Kodak may bring back Kodachrome film as well


After bringing back the Ektachrome, Kodak may also resurrect the Kodachrome film according to Kodak's CMO Steven Overman:

We get asked all the time by filmmakers and photographers alike, ‘are you gonna bring back some of these iconic film stocks like Kodachrome [and] Ektachrome,'” says Overman. “I will say, we are investigating Kodachrome, looking at what it would take to bring that back […] Ektachrome is a lot easier and faster to bring back to market […] but people love Kodak’s heritage products and I feel, personally, that we have a responsibility to deliver on that love.

Source: The Kodakery podcast via Petapixel, picture source: Wikipedia

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  • nwcs

    If they do that I suspect it would be with a different chemistry given the reasons for discontinuing it some years ago.

    • Spy Black

      There’s no way they’d ever get away with that, and as the CMO said:
      “…Ektachrome is a lot easier and faster to bring back to market…”

      That comment shows the point.

      • nwcs

        It would be an interesting backtrack given the environmental issues and such that caused them to withdraw it in the first place. I guess we will see. Maybe people who are rescuing old kodachrome undeveloped film can get it in color and not b&w now.

        • Spy Black

          That really the one thing about all color film, they’re all environmentally problematic.

          If you have an old unprocessed roll of Kodachrome, getting it normally processed probably won’t help, unless possibly you stored them in completely light tight containers in good temperature conditions. I tried it with several old rolls I had and only one was returned with images, and then just barely. Better I think to send them to Film Rescue International and get B&W images instead of nothing at all. I have an old roll of E-4 Ektachrome that I’m about to send their way.

  • Spy Black

    Man, that would be awesome. Finger’s crossed.

    • saywhatuwill

      I personally didn’t like 120 Kodachrome much. There was just something about it that wasn’t too great…oh, yeah, I could get E6 processed within a couple hours whereas I had to send my Kodachrome to A&I in Los Angeles and wait a week.

      On another note I also remembering giving 9 rolls of Kodachrome to get processed and I only got back 8 rolls. Of course the Pulitzer prize winning photo was on that lost roll and someone else got the credit for it. Sigh.

      • Spy Black

        Well, that can happen with any roll you have processed by someone. Of course you CAN process E-6 yourself. 😉

        • saywhatuwill

          Yes. I even have the regulated temperature bath too! However, I tried processing E6 myself once, came out with underexposed positives (chemicals not hot enough (before I owned the temperature bath)) and never took a stab at it again. I figured I’d take E6 to a local lab instead of risking messing up my day of shooting again. I used the bath for Cibachrome (Ilfochrome) processing.

          • Spy Black

            Cibachrome. Sigh…

          • Ah there’s a name (and a smell) I haven’t experienced in decades!

  • Kai

    OMG I thought I would die without shooting Kodachrome but this gives me some hope!

    • Peter

      You can still shoot it!

      Just not develop it…

      😉

      Honestly though, this will be great if it happens. I’d probably say it would hinge partly on how well Ektachrome does!

  • saywhatuwill

    I would be very, very surprised if it’s the same processing. It was a precise, environmentally hazardous, process that couldn’t be duplicated with a home process. If it is the same process then I’ll be mad that I developed my 40 year old Kodachrome with black and white developer. I could have had magenta or green slides instead. Sigh. Such is life.

  • Jeffry De Meyer

    All this Kodak news reminded me of the Kodak phone.
    First reviews are starting to pop online, it is as expected an over priced plastic toy.

    Shame I forgot writing down the username of the guy that called me a fool for saying it would suck before the device was actually released just by watching the spec list

    • I use Kodak film but I don’t use that Kodak phone you mentioned.
      Because it doesn’t fit into my cameras.

  • raziel28

    It would be great! Fuji becomes boring with its price increases, competition is always a good thing…
    Regards

    • Max Lim

      I seriously doubt that.

      A: Fuji’s prices are not due to gouging, but lack of sale s from lack of competition.
      B: Expect the Kodak film to cost every bit as much as Fuji, if not more.
      C: If it becomes Kodak vs Fuji, I seriously doubt the competition will drive down price, but rather two companies competing for the same small niche hipster market. If anything lower sales split between Kodak/Fuji will likely lead to more price increases.

      • CHD

        I totally agree…there just isn’t enough of a market for film….hence the reason these types of film were discontinued in the first place.

  • Thylmuc

    Re-establishing the complex process is but one aspect. imho, Kodak also needs to find a faster approach for the overall return time of images to the photographers. A more decentralised franchising with several smaller labs, and sending scans of the Images to the customers by email might help speeding up getting the results.

    Or Kodak finds a way to give us the Kodachrome colours in an E6 processed film. Doubtful.

  • SPshooter

    Soon I guess 1 of the digital camera manufacturer will works with Kodak to put into their film simulation just like Fujifilm. Matter of time.

    • CHD

      This was done ages ago….there are countless plugins that emulate the looks of all kinds of film. 2 mins in PS…..

