How to nudge Kodachrome back into the consumer's eye

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by michaelbsc, Sep 26, 2008.

Do you really care if Kodachrome remains, or are the other options more suitable for

Poll closed Oct 27, 2008.
  1. Yes, Kodachrome fills a specific need or desire for me that I care about.

    95 vote(s)
    66.0%
  2. No, Kodachrome is not important in my work or hobby use.

    49 vote(s)
    34.0%
  1. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

    Messages:
    2,106
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2007
    Location:
    South Caroli
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    OK, let's all think out loud on this so I don't get accused of being crazy just talking to myself. I know this is only marginally helpful, but in another thread I mentioned this:

    "I think not getting a "picture in hand" was more detrimental to Kodachrome in the consumer market over the decades than costs. Nowadays I know many people who drop off C-41 film and get a CD only, no prints, then use the digital order counter to get prints of exactly what they want (or just print them at home). So, on the surface, the idea of getting back slides in a box and a CD isn't very different than getting back negatives in a sleeve and a CD. What the consumer wants is the CD, and the medium is immaterial unless one can make a case for the quality of the images. If the consumer started using Kodachrome for the "special" events again the volume would go up dramatically."

    Obviously to the average grandma and grandpa (that's my generation now, not the octogenarians) the difference between getting a CD with bunch of negatives you don't look at and getting a CD with a bunch of positives you actually can look at but probably won't is small. The cost differential is high, but the actual difference is a small envelope you don't open and small box you don't open. That is meaningless so long as the CD has what they want; pictures.

    Also, obviously, the average Joe has no clue where to *BUY* Kodachrome these days. It's like trying to find specific ethnic food from the old country.

    If Kodachrome was still the film of choice for "special occasions" to the point that Kodak marketed throw away cameras loaded with 27 shots of Kodachrome, it wouldn't cost so much money. I don't foresee that ever happening, but certainly there is a small possibility of driving the demand up just a little bit with the change in paradigm from getting back pictures to getting back CDs.

    I dare say that the average person with the intelligence to get back and forth to work on city streets can be adequately instructed to diligently write "Process K-14 and scan to CD" in the special instructions box at Wal-mart to get superior pictures of Junior's graduation or little pumpkin's prom night. There are tons of pretty decent point and shoot 35mm cameras out there still. Of course they aren't going to spring for the extra expense all the time, but how do you make them aware and where do they go to buy that "special film" for those special occasions?

    Thoughts anyone?

    MB
     
  2. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    18,034
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My thoughts are Bye Bye Kodachrome, the King is Dead, Long live the King, long live Fuji 50. None of the problems of Kodachrome and worldwide processing.

    Ian
     
  3. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    17,940
    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2002
    Location:
    Honolulu, Ha
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I think if it could be tied to the Lomography fad and sold in Urban Outfitters that might be a way of introducing it to a new generation. Slides+scans is fairly easy to do with some of the minilab printers like Fuji Frontier.
     
  4. domaz

    domaz Member

    Messages:
    560
    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2007
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree with Ian- what's really wrong with E-6 films? I have used Kodachrome and I never really cared for the look. With Kodak Ektar 100 coming out the consumer is already going to have the capability to take pictures probably just as good or better than high-end DSLRs costing thousands of dollars. So what's the problem really?
     
  5. geoferrell

    geoferrell Member

    Messages:
    81
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Location:
    McKee, KY 40
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I only used one roll of K64 in 120 format, but in hindsight I think now I should have used more. And, many film scanners do not scan Kodachrome well. I switched to E-6 films because of the rapid turnaround, but the millions of slides made on Kodachrome materials attest to the brilliant colors, archival qualities, and the very fine grain. I made a print once from K25 and had trouble focusing because of the very fine grain.
     
  6. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

    Messages:
    2,004
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Location:
    Enroute
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I support Kodachrome because I see a difference. I always have too.

    I suppose I will have to say this over and over again, but Kodachrome is more than a film or a product of a company. Kodachrome is an era.

    It is such a great era, that it deserves to be celebrated, not fade away with no recognition. Many people feel this way, including some within the ranks of Kodak.
     
  7. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

    Messages:
    2,025
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    ^^^^Ian and domaz

    If we put aside nostalgia for a moment, I think the case for keeping Kodachrome is, in part, to keep our choices open.

    I prefer Kodachrome, just as you prefer E-6, but of course I could live with any make of film if that was all there was. (Orwochrome, anyone? :wink: )

    There are lots of exotic processes, photopapers and materials mentioned all the time on APUG. I'd love to try them all, but I doubt I'll ever have time,
    certainly not until I retire and can have a darkroom again. Until then, I'd like to know that the necessary supplies might remain available, either for myself, or failing that, so that other people can use and enjoy them and keep the chance to be individual in their photography.

    I'm not saying anyone must use Kodachrome 24/7/365, or Fuji50, or Ektar 100, or Palladium Prints, or 20x16 sheet film, but our hobby would the that bit duller if any one of them disappeared from the scene. :wink:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 26, 2008
  8. nickrapak

    nickrapak Member

    Messages:
    751
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Horsham, PA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think the only way to get Kodachrome back into somwhat mainstream public use would be to extol the archival virtues of Kodachrome films:

    CD-R: 10 years
    CD-ROM: 30 years
    hard drive: 34 years
    typical negative film: 40 years
    Kodachrome: over 200 years

    Kodachrome... When you want your pictures to last two lifetimes.
     
  9. Admbws

    Admbws Member

    Messages:
    34
    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The average person couldn't care less about photography, much less Kodachrome.

    To them, it was just a means to an end: pictures of Ronnie and Mildred's wedding, memories of little Johnny's first birthday, snaps of their vacation to Bognor Regis, and so on.

    People today are happy with noisy images from cheap single-element plastic lens digicams, badly overexposed by nasty on-camera flashes and with awful colour casts.

    People twenty years ago were happy as above, but with equally nasty 110 Instamatics instead.

    The value of photographs to the average Joe has slumped to near worthlessness. This part explains why there are so many poor photographers :wink: The photographs people take are as disposable as the cameras they were taken with. Digital has made deleting a photograph as easy as actually taking it. Hundreds or thousands of precious memories may be cast away when they upgrade their awful camera phones or replace their PCs.

    Any advertising campaign pushing photographic products (as a whole, not just film) must focus on preserving memories to instill value in photographs.

    Your "disposable Kodachrome camera" is a non-starter unless the camera has the ability to meter and expose at sane exposure values.

    A small but effective, targetted advertising campaign could boost sales enormously, however. There are two main demographic groups to target:

    Firstly, affluent middle-class middle-aged men who were in their late teens or twenties during the golden age of popular photography around the late 1960's and the 1970's, who on being reminded might be tempted to get their old Pentax Spotmatic down from the attic and slap in a roll of Kodachrome for old times sake.

    Secondly, youngsters already interested in the "alternative culture" of shooting analogue film. The types who might normally shoot digital but like or want to shoot something else to set them apart from their mates and everyone else. There is scope for cashing on the new "retro" trend amongst youngsters. If you can make Kodachrome into a Holga/Diana-like fad like someone mentioned above, you've hit the jackpot.

    A small, passionate website extolling the virtues of Kodachrome (similar to choose-film.com?) could be the nexus of the entire marketing strategy. Some favourable press talking about the "revival" of Kodachrome would help to drive sales.

    Kodak should seriously consider this. It wouldn't eat much out of their advertising budget, and may also help to stem declining sales amongst existing users by implying a firm commitment to production of Kodachrome in the medium term. It needs to be realized that the fear and uncertainly regarding the continued availability of Kodachrome is driving existing users to search for alternatives, often in the favour of Kodak's competitors, and making the eventual death of Kodachrome a self-fulfilling prophecy.
     
  10. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,045
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
    Location:
    Monroe, WA, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, you already know how I feel about that statement.

    So, to do my part...

    (1) I have scrounged a cheap, discontinued Epson photo scanner destined for the trash, which the evaluation version of VueScan has nicely rescued and turned into a workable tool for online Kodachrome sharing. Not great. But workable. Nice job, Hammerick.

    (2) It worked so well, I am purchasing the full VueScan product just for this purpose. A new film scanner will have to wait.

    (3) I am postponing purchase of a Peak grain focuser for my darkroom in favor of a slide-sorting lightbox. A new slide projector will also have to wait for a while.

