etc. It also used a different chemical process from other films (C-41 [wikipedia.org] for print, E-6 [wikipedia.org] for most other slide films, K-14 [wikipedia.org] for Kodachrome), and the chemical process was quite a bit more complicated than even other slide films.

Velvia is a nice film, as well, but it has a tendency towards super-saturated colors, so it has a different feel from Kodachrome.

Digital has come a long way over the years, but it still lacks the dynamic range, resolution, and color reproduction capabilities of film, particularly the specialty films like Kodachrome or Tech Pan [wikipedia.org] . Despite that, it's much cheaper to shoot, easier to handle, easier to process, easier to print, and lends itself much more readily to the Web than film does, which is why I haven't shot a single roll of film in ten or twelve years.

Re:So, *will* it be missed? (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | about 4 years ago | (#33004372)

As far as I can tell, the newer films have nothing better, other than a simpler, less toxic processing method. It has a very neutral, natural gamut, and the film is archival to boot unlike all other color films. It is silver based rather than dye cloud based.
Velvia is great for garish colors, but I'd rather do that in postprocessing.

Color palette (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | about 4 years ago | (#33004430)

Every film has its own color palette and many folks out there really love Kodachrome's.(There's quite a few sites out there that compares films if you want to see for yourself.) Personally, I never saw what the big deal was and I prefer Elite Chrome or Sensia when shooting slides and Portra VC for print.

There's also a big fanatical following with FUJI Velvia 50 - all those really saturated sunsets that you never have seen in real life are many times shot with that stuff. Of course today, you just run your raw image through PS and get the same effect.

Momma dont take my kodachrome away (1, Redundant)

Combatso (1793216) | about 4 years ago | (#33003884)

Kodachrome, they give us those nice bright colours They give us the greens of summers Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah I got a Nikon camera, I love to take a photograph So mama don't take my Kodachrome away

If you took all the girls I knew when I was single Brought 'em all together for one night I know they'd never match my sweet imagination Everything looks worse in black and white

Re:Momma dont take my kodachrome away (0)

swanzilla (1458281) | about 4 years ago | (#33004020)

Kodachrome, they give us those nice bright colours They give us the greens of summers Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah I got a Nikon camera, I love to take a photograph So mama don't take my Kodachrome away

If you took all the girls I knew when I was single Brought 'em all together for one night I know they'd never match my sweet imagination Everything looks worse in black and white

Ah...I see what you did there. Good job.

Re:Momma dont take my kodachrome away (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | about 4 years ago | (#33004022)

For you Simpson fans out there; The very last shot is of Steve McCurry picking up his photos at Dwayne's.

Momma don't take my Kodachrome Away!! (1)

Psychofreak (17440) | about 4 years ago | (#33003890)

Momma don't take my Kodachrome away!
Simon and Garfunkle

Kinda sad to see the end. Digital is so easy and high quality it is not unexpected. I am sure small batch processing will still be available, but that means you need equipment, chemicals and the knowledge how to use it.

Phil

Re:Momma don't take my Kodachrome Away!! (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 years ago | (#33004028)

Momma don't take my Kodachrome away! Simon and Garfunkle

Kinda sad to see the end. Digital is so easy and high quality it is not unexpected. I am sure small batch processing will still be available, but that means you need equipment, chemicals and the knowledge how to use it.

Phil

Film photography is not going to go away in the same way that painting didn't go away when photography was invented.

Its funny that the whole relationship between dig and film photography (is it proper photography etc) is echoing the painting/photography debate of a century ago (is it art?)

Re:Momma don't take my Kodachrome Away!! (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33004220)

Until medium format Digital becomes more sane and really up's the resolution... film ain't going nowhere.

Even low end DSLR's like the T2i now have better resolution than 35mm film. (yes they do, I shoot both and that camera even kicks the hell out of 50ISO slide film for resolution.) As I have seen myself by scanning negatives and slides taken by really expensive cameras and glass.. Current cheap digitals exceed 35mm film.

but medium format is another matter.. 70mm is astounding still and I have yet to see any medium format digital get anywhere near what a cheap 1960's used camera can deliver. I have an old 220 that is 10 years older than I am and it produces insane photographs.

