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Kodachrome MIGHT be coming back!!!

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Let's back up a bit to when Dwyane's Photo was the only professional developer of Kodachrome. 

Now add back all of the hype that the film has received since the discontinuation. 

Now reintroduce Kodachrome and put Dwyane's Photo back to work..... 

NOW add a few other courageous professional developers to the mix...

I think all will be just fine....

 

For me, I would happily pay double  what I pay now for film+dev  ($24 vs $12) to be able to shoot classic Kodachrome.    A keeper with this film will be amplified tremendously in juxtaposition to the digital mess that is out there...

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In its heyday Kodachrome was processed in 5-8 Kodak-owned facilities around the world, including Toronto (I am in Montreal). For me, in the Dwayne's days the downside was the time between sending the film off and when the slides returned to my mailbox. If I were the project manager, I would look carefully at that aspect.

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Processing Kodachrome was a terribly expensive endeavor. Even if Kodak did reintroduce the film, there is the support/processing business to consider. We not know if those  do who did process Kodachrome would agree to do it again. My confidence is very low in that regard.

.

Probably one of the biggest stumbling blocks.

 

I recall seeing a clip of Dwaynes processing lab as part of the 'last roll of Kodachrome' documentary. The machinery and process were very complex, as I believe it is the processing that adds the colour in - the fundamental film is B&W ? The techos can correct me. Nonetheless, you would need to build new processing machines at great expense, even if you just wanted a few to handle respective continental regions. No such issue with E6. Maybe it would be easier just to try and emulate the Kodachrome colour palette in E6. 

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Processing Kodachrome was a terribly expensive endeavor. Even if Kodak did reintroduce the film, there is the support/processing business to consider. We not know if those  do who did process Kodachrome would agree to do it again. My confidence is very low in that regard.

.

 

But when Kodachrome was at it's height the processing regime was both cheap and done on a vast scale, it was only towards the end that it became by default expensive. Take away the massive machines and infrastructure and replace it with smaller and more efficient machines and it falls into line with any other modern film production and processing endeavour. The very last Kodachrome processors were still tied in to the quantities of film and chemicals needed to run the old machines even though trade was trickling in, and that is the problem Kodak need to solve to make it affordable. 

 

So we shouldn't assume they will just fill the same old machines up with industrial volumes of chemicals again. For example Ilford have very large machines that run to make their film and paper, but they also have labs that use smaller machines to replicate the processes in small batches to test and experiment. So it isn't hard to imagine Kodak already have equipment able to process smaller batches of Kodachrome in their R&D departments.

Edited by 250swb

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Another factor that Kodak will have taken onboard in their current thinking is that the economics of using film is different than 10 years ago when you could buy pre-paid K64 for £6 or so per roll (the kind of price that I was paying when Kodak still had a European lab left in Switzerland). As a comparison I could then buy Provia or Velvia for around £4 or so per roll and get 2 hour processing at Metro for £5. Nowadays, a roll of E6 film is roughly £12 (RRP) and processing is the best part of a tenner. Kodak will have seen how Impossible Project have tapped into the new enthusiast market and can sell fairly ropey instant film for £18 a pop (8 photos). In this context, a roll of K64 with pre-paid processing is going to be around £25 and people will pay it (including me for occasional use) and it might well be that Kodak can see they can make Kodachrome work for them economically again.

Edited by wattsy

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The processing infrastructure would seem be the key to viability if this eventually comes to fruition and turns out to be a revival of genuine Kodachrome. How and where films are processed would be a gamble, someone at Kodak would have to be very confident with their figures and projections.

 

An E6 based replica, if that were possible? We'll have wait and see if anything comes of this, but if that does turn out to be the strategy and the product matches the claim, the prospect would be very Interesting as other formats could be viable.

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Fantastic news if it happens. Sweet memories of sending those yellow envelopes to Box 14, Hemel Hempstead, Herts. Like others, I hope there will be development facilities in Europe and Asia as well as the US but as Kodak would be doing this in cooperation with Kodak Alaris in the UK, I am hopeful. Did any film ever scan better than Kodachrome? Probably not would be be my thought. Having been scanning some of my old slides, Kodachrome would be top, followed by Velvia with Ektachrome in last place. My Ektachrome slides from around 50 years ago, seem to have faded far worse than the Kodachrome ones. 

 

Wilson

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The processing infrastructure would seem be the key to viability if this eventually comes to fruition and turns out to be a revival of genuine Kodachrome. How and where films are processed would be a gamble, someone at Kodak would have to be very confident with their figures and projections.

 

An E6 based replica, if that were possible? We'll have wait and see if anything comes of this, but if that does turn out to be the strategy and the product matches the claim, the prospect would be very Interesting as other formats could be viable.

Would not an E6 Kodachrome just be Ektachrome? 

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There was a long speculation thread on the same subject on a Swedish photo forum a few days ago, the main problem with Kodachrome is that some of the chemicals (the cyan stabilizer for instance) in the K-14 process are very, very nasty (and included on both UN and EPA restriction list). So, either they have to be replaced (which was already very difficult in the past) or the new film will have the look of Kodachrome but use a new process. I don’t want to sound negative, I would also love it, but allow me to be a bit sceptic.

 

Years ago (before 2001) Kodak even had a lab for Kodachrome in Sweden, the very ground on which upon it stood was for a long time among the most polluted ground in whole Sweden full with all kinds of nasty chemicals.

