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Last Roll of Kodachrome Processed 359

Posted by kdawson
from the gimme-the-greens-of-summer dept.
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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Last Roll of Kodachrome Processed

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  • Figures (Score:5, Funny)

    by eln (21727) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:48AM (#33003744) Homepage

    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Entropius (188861) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:53AM (#33003808)

      What else are you going to make slide film into?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Confetti?

      • Re:Figures (Score:4, Informative)

        by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:01PM (#33003920) Homepage Journal

        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.

        • by red_dragon (1761)

          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.

          • 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.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

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

          Mama don't take my Kodachrome
          Mama don't take my Kodachrome away.

          *sigh* At least I still have my Nikon camera. Though, sadly, my Nikon film camera is now a dinosaur.

          "Mama don't take my DSLR away" doesn't have the same ring to it.

        • by wsanders (114993) on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:12PM (#33004748) Homepage

          The problem with slides is that the dynamic range, especially of Kodachrome, surpassed that of prints, so the prints were crappy looking. You had two choices:

          1) Make a contrast-reducing mask, used along with an internegative, for a "type-C" print, the same kind of print made from negative stock. Of course the intermediate processes reduced the fidelity of the resulting print, but if you went to a good lab the results were pretty good and very pricey.

          2) Use Cibachrome or some positive process print. Ciba prints always looks murky and strange to me (I can immediately spot them in a gallery). Other positive process prints had unstable dyes, at least until the 80s or so. I can still tell my positive process, direct-from-slide prints from my Type C ones.

          A third alternative was to scan them in. This was easy when you worked for National Geographic :-) For us mere mortals, decent sub-$5K slide scanners didn't really exist until about five years ago.

          Still, I shot nothing but slides (when I shot color and not BW), and used nothing but Kodachome if I could. All my Kodachrome slides, dating back to the 70s, look as good now as the day they came back from the lab.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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

      • by iluvcapra (782887)

        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 (Score:4, Interesting)

          by theshowmecanuck (703852) on Friday July 23, 2010 @03:23PM (#33006428) Journal

          You can cross process [epicedits.com] it as well. If you shoot Ektachrome (E-6) type color positive film at double the rated ISO and process it in a C41 process (normally only used for negative film), you get what is called a cross processed negative. It gives exaggerated color effects and sometimes added grain. Examples of E-6 film are Kodak Ektachrome, Fujifilm Velvia, Fujichrome Sensia, etc.

          Personally when I used to do this, I also often asked the lab to develop the film at half the rated ISO. But it is good to experiment to see what you like. And then it is important to do your own print making when using cross processed film since you can tune the color shifts using the color enlarger's filters. You need find a good commercial lab that caters to pro photographers for good results, rather than places that cater to amateur/happy snap film processing. I have to admit that when I did cross processed photography it was mostly as an experiment/learning experience. Normally I stuck with black and white. And I haven't really done a lot lately.

          This won't work with Kodachrome since the dyes are in the chemicals and not on the film. Cross processing just wipes the image completely off of the Kodachrome film, leaving you with nothing.

          You can also cross process from print film to color positive (C41 film processed as E-6), but because color negative film has an added orange mask (since the red and green layers of the film are somewhat sensitive to blue light too), you can get a blueish tinge on the finished cross processed slide. Additionally, there are also methods to partially bleach film while being process which is also considered a form of cross processing.

          Although I am not certain of the chemistry involved, quite a few big budget Hollywood movies use/used cross processing to gain a surreal effect. Normal movie film stock is actually a 'negative' film which must be printed. Examples include "Three Kings" with George Clooney, Blackhawk Down, etc.

    • Re:Figures (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HockeyPuck (141947) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:03PM (#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: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by maxume (22995)

        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).

        • by Albanach (527650)

          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.

          You really think so? One of the most common requests I get from friends is to help because a computer/hard disk has died and it has all their photos from the past x years on it.

          Usually they're told they need a specialist recovery service and are left weighing up whether those years of photos are worth $$$.

      • Re:Figures (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MightyYar (622222) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:14PM (#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 (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:17PM (#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]

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          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.

          So, all pictures of boobies will last forever, and all other information will be lost to antiquity?

          We are so doomed -- in 40 years nobody will know anything about now besides Brittney Spear's upskirt photos and myspace girls showing their boobs.

      • Re:Figures (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:31PM (#33004288) Journal
        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.
        • by gorzek (647352)

          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.

        • Hard disk storage should be as good as tape, they are BOTH magnetic media and the aluminum platters should hold up better than the plastic backing tape is made of. This would mean only powering up the disk when actually being accessed. The weak points are the capacitors on the disk circuit boards, and the lubrication on the bearings of the moving parts. Since the inside of the disk is in theory sealed the lube shouldn't dry out. So that leaves the capacitors on the circuit board as the only thing to fai

      • 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) multip

      • As cheap and large as external hard drives have gotten, they are now the most reasonable method for archival storage.