I look forward to the day when I can get a decent medium format digital...

Re:Momma don't take my Kodachrome Away!! (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 years ago | (#33004386)

but medium format is another matter.. 70mm is astounding still and I have yet to see any medium format digital get anywhere near what a cheap 1960's used camera can deliver. I have an old 220 that is 10 years older than I am and it produces insane photographs.

I look forward to the day when I can get a decent medium format digital...

This is the reason why I am in the market for a decent, used RZ-67 (to supplement my Holga!). As a hobbyist I can't afford the $$ to compete on that level with Dig.

But even though I am looking to MF in the short term I am almost starting to desire large format. Dig competing against 8x10 film would be an insane amount of $$, but even when Dig does catch up, you can't emulate the optics of a LF camera in a straight SLR format. I just had a thought - perhaps you go stereo/3D in the Dig camera and do a lot of post processing to emulate the image falling on the film plane.

Sniff .. In one sentence I think I just condemned LF photography and generated a masters/PhD topic for some fresh face kid who is going to go out an make billions in the camera market with his new startup company.

Re:Momma don't take my Kodachrome Away!! (1)

vijayiyer (728590) | about 4 years ago | (#33004452)

And even more so for large format. I have a 12000 x 10000 pixel drum scan of a piece of film I shot, and there's no digital option that is even remotely affordable to a hobbyist that could compare.

Re:Momma don't take my Kodachrome Away!! (1)

hedwards (940851) | about 4 years ago | (#33004344)

That's not an accurate portrayal. For all intents and purposes digital and film are the same as far as the end product goes. In fact the local camera shop develops them the same way. There's a step where they transfer the digital image onto real film, but after that the whole process is exactly the same. These days you don't even need to do that because printers have gotten to the point where they're superior to film prints.

But more than that, since the end product of painting is so much different than alternatives, there's always going to be a market. Film cameras just don't do anything that's different enough from digital to guarantee that to be the case.

Re:Momma don't take my Kodachrome Away!! (3, Informative)

LaminatorX (410794) | about 4 years ago | (#33004058)

Small batch Kodachrome processing is simply not possible. It's a 25 step process, generally overseen by an actual chemical engineer. The smallest it ever got was when they'd have lab set up in the back of a semi-trailer to do on-site processing at the World Series, Kentucky Derby, and similar events.

OTOH, the E-6 process used to develop Ektachrome/Fujichrome slide film can be carried out in a small home lab, and commercial processing is still widely available.

Re:Momma don't take my Kodachrome Away!! (2, Informative)

Starcom8826 (888459) | about 4 years ago | (#33004062)

Kodachrome is by Paul Simon.

Re:Momma don't take my Kodachrome Away!! (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 4 years ago | (#33004124)

Kinda sad to see the end. Digital is so easy and high quality it is not unexpected.

Digital isn't what killed Kodachrome... better film did. You can still buy (better) slide film.

Re:Momma don't take my Kodachrome Away!! (3, Interesting)

Firethorn (177587) | about 4 years ago | (#33004284)

You can still buy (better) slide film.

I'd have to agree; Long before digital Kodachrome had become something of a niche market.

Many of those who used it did so for the same reasons some people prefer tube amps over digital ones.

Sure, it's a distortion; but it's a pleasing distortion.

Still, I'm sure somebody will come out with a 'kodachrome' filter that can render your images to look more like kodachrome in post-process.

Rolls of Kodachrome (5, Insightful)

ceswiedler (165311) | about 4 years ago | (#33003928)

If you have any rolls of Kodachrome sitting around not yet exposed, better expose them before sending them to Dwayne's before December 10, 2010.

Re:Rolls of Kodachrome (1)

BenFenner (981342) | about 4 years ago | (#33004000)

Your pedantry is like a breath of fresh air.
No sarcasm intended.

Re:Rolls of Kodachrome (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33004158)

Lol status: Loled

Re:Rolls of Kodachrome (1)

Combatso (1793216) | about 4 years ago | (#33004042)

Took me a minute to figure out what you were saying. Good observation.

Oh shit.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33003966)

I need to develop that last roll of film.

kodachrome (1)

jamesyouwish (1738816) | about 4 years ago | (#33003984)

What is Paul Simon going to do....