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There was a long speculation thread on the same subject on a Swedish photo forum a few days ago, the main problem with Kodachrome is that some of the chemicals (the cyan stabilizer for instance) in the K-14 process are very, very nasty (and included on both UN and EPA restriction list). So, either they have to be replaced (which was already very difficult in the past) or the new film will have the look of Kodachrome but use a new process. I don’t want to sound negative, I would also love it, but allow me to be a bit sceptic.

 

Years ago (before 2001) Kodak even had a lab for Kodachrome in Sweden, the very ground on which upon it stood was for a long time among the most polluted ground in whole Sweden full with all kinds of nasty chemicals.

 

It's reasonable to assume that Kodak will have to comply with current rules and regulations as to chemicals and disposal.

 

Maybe they have found potential new solutions (pun intended) or maybe it will be an all new film branded as Kodachrome with some of the qualities of the original.

 

Whichever it is it's still welcome news.

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Kodak in the UK may have gotten away with the pollution that they must have caused. Their biggest plant in Hemel Hempstead, was almost next door to the Buncefield Oil Depot, which blew up in 2005 (the largest fire in post war Europe). So much pollution of the ground water and water table resulted from this massive oil fire, that Kodak's activities may well have disappeared in the whole mess. 

 

I believe the most polluted site in the UK was the Beckton Gas, Tar and Chemical works in south east London (East Ham), which was in operation from 1870 to 1970. Not only was there massive ground pollution but a considerable number of unexploded bombs. It had been one of the most heavily bombed targets in London, after the docks. 

 

Wilson

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.....Kodak will have seen how Impossible Project have tapped into the new enthusiast market and can sell fairly ropey instant film for £18 a pop (8 photos). In this context, a roll of K64 with pre-paid processing is going to be around £25 and people will pay it ........

 

 I really like and enjoy what is currently going on with instant film and Impossible, Mint etc absolutely deserve their success, imo.  Quite few internationally highly regarded photographers are enthusiastic users.  I find the whole sector refreshingly unpretentious and far removed from the (unfortunately) gear-centric pixel obsessed mainstream.  It's an escape back to creativity at it's most basic level, and it's fun!

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I once built a new office in Warrington on a site formerly occupied by a nuclear reactor. The site had been cleared and remediated by a government agency before we took control of the site, but everyone was very wary of finding rogue drainage pipes.

 

The ground had been remediated to a standard high enough for the site to have been used for residential purposes.

 

Chemical contamination is far more difficult to get rid of than nuclear. Don't even think about taking on an old Victorian leather tannery - seriously nasty stuff under those.

 

Wales has a contender for the most polluted place in the UK too - this one looks like a cracker... 

 

 

http://www.theecologist.org/The_Brofiscin_Monsanto_Files/777777/burying_the_truth_the_orginal_ecologist_investigation_into_monsanto_and_brofiscin_quarry.html

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 I really like and enjoy what is currently going on with instant film and Impossible, Mint etc absolutely deserve their success, imo.  Quite few internationally highly regarded photographers are enthusiastic users.  I find the whole sector refreshingly unpretentious and far removed from the (unfortunately) gear-centric pixel obsessed mainstream.  It's an escape back to creativity at it's most basic level, and it's fun!

 

I also think we film users have a lot to thank the Lomography movement for. They have kept the interest in film going AND growing, particularly amongst younger and new photographers and are probably the largest manufacturer of new film cameras in the world.

 

Again the focus is on the images - given that their gear is deliberately lo-fi that's not too surprising I guess!

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I really like and enjoy what is currently going on with instant film and Impossible, Mint etc absolutely deserve their success, imo. Quite few internationally highly regarded photographers are enthusiastic users. I find the whole sector refreshingly unpretentious and far removed from the (unfortunately) gear-centric pixel obsessed mainstream. It's an escape back to creativity at it's most basic level, and it's fun!

Not sure about the unpretentiousness of the "Impossible Project" but as a keen user of instant film (I still have a pack of original SX-70 left that I should use before it goes off completely) I welcome what has been done to keep such film available. I'm not knocking Impossible Project (although hand on heart I think the film, whilst fun, is not really there yet), simply pointing out the possibilities that exist now in a small but increasingly vibrant film market.

 

 

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.....simply pointing out the possibilities that exist now in a small but increasingly vibrant film market.

 

 

 

I realise that. 

 

Are you using Instax film or is your instant film use confined to your existing SX-70?  Just curious.

Edited by honcho

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Processing Kodachrome was a terribly expensive endeavor. Even if Kodak did reintroduce the film, there is the support/processing business to consider. We not know if those  do who did process Kodachrome would agree to do it again. My confidence is very low in that regard.

.

 

Kodachrome is an iconic brand name but is not inherently linked to the processing system required for it for most people, just the film itself. If Kodak could manufacture a film with the same colour characteristics of the original film and then brand it as Kodachrome, it might not be necessary for it to use the same processing .....

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Kodachrome is an iconic brand name but is not inherently linked to the processing system required for it for most people, just the film itself. If Kodak could manufacture a film with the same colour characteristics of the original film and then brand it as Kodachrome, it might not be necessary for it to use the same processing .....

Yes, for sure the brand is very strong (certainly for those of us who have used the film in the past and especially for those of us old enough to remember family snaps made with this film) but I get the impression that the Kodak representative who discussed the possibility of resurrecting the film was talking about it in the context of bringing back 'proper' Kodachrome not just a Kodachrome flavoured or branded E6 film.

 

 

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I realise that.

 

Are you using Instax film or is your instant film use confined to your existing SX-70? Just curious.

Just the SX-70 but not very often now if I'm honest (which probably explains why I still have a pack of original Polaroid film left). [emoji3]

 

 

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