Wednesday, September 13, 2006


This film has been around since the mid 1930's and for me defines colour photography in the 20th Century.
The image above was taken in the 1950's and is over 50 years old, but still it looks as fresh as the day it was made. No other colour film has the archival qualities of Kodachrome and I believe that also extends to the realm of the digital image.

I came across the slide above in a local second-hand camera shop and have no idea who the lady is in picture, just that this is part of a Italian holiday she and her husband enjoyed before I was born!
The films speed at the time was around 10 ASA (compared to 64 today) so anything but good lighting conditions was a challenge.

Why do I still use this antiquated product?
Simple- it gives good colours, fine grain and has a high sharpness. Other films also posses these qualities but none has the longevity. The slides I take of my children today will be easily accessible long after my death by simply holding them up to the light (try that with a DVD). I doubt a fraction of my digital images will survive, I know for sure I've lost one or two from as little as seven years ago due to CD failure.
So I'm preserving the family memories in the best possible way:-
A Leica loaded with Kodachrome

Kids on beach 2006
Long live Kodachrome!


Fazal Majid said...

Only if you keep it in the dark, however. Kodachrome fades alarmingly quickly when projected.

Photo–Smith said...

Yes I've heard that, although that's not my experience-but I do look after all my slides/prints/files.
Most traditional photographs(and inkjets) fade in light, but slides aren't normally stored or permanently displayed in light (unlike prints).
Kodachrome stored in it's box and projected occasionally will last at least 50 tears in my experience.

Photo–Smith said...

Oh BTW thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my blog.

Charlie Wood said...

You might not like this but Kodak have ceased production of Kodachrome 200! Kodachrome 64 is still in production for now.....
And EIR is going to !
I shoot kodachrome for the same reasons as you, I have just scanned my parents kodachromes and Gratispool slides dating form the 1950 to the 1990's I was teasing my father about these slides, All my mums slides are kodachromes many of my fathers are Gratispools, I was calling him a cheap skate, you can guess which slides produced the best scans.
Kodachrome slides are great value to. I pay £5.90 a roll from, an E6 film will cost just over £6 for the film and processing at I am very lucky to have 2 pro-labs 15 mins away where I can get 1 hour E-6 processing but that work out at £10 per 36 exp, Kodachromes take about 2-3 weeks now to process as the lab in Switzerland has closed, they go to the states for processing now. I will continue to shoot Kodachrome for as long as I can.

Photo–Smith said...

Charlie, once again thanks for your comments.I did know about the November coating of Kodachrome 200 being the last, which is a shame.
I suppose the bean counters at Kodak are just looking at sales figures (fair enough) so I've ordered several rolls from the same vendor as you.
I use E-6 a bit (used to own a pro-lab) and they do 2 hour for about £5 un-mounted I use them for 400x mainly.