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Last lab in the world to process Kodachrome is in Kansas


Skippy Sanchez
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Just published a story and multimedia slide show on Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas -- the last lab standing. Parsons, Kan., lab is world's last Kodachrome processor | Local | Kansas.com

 

Seemed odd to do a multimedia slide show (Dwayne's Photo, Parsons, Kansas: The Last Lab to Process Kodachrome Film) using digital technologies -- about the waning years of Kodachrome.

 

What didn't make it into the story was the random sampling of all the employees at Dwayne's: when asked, "Do you shoot film or digital?", virtually every one -- including the owner -- said, "Digital."

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I had previously read the article and viewed the slide show.

I surmised that the photographs were digital and were a sign of the times.

I started using Kodachrome in the 1950's and have continued, doing a stint for the Wisconsin State Journal in Graduate School where most of what we shot was Tri-X but an occasional Kodachrome. Did some very nice weddings back then in Kodachrome and last year did two weddings in Kodachrome. still as nice as ever using M7's with Motor M's. I'm working on my last 100 rolls of K64 and have no plans to purchase any more. Things change and this is just one of those but I will certainly shed a tear when Kodachrome is discontinued.-Dick

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What didn't make it into the story was the random sampling of all the employees at Dwayne's: when asked, "Do you shoot film or digital?", virtually every one -- including the owner -- said, "Digital."

 

Well, just because one happens to work at a processing lab it doesn't follow that one will also be a keen photographer. I bet a lot of those asked only use their mobile phone cameras like a large proportion of people these days.

 

That said, I bet if given the chance, some turkeys would even vote for Christmas!

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Actually, James, my point wasn't based on an assumption they must be Photographers because they work in a photo lab. They're just moms who shoot snaps of their kids' soccer games and birthdays, like most people.

 

It seemed ironic to me that in a job where their livelihoods depend on film consumption, and, in a small Kansas town where jobs are scarce, they can't ignore the convenience and economic advantages of digital technologies, just like everyone else.

 

And the irony was certainly not lost on any of them when I asked, "Digital or film?" Each replied rather sheepishly, "Digital."

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There is no doubt that the ability to have instant access to photographs, transmit them digitaly anywhere in the world, manipulate digitaly, print digitaly and store digitaly has caused the rapid movement to digital photography by not only 'moms' but every professional niche there is.

The only reason I still use film, is that I cannot obtain the results I want with digital yet but that will change. I expect to skip a whole generation of DX and FX digital cameras and purchase an MX format camera. If Leica can produce a FX format M camera without the attendant problems of the M8 series, one of those would also be on the list. I expect Kodachrome to be discontinued in less than 2 years and Fuji to be a major source for me. With the discontinuation of K200, I have had to switch to Fuji 400 for indoor available light which i am not happy with.

Anyway, nice article and long live Dwayne's!-Dick

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I quit using Kodachrome, with regrets, when the number of processing labs dropped below 2. This is no reflection on Dwayne's service, but I'm not willing to depend on a single source for processing. Long live Kodachrome, but unfortunately I won't be among those using it.

 

Are you still using your SL and SL2s, or are you mainly digital nowadays?

 

Even with the limitations on development, I have significantly increased my consumption and use of Kodachrome- and even though I may be optimistic, plan to continue using it as long as it is possible to have it reasonably processed. Perhaps, if Kodak discontinue it, they will consider licensing it's manufacture to a more specialist company so that it can continue to be available.

 

One final issue- I find that I am paying 12% less now than I did in 1988 in the UK for Kodachrome, which no doubt has an impact on it's profitabilty for Kodak. I would prefer to have it at a higher price than not have it in the future.

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The only reason I still use film, is that I cannot obtain the results I want with digital yet but that will change.

 

Please forgive me if I'm jumping to a conclusion concerning your post, but I suspect the difficulty many film users have in the digital transition is one of a steeper-than-expected learning curve. for one thing, digital images and film images are not the same, although there are many similarities. for another, the second 50% of photography -- post processing, editing, cropping, toning, etc. -- is a whole different ballgame on a computer than it is with film.

 

forget the bullsh...t about "what the camera records is the truest rendition of reality," or some such nonsense. the camera is only a machine. to acquiesce to a machine is to negate individual creativity. including -- i'm going out on a limb here -- my beloved leicas.

 

digital technology is different than mechanical technology only in the sense that it is different: the bottom line is that it is another means to an end. it is only a tool to get the job done.

 

i'm sorry, but people who lament the passing of film are not much different than people who lament the end of eight-track tapes or carbon paper.

 

like an editor told me years ago when i said i was headed to an assignment to shoot civil war reeinactors: "Those people are living in the past."

 

BTW, i shoot film with my Hasslebladski (Kiev) and my MP. in my 28 years of professional newspaper work, 20 have been with film. i'm not anti-film. i'm just realistic.

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I agree with you. Once Leica brings out the R10, I am certain I shall use both media more. Howver, I still find Kodachrome very emotionally satisfying, as well as liking it's archival properties for mny important shots.

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i'm sorry, but people who lament the passing of film are not much different than people who lament the end of eight-track tapes or carbon paper.

 

Or mimeograph machines . . .

 

Does anybody lament the passing of 8-tracks? Who are these people? Are they made of straw?

Vinyl is a much better analogy. It is still produced and used, though in limited quantities.

 

I too am saddened by the imminent passing of Kodachrome. Years ago it was the only film I used, but I find Velvia and Provia are fine films in their own right, so I'm not going to go off and eat worms just yet.