    (4) This weekend, weather permitting, I will invest a roll or two of K64 to do some EI fine-tuning between Dwayne's processing and my Nikon F2's meter. The usual careful bracketing of meaningless subjects. These, along with three other waiting rolls and more of my money, will head to Dwayne's on Monday.

    (5) And similar to the other poster, I will make a local search for anyone still selling Kodachrome. If I find someone, I will start purchasing 3-5 rolls per visit from that source. If not, I'll purchase by the brick from Freestyle. (Clicked through from APUG for visibility, of course.) It'll be almost short-dated it sounds like, so directly into the freezer it will go. I will aim for using a minimum one roll each week. More, whenever possible.

    That's about all I can do, Kodak. While I realize that in isolation it means nothing to your overall bottom line, I hope it at least demonstrates one individual's willingness to show a commitment with his hard-to-come-by dollars to an irreplaceable American icon.

    Ken
     
  11. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,045
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
    Location:
    Monroe, WA, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Good lord. This is the most on-target post on the subject of Kodachrome I have yet seen. I sincerely hope someone at Kodak really is reading these threads...

    Ken
     
  12. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

    Messages:
    2,004
    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2004
    Location:
    Enroute
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    Enter: The Kodachrome Project. B&H and Freestyle just sent be banner ad graphics so I can create direct link ads to Kodachrome product.

    I am a successful photographer partly due to the fact that not only do I like the marketing and business side of it, I am good at it.
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,773
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, regardless of what you all say, here are some facts:

    1. Fuji made an excellent Kodachrome like film in the 60s - 80s. Sales dropped so much that they quit making it and at the same time Dynachrome went out of business. These two films were as good or better than Kodachrome.

    2. Kodak abandoned the current Kodachrome process patent to make it easy for anyone to use it or make a Kodachrome film, but no-one took them up on it.

    3. Kodak nearly went to market with a 400 speed Kodachrome but the public reaction to it was "ho-hum". They wanted better E-6 films.

    4. The result of 3 is that it is not possible to make a good point and shoot camera due to the lack of high-speed Kodachrome and before you wonder, 200 speed was not fast enough. You need 400 or better.

    These facts make it an uphill struggle to continue the lifetime of Kodachrome IMHO. I know you love it, but there has been no R&D on this since about 1988, maybe a bit earlier! If there is none, then Kodak cannot make any improved version, and of course, Fuji knows how to do it too.

    Why not ask Fuji why they quit making an excellent, profitable product? They saw the potential in E6 I guess. IDK. Ask them. Why did Fuji quit making a Kodachrome type product? This is an important question for all of you to consider. And they did it in about 1988, at the time they introduced their E6 compatible line of films. They put their R&D effort into E6 rather than even continue a Kodachrome line.

    PE
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,591
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I shot K25, K64, K200 in the early '60's along with E25, E64, E200 and E100T [night photography] as well as the Ansco line of slides. I stopped using Kodachrome because like Agfa the skies had a nasty tendency to appear a dusty brown-gray if there was the slightest overcast. Ektachrome recorded skies the colors that I remembered.

    Also Kodachrome had another nasty trait, making many other things look brown and dingy.

    YMPV [Your Mileage Probably Varied]

    Steve
     
  16. kristopher_lawrence

    kristopher_lawrence Member

    Messages:
    123
    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2007
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    You have to sell it to people, to show them the difference.

    I have been hired for a fashion soot by an agency. I told the producer about Kodachrome, about the time it will take to get it back, about the cost and all the disadvantages. But: I told him about the color accuracy and the fact that it is (almost) the only 35mm film that can be enlarged to substancial sizes. Guess what?

    He was in. We shot the project (partly) on Kodachrome (the remaining on Portra + APX medium format), then for another project, we will be using only Kodachrome.

    I am young and I hope talented photog, I found that my devotion to film gets me clients, persons that trust photogs that are doing the job right from the camera, not by photoshop and all and all. Most of them DO KNOW what film is capable even considering the expenses and the schedule it entails. If they don't, show them a 4x5 slide of Ektachrome, they will get it.

    Kodachrome is helping me out, and I will help it as much as I can in the future.