      • SPshooter

        Wah, you must be a real Pro ya. Mind to share some of your 2 mins awesome PS?

        • CHD

          Dude…in the 3 secs you took to type that sentence you could have found your answer on the good old internets….but your sarcasm is not lost on me. That said if you are going to be sarcastic then at least be intelligent.
          Color Efex Pro and Analog Efex Pro (used to be Nik Efex products but bought by Google) are free….and work well. You’re welcome.

          • SPshooter

            Relax & be cool dude, think positive ya.

  • malchick743

    Chemistry type is one thing; storage longevity is another

    Also with good film comes the need of updated film scanning technology and hardware, so far I haven’t seen any decent film scanners in the current product lineup

    Would really love to get back to film photography but the prerequisite is access to a pro-grade film scanner which I can operate on everyday basis without hardware crashes etc.

    • This alone would be a big benefit of this trend back to film for photographers who have large collections of slides and negatives. We need a great, reasonably-priced, scanner that gets all the image out of our film.

      • CHD

        This is the reason most of us dumped film in the first place! What’s the point of shooting film if you intend to digitize it??? It is a pain in the ar$e and difficult to get quality scans with proper colour…and unless you pay big $$$ for high end drum scans you are just losing quality in the process.

        I miss the look of some film and the nostalgia of it but I embraced digital 100% and haven’t looked back.

  • RodneyKilo

    If this is reintroduced, because of the very complex and specialized processing and equipment needed for Kodachrome, I’m guessing it would really be an E6 transparency film “in the spirit and tradition and look of the original Kodachrome.”

    • Brennan McKissick

      This get my vote as well. I too think it’ll be an E6 process film with the color balance of Kodachrome.

    • Nope, if it isn’t three layers of black and white where the dyes are added in the processing, it’s not Kodachrome and the FTC would probably have something to say about that.

      Photographers would certainly cry foul. There are plenty of us that used only Kodachrome Pro film in matched batches for all our color work back in the day.

      • RodneyKilo

        Why would the FTC tell a private company what the ingredients of their private product must be, as long as everything is fully disclosed?
        Companies change formulas and procedures all the time.

  • Bo Dez

    I would give my left nut for this.

    PLEASE KODAK! PLEASE GOD!

    • Never, ever, will there be a home processing kit for Kodachrome. Back when it was still popular you had to have a Phd in chemistry to run the machine, and that machine cost $2 million. No doubt today it could be automated, but the machine will still be vastly expensive and hard to maintain.

      • satrain18

        On top of that, the machine is the size of a Greyhound bus.

      • AnthonyH

        The process used cyanide as part of the chemicals, so home processing would definitely be out of the question!

    • TwoStrayCats

      I’ll throw in my right one to make it a pair.

    • duck

      If digital didn’t happen, with all those research and development money pour in to develop new chemicals and machinery, this would be in our garage already!

    • Licheus

      You need only a water bath to do E-6 and C41 at home. I know people who use just their microwave oven to adjust temperature and get good results.

      For the K-14…what other people said.

  • Brennan McKissick

    I’d love to see it brought back in its original form but I feel like they will do what others have mentioned here which is make it an E6 process film with the color balance of original Kodachrome.

  • a-traveler

    How about bringing back the Readyload?

    For those not familiar with Kodak’s Readyload (and Fuji’s Quickload), each individual sheet of 4×5 film is in an envelope. These envelopes are used with a Quickload (or Readyload) holder. No need for loading/unloading your film in a darkroom or dark-bag. Here’s a video on using Fuji’s Quickload https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BU1gTSdZ90

  • Fotaugrafee

    If Fujichrome Provia 100F is going for $10 per roll as-is, just imagine the cost of what Kodachrome 64 or 25 would be today. I mourn the idea that even I could not afford to drop $15/roll or more, without adding a significant (read: detrimental) cost to purchasers of my 35mm slides. 🙁

    • TwoStrayCats

      The last time I bought Provia was a couple of decades ago. I do believe it was around $6 then. Adjusting for inflation that cost really hasn’t changed much.

    • Spy Black

      Anyone who’s going to want this will pay whatever it costs.

  • TwoStrayCats

    Paul Simon will be thrilled!

  • Licheus

    People weren’t buying Kodachrome at all years (in the early 1990s) before they finally axed it. It just didn’t worth the trouble – the three exposures during the K-14 process was a nightmare compared to E-6. Newer chromes like Velvia and E100VS were cheaper and offered much better performance than Kodachrome in almost everyway.

    They are stepping into Lomo territory should they bring it back, and even the hipsters won’t be able to afford it. The average film maniacs could only shoot 1-2 rolls per year as the processing cost would be driven prohibitively high, and they’ll have to rebuild a global network just for the K-14 only…it will end as disaster that gives the final blow to Kodak’s fragile film business.

    For God’s sake, just don’t do it. Let the dead rest in peace.

  • TwoStrayCats

    I would like to see Kodak start producing top-notch sensors again. They certainly have the capability.

