Kodachrome. Dead at 75

Kodachrome 1958PARSONS, KANSAS, DECEMBER 30, 2010. KODACHROME dead at 75. Word reached us via the Globe and Mail that Kodachrome passed peacefully into history on Thursday. The popular transparency film was bright, contrasty, and slow. It arrived as 16mm movie film in 1935 and the following year as 35mm film. Over its life Kodachrome was the darling of professional colour photographers, amateurs, and vacationing snap-shooters alike. Kodak stopped manufacture in June 2009 and the last Kodachrome processing machine in the world (located at Dwayne’s in Kansas) was turned off at the end of business December 30th. The incredibly complex processing operations make it very unlikely we will ever see Kodachrome processing again.

At ISO 10, it was fond of bright daylight. I took this close-up of a 2N190 transistor while working in Labrador in July, 1958. I used my then new Exakta VXIIa with its Steinheil Auto-Quinon 55mm lens and some extension tubes. While this image is slightly adjusted in Photoshop, the original slide still has the brilliant colours of a half century ago – which cannot be said of its badly faded Anscochrome and Ektachrome contemporaries. To make this image, I shot the transparency and slide holder separately and then merged and scaled the two images in Photoshop ( I took the two shots with a Leitz 65mm Elmar mounted on a Sony NEX-5 camera using a ground glass between the transparency and the Ott-Lite light source).

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