Kodachrome 64 being withdrawn???

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by randall_pukalo, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. Does anyone know if k64 is being discontinued? I have a sneaking
    suspicion it is, as it was dropped by a large midwest chain store in
    May, and now it appears to be disappearing from the online retailers
    also (none at BH, Adorama, Ritz, etc - only k200)
    I know Kodak plans to close their Fairlawn facility in Ausgust, so I
    was wondering if maybe they have a "silent recall" going on this
    stuff. Does anyone know anything about their future plans (guy at
    Kodak didnt know, except that it was supposedly still available)
  2. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    ?? After a quick search, I find Kodachrome 64 still in stock and being sold at both B&H and Adorama.
  3. Sales of Kodachrome and other films at Fuji and EK both are declining at a rapid rate in the US. Sales in 3rd world countries remains brisk.

    Ron Mowrey
  4. Kodak would like Kodachrome to go away quietly, but don't want to discontinue it outright just yet as it still has quite a few loyal supporters. Obviously Kodak is not one of those "supporters" as evidenced by the nearly complete withdrawal of processing support throughout most of the world. Make processing difficult to find or inconvenient, and people will move on to other films. Good strategy (worked for me) for killing a product.

    Of course the above is purely my speculation. Draw your own conclusions.

  5. Kodachrome has been "dead man walking" for some time now. I suspect it will linger in Japan and Europe longer than in the US, but the specialized machinery for the complex development process is not made anymore, and the 3 labs worldwide that still process it will eventually be forced to close down when their machines wear out or the chemistry is no longer made. Enjoy it while you still can.
  6. I have said it before, but Ek had a complete line of upgraded Kodachrome films including a 400 speed film in-house, but sales were so poor that they were never brought out on the market.

    You all may be fanatics and it is a good product for some purposes, but regardless of your faith in it, sales are extremely poor and warrant the cutbacks.

    If the sales were there, I assure you, you would see a Kodachrome that would 'knock your socks off'.

    Ron Mowrey
  7. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    The famous Marilyn Monroe calendar photo was done on 8 x 10 Kodachrome. If they have a new Kodachrome that would make my wife look like that, I would buy it.
  8. Ron,
    I understand what you mean about sales; however, isn't this a vicious circle?

    Kodachome hasn't been improved in years, Kodak doesn't even process it anymore, so sales are poor. Sales are poor so Kodak doesn't advertise, improve, or process Kodachrome. Repeat ad infinitum.

    I imagine if Kodak put a marketing blitz out for a new Kodachrome, along with n announcement that it would be processed ina t least one lab in every state.... Boom sales would go up.

    It's kind of a chicken and egg argument. Do low sales fuel Kodak's lack of support.. or does Kodak's lack of support fuel poor sales?

    One problem is almosty no casual shooter I know, knows how Un-archival most color film is, and how archival Kodachrome is. Even a raising of public awareness on that would make a difference.

    Lastly there is Kodak's refusal to follow the laws of supply and demand. If demand is low, than the price of Kodachrome would naturally fall; however, Kodak flies in the face of the only universally believed economic theory and keeps making it more expensive. This can only perpetuate the problem. I perwsonally know at least 10 people who stopped using it because it costs so much.

    Anyway....... My hope at this point is that when Kodak stope making it they sell the technology for a song to someone else. I don't know what to do about film anymore. I dislike most Fuji's (not really a knock at Fuji, I see many pictures taken with their films I love, they jsut don't seem to mesh with me). Kodak discontinues or tries to kill everything I like, or makes it hard to get consistancy across formats ( I like TMZ better than Delta 3200, bur no TMZ in 120. ) Agfa makes films I love, but seems to be about to go under......

  9. Kodachome hasn't been improved in years, Kodak doesn't even process it anymore, so sales are poor. Sales are poor so Kodak doesn't advertise, improve, or process Kodachrome. Repeat ad infinitum.
    BINGO! It's a chain reaction spiral. I can't remember seeing ANY marketing for Kodachrome for YEARS ...
    I would probably still use it if it was still processed within my own nation's borders (Canada), but the hassle of sending it to the USA and the long turn-around times just aren't worth it to me. I stopped buying, sales fell ...
  10. Can't scan it worth a damn, it's doesn't R-type worth beans, so what good is it?
  11. Scot,
    It doesn't scan easily, but with work it can be done.
    What good is it? How about the archivability?

