Saving Kodachrome?

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by jim appleyard, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    After several months of writing letters to EK to save Kodachrome and getting nowhere, I could use some help. I have come up with what I think is a viable plan for saving Kodachrome.

    1) Kodak sets up a link on their website for people to PRE-ORDER and PRE-PAY for Kodachrome. B&H, Adorama, Freestyle and whoever else wants to paticipate may join in. Minimum # of rolls required. Once a minimum # of rolls has been sold, make the film! It's PAID FOR.

    2) Enclose a coupon or mailer to Dwayne's where the Kodachrome is processed.

    I realize that Kodachrome doesn't sell like it used to, but most of us can probably live with it being made every 2-3 years. I plan on ordering 100 rolls! How many are you good for?

    Everyone should be happy. Kodak makes film, Kodachrome users are happy, Dwayne's is happy.

    However, Kodak isn't listening. Many letters were ignored. Mostly what I got back were generic responses telling me that Kodak thanks me for my interest in Kodachrome, but it has been discontinued. One letter told me that they wouldn't consider my idea because I don't work for Kodak. Ok Kodak, stay dumb. I think you need all the help you can get. Instead of laying people off and demolishing building, you should be making film. Making film part-time is surely better than not at all.

    Dwayne's never responded to my letters.

    If you love this film (and this method could work for other films as well; can you imagine Super XX, Verichrome, TXP and TXP in 220 again?) write a letter or email. Please mention my idea, or one of your own if you have one.

    Write to:
    Audrey Jonckheer
    Eastman Kodak
    343 State St.
    Rochester, NY 14650
    audreyjonckheer@kodak.com

    Thanks.
     
  2. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    I wish you well.
     
  3. Ektagraphic

    Ektagraphic Member

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    I'll write too. I have nothing to loose but my time and $0.44....By history, if they can, they do listen to us...Ektar 100...Portra 400...
     
  4. holmburgers

    holmburgers Member

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    I think in general that giving companies feedback is a good thing to do, but this campaign has 0.0001% chance of succeeding.

    I mean, tell them what you think, but I feel like having Kodachrome as long as we did was miraculous enough. Write them with something realistic that they'll listen to, otherwise you're just one of the "crazies" who writes in... it only serves to discredit film consumers and their feedback.

    MO
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Jim;

    You dream!

    There is more to Kodachrome than coating the film. Someone has to make the couplers, developing agents and processing kits. This is a very costly and lengthy process. You just cannot do it at once. And, the chemistry must be used in a specified time or it goes bad, as does the film.

    PE
     
  6. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    I'd love to see Verichrome Pan in 126 again but sadly I have to be realistic...
     
  7. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    So you (and who are your partners in crime?) were responsible for the discontinuation of Portra 400 NC...!
    :mad:
     
  8. HelenOster

    HelenOster Member

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    email address doesn't seem to be working?
     
  9. Lionel1972

    Lionel1972 Member

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    Jim,
    I share your enthousiasm for Kodachrome although I've never had the chance to shoot some. I think that even if technically, as PE explained, it cannot be viable as a niche market product, if a lot of us protest loudly enough and show an interest in the ressurection of Kodachrome in one form or another, they might start to think that there could be a way to make money out it afterall. I would love to see Kodachrome in 120 and sheet film. I think a lot of people are rediscovering the pleasure of analog photography these days and are getting access to medium and large format gear for cheap. I think the potential has changed since the 90's. What about the Kodachrome mini-labs that seemed to have already been R&Ded? Shouldn't cost a lot to make it up to date and it would give a good reason to get into a local photostore again.

    Lionel.
     