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Are you still using your SL and SL2s, or are you mainly digital nowadays?

 

Yes, and yes. The SLs are loaded with ISO 400 C-41 film that I can get developed anywhere. It's mostly for family photos where everyone wants a copy NOW so I ask the lab to develop & scan (no prints) and then I duplicate the scan CD for all concerned. If I need a better scan I've got the neg.

 

Digital (R8/DMR) is for the birds. Literally :D

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Please forgive me if I'm jumping to a conclusion concerning your post, but I suspect the difficulty many film users have in the digital transition is one of a steeper-than-expected learning curve. for one thing, digital images and film images are not the same, although there are many similarities. for another, the second 50% of photography -- post processing, editing, cropping, toning, etc. -- is a whole different ballgame on a computer than it is with film.

 

forget the bullsh...t about "what the camera records is the truest rendition of reality," or some such nonsense. the camera is only a machine. to acquiesce to a machine is to negate individual creativity. including -- i'm going out on a limb here -- my beloved leicas.

 

digital technology is different than mechanical technology only in the sense that it is different: the bottom line is that it is another means to an end. it is only a tool to get the job done.

 

i'm sorry, but people who lament the passing of film are not much different than people who lament the end of eight-track tapes or carbon paper.

 

like an editor told me years ago when i said i was headed to an assignment to shoot civil war reeinactors: "Those people are living in the past."

 

BTW, i shoot film with my Hasslebladski (Kiev) and my MP. in my 28 years of professional newspaper work, 20 have been with film. i'm not anti-film. i'm just realistic.

 

I am not going to opposite your post, only will say this:

 

Every time when I read or hear someone talking "bad" about film it looks to me like situation when someone (digital imaging) has beaten someone else (analogue photography) to the ground and then next person (those who talks bad about film) come around and start kicking that person who half dead is lying on the ground.

 

And yes, vinyl record is better to compare than 8-tracks tapes :) I don't know how much 8-tracks tapes were popular outside of USA anyway. Here, in my contry, I never saw or hear anyone used them ever.

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Again, Harris, I'm not anti-film. Got it?

 

I'm not talking bad about film. I still shoot film, process film and print film. I like film. I like digital. I prefer digital. I have spent years fine-tuning my digital post-processing skills and get consistent, satisfying results. I also (as mentioned above) have used film professionally for over 20 years, so I know my way around a darkroom and can get consistently satisfying results there, too.

 

They are different technologies, that's all.

 

Why do so many film-only aficionados give the impression they are on the ropes? It's like a group persecution complex. You like film and disdain digital, okay by me. Knock yourself out.

 

By the way, the eight-track analogy was a joke.

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Please forgive me if I'm jumping to a conclusion concerning your post, but I suspect the difficulty many film users have in the digital transition is one of a steeper-than-expected learning curve. for one thing, digital images and film images are not the same, although there are many similarities. for another, the second 50% of photography -- post processing, editing, cropping, toning, etc. -- is a whole different ballgame on a computer than it is with film.

 

forget the bullsh...t about "what the camera records is the truest rendition of reality," or some such nonsense. the camera is only a machine. to acquiesce to a machine is to negate individual creativity. including -- i'm going out on a limb here -- my beloved leicas.

 

digital technology is different than mechanical technology only in the sense that it is different: the bottom line is that it is another means to an end. it is only a tool to get the job done.

 

i'm sorry, but people who lament the passing of film are not much different than people who lament the end of eight-track tapes or carbon paper.

 

like an editor told me years ago when i said i was headed to an assignment to shoot civil war reeinactors: "Those people are living in the past."

 

BTW, i shoot film with my Hasslebladski (Kiev) and my MP. in my 28 years of professional newspaper work, 20 have been with film. i'm not anti-film. i'm just realistic.

 

Skippy, my degrees are in Nuclear Engineering from the University of Wisconsin and as such I have even had MIS Department Heads reporting to me and have been a computer advocate/user for many many years. There is no steep learning curve for me but a reluctance to continually invest $$ into a technology that is still in the infant stage. The DX format was never even a consideration and I will probably skip the FX format and enter digital with the MX format with the one exception if a Leica M is ever made in the FX format with the M8 myriad of problems solved.

I firmly believe the old adage, "Those that ride the leading edge of technology are sacrificed upon it."

If I was still doing photography for an income as I did in Graduate School, I would probably have gone digital for economy but I don't have that problem. I still find K64 better than any digital DX or FX format I have seen.-Dick

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I just got back from a week long commercial advertising shoot out of the country, I used a D3 and D700, the shoot went great. When I got back late Friday, waiting for me were the many rolls of Kodachrome I had shot over a one month period while traveling some 6,000 miles the entire month of November.

 

I was tired, but I was in a good mood and decided to start looking through them. About half way through them, I started getting chills up my spine. I just could not believe my eyes. In the 30+ years of shooting Kodachrome, this might be the best I have ever done with the film.

 

The look, I mean...wow. I was speechless. So I have hundreds more rolls to shoot and I am getting right back out there and doing it.

 

Who cares about digital versus film? I have been shooting digital for 14 some odd years, I can shoot it in my sleep. But Kodachrome is a whole different animal and honestly, it has never looked better in my eyes.

 

So while it is around, I am using it. And some of those opening quotes in the multi-media show are mine by the way, I stand by them more proudly than ever.

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