    How about the fact that some of us just like it?

    I can't stand most Fuji offerings particularly Provia; however, I would never suggest it was no good, or that people shouldn't use it based solely upon that.

    Like all visual arts people have different tast, so what. So here's a deal; I wont complain at people using Provia, and you let us Kodachrome users alone.

    Truce :)
  12. I would imagine the name itself has value as a marketing tool. It sure sounds a heck of a lot better than "Ektachrome." "Agfachrome," and, in particular, "Fujichrome," sound stupid (is there a "Konicachrome"?), but to have an eponymous product has got to be valuable for a company, and "Kodachrome" has a nice ring to it, and is part of Americana as well. Maybe they should repackage their Ektachrome stuff as "Kodachrome II."
  13. On July 8th, I received an e-mail from Charles Smith, Kodak Public Relations spokesman, concerning the Fair Lawn lab closing and Kodachrome film in general. I am attaching it below. I would suggest that if you have any questions whatsoever on Kodachrome, you e-mail, call or write Mr. Smith!



    I got your e-mail address from Ben Rand of the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. Ben's recent article on some Qualesx(sic) lab closings was accurate, but we did not provide him with the complete information. Although Fair Lawn will close, we will still offer processing for Kodachrome... we are entering into an outsource(sic) agreement with a qualified lab that already processes Kodachrome. Photographers will see no change in the normal service time and will receive continued excellent processing. On the issue of Kodachrome in general, we continue to sell and support the product.

    ....Please write or call if you have any questions.

    Charles Smith
    Kodak Public Relations
  14. Kodachrome already knocks my socks off! Just because Kodak is not going to process Kodachrome in the U.S. anymore doesn't mean they're killing it off...they haven't processed Kodachrome Super 8 for at least 10 years in the U.S., and it's still around. Kodak itself is in big trouble, not just Kodachrome, and the recent cutbacks reflect that...I will be satisfied if they just offer the film, and Dwayne's does the processing, just like it's been for super 8 for years...Kodachrome is now a niche film I guess, apparently through Kodak's lack of support, but I feel it will still survive, as Kodak has just reduced their operating costs for it by not processing it.
  15. Randall:

    I attended the PMA in Las Vegas this past February. I spoke with a Kodak representative about the new E100G/GX film. While discussing the film, I lamented the fact that the Kodachrome emulsion had not been updated. The rep sighed, and basically noted that the 64 ASA Kodachrome has had its day, but the the 200 ASA Kodachrome was still going strong (from a sales viewpoint).

    Initially, I took that to mean that the 64 ASA Kodachrome would be discontinued and that the 200 ASA variety would continued to be manufactured.

    Upon further thought, I reconsidered my conclusions. I now believe that both Kodachrome emulsions will be marketed for the forseeable future (unfortunately, I cannot define the word "forseeable" re time frame). I would bet that you will have at least a few more years to purchase and use the film.
  16. Kodachromes problem is that a custom Kodachrome Lab is expensive to maintain. It is NOT a film problem; but a LAB cost problem. It costs XXXX dollars a day to keep the lab tuned up; whether any rolls are being processed. As the number of rolls peters out; labs dissappear; so only a few do enough volume to stay open.This has been going on for 2 or 3 decades; and not anything really new. Go back even further and there really alot of Kodachrome labs. Before Ektachrome; Kodachrome was available in sheet form up to 11x14 INCHES. Today few folks use Kodachrome for slides; and the movie film usage is microscopic. Thus processing will contract into maybe one or two labs in the world; then the plug must be pulled when there is a massive negative cash flow .....
  17. In the early 1980s I eagerly awaited the arrival by mail of my processed Kodachrome from the lab in Dallas. More yellow boxes in my bag than anything else when I headed out in search of another magnificnet landscape. Then the processing in Dallas went to pot and I waited even longer to get my Chromes back from Palo Alto or Fairlawn. Then Qualex took over and messed things up. Gone were the luscious Kodachromes colors I drooled over on the light table. Salvation appeared when I learned about the New Lab in San Francisco. The glory days were back until the jolly green giant changed the landscape with new, eye-popping (sometimes almost garish) slide films.

