Re: Silly little Kodak History question.

From: Richard Knoppow ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 07/15/05-02:52:46 PM Z
Message-id: <005701c5897f$2abedad0$13695142@VALUED20606295>

----- Original Message -----
From: "Wayne D" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, July 15, 2005 12:35 PM
Subject: Re: Silly little Kodak History question.


AFAIK Kodachrome in 120 was stopped long ago, and 35mm K25
several years ago. I believe that 35mm K64 and K200 are
still around, as well as 8mm and maybe 16mm film stock. But
I've heard (rumors?) that Kodak is going to close their only
lab left (in Switzerland), that would mean 2 independent
labs left in the whole world, so maybe the handwriting is on
the wall?

   Kodachrome in 120 was discontinued less than ten years
ago although I can't give an exact date. Kodak did this by
the simple means of requiring licensed processors to install
new machines that took only 35mm film. A&I locally used to
process both sizes. K-25 disappeared before that. The reason
given was low sales volume.
   Kodak is trying the same thing with 8 mm Kodachrome,
i.e., making processing impossible. Evidently this size is
popular with film students who have mounted a public
protest. This has resulted in Kodak reconsidering the
closing of the lab in Switzerland. I think 16mm Kodachrome
is still used in enough volume to keep it going. It is, BTW,
surprizing how many people are still working with 16mm film.
   A few other companies have made films similar to
Kodachrome. Rudolf Kingslake, in his book on Rochester, N.Y.
photo supply companies, traces the fortunes of Kryptar film,
based on expired Kodachrome patents. I think this is the
stuff the 3M eventually aquired but am not sure. It was not
successful. Ilford also made a reversal film of this sort
but used a different method of isolating the emulsions for
selective re-exposure, probably to get around still active
Kodak patents or, perhaps, protected proprietary
information. I have no idea of how this stuff looked. It was
not in production for long.
   The processing of Kodachrome type films requires that
each of the three layers be reversal developed separately in
a developer containing the right coupler for the color
wanted in that layer. While the selective re-exposure method
used by Kodak since about 1937 or 1938 is much less fussy
than the original controlled penetration of bleach method it
is still very complex and requires tight controls at each
step. I also understand that the some of the processing
chemicals are much more toxic than those used for current
E-6 or C-41 processing making environmental protection more
difficult for the lab.
   Kodachrome was originally released as 16mm motion picture
film. At the time the processing method was changed it was
brought out in 35mm still film, a variety of roll film
sizes, and in sheet film up to 16x20! All sheet film was
processed at Rochester. These sizes were discontinued
shortly after Ektachrome was put on the market, c.1949.
Ektachrome was never processed by Kodak, only by independent
labs. I suspect that the processing of Kodachrome sheet film
was unprofitable. I have (or had) friends who worked in
N.Y.C. advertizing studios at the time. They tell me that
early Ektachrome was pretty awful and no replacement for

Richard Knoppow
Los Angeles, CA, USA 
Received on Fri Jul 15 14:53:00 2005

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