Kodak taking Kodachrome away

June 22, 2009
Kodak is taking Kodachrome away. More than 35 years after Paul Simon immortalized the color film in song, the company announced on Monday that it would be ending production of Kodachrome.

Kodak is taking Kodachrome away. More than 35 years after Paul Simon immortalized the color film in song, the company announced on Monday that it would be ending production of Kodachrome.

Eastman Kodak Co. said sales of Kodachrome represent less than one percent of Kodak's total sales of still-picture film and that it would stop making it this year.

Kodachrome was launched in 1935, becoming one of the most successful color films of all time. But sales have fallen dramatically, Kodak said, with the advent of digital imaging technology.

"Kodachrome Film is an iconic product," Mary Jane Hellyar, president of Kodak's film, photofinishing and entertainment group, said in a statement.

"It was certainly a difficult decision to retire it, given its rich history," she said.

"However, the majority of today's photographers have voiced their preference to capture images with newer technology -- both film and digital."

Paul Simon praised the joys of Kodachrome in his 1973 hit of the same name.

"They give us those nice bright colors. They give us the greens of summers. Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, Oh yeah. I got a Nikon . I love to take a photograph. So Mama don't take my Kodachrome away," he sang.

Kodak said only one laboratory, Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas, still processes Kodachrome film.

"This lack of widespread processing availability, as well as the features of newer films introduced by Kodak over the years, has accelerated the decline of demand for Kodachrome Film," Kodak said.

Kodak said it expects current supplies of Kodachrome to last until early this fall. It said Dwayne's Photo will continue to process the film through 2010.

(c) 2009 AFP

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