Infobox Photographic film
name = Kodachrome
maker = Eastman Kodak
type = s
speed = 6/9°, 25/15°, 40/17°, 64/19°, 200/24°
format = 16mm, 8mm, 35mm
process = K-14 process
start = 1935
stop = 2002 (ISO 25), 2005 (ISO 40 in 8 mm), 2007 (ISO 200),

Kodachrome is the trademarked name of a brand of color reversal film sold by Eastman Kodak. Since its introduction in 1935 [cite web | url=http://www.kodak.com/US/en/corp/kodakHistory/1930_1959.shtml | title=Kodak: History of Kodak: Milestones 1930 - 1959 | publisher=Kodak | accessdate=2007-05-17] it has been produced in various transparency (slide) and movie formats (8mm, 16mm and 35mm), and was for many years the standard film for professional color photography, especially when submitting images to major magazines such as National Geographic. Since early 2007 it has been produced only in 35mm (135) slide film format, in one speed, ISO 64.

Kodachrome is the oldest successfully mass-marketed color still film using a subtractive method (see color photography for details of earlier additive/'screenplate' methods such as Autochrome and Dufaycolor [cite web | url=http://www.nfsa.afc.gov.au/preservation/film_handbook/colour_processes.html | title=Image Forming Materials - Tint, Tone and Other Colour Processes | publisher=National Film and Sound Archive | accessdate=2007-02-28] ). Kodachrome has been through many incarnations and undergone four major developing process changes over the years; the current is the K-14 process.

Kodachrome is widely regarded as one of the best films available for the archival and professional market because of its color accuracy and dark-storage longevity [ [http://www.acecam.com/message/3757.html Longevity of Kodachrome and Ektachrome slide films. ] ] [ [http://www.pauck.de/archive/mailinglist/photo-3d/mhonarc/msg43543.html [photo-3d Kodachrome Debate ] ] This longevity was demonstrated in February 2007 with the discovery of a Kodachrome 8mm reel shot by George Jefferies of President John F. Kennedy just 90 seconds before his assassination in 1963. [cite web | url=http://www.kltv.com/Global/story.asp?S=6122075&nav=1TjD | title=John F. Kennedy Video Uncovered In East Texas After 43 Years | publisher=KLTV | date=21 February 2007 | accessdate=2007-02-28] This film is now on display at the Sixth Floor Museum in Dallas.

Because of both the longevity and the tonal range of Kodachrome colors, Kodachrome has been used by professional photographers like Alex Webb and Steve McCurry. McCurry's famous image of Sharbat Gula, the "Afghan girl" portrait taken in 1984 for the "National Geographic", was taken with Kodachrome.

When shot with a high quality lens, a 35 mm Kodachrome slide will hold detail equivalent to 25 or more megapixels of image dataFact|date=October 2007.


Kodachrome was invented in the early 1930s by two professional musicians, Leopold Godowsky, Jr. and Leopold Mannes (hence the humorous saying that "Kodachrome was made by God and Man"). [cite web | url=http://www.invent.org/hall_of_fame/233.html | title=Leopold Godowsky, Jr. | publisher=Invent.org | accessdate=2007-02-28] [cite web | url=http://www.invent.org/hall_of_fame/223.html | title=Leopold Mannes | publisher=Invent.org | accessdate=2007-02-28] It was first sold in 1935 as 16 mm movie film. Beginning in 1936 it was also sold as 8 mm movie film and slide film in 35mm and 828 formats. [cite web | url=http://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/products/chrono1.jhtml?id= | title=Chronology of motion picture films | publisher=Kodak | accessdate=2007-02-19] There were several versions made, including 4"x5" ASA 10, 35 mm ASA 10, 35 mm ASA 25, 35 mm ASA 40 for tungsten light, and an even finer grained version for microphotography at ASA 8, etc.

Product Timeline

Source: William S. Lane, Product Support Engineer, Eastman Kodak. January 25th, 2005.



The structure of the Kodachrome emulsion is fundamentally different from that of other slide films in that it is non-substantive. The film is also known as an "Integral Tripack". Nearly all other color films have dye couplers incorporated into the three emulsion layers to ensure that the correct dye forms in the correct layer when all three are developed at the same time. In Kodachrome, however, the dye couplers are introduced during the development process. [cite web | url=http://www.kodak.com/US/plugins/acrobat/en/motion/education/kodak_color_films.pdf | title=Kodak Color Films | pages=37 | publisher=Kodak] This makes its rendering of color and response to light unique. Furthermore, the dye couplers in other color films require thicker emulsion layers that allow light to scatter, whereas thinner layers are generally sharper. A Kodachrome slide is quickly detectable when reviewing a series of slides of indeterminate origin: Kodachromes tend to exhibit a visible "relief" image on the emulsion side.Kodachrome 25 in the mid-1960s was the finest grained consumer film available (exceeded only by Kodachrome 8/10 for microphotography), giving a slide with 4000 grains on the short side and 5000 grains on the long side, total 20,000,000 grains, thus 20. mega-grains on a 24mm x 36 mm (~1" x 1.5") slide.

