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Friday, January 7, 2011


By JC Leahy

Undeveloped roll of Kodachrome returned unprocessed by Dwayne's. Thanks a LOT, Kodak!!!

There is an uproar in the photographic community.  Kodak, it seems, has strangled worldwide processing of Kodachrome film with unconscionable haste.   By a combination of secrecy, market dominatioin, and asserting now-expired patents, Kodak had set itself up as the sole manufacturer not only of Kodachrome-type film but also of the chemicals needed to develop it. To this very day, Kodak has kept the recipe for Kodachrome's developing chemicals an industrial secret.   Kodak halted Kodachrome film manufacturing in 2009, and the last batch of Kodachrome "expired" at the end of November, 2010.  A mere 30 days later, the only Kodak-approved developing lab, Dwaynes Photo, abruptly halted developing of  This left photograhers "high and dry" with Christmas Season and other images which now, apparetnly, can never be developed.  Photographers frequently use film after it's marked "expiration date," simply by refrigerating or freezing the film until it is needed for use. Some photographers who use Kodachrome see Kodak's ultra-rapid strangulation of Kodachrome processing as un-caring at best, and at worst, a stab-in-the back to Kodak's most loyal consumers.

As one commentator at the L-Camera Forum said:

"I do not feel that I am asking for any favours [that Kodak should ensure processing of Kodachrome] ... The expiry of some of my 64 is 11/2010, and I am therefore surprised at what can be construed as an inelegant lack of latitude on Kodak's part."

As another commentator at the Huffington Post said more inelegantly:

Recent JC Leahy Kodachrome pic - Sigma SA-5 camera
with kit lens and fill flash

"It appears that Dwayne's has stopped developing Kodachrome not because there are no more rolls of film but because it has run out of the chemicals required to develop the film. Would it have killed Kodak to make another batch of the necessary chemicals?"

Kodak issued to following defense:

We announced on June 22, 2009 that we are retiring KODACHROME Film, concluding its 74-year run as a photography icon. Sales of this film, which became the world's first commercially successful color film in 1935, have declined dramatically in recent years. Today, KODACHROME Film represents just a fraction of one percent of our total sales of still-picture films. It was certainly a difficult decision to retire this film, given its rich history. However, the majority of today's photographers have voiced their preference to capture images with newer technology – both film and digital. Please be assured we remain committed to providing the highest-performing products, both film and digital, to meet those needs.

As you may know, for all of its magic, KODACHROME is a complex film to manufacture and an even more complex film to process. Current KODACHROME Film users are encouraged to try other KODAK Films, such as KODAK PROFESSIONAL EKTACHROME E100G and EKTAR 100 Film. These films both feature extremely fine grain. For more information, please visit:

We hope this issue has been resolved to your satisfaction. A Customer Satisfaction Survey will be emailed to you. Please take time to provide us with your feedback about this support experience, as it will help us in our on going effort to continually improve our support. Please make sure to check your spam and bulk folders in case the email survey does not go to your Inbox.

Thank you for your time. If you should have future questions on Kodak products or services, please feel free to visit our Web site at where we are continually adding new information to enhance our service. You may also wish to call our toll-free number at 800-242-2424. Our representatives are available to speak with you Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time.


Joel R.
Kodak Information and Technical Support

According to the History Blog:

"Before the [Dwayne's Photo processing ] deadline loomed so prominently, the store was developing an average of 700 rolls of film a day, which is a remarkable amount considering the dominance of digital. The end of an era stimulated a huge final rush of people bringing in every roll they've had lying around for decades."

"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"

Personally, I think the Huffington Post commentator had it right:

Give us a break, Kodak!!!  Why the terrible rush to strangle Kodachrome developing???!!!  Would it have killed Kodak to make another batch of developing chemicals??  This is really abysmal customer relations, Kodak!!!!!!!  Will Kodak now at least publish the recipe for Kodachrome developing chemicals??  I doubt it.  In fact, personally I'm boycotting Kodak: no more Kodak products for me at home or work!!!!!!
"Would it have killed Kodak to make another batch of the necessary [developing] chemicals?"

Kodak's E-mail address:


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