    I confess that I still get a thrill when I look at some wonderful old Kodachrome on the light box. Some great colors for its day. There is also "something" about that etched look when teh back is viewed at an angle.

    I don't shoot much Kodachrome now, but it does bring back this sense of nostalgia. I think I hear Simon and Garfunkel . . . . .

    Everyone sing along . . . "don't take my Kodachrome away."

    I can't help it, I just like the stuff. When I want to buy it, I want it to be there.

    Ok, Spock, so I am illogical. If I want it to always be there, I should buy it more often.

  18. Kodachrome's problem is that the last really great emulsion, Kodachrome II, was discontinued 30 years ago. K25 was a less-saturated higher-contrast film that could not match its predecessor in any way other than grain size. But once again Kodak killed of the best Kodachrome they had, and what was left was K64, an even less saturated and even higher contrast film; and K200, with grain about even with a 1600-speed transparency film of today. Other than Leica guys who live in their own nostalgic world and want both their film and their cameras to evoke the 1950's, there won't be that many tears shed over Kodachrome's demise.
  19. To paraphrase the brilliant Paul Simon:

    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 [Minolta] camera -- I love to take a photograph -- So mama don't take my Kodachrome away
  20. The local dealers here in Orlando don't stock Kodachrome anymore. Reason? They were tired of it going out of date and taking a loss on it. They didn't have any sales so why stock it?

    Kodadchrome will die in the next 3 years or so. Enjoy it while you can.
  21. I'm going to be sad when Kodachrome 64 goes away. It will be the end of an era. Still, I'm so grateful that it has been around for so long. At the moment I am scanning 44 years worth of slides (2000 of them roughly). Thank goodness my father had the sense to take all our family pictures with the stuff because now we can relive our best times together. As for scanning, I don't have any trouble with Kodachrome with my Minolta slide scanner. I think what I like best about Kodachrome 64 is the way it looks. I've tried alot of the new films like Velvia 50, Provia 100 and Kodak E100GX, but none of them quite gives me that look that I've come to appreciate. I'm not saying that Kodachrome is better just different, very much like digital photography gives you a different looking picture than film photography. Well, maybe I should go out and shoot some more Kodachrome before it's all gone.
  22. <<To paraphrase the brilliant Paul Simon:
    Kodachrome -- They give us those nice bright colors>>

    Even the brilliant Paul Simon agrees with me! That song is off the Rhymin' Simon album which was released in 1973, when Kodachrome II was still in production.
  23. And it was a protest song, which unfortunately didn't work, because a year later Kodak did in fact take his Kodachrome away.
  24. Keep it alive as long as you can...
  25. Kodachrome 64, that is.
  26. Thanks for the photo post! I am awaiting my first kodachrome slides due back from the lab Saturday. Cant wait. From the photo, it does look like it is a cooler film than most today - or maybe I should say more natural, accurate colors. I think prefer more saturated images, but we will see.
    Kodachrome II -thanks for the background info- I think this must be what my dad shot, as the colors in the old slides (early 70's) look so brilliant - even the indoor shots.
    ...too bad they took Paul Simons Kodachrome away - I hope it is a while before they take ours away.
    Oh yes, I got an e-mail from BH saying they had it back in stock, so looks like they got a new shipment/its still available.
  27. Kodachrome does have more natural colours, although they are still a little punchier than reality. I am a huge Kdoachrome fan; however, it isn't always the right film for all purposes. It does have fantastic skin tones though, regardless of ethicity. Try some K200 too and see what you think.