        1. Use in pairs: mirror one to the other
        2. Run disk checks at reasonable intervals
        3. Replace the first (next) one that begins to fail and mirror from the other
        4. Rinse, repeat.

        CDs and DVDs still have a place as lowest cost method of wide bandwidth movement of data. But they no longer make sense as archival media.

    • by Nadaka (224565)

      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 (Score:4, Funny)

      by Deadstick (535032) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:20PM (#33004132)

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

      rj

    • by Rolgar (556636)

      At least he had to go through the effort to put the film in the slides, and get the projector and screen out. Heck, after he went to the effort of inserting the slides into the holders, getting the screen and machine would have seemed like a piece of cake. And he was limited by the number of projector rings he could carry, slides he could afford, and the amount of time he was willing to take to put them together.

      But now he can hook up a camera directly to a TV, and start a slide show at your house without y

  • 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.

    • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:13PM (#33004038)

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

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

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      Well processing b/w film on your own is easy compared to even colour. Even if you can't buy the chemicals directly from a company to do it, you can make them yourselves by buying the base. The paper is the hard part. And if you don't have a slide enlarger you can make on of those too. People seem to like colour pictures a lot, personally I've always found that b/w pictures done properly will win every time.

      The only thing that I like about digital photography is that you have the picture instantly. With

  • Long live VELVIA!



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

      • by budcub (92165)

        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

  • by Entropius (188861) on Friday July 23, 2010 @11:52AM (#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.)

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

    • by Shinobi (19308) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:00PM (#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.

    • 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 a
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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

    • by alen (225700)

      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 a

      • by Zerth (26112)

        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.

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:16PM (#33004082) Homepage Journal

      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?

    • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:20PM (#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...

    • by Brett Buck (811747) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:29PM (#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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by smellsofbikes (890263)

        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.

        I've made a couple replacement battery packs for these, using a quite small silver battery with very carefully selected germanium diodes to get the right voltage; it's possible to fit the combination of the battery and diode into the same form factor as the old mercury or other batteries. You need to get your voltage right to within about 50mV to make the meter accurate, but cheap diodes have enough variation you can manage this. (I'm not yet sure how their precision holds up long-term, however.)

    • by bitslinger_42 (598584) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:32PM (#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.

    • by vijayiyer (728590)

      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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by John Whitley (6067)

      was there actually anything about Kodachrome that made it unique (in a good way)

      As someone who has shot film and digital side-by-side, yes. Film isn't just "disposable digital sensor rolls." Each kind of film has unique working characteristics. To quote Pascal Dangin from this New Yorker article [newyorker.com]:

      Dangin’s latest invention is a proprietary software package called Photoshoot. (He employs six full-time programmers at Box.) Its aim is to imbue digital photography with a specific sensibility—an opinion about the way pictures should look—of the sort that film once offered. “I am doing this because of necessity, because I believe the way that digital photography is done today is so wrong,” Dangin said one day. “Photography as we knew it, meaning film and Kodak and all that, was a very subjective process. With film images you had emotions. You used to go out and buy film like Fuji, because it was more saturated, or you liked Agfa because it gave you a rounded color palette.” With a ten-dollar roll of film, he explained, you were essentially buying ten dollars’ worth of someone’s ideas. “Software, right now, is objective. ‘Let the user create whatever he wants.’ Which is great, but it doesn’t really produce good photography.”

      I'll elaborate on that "ten dollars' worth of someone's ideas" bit: It's very loosely akin to being able to choose from a set of experienced digital post-processing artists, each with a distinct look. Film companies put a lot of money into tuning the characteristics of each line of film, wh

  • 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

    • by OzPeter (195038)

      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?)

      • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:26PM (#33004220) Homepage

        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...

        • by OzPeter (195038)

          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 lo

        • by vijayiyer (728590)

          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.

        • by Kjella (173770)

          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.

          The T2i is 18 MP, so if we say 15 MP is equal to 35mm then 4x15 MP = 60 MP should be equal to 70mm. Today you can get a full-size medium format 60MP digital back [luminous-landscape.com], the downside is of course that it costs $40000. Still you also get all the advantages of digital such as no film cost, no processing cost and no delay in seeing the results. Oh and the article claims much better ISO too. At a rate of almost 1 fps. Not saying this is for everyone, and digital has always been fairly expensive for the first picture,

      • by hedwards (940851)
        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 a
    • 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.

      • by RDW (41497)

        '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.'