Developing process

The Kodachrome K-14 developing process is very complicated, exacting, and requires technicians with extensive chemistry training, as well as large machinery which is extremely difficult to operate. This complexity precludes its use by home amateurs or small laboratories, in contrast with the E-6 process, which is used for developing most other reversal films, and which can be performed by amateurs. In the early 1990s Kodak offered the "K-Lab" process to small labs in an attempt to increase the availability of the K-14 process, but ultimately this was not successful, with the final two K-Lab -equipped labs (Horiuchi Color in Tokyo and Kodak's own plant in Lausanne) shutting down and Kodak discontinuing the "B-I-B" (bag-in-box) K-14 chemistry required for the K-Lab.

Similar to other reversal films, Kodachrome is first developed into black and white negative layers and stopped but not fixed. Then, unlike other reversal films, the correct color dye couplers are added by performing two exact light re-exposures and a chemical "fogging" step, with development of the subtractive layers, one at a time, in between re-exposures, adding the dye couplers during each of the three individual color developments. ["Ibid".]

Due to the complexity of its processing, Kodachrome was initially sold at a price which included processing by Kodak. A mailer was included with the film at the time of purchase, which the photographer used to send exposed films, slide or movie, to one of several designated Kodak laboratories, where the film was processed, mounted in 2" x 2" cardboard mounts in the case of 35 mm slides, and returned by mail to the sender. After 1954, as a result of the case "United States v. Eastman Kodak Co.", this practice was prohibited in the United States as anticompetitive. [In 1954, in the case of "United States v. Eastman Kodak Co.", 226 Fed. 62 (W.D.N.Y. 1915), Kodak entered into a consent decree ending a product tying arrangement in which it sold Kodachrome only with Kodak processing included, and allowed independent labs to acquire the chemicals needed to process Kodachrome films. See, "United States v. Eastman Kodak Co.", No. 94-6190, (2nd. Cir. 1994). The U.S. brief can be found at http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f0000/0096.htm#6] Kodak entered into a consent decree ending the product tying arrangement in which it sold Kodachrome only with Kodak processing included, and was required to allow independent labs to acquire the chemicals and machinery needed to process Kodachrome films. Outside the United States processing envelopes continued to be included with the purchase of a roll of Kodachrome, but within the United States Kodak sold processing envelopes separately. (Kodak discontinued the production of film mailers in 2007, but will continue to honor existing mailers until at least the end of 2009.)

As the use of slide film in general declined in the 1980s and 1990s, and as Kodachrome sales in particular dropped after the introduction of Fujifilm's Velvia slide film in 1990, many Kodachrome processing laboratories, both Kodak-owned and independent, shut down in response to the greatly decreased volume of business. Since the closing of the last Kodak-owned slide processing lab in the United States in the summer of 2005, virtually all Kodachrome processing has been done by [http://www.dwaynesphoto.com Dwayne's Photo] , an independent processing lab in Parsons, Kansas. Dwayne's Photo is the last Kodak-certified K-14 lab open to the public remaining in the world, and honors all of Kodak's processing mailers for slides, per an agreement with the company. (Kodak also maintains a small, private K-14 line at their Rochester campus for testing purposes.)

Color stability

The long-term "dark-keeping" stability under ordinary conditions has long been superior to other color film. Kodachrome slides over fifty years old still retain accurate color and grain. It has been calculated that the least stable color, yellow, suffers a 20% loss in 180 years. This is mostly attributable to the fact that Kodachromes have no unused color couplers remaining after processing, unlike other color slides. However, Kodachrome color stability under bright light, i.e., projection, is quite inferior to E-6 process slide films (mentioned below), at least in actual still film. [cite web | url=http://www.wilhelm-research.com/pdf/HW_Book_05_of_20_HiRes_v1a.pdf | title=The permanence and care of color photographs | publisher=Wilhelm Imaging Research | accessdate=2006-12-27 | type=PDF]

Digital scanning and resolution

A framed Kodachrome can be scanned with any film scanner like any normal slide, but it will resolve in a strong blue cast in the majority of cases. Some software producers deliver special Kodachrome color profiles with their software to avoid this. However an IT8 calibration is necessary for an authentic color reproduction.