  10. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Kodak has made these two films to try and keep color negs afloat amid dying demand, not because they were listening to consumers' letters. If they had been listening to consumers' letters, we may have Ektar (though why, when there is a poppy film that is not ugly: 160VC? Who was actually requesting something like Ektar?), but certainly not Portra 400. In regards to the 400, who writes a letter and says, "I want less aesthetic choice; what we need is something a little bit more middle of the road, and we need to get rid of anything but?" Ektar is unnecessary, redundant (How many medium speed color neg. films do we really need?), and IMHO ugly as sin, but gives the people who like cartoon colors what they want. I think Kodak thought 1) Ektar would attract young digital-taught types and 2) it would attract former Kodachrome lovers. Portra 400 is a middle-of-the-road version of two spectacular and very different emulsions that were axed. So much for creative/aesthetic choice in the 400-speed color negative area, especially now that there is no cut paper but Supra (and even that may be gone)! To think of it as a new product is technically correct, but a bit perverted IMO. All Kodak has done with the 400 is to reduce our palette even farther. The truth is that they are not making products for 100% analog color photographers any more. 100% analog color photography is on its death bed. They are making products for hybrid photographers, who don't need to make aesthetic decisions ahead of time, because they can just shoot something middle of the road in camera, and make the choices later. With what has gone on with color negs in the last year, I see this eventually boiling down to a 400 film and a 100 film, or maybe two, from each Kodak and Fuji, and no color cut paper at all – everything color analog made solely for hybrid use. Reala, 160NS, and 400H from Fuji, and Ektar, Portra 160, and Portra 400 from Kodak. Then what happens?

    But on a positive note, Freestyle is sold out of all color neg 120 film, because they say that they underestimated the current demand, and the manufacturers are trying to catch up to their orders. High demand, or doomsday hoarders? I have certainly done my share of stocking up lately.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 23, 2010
  11. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I think we'd be better off campaigning for a Kodachrome-like E6 or C41 film, I don't know much about the chemistry of Kodachrome, but I know nobody processes it any more apart from Dwayne's. Even if Kodachrome was reintroduced in some small way, it would surely be a reprieve for a year or two until the minimum order just didn't come. I think perhaps our best chance of a film like this would be Maco/Rollei/Efke/Foma or someone like that, a film maker who is used to smaller volumes and dealing in more "retro" films. I've only shot one roll of Kodachrome, didn't really like it, but I'd certainly give it another try, whether it was the real thing, or some Kodachrome-like E6 film.
     
  12. sandholm

    sandholm Subscriber

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    Very simple answer, they discontinued the film because now one bought it, the same with paper and other films. If Kodak can make money of them they would do that. Today there is so few who shoots film (I mean professional, an amateur shooting 2-3 roles a week wont make that much different). I say instead of trying to save a dead/old product, try instead to save the remaining film. I personal would love if the Kodachrome choice existed, but i rather have some film then no film at all. Personal I have choose to support Ilford, Fuji and Adox, and I make sure that i really support these companies, chemicals, papers and film.

    cheers
     
  13. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I agree with sandholm, although I think Kodak needs support too, they likely still the most pro-active film company in terms of new releases and overall range of film.
     
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  15. sandholm

    sandholm Subscriber

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    Absolute, I have nothing against Kodak, but its just easier for me to get Ilford and Fuji here.

    Another thing, by fresh film, dont buy outdated film on ebay, this will not help the film movement or the companies, they have to sell new produced film.

    cheers
     
  16. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Jim,

    Our fellow member Terry M. tried to get a custom production on his behalf of Kodachrome made by Kodak from the ground.
    To my understanding not even serieus talks came about due to lack of interest by Kodak.
     
  17. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    As I recall, Audrey Jonckheer retired last year, right about the time Kodachrome was discontinued.
     
  18. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Jim,

    Good though your intentions are, I think you're fighting a losing battle, as it's not just about the film manufacture but also the processing. I haven't used Kodachrome regularly for some time because of the processing QC issues I've experienced with Dwayne's and as long as that's the only place to get it processed it could be stacked six feet high on the shelves and I still wouldn't buy the stuff. Having said that, I recently shot a token last roll out of a kind of respect for the enjoyment I once had for the film in the old days of UK Hemel Hempstead processing and posted it yesterday. Kodachrome is like an old dog - there's a time when you just have to say goodbye!

    Steve
     
  19. jim appleyard

    jim appleyard Member

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    Dreaming? Yes, why not. Kodachrome might be dead and I may have to live with it, but I will never fogive myself if I don't do eerything I can to save it.

    The proper email: audrey.jonckheer@kodak.com.

    She was still there this past June when I rec'd an email from her.
     
  20. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

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    I'll miss Kodachrome a bit when I have used my last roll (in the fridge now), but given that Kodachrome 25 has already been gone for years, the loss feels a little less terrible. And, let's face it, while nothing really looks like Kodachrome, today's E-6 and C-41 films are of very high quality; the difference is much, much less than it used to be. It will be hard enough going forward for film companies just to maintain existing products, an outlier like Kodachrome with only one lab for processing has no future. The time to have fought for Kodachrome was ten or twenty years ago, not now.
     
