35mm Kodachrome History

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by Aoresteen, Jun 7, 2004.

  1. I'm trying to put together the history of Kodachrome 35mm film
    (Ignore 126, 110, 120, 828, and movie types). Here's what I've come
    up with:

    35mm Kodachrome EI Years Made Process

    Kodachrome 8 1938-1960 K-11

    Kodachrome II 25 1960-1976 K-12

    Kodachrome-X 64 1966-1976 K-12

    Kodachrome 25 25 1976-2002 K-14

    Kodachrome 64 64 1976-present K-14

    Kodachrome 200 200 1986-present K-14

    Kodachrome 25 Pro 25 1976-2002 K-14

    Kodachrome 64 Pro 64 1976-present K-14

    Kodachrome 200 Pro 200 1986-present K-14

    Question: The orginal Kodachrome started as an ISO 8 film in 1038.
    What speed was it when it was discontinued in 1960? KII was ISO
    25. Was the orginal Kodachrome ISO 25 in 1960?

    What types of 35mm Kodachrome did I miss?

    I didn't start shooting Kodachrome until 1976 so I need some one
    more senior than I to help out. Thanks!
  2. Google "history of kodachrome"
  3. Eric,

    I did that but I didn't find any site that gave the specific speeds of the first Kodachrome. Do you know of a link?

  4. You missed Kodachrome print material, Kodachrome sheet films, and Kotavachrome among others.

    Kodachrome print material was offered in the 40s and 50s as a print material for transparencies. It was on a reflective plastic base.

    I'm not sure, but you may have missed another process in there as well. One process, the original by Mannes and Godowsky, used diffusion of bleach for the process and the subsequent ones used selective re-exposure.

    Ron Mowrey
  5. Thanks Ron. I was only looking for info on the 35mm stuff for now.

    I am aware of the sheet film Kodachrome made in the 40's & 50's. I remember hearing rumors in the late 80's that Kodak still made 4x5 Kodachrome for it's own internal use but would not release it to the public. I'm not sure how true those rumors were but I was happy with my 120 PKR slides, which I do miss.
  6. >> Question: The orginal Kodachrome started as an ISO 8 film in 1038 [1938]. <<

    According to Henry Wilhelm's book, "The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs" (Chapt 1, p-20), he thinks 35mm Kodachrome was introduced in 1936 with ASA speed = 10. He says that the changes Ron referred to (controlled diffusion of bleach changed to selective exposure) happened in 1938; perhaps this 1938 version is what you have listed as the first.

    Wilhelm's book is available on-line in it's entirety (or by chapter); you would probably only be interested if you have a fast connection. I didn't look very closely, but there didn't seem to be much other history on that specific film. It DOES talk a little about Kotavachrome, but you indicated that you were only interested in 35mm film.
  7. You also missed the 40 speed type A balanced Kodachrome. I am not sure when it was introcuced, but was quietly discontinued in this size in the late 90's IIRC. It is still available in an 8mm movie version. This product is made in France and packaged in France. Still processed by Kodak Switzerland or by Wal-Mart/Dwaynes, Parsons,KS USA. FYI, a local dealer just ordered some in with an expiration date of 8/2005.

    Also missed was the Professional version of the Kodachrome 25 film. It was discontinued just before the amateur Kodachrome 25.

    Robert Johnson
  8. I remember when Kodachrome II came out in 1960. The original was ASA 10 and the photo magazines had articles with pros & or writers saying oh me oh my what are we going to do now. We love the original please don't stop making it,maybe I should freeze some and on & on. Seems to come up everytime a film is replaced, but everyone seemed to adapt ok.
  9. Thanks all! I found a book in my library that I had forgotten about. It's the Kodak Refernce Handbook dated 1940.

    There's a whole section on Kodachrome. It lists two type of Kodachrome in 35mm: Daylight and Type A, both available in 18 exp loads.

    From what I can determine, Kodachrome was introduced in 1936 as a MOVIE film 8mm/16mm. In 1938 the 35mm version was released for "Contax and Leica" type cameras as well as Batam 828.

    The other issue is the film speeds. In the 40's & 50's there were various film speed measures: Weston, GE, Kodak, Scheiner, ASA, BS, DIN. I'm not sure how to relate all these ratings with the curent ISO ratings. For example, in the 1940 Kodak Manual Kodak states that Panatomic-x is "Kodak 200" speed. Yet we all remember Panatomic-x as ASA/ISO 32.

    I remeber my father telling me that there was a change in the ASA standard around 1960 that effectively double all the film speeds. He said that there had been a 1 stop safety factor included with the speed ratings and that they eliminated it thus "doubling" the speed of the film. So a film of ASA 10 became ASA 20 or 25 overnight.

    Anyone have more light to shed on this?