At 4000 samples per inch a Kodachrome scan produces roughly 21 megapixels from a 35mm frame. Going even further, professional scanners capable of 8000 or 12,000 spi turn a Kodachrome's native resolution into a sharp 85 to 192 megapixel file. Because the uneven grain structure of film has to be 'translated' into square pixels, the pixels from a film scan cannot be directly compared with the pixels from a digital camera. A scan needs more pixels to show the same amount of detail, because several pixels are needed to record one dye particle. Consequently, a DSLR image can be sharper and more detailed than a scan, even if it contains fewer pixels.

Kodachrome requires special processing when scanning, as many film scanners have difficulty scanning Kodachrome slides when using Digital ICE or similar infrared (IR) channel dust removal functions. Typically, dust, scratches and fingerprints are detected and removed by a scanner's software. Many scanners use an additional infrared channel to detect defects, as the long wave infrared light passes through the slide but not through dust particles. However, Kodachrome (and many black/white slides) contain silver halides, which reflect the infrared light in a similar manner to dust particles. This can result in washed-out scans. In 2004 Nikon introduced the Super Coolscan 9000 ED with ICE professional, currently the only film scanner capable of scanning Kodachrome slides reliably dust- and scratch-free. [ [http://www.creativepro.com/article/bit-by-bit-new-scanner-gives-life-to-old-film CreativePro - Bit by Bit: New Scanner Gives Life to Old Film] by Brian P. Lawler (Photographer)]


Kodachrome 25 discontinuation

Kodachrome ISO 25 was discontinued in 2002. Many point to the introduction of Velvia or the decline in quality of processing as the reason for its demise. [cite web | url=http://www.verticalwind.com/k-25.html | title=The Demise of Kodachrome 25 | publisher=Unlimited Graphic Communication, Inc. | date=May 2001 | accessdate=2007-08-15] Small quantities of Kodachrome 25 slide and movie film are still found from time to time on internet auction sites, with factory-sealed, 10-roll sets of slide film from the last batches ever made (with expiration dates from late 2002 or early 2003) sometimes selling for more than 600 US dollarsFact|date=June 2007.

Kodachrome 40 Super 8 discontinuation

In May 2005, Kodak discontinued the manufacturing of Kodachrome in the Super 8 movie format, [cite web | url=http://www.kodak.com/US/plugins/acrobat/en/motion/newsletters/news/PCN070405_Q.pdf | title=Kodak News: Kodachrome 40 Movie film (Type A)/Super 8 Discontinued | date=July 2005 | publisher=Kodak | accessdate=2006-06-10] despite protests from filmmakers. [cite web | url=http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/05/31/business/kodak.php | title=Fans beg: Don't take Kodachrome away | publisher=International Herald Tribune | date=1 June 2005 | accessdate=2007-08-02] Kodachrome Super 8 films that reached the Kodachrome lab in Lausanne, Switzerland, before 25 September 2006 were developed at the facility, the only place for authorized processing of Kodachrome 40. Kodak launched a replacement colour reversal film in the Super 8 format, Ektachrome 64T, which processes in the much more common E6 chemistry and is the same as almost every other reversal film. As Kodachrome was a non-standard film, it does not look the same as the standardized Ektachrome replacement stock; many Super 8 users believe the new Ektachrome emulsion is inferior especially in color reproduction and granularity. Oddly, Kodak still produces its 40 ASA Daylight balanced Kodachrome stock for Regular 8mm which is cut out of ordinary 16mm stock. This can be done because unlike Super 8, Regular 8 has the same size perforations as 16mm.

Kodachrome 200 discontinuation

Kodak officially discontinued Kodachrome 200 in November 2006. The last emulsion batch was numbered 2672, dated the last film was labelled with the expiration date July 2008 or September 2008 (European version, KL135-36P). [ [http://www.nikonians.org/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=show_thread&om=15292&forum=DCForumID20&omm=11&viewmode=threaded please wait ] ] Supplies of the film have totally dried up, with no stock at all major U.S. and International retailers.


On 30 June 2006, Eastman Kodak announced the closure of the Lausanne Kodachrome lab, the world's only remaining lab open to for Kodachrome processing owned by Eastman Kodak itself. Since December 20, 2007, only Dwayne's Photo in Kansas remains as the sole processing lab in the world, after Horiuchi Color in Tokyo shut down their K-Lab and E-K ceased to pack K-14 chemistry in the "bag-in-box" required by that minilab-style processor. Although Kodachrome 40 Super 8 processing by Dwayne's is not authorized by Kodak (due to an unspecified issue with the processing machine) the processing of the slide films by Dwayne's has Kodak's full blessing. [cite web | url=http://www.dwaynesphoto.com/newsite2006/slide-film.html | title=Slide Film Processing | publisher=Dwayne's Photo]

