Skip to comments.For Kodachrome Fans, Road Ends at Photo Lab in Kansas
Posted on 12/30/2010 4:04:06 AM PST by Second Amendment First
PARSONS, Kan. An unlikely pilgrimage is under way to Dwaynes Photo, a small family business that has through luck and persistence become the last processor in the world of Kodachrome, the first successful color film and still the most beloved.
That celebrated 75-year run from mainstream to niche photography is scheduled to come to an end on Thursday when the last processing machine is shut down here to be sold for scrap.
In the last weeks, dozens of visitors and thousands of overnight packages have raced here, transforming this small prairie-bound city not far from the Oklahoma border for a brief time into a center of nostalgia for the days when photographs appeared not in the sterile frame of a computer screen or in a pack of flimsy prints from the local drugstore but in the warm glow of a projector pulling an image from a carousel of vivid slides.
In the span of minutes this week, two such visitors arrived. The first was a railroad worker who had driven from Arkansas to pick up 1,580 rolls of film that he had just paid $15,798 to develop. The second was an artist who had driven directly here after flying from London to Wichita, Kan., on her first trip to the United States to turn in three rolls of film and shoot five more before the processing deadline.
The artist, Aliceson Carter, 42, was incredulous as she watched the railroad worker, Jim DeNike, 53, loading a dozen boxes that contained nearly 50,000 slides into his old maroon Pontiac. He explained that every picture inside was of railroad trains and that he had borrowed money from his fathers retirement account to pay for developing them.
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I still have two of the old metal ones taped to my Canon AE-1 camera strap. Oops, telling my age.
Willie, is that you?
I, too, have a roll in my Pentax. What to do?
The aluminum ones, or the older yellow paint?
And what to do with the camera and lenses? It used to be every shot was framed and calculated, now with digital I mostly shoot video and take snapshots off it. Saves me the frustration of the “shutter” delay.
That’s where he’s been for the last few months.
I had a lot my digital photos stored on CDs. The disks have gone bad, and the computer can no longer read the files, so I have lost several years worth of photos.
I suspect a lot of people are in the same boat, but they don’t know it yet. The best way to save photos is to print them out. There is no guarantee that digitally stored files will be readable in the future, as I have found from sad peraonal experience.
On the other hand, we don’t have a long track record on photos printed by ink jet printers. Will they still be of good quality 20 years from now? It may be that 20 years from now, we will wish we still had Kodachrome. We know that pictures taken using that technology will last.
Yea, I got lenses for Canon SLR’s that won’t work on my AF body. And my Élan 7E was a great body. Whisper quiet shutter/motor drive, and an eye sensor in the viewfinder that would focus the exposure sensor where you were looking. I had that body about 2 years before I got my EOS 20D. It’s weird, the shutter system on the digital is noisier than the 7E. I can’t fathom why.
The lesson here is that redundancy is key. 1TB USB hard disk drives are under $75 nowadays, and you can easily store all of your CD media on a disk that size with plenty of room to spare.
Hard disk drives have MTBF (Mean Time Before Failure) ratings measured up to 10 years, and if you keep on top of it, you can continue to migrate those pictures to newer disks in the future.
That being said, I agree that printed pictures are more valuable. Sad that Kodachrome is going the way of the dodo, but the writing was on the wall a while ago. I developed my last roll of film back in the late 90s and have been digital ever since.
RIP old reliable.
I use multiple backups, both usb and HD; the more redundancy the better. I doubt the inkjet prints will last very long. Perhaps a return to tintype is the solution.
Kodachrome may be gone but we will always have that great Simon & Garfunkel song to remember it by.
With digital you need to follow the 3, 2, 1 rule for archiving.
Three copies on two different types of medium, with one copy stored off site. I go a little beyond and keep one copy on an external hard disk, then use two different brands and types of DVDs, finally back up the important photos using Jungledisk to web storage on Amazon’s S3 service.
I also have many photos printed on real photo paper, rather than use ink jets. Most Walgreens have Fuji Frontier photo processing machines that will take jpegs and make real prints that look great.
The makers of diabetic test strips provide a film can sized canister that has an attached snap on lid that is equal to or better than the film canisters.
Find a diabetic friend and have him save them for you
Here in Rochester, NY the bulldozer is busy with Kodak property to reduce their tax base.
I had wondered about that also. Especially in a photo shop.