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.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I still have some aluminum and maybe some yellow. If i remember from my child hood that Kodachrome had a black lid, PlusX, a brown lid and SuperX a green lid on the yellow cans.
A tearful bump for reference.
Archival inkjet printing uses pigment based ink, I know this is a fact for black and I think they have color pigments now.
A pigment based ink should last longer than traditional color photography.
I love old school photography.
I love Kodachrome. But taking money out of
your retirement funds to pay for processing is
The song Kodachrome was a Paul Simon solo effort.
Garfunkel is not on the record. I once heard a radio
station in Youngstown, Ohio play it four times in an
hour during a live remote broadcast (guess they left
most of their records back in the studio)
I know a place that can probably recalibrate your Minolta’s meter to the new batteries. (I have two SRT’s that were so modified) Freepmail me if interested.
At least they entrusted the last roll of Kodachrome produced to one of the best photographers in the world. A fitting end for Kodachrome.
The really sad thing is that Paul Simon declined to be photographed on the last roll of Kodachrome. It would have been one of the most fitting possible photographs, and he blew it.
Better quality USB flash drives might be an answer. I ran one of mine through the washer and dryer and still could access the photos I had stored on it. I also have an external hard drive, but that has the same potential for failure as do any hard drive inside your computer. I am now copying my photos from my external hard drive to flash drives which I will store in my safety deposit box at the bank. Another possible solution is "cloud based" storage backing up your photos to a remote server via the Internet. There are various services available for about $60 per year.
Another problem is the "jpg" digital photo format itself. The "jpg" format is a "lossy" compression that reduces the massive file size generated by your digital camera to a more manageable size. However this compression is done by selectively tossing out data. "jpg" files re-compress every time they are closed and eventually start to loose enough data that the photos degrade in quality. Newer formats like "jpg 2000" are non lossy, but would require you to convert every one of your photos to this format. To avoid the re-compression problem make your archive copy immediately when downloading the photos from your camera and keep these archive files in a safe place and unopened.
Eventually the "jpg" photo format will be changed to something else so it will in the future likely be necessary to migrate your digital files to some new format just like we have to move our 8mm movies to digital format. However given the popularity of "jpg" photos I expect that format to be around quite a while.
Bring back punched paper tape for archival! ;-)
Photo processors made a boatload of money off of me over the years. I love the flexibility of digital, but my Nikon is nowhere near as simple as my old Minolta XG-1.
Question: Do any of the digital cameras offer the instant shutter of my old Minolta SLR? This delay is one of the most annoying things ever.
Would SD cards also be acceptable? I am in the process of scanning old family photos and was thinking of using SD cards for storage.
Like many, many people, I have a box of family photos passed down several generations to me.
Each generation seems to have added to the collection and passed it on. They will go to my son in a few years, then to his son.
Some of the photos are over one hundred years old. The quality of some of them is quite amazing, considering their age.
Through the generations they were looked at, returned to the box and left on a closet shelf or in a drawer for years - no maintenance required.
This quaint tradition will probably end with the phasing out of film and the move to digital. A small photo is a stand-alone document - easily viewed, easily stored, easily transported. No external power or equipment is required.
A CD or other digital record requires specific, complex equipment to read the record, to view it and to create a hard copy. None of it easily stored in a cigar box to be passed down decade after decade.
Further - Not only do digitally stored records deteriorate over time, but as technology advances the ablity to easily read records stored on old technology is lost.
Digital has the advantage of being convenient at the beginning of the process. After the image is captured it losses that advantage.
A couple months ago I sent them a roll of K64 from an old Argus I found on eBay, having no idea what might be on it.
Sadly, they sent it back saying it was too damaged, presumably through age, to process. I suspect that some of the sprocket holes were torn out.
Maybe I should send it to a cryogenic storage facility (alog with my head).
I shoot film and digital these days. A good compromise for people who still like to use the old cameras is to get a scanner that scans film and get your film developed at Wal Mart, tell them “develop only”, scan in your negatives yurself. You can send the images you want printed off to wallies for printing, you have a film original and they only charge $2 or so for doing the film.
For those with a lot of glass that doesn’t get as much use these days in a digital world, look into getting a micro 4/3 camera from Olympus or Panasonic. Available on eaby for cheap are adapters that will allow the use of almost every lens on the micro 4/3 gear. I got myself an Olympus Pen EP1 for Christmas and it works amazingly well with my old Zuiko, Zeiss or other screwmounts, and Minolta MD lenses.
I haavent seen any, but I haven’t looked. Maybe some Pro models. If not action shots must be off a video. The delay while the digital hithes himself before the shutter trips, lead be to think a balk and would make it unsuitable for action shots. Also do tthey make a digital back for some mid-size real camera?
Canon went all out to make the shutter, mirror, and film drive on the Elan II and 7E quiet. For example, they eliminated much of the noise in the film transport by replacing most of the gears with an elastomeric toothed belt.
Digital SLRs have the same issues with the shutter and mirror (although not, of course, the film drive) as film SLRs. And the vertical travelling shutter that all makers use now is very similar to the ones used on the last generations of film cameras like the Elans.
Current Canon DSLRs have shutter/mirror mechanisms with various noise levels. It’s a function of how fast they decide to make the blades move (which determines the maximum flash sync speed), how long-lived they intend the shutter to be, and how quickly they decide the particular camera model should respond to the shutter press and return to reflex viewing.
Some Canon digital EOSes are quieter than others, and it’s hard to predict it on the basis price or intended level of user. If they haven’t pulled the shutter/mirror quieting tricks they did on the later Elan models, I’m not sure why.
It is true that they have incorporated certain features that can be used, or are intended, for special situations requiring quiet operation, such as live view and delayed mirror drop.
[[Canon FX,FTBn -> Olympus 2n’s -> Canon EOS Rebel XT, EOS 3 -> Canon EOS Rebel XT -> Canon EOS 50D]]
There’s tons of stuff on virtually unplayable media. Video from the 50’s, 8-tracks, 5 1/4” floppies, punch cards, etc.
Danger of digital is it could all go bye-bye with a flip of the switch, or the censor’s keystroke.
A number of things go wrong on a camera if it has been sitting unused for a number of years, especially if it was in an unfavorable environment.
Shutter and winder mechanisms go bad due to lubricants evaporating or gumming up, rust forming on shutter or diaphragm blades; plastics warp or become brittle and break; foam rubber (e.g. mirror dampers and light baffles) turn into sticky goo. Meter cells corrode, and mercury types are NLA (some adapters to modern types are available though); lenses and viewfinders cloud up from mildew.