Since October 2006, all Kodachrome processing for Europe and North America has been consolidated to Dwayne's. [cite web | url=http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQuerier.jhtml?pq-path=1147&pq-locale=en_US&_requestid=2813 | title=KODACHROME Processing Laboratories | publisher=Kodak | accessdate=2007-08-15] Prepaid Kodak SLIDE FILM mailers should be sent to: KODAK MAILER SLIDE PROCESSING, PO BOX 1171, PARSONS KS 67357-1171. This is the special address that Dwayne's has set up for their Kodak mailer customers. (KODAK PRINT FILM MAILERS are to be sent to the Kodak Dallas, Texas lab.) Kodak advises customers in the EU to continue sending Kodachrome mailers to the address printed on the mailer and they will be forwarded to Dwayne's at no extra charge. [cite web | url=http://www.kodak.com/eknec/PageQuerier.jhtml?pq-path=1095/1147&pq-locale=en_GB | title=KODACRHOME Processing Laboratories | publisher=Kodak | accessdate=2008-02-22]

On 25 July 2006 extensive documentation about the impending closure of the Lausanne Kodachrome lab was sent to the European Parliament by the Dutch office of the European Parliament. Although Lausanne lies in Switzerland, not an EU-member state, the lab serves all of Europe and its discontinuation could seriously affect photography in Europe. Two parliamentary committees, one for "Culture and Education", [cite web | url=http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/expert/committees/presentation.do?committee=1246&language=EN | title=Culture and Education Committee | publisher=European Parliament] the other one for "Internal Market and Consumer Protection" [cite web | url=http://www.europarl.europa.eu/activities/expert/committees/presentation.do?committee=1241&language=EN | title=Internal Market and Consumer Protection | publisher=European Parliament] will study the matter and may come up with solutions, with or without EU-subsidy.

Kodachrome 40 in Super 8 has however been discontinued and all available first-hand quantities, even re-labeled under different brand names, were sold out by mid-to-late 2006. Kodak officially replaced Kodachrome in Super 8 with "Ektachrome 64T". Ektachrome 64T does not emulate Kodachrome 40. Third-party resellers have attempted to fill the Kodachrome void with the emergence of Fuji Velvia 50 and Kodak Ektachrome 100D in Super 8 cartridges, by purchasing empty cartridges from Kodak and loading the material themselves. While Ektachrome 100D that has been previously slit and perforated by Kodak can be purchased in bulk quantities by the resellers , the Velvia 50 stock has to be slit and perforated by the resellers themselves. The costs are thus significantly higher when shooting with third party Super 8 stocks, and many users have expressed complaints about frame registration and film transport being poor compared to Kodachrome 40 at times. [http://www.filmshooting.com/scripts/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=19419&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hilit=jitter&sid=2a2fdc107bb595bfd1e4fc891a9e7949]

There will be no new stocks of Kodachrome 64 in Japan from the end of March, 2007.Fact|date=March 2007 Processing will continue in Japan until 20 December 2007. Until all stocks of Kodachrome are fully depleted, any K64 processed after December 20 will be sent to Dwayne's Photos in Kansas.

For 16 mm customers who pre-paid for processing of Kodachrome motion picture film with the purchase of the film stock, Dwayne's Photo honored that processing at no additional charge, until 31 December 2006. After that date, Kodachrome 16 mm film processing costs, as well as the responsibility for shipping that product to Dwayne's, must be borne by the customer. On 30 June 2006 Kodak also announced that the manufacture of Kodachrome 16 mm film will be discontinued, although there may be one last production run at the end of 2006. Dwayne's will continue to process 16 mm. [Christgau, Sally (30 June 2006). "Kodak announces end dates for Kodachrome motion picture film processing" Press release. CCPR.]

See also

* 135 film
* 35 mm film
* Ektachrome
* Kodacolor
* Color film (motion picture)
* List of motion picture film stocks
* List of products manufactured by Kodak
* Kodachrome (song) A song by Paul Simon
* The Kodachrome Basin State Park is named after the Kodachrome brand


External links

Official Kodak information

* [http://www.super8.nl/k40.pdf Technical data on Kodachrome 40 movie film ]

Other resources

* [http://www.mindspring.com/~tony1964/MicroSlides.html Comparison between Velvia and Kodachrome]
* [http://www.dwaynesphoto.com Dwayne's Photo] Current Kodachrome processing in the USA
* [http://historicphotoarchive.com/f2/kodachrome.html "Kodachrome Slide Dating Guide"]
* [http://www.kodachromeproject.com Kodachrome Project]

Processing of older Kodachrome including Processes K-11 and K-12:
* [http://www.processc22.co.uk Process C-22] UK and Europe
* [http://www.rockymountainfilm.com Rocky Mountain] USA

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