    Good luck.
  28. Gratuitous K64 plug...
  29. Lex,

    Re: your plug

    I like the composition and the colors, but what gives with the background? Strange looking bokeh.
  30. Try some K200 too and see what you think.
  31. Hey Lex, her skin tones look really natural...just messing
  32. Kodak released all new Kodachromes in the 70s and 80s in the face of static or already declining sales. And the new process was easier to control than the old one, but still difficult as pointed out above.

    Even then, the decrease in sales, already observed, are what killed the Kodachrome 400 project, along with any new improvements on the drawing boards.

    The start of the spiral was the decrease in sales, and there was quite a bit of 'hype' when Kodachrome 200 and the new process were introduced. These were hyped to both the consumer and photofinisher base. It didn't work. The spiral kept going downward.

    I don't know the reasons, but it wasn't for lack of advertising or anything else. Sales were just not there at the very outset of the new products and just stayed level or decreased for the entire line. I remember how discouraged some of the workers were when the new 200 film didn't take off. Instead, Ektachrome sales surged.

    Then, in the 90s, Fuji came out with their new reversal films, and they took off as well, then faltered either through a processing problem or bad product, IDK, but then the problem was fixed and Fuji reversal film sales took off further eroding Kodachrome sales.

    Now, digital is eating into the whole market, but sales of some conventional films are still brisk in Africa and Asia.

    Ron Mowrey
  33. Ted: Yup, it is indeed odd bokeh, something even folks who don't know the word "bokeh" might notice.

    That was taken with my Ricoh SLR and, probably, Ricoh's brand 50mm f/1.8 lens, sometime during the mid to late 1970s while I was stationed at the Balboa Naval Regional Medical Center across the street from this park. Beautiful structures throughout this park.

    The Ricoh lens was very sharp - equal to my Nikkors and Zuikos - but produced odd bokeh at wider apertures. That, combined with the pointed fronds of the trees in the background, combined to create the odd effect you see.

    Generally this is what you'll see when a lens produces what I call "cross-eyed" or "doubled" bokeh rather than softly and gradually blurring and blending the out of focus areas. It's most visible in linear objects such as twigs and stems or those with defined edges such as buildings. Zuikos and Canon FD lenses rarely exhibit cross-eyed bokeh. It's a characteristic more common to Nikkors, something I noticed 20 years ago when comparing photos taken by my friends who were photojournalists, some of whom used Nikon gear while others used Canon.

    Anyway, I digress. Nothing looks quite like Kodachrome. This photo is one of the better examples I have. The structure in the background, which appears slightly greenish in this jpeg, is warmer on the original slide. It's very difficult to balance the statue to its original neutral grey while retaining faithful colors elsewhere - Kodachrome is uncooperative with scanning and I didn't have the patience to overlay multiple layers and correct each deficient area.
  34. Lexu san;

    Bokeh wa nippongo kara desu. Anata no shashin wa sukoshi bokeh desu. Dame desu. Gomennasai.

    Tokyo ni sunda toki wa nippongo o benkyo shimashita, ga dandan wasuremasu. Ima wa, sukoshi dake hanasu koto ga dekimasu.

    Too bad my kana and kanji word processor don't work here.

    Mata ato de.

    Ron Mari
  35. I like how Skully did the backlighting, but is that really how Kodachrome 200 renders skin tones? Or more like this.
  36. No K200 doesn't normally have that colour palettee; however, it is a different look from K64

    Here are examples the first 2 are k200 the last is k64
  37. An interesting tale...

    Once upon a time, a large film producing company had a flagship product. One could not open a magazine that published any pictures without seeing some photos shot on this particular film. Pro photographers the world over used this film and loved it.

    So the management of the company said, "We need a new film! Different! Let's make a film and call it E...."

    This new film had a brownish, yellowish cast and would fade after a short time. Instead of calling it a failure, however, the company decided to invest more in marketing and further development of this new type of film. Meanwhile, they ignore the flagship product. A big green monster comes along and produces a better E... like film than the Great "Y" Father could produce. "Invest more in E..." they cried "This is how we will regain ground" "Where should the money come from?" "Why, from that old K... product, of course! We need to look to the future!"