  10. I think your father is right about the film speed change although it was probably just for B&W film. I was in High School in the late 1950s and just starting to use 35mm. I seem to recall that Plus X was 64 & Tri-X was 200 and they just doubled them. Slide film of course would not have any saftey built in so they could't just change it. So they came out with a faster film with KodachromeII.
  11. Anthony;

    Weston speed 40 = GE 60 = Kodak 200

    Weston 64 = GE 100 = Kodak 320

    This is from my 1941 Photo Almanac.

    Although EK could have made 4x5 Kodachrome, there was no easy way to process it after the production of sheet film ceased, so the answer is NO, there was no internal sheet film.

    A 400 speed 35 mm film was produced internally for testing but there appeared to be no interest in the market place, and conventional films were catching up in speed/grain rapidly. Then along came digital. Kodachrome at present, is rather primitive compared to other films. It is based on technology from the 80s. This is just a personal opinion, not having paid much attention to the area for quite a while.

    Ron Mowrey
  12. Notes from old EK reference book list the introduction of Kodachrome in 1935. No speed written down. (Book no longer mine). Interesting study you are doing.
  13. fwiw--there's a good book on the history of early color repro. called:
    _A Half Century of Color_ by Louis Walton Sipley, 1951, Macmillan Co.

    according to this book--it first came out as 16mm motion picture film in 1935. in spring of 1936, it came out in 8mm. In Aug. 1936, it was intoduced in 35mm and 828. The 35m film came in 18 exposure rolls for $3.50 each and 828 was in 8 exposure rolls at $1.75. Apparently, the June 1937 issue of "Leica Photography" (vol. VI, No. VI) had one of the first reproductions of 35mm kodachrome on the cover, shot by Anton F. Baumann. The book also says that in 1935, a 100 foot roll of 16mm kodachrome was $7.75. In 1940, it was $8.10 and by the 1950, it was $10.20 retail.

    the book is really good overall, and has tipped in color plates and samples of various print papers and slides (in glasseine sleeved inserts) as well. might be worth checking in some univ. libraries etc. hope this helps.
  14. btw--the Morgan & Lester book--"Miniature Camera Work" (1938)--has a chapter on Color Photography with a chart in it for starting exposures for Kodachrome--looks pretty much like a sunny 16 chart. For bright sun, the exposure is about a tenth of a second at f11-16. In the Nov 1939 issue of "American Photography", there's a rather in-depth article about Kodachrome and they claim it has a speed of "Weston 8". In April of '39, there's an announcement for the introduction of ready-mounts.
    I have stacks of these old mags & tech manuals--if anything else turns up, I'll post it if you're interested.
  15. Kodachrome 25/64 were introduced in early 1974, not '76. I know because I shot my first K25 with a Pentax Spotmatic when the film was introduced, and only owned a Spotmatic for about 7 months during '74.

    Check an index of Pop. Photo or Mod. Photo for the dates of their reviews of the new Kodachromes - likely they were published spring/summer of '74.

    And also...


    - see note at bottom about "red cross" slide mounts used during the time that both K-12 (Kodachrome II/X) and K-14 lines were running simultaneously - beginning in 1974. (Never did know what those crosses meant at the time....)
  16. Read Popular Photography; MaY 1963; Page45,46. <BR><BR>Kodachrome-X was introduced in Kodapak (instamatic/126); as a faster Kodachrome; for the amateur instamatic camera line; asa 64. <BR><BR>Kodachrome was available in sheet films up to 11x14 INCHES; in the 1940's. There wass a big stink lawsuit in the mid? 1950's; when they dropped the giant sizes. Kodak proved the Ektachrome was equal to the sheet Kdoachrome; in the case; or something to that effect. <BR><BR>
  17. Anthony ; Kodachrome was asa 10 in the 1950's
  18. My pro neighbor shot 8x10 Kodachrome back when the earth was cooling. This is a huge impressive transparency. Later sent non-kodachrome sheet film to a lab. He dabbled in the his own darkroom brew too; maybe Ektachrome or maybe Anscochrome kit; after Kodachrome sheet film Kodachrome was dropped.<BR><BR>The weird damn thing that freaked me out as a kid; was the first two? steps were in total darkness; then one blasted the living crap out of the trany's with a #2 floodlamp; a yard away; for an entire minute; or something. Then there was dev; shortstop; bleach; fix; wash.<BR><BR>
  19. Kelly;

    What you are describing is the old E1 Ektachrome from the 50s.

    Reexposure used a #2 photoflood bulb at about 1 foot, and you had to be careful not to break the bulb from splashes, or melt the emulsion of the support.

    ~grin~ Awful grain. The speed was about 25. I used it and Kodachrome in my brand new Kodak Stereo camera.

    Ron Mowrey

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