Eastman Kodak Company announced today that it will retire KODACHROME Color
Film this year, concluding its 74-year run as a photography icon.
Sales of KODACHROME Film, which became the world’s first commercially
successful color film in 1935, have declined dramatically in recent years as
photographers turned to newer KODAK Films or to the digital imaging
technologies that Kodak pioneered. Today, KODACHROME Film represents just a
fraction of one percent of Kodak’s total sales of still-picture films.
“KODACHROME Film is an iconic product and a testament to Kodak’s long and
continuing leadership in imaging technology,” said Mary Jane Hellyar, President
of Kodak’s Film, Photofinishing and Entertainment Group. "It was certainly
a difficult decision to retire it, 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. Kodak remains committed
to providing the highest-performing products – both film and digital – to meet
While Kodak now derives about 70% of its revenues from commercial and
consumer digital businesses, it is the global leader in the film business.
Kodak has continued to bring innovative new film products to market, including
seven new professional still films and several new VISION2 and VISION3 motion
picture films in the past three years.These new still film products are among
those that have become the dominant choice for those professional and advanced
amateur photographers who use KODAK Films.
Among the well-known professional photographers who used KODACHROME Film is
Steve McCurry, whose picture of a young Afghan girl captured the hearts of
millions of people around the world as she peered hauntingly from the cover of
National Geographic Magazine in 1985.
As part of a tribute to KODACHROME Film, Kodak will donate the last rolls of
the film to George Eastman House
International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, which houses the
world’s largest collection of cameras and related artifacts. McCurry will shoot
one of those last rolls and the images will be donated to Eastman House.
“The early part of my career was dominated by KODACHROME Film, and I reached
for that film to shoot some of my most memorable images,” said McCurry. “While
KODACHROME Film was very good to me, I have since moved on to other films and
digital to create my images. In fact, when I returned to shoot the ‘Afghan
Girl’ 17 years later, I used KODAK PROFESSIONAL EKTACHROME Film E100VS to
create that image, rather than KODACHROME Film as with the original.”
For all of its magic, KODACHROME is a complex film to manufacture and an
even more complex film to process. There is only one remaining photofinishing
lab in the world – Dwayne’s Photo in Parsons, Kansas – that processes
KODACHROME Film, precisely because of the difficulty of processing. 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
During its run, KODACHROME Film filled a special niche in the annals of the
imaging world. It was used to capture some of the best-known photographs in
history, while also being the film of choice for family slide shows of the Baby
To celebrate the film’s storied history, Kodak has created a gallery of
iconic images, including the Afghan girl and other McCurry photos, as well as
others from professional photographers Eric Meola and Peter Guttman on its
Special podcasts featuring McCurry and Guttman will also be featured on the
Kodak estimates that current supplies of KODACHROME Film will last until
early this fall at the current sales pace. Dwayne’s Photo has indicated it will
continue to offer processing for the film through 2010. 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 www.kodak.com/go/professional.
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