    • Jeffry De Meyer

      I doubt they have the billions needed to build a cmos fabrication centre and would have a hard time getting the capital since the market is saturated.

  • pete in OKC

    Film Lust = film dust. Sorry. Don’t miss it. Sure digital cameras can get dust on the sensor. Easy to fix in Photoshop. Film attracts dust everywhere: enlarger, projection, scanner. Fix it in Photoshop? What’s the point, now its digital? “Look” and “feel” are mythos. Processing chemicals? Artisanal stink. A major factor in killing film was environmental. I ran a lab which had been in business for 30+ years. There was a utility manhole in the parking lot. One day the phone company was down the hole. Since he was blocking my spaces I asked him how long he’d be. “A few days at least. The wires are corroded down there. Something is eating up all the wires!” I realized the lab was right on top of the tunnel. All those years of chemicals dumped down the drain… After I told the owner about it, the lab was shut down and sold off in 4 weeks.

  • AnthonyH

    It’s important to remember that Kodachrome is a name, but the process is K-14. Several options here: 1) Introducing low speed, extra low grain film with an E-6 process and a “Kodachrome” look; 2) Introducing the old-style film with the Kodachrome name and the K-14 process; 3) Introducing a new film with the Kodachrome name and a new process to achieve the correct “look”; 4) No Kodachrome at all.

    Of these options, #4 is where we are now. #1 would be a purely marketing attempt, but photographers would recognize it as a marketing ploy and not be fooled. #2 might be possible with legacy equipment and limited batch runs for processing (e.g. one lab for the country, only runs once a month or once a quarter, automation, etc) to make it feasible, with employees working on other projects during non-processing time. #3 would be the most interesting from my perspective–a new process and new film, using the advances in technology/chemistry since 1938. It would be interesting to get the look and longevity of the old Kodachrome in a new, less environmentally dangerous chemistry.

    I suspect that what’s happening though is something along the lines of #2–they’re checking to see what legacy equipment is in storage, the environmental permits and risks, the associated costs, and how to make it not only practical but also affordable and profitable. A boutique film, boutique process and thus, boutique (read: expensive) prices. But it would be very nostalgic to include a pre-paid mailer with every box of new Kodachrome…

    • Spy Black

      1 and 3 aren’t going to fly with anyone who used Kodachrome. It’s going to have to be 2 or nothing. 1 or 3 COULD work, if you simply didn’t call it Kodachrome, but we’re talking about resurrecting Kodachrome.

      • AnthonyH

        #3 *could* work if the look is really, really good. Nobody really complains when emulsions and grain are improved. I agree that passing off E-6 as Kodachrome is a bad idea, but for any new formulation, we old timers will be comparing the colors, the contrast, the overall dimensionality, or “the look.” But yeah, I love the original Kodachrome tremendously, and as I wrote above, #2 is the most likely reality–or as you say, 2 or nothing.

  • destroy2153

    Yesssss !
    and I want the best of them K25 and K200 (sorry Ernst Hass for the KX…), and if it can be the same in the 120 (forget the loosy K64…).

  • I’d buy a few rolls if it comes back.

  • Christopher J. May

    This story could be the poster child for internet rumors run amok. The source of all this nonsense was a single sentence on a podcast that was nothing more than public relations “speak.” The translation of the PR talk is something like “there’s no chance that we bring Kodachrome back, but I can’t say that when we’re announcing the revival of another classic film and our Super-8 camera.”

    • Well, this is a rumors site, you should be asking why all other websites published it 🙂

      • Christopher J. May

        It’s silly to even have on a rumors site, IMHO. It was one sentence during a podcast spoken in the public-relations speak that flows at trade shows like the Mississippi River during flood stage. It’s merely playing to the nostalgic feelings stirred up by remembering the halcyon days of Kodak — precisely the kind of buzz that Kodak Alaris wants to drum up.

        Don’t get me wrong. I love Kodachrome and would love to see it revived. I just really, really, really doubt that will ever happen for the reasons mentioned elsewhere on this thread. And seeing this single sentence blown up the way it has been feels like a summation of everything that’s wrong with how we receive and process information in this modern age.

        Look at the title of Photo Rumor’s article: “Kodak may bring back Kodachrome.” I’m sorry, but there’s a big difference between that and what the marketing director said: “I will say, we are investigating Kodachrome, looking at what it would take to bring that back.” When you realize that this is a marketing officer spewing PR-talk, I don’t think it’s accurate to title the article “Kodak may bring back Kodachrome.” All it takes is for another rumor site to drop the word “may” out of there, and suddenly it’s the second coming of “God and Man.” (the inventors of the original Kodachrome were Leopold Godowsky and Leopold Mannes, sometimes referred to as “God and Man.”

  • ck_dexter_haven

    And i’ll match Bo’s contribution and surrender my Right nut.

  • Pablo

    Better make Fuji give us Neopan 3200, Natura 1600 and many others they killed.
    Kodak would be better off if they reduced the prices and made a Pakon like scanner for arround 700 dollars. NOW THAT would be amazing.

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