        They actually got as far as building a commercial Kodachrome minilab ('Requiring only 46 square feet of floor space, the K-LAB Processor can fit through a standard 32-inch doorway') that automated the whole thing:

        http://www.kodak.com/global/en/consumer/products/klabs/index.shtml [kodak.com]

        Unfortunately it never caught on, though someone has/had one fo

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Starcom8826 (888459)
      Kodachrome is by Paul Simon.
    • by MightyYar (622222)

      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.

      • by Firethorn (177587) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:31PM (#33004284) Homepage Journal

        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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Brett Buck (811747)

          No, actually, it's precisely the opposite. The other films (Velvia, primarily) are favored precisely because they distort reality. Velvia is particularly inaccurate - take a picture of one of your Hispanic friends and see what the skin tone looks like. Then do the same with Kodachrome, and with a Nikon DSLR. The Nikon will be almost perfectly accurate, the Kodachrome will be almost as good with the very slightest greenish cast, and the Velvia will look like you spray-painted her face with Candy-Apple Red ca

  • by ceswiedler (165311) * <chris@swiedler.org> on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:02PM (#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.

  • wow just dumb.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Lumpy (12016)

    ""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

    • "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.... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Brett Buck (811747) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:38PM (#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.

  • by JavaRob (28971) on Friday July 23, 2010 @12:28PM (#33004240) Homepage Journal

    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'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).
  • It's a cozy little portrait studio/camera shop located on the Parsons Plaza. Very comfortable, with outstanding portraits of Dwayne and his family gracing the walls. When I would visit when I was little, they were very nice. I got portraits done of me and family too.

    Yes, it is a small operation, but it's also a family business. Patronize them as much as you can folks, they are good at what they do.

  • by cyn1c77 (928549) on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:00PM (#33004622)

    I am having a hard time understanding the media excitement over this "milestone."

    You can still buy and develop other films that are considered superior to Kodachrome. Meanwhile, you can also simultaneously use a DSLR and operate in a fully digital fashion. The only people who are losing out are the ones with undeveloped Kodachrome in their cameras.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by BitZtream (692029)

      Thats because you've made assumptions about Kodachrome that are simply wrong.

      Digitals don't compete with it yet, and you could debate for years over 'better' films.

      Kodachrome and its processing is pretty much like nothing else and the result is a slide that will last for 50 years and look exactly the same as it did the day it was developed. Blacks don't fad, blues 'pop'. You won't find other films that have its vibrance and its longevity.

  • by DrBuzzo (913503) on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:08PM (#33004708) Homepage
    This may be the last roll manufactured, but it may well not be the last out there waiting for processing. It is not terribly unusual for old exposed film to be found unprocessed and occasionally, when processed it reveals something of great importance. The photography teacher where I went to high school had bought some vintage camera equipment at a flea market and discovered an exposed film roll in it, which, when developed, turned out to be images taken by a World War II air crew of a B-25.

    This is not entirely unique. George Mallory's body was discovered in 1999 on Mount Everest. There is great speculation as to whether he reached the summit before Sir Edmund Hillary, but died coming back. He had brought a camera with him, which may still hold the evidence of whether he had reached the summit. It was not found on the body, but it is believed it may have been carried by his climbing partner, Andrew Irvine, whose body has not yet been found. If the camera is ever found and the film has remained intact it could put to rest the debate.

    There are other examples of "found films" such as photographs from S. A. Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition of 1897 discovered decades later.

    While these examples were not Kodachrome, there are likely undeveloped Kodachrome films still waiting to be discovered. If Kodachrome processing is ended and the techniques and equipment are lost, then it will be impossible to recover the images of a "found film," regardless of how important they may be. Someone could find negatives clearly showing the grassy knoll area at the very moment of the Kennedy Assassination. Someone may find film taken of the Hindenburg the moment that flames erupted from the tail area (something not captured on any known film). Someone may well find any number of other photos or movies of extreme historical importance. However, if they are on Kodachrome, we will never know what is lost.
  • I may be showing my age by posting this but here is Paul Simon's "Kodachrome". [nicomokveld.com]
  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Friday July 23, 2010 @01:29PM (#33004956)
    When I think back
    On all the crap I learned in high school
    It's a wonder
    I can think at all
    And though my lack of education
    Hasn't hurt me none
    I can read the writing on the wall

    Kodachrome
    They give us those nice bright colors
    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
    And brought them all together for one night
    I know they'd never match
    my sweet imagination
    everything looks WORSE in black and white

    Kodachrome
    They give us those nice bright colors
    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

    Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
    Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
    Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

    Mama don't take my Kodachrome
    Mama don't take my Kodachrome
    Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

    Mama don't take my Kodachrome
    Leave your boy so far from home
    Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
    Mama don't take my Kodachrome
    Mama don't take my Kodachrome away


    Looks like Mama DID take his Kodachrome away!

Disclaimer: "These opinions are my own, though for a small fee they be yours too." -- Dave Haynie

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