    Well, to make a long story short (relatively). Trying to beat a green monster at its own game is a loosing battle. The former flagship product is near dead, but not quite because a few won't let it die. It may be suspected that itis a notable embarrassment to its manufacturer because it simply shows them how they lost the lock they had on the market. Of course, others may say that they are too blind to even see this, though

    You be the judge...Fairy tale or actual history????
  38. Dave;

    All of these tales are interesting, but don't wash.

    EK had some seriously upgraded Kodachrome films in R&D in the 80s, and sent samples to various professionals at the time. This included the HS Kodachrome with an EI of 400.


    Read that. NO ONE WANTED THEM. EK could not sell them. They wanted Ektachrome or color negative film. So, that is what they got.

    Sorry, but I was there as it happened.

    Look for my name on the patent for the yellow color developing agent. It is CD6. Been there, seen it happen.

    The downward spiral took place in the reverse order of what is portrayed in this thread. Sorry about that, and that should dispel a big myth about Kodachrome film. (one hopes - but PN devotees seem to believe what they want to). People stopped buying right after the introduction of some serious upgrades to the entire film line, the ones you like right now. Then, when approached with further improvements in speed and grain, with no sacrifice in color, no one was interested.

    Do you think EK develops a film and abandons it with no market research? How stupid do you think they are? Back in the 80s, they sent samples to professionals to test out before formal introduction. Reaction was blase. It was "we want Ektachrome, give us more". Remember, there was no Fuji Velvia at this time. The market was Kodachrome and Ektachrome vs Vericolor. So, the market in professionals and amateurs wanted Ektachrome, current Kodachrome, Vericolor, and Gold.

    There you have it.

    I don't agree either, but that is a fact.

    Ron Mowrey
  39. How stupid do you think they are?
    Roland -- we love you, man, but are you sure you really want an answer to that question?
  40. Reuben;

    See my other answer on the thread about Tech Pan.

    You see, I know more about what is going on than you do.


    Ron Mowrey
  41. ted_marcus|1

    ted_marcus|1 Ted R. Marcus

    Rowland, thanks for all the inside insight into what's really going on. Even if your experimental Kodachromes had sufficiently excited the beta testers, the scanning difficulties apparently inherent in Kodachrome would have eventually killed the film.

    Lex, I think the statue in your very nice San Diego picture is actually in the Old Town rather than Balboa Park.
  42. I like how Skully did the backlighting...
    I didn't do anything but push the button. It's just vignetting, probably compounded by the scanner. That's grass in the background.
    but is that really how Kodachrome 200 renders skin tones?
    Probably not. I suck at color correction. I should get a drum scan and get them to match the trans.
  43. Ted;

    You are welcome.

    You know that the Kodachromes I spoke of were 'beta' tested before such a thing as a scanner existed for the commercial market. So the problem of the scanning was moot at the time, for all practical purposes. That was in 1980 or so.

    The problem is related to all of the printing problems of Kodachrome whether by scanner, Ilfochrome, or type "R". It is related to the unit neutral formed by the dye set. And it is related to the claims for 'good greens' which really are not correct in strictest terms.

    Kodachrome greens are really awful. They just look good. ;-) And therein lies a very complex technical tale.

    Ron Mowrey
  44. Roland - I don't think you read my post ;)
  45. Reuben;

    I read your posts here and on all of the other threads. I have posted the correct information where needed in all cases.

    As a matter of fact, I agree with one point. EK could use more people with sound photographic backgrounds at high levels. That isn't to say there are none though. I just think more would be useful.

    Ron Mowrey
  46. It is sad that Kodachrome is sunset. There just not enough people shooting slides any more and it does't make sense for Kodak to support both Koda and Ekta processes. B&H is out of Kodachrome 64 already. I think you can still get the film at a price. (Saw someone selling it at $30 a roll on line) But if you can't get it process it is no good :( Can someone give us a Kodachrome filter on photoshop? I think is signify the change from photography to photoshopgraphy.

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