In the silence that followed... (0, Troll)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about 4 years ago | (#33004128)

... the only sound that could be heard was a solitary giggle from...

PowerPoint!

Re:In the silence that followed... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 4 years ago | (#33004264)

PowerPoint!

I used to send all of my PowerPoint presentations out to a lab to get transferred to Kodachrome slides. Now what the hell am I going to do?

wow just dumb.... (1, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 years ago | (#33004142)

""All this is going to be discarded," McCurry said of the processing equipment for Kodachrome,"... so it's just a piece of history. It's nostalgic. It's kind of sad. I have about 800,000 Kodachrome images in my lab and these will be the last.""

That same equipment can be used to process other 35mm film. discarding it instead of selling it or giving it to a person or company that can use it is purely dumb.

Film is not gone, there are several places still making 35mm film. and a lot of places still processing it.

Re:wow just dumb.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33004222)

Maybe his equipment is reaching the end of it's life, and the cost of maintaining it is too expensive compared to a moderned equivalent. I doubt this guy would just walk away from his photolab & throw it in the landfill unless it was knackered.

Re:wow just dumb.... (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 4 years ago | (#33004300)

"That same equipment can be used to process other 35mm film."

Not likely. The K-14 process is very different from everything else. I would bet that by the time you retrofit the machine you could have purchased a new Refrema, which I think is still the industry standard for dip and dunk processing.

Re:wow just dumb.... (4, Informative)

Brett Buck (811747) | about 4 years ago | (#33004352)

Not even close to correct. The equipment is essentially unique and not at all like any other processing system. That was always one of the issues - there was never going to be anything like "1-hour processing" for Kodachrome, the process is two orders of magnitude more difficult and fussy than anything else.

Slide Film Specs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33004164)

Slide film is still better than digital in many respects, including gamma, colorspace, grain, contrast and tone. However, convenience wins out again over quality.

Dwayne's must be getting a lot of strange calls (5, Interesting)

JavaRob (28971) | about 4 years ago | (#33004240)

I live in a small rural village in central France. Two weeks ago the owner of a small photo shop in a nearby town asked me for help -- he had a customer who had dropped off film to be developed, and no place in France developed Kodachrome anymore... so he needed me to help him call Dwayne's Photo in KS, and give them his credit card details in English (thanks for your help, Krystal). It definitely struck me as odd at the time that the one place in the world he'd found to develop this film sounded like a tiny operation, but obviously his research was good....

There's a whole world out there, with Kodachrome film scattered throughout -- not everyone has an American living nearby who can help them make the call. I wonder what kinds of other calls they're fielding now.

I would have my film processed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33004332)

but momma took my Kodachrome away.

Film rules (0)

freelunch (258011) | about 4 years ago | (#33004354)

Kodachrome died for a few reasons, but in large part because better films came along. Fuji's Velvia being one of them. I LOVE shooting film. It's also interesting how long some of the best engineered films will last, compared to dvds or hard drives.

I shoot medium format film (6x7 cm, about 9000x11000 at 4000dpi, 550MB 16 bit compressed tiff). And while I love digital for some things (spray and pray, and low light action), interpolated digital doesn't come anywhere close to what is captured on a transparency. Though getting all that greatness off the transparency is difficult. But when done right, even a $10 20x30" print from costco or elcocolor can be spectacular.

I currently scan with a Nikon 9000. I'd kinda like to get together with some folks to work on an open source drum scanner project. Drum scanning with a photomultiplier tube (or similar) is a great alternative to the deficiencies of CCD sensors.

I also like prints. While it is nice to view images on a screen, they don't become tangible until they are embodied in a print.

And, btw, digital images archived on common photo sharing services rarely have enough resolution even for a good 8x10" print (300dpi). So I don't think that is viable.

Sad news ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 4 years ago | (#33004364)

... I'm reading as I'm going to pick up my latest rolls of E-6 slide film (that my local shop still develops with a one hour turn around).

When I think back (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33004426)

on all the crap I learned in high school, its a wonder that I can think at all.

Makes you think all the world's a sunny day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33004450)

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