    Analogue photography can be pretty profitable those days if you find the right projects and persons and if you can sell you. The best way: show them pictures made with film. Enven more, you get yourself out of the crown of digi-only capable photogs, and can eventualy get a specialist status I guess. I know it takes time to make a name, and I need to work hard to try to get one and curiously, the thing that helped me the most is the fact that I use film. By the way, when people sees you shooting a Linhof monorail for fashion, they are generaly saying: «damn, this guy is serious about it and it reassure them.

    Long live Kodachrome!

    Kris
     
  17. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,045
    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2005
    Location:
    Monroe, WA, USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Heh, heh. I grew up in Southern California. It wasn't the Kodachrome that made the skies look dusty brown-gray... :wink:

    Ken
     
  18. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tufts Univer
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I love your insights but there is just one problem-the consumer cameras are designed to have essentially no EV compensation. Especially cheaper ones simply have no compensation whatsoever and rely on the exposure latitude of CHEAP C41 film to do the job for it. I don't know of any grandparents that use SLRs, that was dumped a while ago. Kodachrome has such a narrow latitude that it requires basic basic skill to shoot. Nobody can do that anymore. Unless along with this movement we convince everyone to buy a "cheap" $150 film slr with autoexposure, this may or may not work so well.
     
  19. tiberiustibz

    tiberiustibz Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    Tufts Univer
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I completely second that. I feel like I post this all the time.
     
  20. Michael W

    Michael W Member

    Messages:
    1,430
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Location:
    Sydney
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I've heard about this Fuji film before but I've never seen an example. Can anyone post a link to some samples if they're out there? I don't even know what it was called.
     
  21. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,773
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Fujichrome!

    I have posted some here in my gallery.

    PE
     
  22. tgphoto

    tgphoto Member

    Messages:
    5
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    You know, the whole Kodachrome deal really comes down to something very simple...creativity. Every time one of our favorite films dies, we lose the ability to express ourselves in a unique and distinct way, and that, my dear friends, is sad for so many reasons. There's nothing wrong with E-6. But, finding a film which you connect with, is something special.
     
  23. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

    Messages:
    2,025
    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Absolutely! You've summed up much more eloquantly what I was trying to get at when I was talking about "choice" a few posts back. :smile:

    As an analogy, if the manufacture of artists oil paints ceased, painters could use watercolors perfectly well and continue to produce fine pictures.
    But a choice and a unique way of expression would be lost.
     
  24. Heinz_Anderle

    Heinz_Anderle Member

    Messages:
    97
    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Location:
    Klosterneubu
    Shooter:
    35mm
    With all respect, but Gert Koshofer gives in his three-volume book "Farbfotografie", Munich 1981, the follwing history of Fuji's color reversal films:

    In 1948, a Kodachrome-type film "Fujicolor-R" was introduced, but already replaced in 1961 by an Ektachrome-type film "Fujicolor R100" (proprietary Process CR-52). The "Fujichrome Professional" film of 1972 was E-4-compatible. Also the Dynachrome films were changed into Agfacolor-type technology (from Ferrania) already in the 1960s, as well as the Sakuracolor films (by Konica, starting in 1940!) to Agfacolor and then E-4.

    Kodachrome I had - as I could see from slides from 1959 - good colors, but a very harsh contrast. Kodachrome II was definitely easier to handle.

    Koshofer judged the Kodachrome clones as inferior and inconsistent in quality, compared to Kodak's original. It seems that the multi-step processing was by far too complicated, while the Agfacolor- or Ektachrome-type films could even be processed at home.

    If I want Kodachrome's grain and color appearance, I use Sensia 400...
     
  25. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Talk Paul Simon into making a re-release. That may put the idea into the minds of the public.



    Steve.
     
  26. eddym

    eddym Member

    Messages:
    1,927
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2006
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm glad to hear somebody besides myself saying this. I'm not sure in which sense you meant the word "poor" -whether "incompetent" or "poverty-stricken"- but I think both senses apply, though to different groups. To clarify, it creates incompetent amateurs and poverty-stricken pros. When photographs are free -having no value, worthless- very few people are inclined to pay an expert to make portraits of themselves and their family. They'd rather whip out their cell phone and show a tiny, unrecognizable image of their new grandchild.