  21. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    The decision to discontinue Kodachrome must have been made at boardroom level, and all the wishing in the World isn't going to bring it back, we just have to deal with the fact.
     
  22. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    I looked at what goes into making Kodachrome because I was curious and I found that it is quite a complex film both to manufacture, and to process.

    I would like to propose a more viable option, why not ask Kodak to put more effort into making an E-6 process film that displays the same color range as Kodachrome. Yes, there would still be those that would reject it as nothing more than an impostor, but still there are others that would embrace it.

    Kodachrome has been on life support for a long time now, and Kodak was right to pull the plug on it. The only reason we can't a better slide film from Kodak is because they have been leaning on Kodachrome like a crutch and using it as an excuse to not produce a better E-6 process film. Now that Kodachrome is gone maybe Kodak will put out something to go up against Velvia and win. I have a feeling that the chemists at Kodak would love the challenge, and now that the bean counters can't lean on Kodachrome maybe the E-6 Kodachrome project will get a green light.

    Honestly if you really want Kodak to bring back Kodachrome you have to ask yourself this, when is the last time someone invited you over to see the slides of their anything? Do you own a slide projector? Do you know anyone that is shooting slides, not just Kodachrome, but any kind of slides? If you know someone that shoots slides, do they own a slide projector, and are they using it?

    I love my slides, I love my slide projector, I love my stereo camera that I use to shoot stereo (3D) slides, I love my slide viewers and I bore my family and friends at least once a week with slides.

    Last week I shot 4 rolls of E-6 slide film, and my three year old daughter shot one, I also finished off a roll of Kodachrome. I processed and mounted two rolls of stereo slides at home, sent three rolls of E-6 out to Fuji via the Right-Aid downtown, and the Kodachrome went to Dwain's via USPS, I have the stereo slides I did at home in hand at about $4.00 a roll for process and mount supplies, I will get the E-6 back from Fuji next week (probably late because of the holiday) at $6.27 a roll, but it will probably take until the second week of December or longer for Dwain's to deliver at $14.50 a roll plus postage to Kansas. Kodachrome is just a pain to deal with, it's expensive, it takes longer than it should, and the word Monopoly comes to mind, even though they are probably breaking even on the process.

    Yes Kodachrome is great stuff, yes you can't beat the color range, but honestly I believe that if it wasn't for Kodachrome we would have a better E-6 film from Kodak today and wouldn't have to wait at least another 3 years for it to show up if it does at all.

    I will be shooting my last roll of Kodachrome after the Christmas tree goes up, and it will be expressed to Dwain's on December 27th, and I might be a little emotional about it, but that will be the end of it for me.

    Pick your battles, and ask for a better E-6 film, and then shoot it, that battle can be won.
     
  23. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    I think bblhed makes some very valid points. I shoot slides through the summer and inflict them on friends and relatives during the dark evenings of the winter months. I also give talks to local societies, so my Carousels get used regularly. As for whether I know anyone else who is shooting slides .... er ...... actually no, and the only other person I know who occasionally shows me slides does so by scanning them and using a video projector. By god do they look awful when you know what they would be like projected properly!

    Regardless of Kodachrome miraculously struggling on, perhaps it's something of a wonder that the various E6 films have lasted this long for use in still cameras. OK, the film currently still has cinematic applications, but even given that it's made anyway, how long will it be worth the hassle of packaging and marketing it for still camera use?

    In years to come, could it be that those of us who like the projected image will only enjoy such things via black and white technology? Will we all have to become adept at the apparently convoluted process of producing monochrome slides? I say "apparently" as I've never tried it, but the instructions look formidable!

    Steve
     
  24. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    The problem is that E6 film sales are so low for both Kodak and Fuji, it is hard to keep those product lines afloat. Doing R&D is probably out of the question.

    PE
     
  25. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    The sad reality is that slides are really like horse saddles. Sure there us a small market for the enthusiasts out there. And for the horse tracks, etc. But no large manufacturer could make it on horse saddles today.
     
  26. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    Where's that wet collodion how-to again? I hope we aren't all forced to make our own emulsions but I fear that day may be during our lifetimes after all...