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35mm Kodachrome History

Anthony Oresteen , Jun 07, 2004; 02:46 p.m.

I'm trying to put together the history of Kodachrome 35mm film (Ignore 126, 110, 120, 828, and movie types). Here's what I've come up with:

35mm Kodachrome EI Years Made Process

Kodachrome 8 1938-1960 K-11

Kodachrome II 25 1960-1976 K-12

Kodachrome-X 64 1966-1976 K-12

Kodachrome 25 25 1976-2002 K-14

Kodachrome 64 64 1976-present K-14

Kodachrome 200 200 1986-present K-14

Kodachrome 25 Pro 25 1976-2002 K-14

Kodachrome 64 Pro 64 1976-present K-14

Kodachrome 200 Pro 200 1986-present K-14

Question: The orginal Kodachrome started as an ISO 8 film in 1038. What speed was it when it was discontinued in 1960? KII was ISO 25. Was the orginal Kodachrome ISO 25 in 1960?

What types of 35mm Kodachrome did I miss?

I didn't start shooting Kodachrome until 1976 so I need some one more senior than I to help out. Thanks!


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Eric Friedemann , Jun 07, 2004; 02:54 p.m.

Google "history of kodachrome"

Anthony Oresteen , Jun 07, 2004; 03:14 p.m.


I did that but I didn't find any site that gave the specific speeds of the first Kodachrome. Do you know of a link?


Rowland Mowrey , Jun 07, 2004; 05:24 p.m.

You missed Kodachrome print material, Kodachrome sheet films, and Kotavachrome among others.

Kodachrome print material was offered in the 40s and 50s as a print material for transparencies. It was on a reflective plastic base.

I'm not sure, but you may have missed another process in there as well. One process, the original by Mannes and Godowsky, used diffusion of bleach for the process and the subsequent ones used selective re-exposure.

Ron Mowrey

Anthony Oresteen , Jun 07, 2004; 07:00 p.m.

Thanks Ron. I was only looking for info on the 35mm stuff for now.

I am aware of the sheet film Kodachrome made in the 40's & 50's. I remember hearing rumors in the late 80's that Kodak still made 4x5 Kodachrome for it's own internal use but would not release it to the public. I'm not sure how true those rumors were but I was happy with my 120 PKR slides, which I do miss.

Bill C , Jun 07, 2004; 07:21 p.m.

>> Question: The orginal Kodachrome started as an ISO 8 film in 1038 [1938]. <<

According to Henry Wilhelm's book, "The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs" (Chapt 1, p-20), he thinks 35mm Kodachrome was introduced in 1936 with ASA speed = 10. He says that the changes Ron referred to (controlled diffusion of bleach changed to selective exposure) happened in 1938; perhaps this 1938 version is what you have listed as the first.

Wilhelm's book is available on-line in it's entirety (or by chapter); you would probably only be interested if you have a fast connection. I didn't look very closely, but there didn't seem to be much other history on that specific film. It DOES talk a little about Kotavachrome, but you indicated that you were only interested in 35mm film.

Robert Johnson , Jun 07, 2004; 07:43 p.m.

You also missed the 40 speed type A balanced Kodachrome. I am not sure when it was introcuced, but was quietly discontinued in this size in the late 90's IIRC. It is still available in an 8mm movie version. This product is made in France and packaged in France. Still processed by Kodak Switzerland or by Wal-Mart/Dwaynes, Parsons,KS USA. FYI, a local dealer just ordered some in with an expiration date of 8/2005.

Also missed was the Professional version of the Kodachrome 25 film. It was discontinued just before the amateur Kodachrome 25.

Robert Johnson

Roy Des Ruisseaux , Jun 07, 2004; 07:43 p.m.

I remember when Kodachrome II came out in 1960. The original was ASA 10 and the photo magazines had articles with pros & or writers saying oh me oh my what are we going to do now. We love the original please don't stop making it,maybe I should freeze some and on & on. Seems to come up everytime a film is replaced, but everyone seemed to adapt ok.

Anthony Oresteen , Jun 07, 2004; 09:12 p.m.

Thanks all! I found a book in my library that I had forgotten about. It's the Kodak Refernce Handbook dated 1940.

There's a whole section on Kodachrome. It lists two type of Kodachrome in 35mm: Daylight and Type A, both available in 18 exp loads.

From what I can determine, Kodachrome was introduced in 1936 as a MOVIE film 8mm/16mm. In 1938 the 35mm version was released for "Contax and Leica" type cameras as well as Batam 828.

The other issue is the film speeds. In the 40's & 50's there were various film speed measures: Weston, GE, Kodak, Scheiner, ASA, BS, DIN. I'm not sure how to relate all these ratings with the curent ISO ratings. For example, in the 1940 Kodak Manual Kodak states that Panatomic-x is "Kodak 200" speed. Yet we all remember Panatomic-x as ASA/ISO 32.

I remeber my father telling me that there was a change in the ASA standard around 1960 that effectively double all the film speeds. He said that there had been a 1 stop safety factor included with the speed ratings and that they eliminated it thus "doubling" the speed of the film. So a film of ASA 10 became ASA 20 or 25 overnight.

Anyone have more light to shed on this?


Roy Des Ruisseaux , Jun 07, 2004; 09:26 p.m.

I think your father is right about the film speed change although it was probably just for B&W film. I was in High School in the late 1950s and just starting to use 35mm. I seem to recall that Plus X was 64 & Tri-X was 200 and they just doubled them. Slide film of course would not have any saftey built in so they could't just change it. So they came out with a faster film with KodachromeII.

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