Just before Christmas I sent off my last four rolls of Kodachrome to Dwayne’s for processing. If you are one of the exceedingly tiny percentage of the population who cares about such things then you may be aware that last week was the deadline for Dwayne’s to accept orders for Kodachrome processing. When Kodak officially discontinued the film, they also stopped making the chemistry to process it, leaving Dwayne’s with a year’s supply.
What this meant was that everyone who had any rushed to use up whatever they were holding and get it to Kansas. I’d been using it up about one roll a month or so, and I held the last four because the return postage is cheaper than sending them one at a time. I sent mine in by express mail, thinking of the deadline and the holidays. I’d hoped that by now I’d have a post up about those last rolls, but I’m still waiting. In the past, I’d get my order back in about a week, including transit time to and from Parsons. But by Christmas there was already 10-day backlog at Dwayne’s.
This is a little nerve-wracking, since once the existing chemical stock is exhausted, there is no more. If some of the film doesn’t get processed now, it never will, at least not in color (it can be done as black & white). As I write this, a week after the deadline, a photographer at Dwayne’s is reporting that they still have another 10,000 rolls to go, but it looks like the chemistry will hold out.
I’ll be sad to see Kodachrome go, but not completely crushed. There really is nothing like it, but today the remaining color negative and slide films are very good. In Kodachrome’s heyday nothing else was even close. And of course, the film I used to like, Kodachrome 25, has been gone for some years now. I don’t even get the film in slide mounts any more. No projector. I’m either going to view them on a light box or put them in the scanner. So it’s easier to just get uncut rolls back. That’s just the way it’s going to be from now on, more and more of our favorite films being discontinued until all that’s left is Tri-X. Or maybe Adox.
Polaroid on Kodachrome: