Is Kodachrome Film Collectible?

Today Kodak announced that they’re taking Kodachrome away, to borrow the phrase from the Paul Simon song. As a buyer and seller of collectible items, should you collect Kodachrome film or just let it fade away. In this buyer’s guide, we will take a look at the potential for this film being a collectors item and if you should buy the film for resell.

Guide continued below…

Kodak has been making Kodachrome for 74 years and photos taken with it have been among some of iconic over that time period, not to mention a staple of family slide shows from the 1950’s and 1960’s. What doomed Kodachrome as a product, beyond the transition from film to digital photography, was that the film used unique materials in manufacturing and photo processing. Kodak only produced the film in a single run in a year and only one company still processed the film, Dwayne’s Photo located in Parsons, Kansas. This high cost of production in conjunction with the shift to digital meant an end to the film that gave us the ‘greens of summers’.

So, as a collector of vintage items, should you buy Kodachrome film or not? Will it have collector value?

On the plus side for buying now is that the film will rise in price over the short term, especially as vintage film photography buffs try to snap up what they can before the film’s supply is exhausted. If you’re able to buy now you may be able to resell the film at a higher price on eBay or elsewhere in 6 months to a year from now when the supply is even shorter. I expect the price of the film to greatly increase over the next few months. Also, Kodachrome does have a long shelf life, roughly 20 to 30 years on average, as long as it’s kept in the proverbial cool, dry, place.

However, there is a downside. Dwayne’s Photo, the only processor of Kodachrome, said that they will end processing in 2010. This will mean that unless some other company steps up or if Dwayne’s doesn’t change their mind, the exposed film can’t be processed. If this is the case this will limit the value of the film for resell to diehard film photographers. There is a chance though that boxes of the film will retain long term collectible value. The market will probably be smaller but intact, well cared for, boxes may do well on the vintage collectors market 20-30 years from now.

My advice is try to buy the film at a good price now before stockpiling becomes too prevalent. The current retail supply for Kodachrome should have been enough to last until the autumn of 2009 but with today’s announcement it’s likely to run out before that. You can find it in the US at specialty photo shops, typically those that cater to film camera aficionados, but it may be more widely available in chain photography stores in Europe. Also look for people selling in bulk lots on eBay because you can break them down into individual sales and make a nice profit that way. Lastly, don’t forget those garage and estate sales where you might find a roll tucked away in a vintage camera bag that someone is selling for a dollar.

What are your thoughts on Kodak ending production of Kodachrome?

 


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21 Comments »

Comment by Best CSS Gallery
2009-06-23 03:43:54

Kodachrome has always been my favourite film, very sad the long story of film photography is now closer to an end

 
Comment by Mary Fellows
2009-06-24 04:34:50

Its really an end of an era - I have boxes of slides from the 60’s -somewhere in storage! In fact the colours of the slides of Kodachrome seem to have survived better than the early colour print film of the same era

 
Comment by Web Marketing
2009-06-24 11:42:02

Heheheheh! Who would have thought that the humble spool of film will end up being a serious collectors item, a rarity? I love it!

 
Comment by bobjones
2009-06-24 19:32:50

And no child shall suffer thru a slide evening - no wonder the youth of today are going soft - they don’t understand the boredom that Kodachrome was responsible for!

 
Comment by Med Assistant
2009-07-02 14:34:43

I was just scanning some very old negatives (sepia looking) the other day from Kodachrome. As for future value, I wonder if Polaroid film would be a good predictor. I don’t know how that has done since the phasing out of the Polaroid instant developing cameras. It’s crazy to think back to those times and think of that technology as ‘advanced’, but wow, what memories!

 
Comment by Sarah Dramen
2009-07-08 02:37:24

Do you think there are people out there, still using old camera film? I would think there are.. and I do feel a little sad that camera film is beginning to come to the end of it’s life. I remember using camera film and for technology to have advanced SO MUCH since then, is just unbelievable. I hope the film does become collectible - it would be nice if these things we loved gained value over the years

 
Comment by Lorecee
2009-07-08 13:44:52

Kodachrome slides last literally a hundred years if stored properly. Color prints from film will fade within 15 years no matter how they’re stored. Digital is forever as long as it’s kept away from magnetic fields.

I still use my old film camera for canoe and kayak trips because it’s truly splash proof. Digital is always going to be more sensitive to water, and putting a camera into a waterproof case or sleeve defeats the purpose of compact and portable–especially when getting action shots in the outdoors.

 
Comment by Used Tires
2009-07-10 08:25:05

I am not sure if it will be worth that much to be honest, I don’t think it will be of that much value 20-30 years down the line, I just don’t see it.

Till then,

Jean

 
Comment by Andrew Croft
2009-07-18 09:00:19

I agree with Jean, I dont think the film will retain any value at all. Like cassette tapes for example, nobody holds value for out of date technology

Comment by Used Tires
2009-09-23 22:24:19

On other other hand though Andrew… the reason why collectibles get value is due to Supply and Demand… Let’s say… the supply slowly decreases, over time.. but yet the demand for that product is relatively the same. So as a result what you see is people are willing to pay a higher price because there is less and less of that good. At least that is what I have been learning in my Microeconomics class this semester so far.

Till then,

Jean

 
 
Comment by Free Memo
2009-07-23 00:53:32

Another “artists material” like Polaroid bites the dust, hopefully some less profit driven concern will carry on manufacturing the product but users must keep up the pressure by actually using film, not just harking back because unlike digital solutions Analogue film cannot just hahg around on standby you have to get out there and use it.

 
2009-07-25 11:18:26

I would consider it to be an old school collectable.

 
Comment by Juan
2009-09-09 14:07:17

The best film ever! As of today, I have not been able to exactly replicate digitally the color tones that Kodachrome 64 gave me specifically when shot 1/2 stop under. The effect is that of oil
paintings from the Golden Age. This is a sad, sad time for Photography. The best film ever made is now dead.

If you can’t find a place to process it, you might as well throw
the film away, it’s worthless. You have until 2010 to process the film. I would suggest going out there, take some awesome pictures, process the film, and save an unused roll just for memorabilia.

 
Comment by Briefcases
2009-09-10 16:06:05

It doesn’t make sense to collect an item that will deteriorate so much over the years. Eventually it would not be usable. If you are going to try to profit from it, you might as well do so while it is still useful.

 
Comment by TV Spoilers
2009-09-22 13:34:04

I have to believe there’s a serious “caveat emptor” factor going on here.

If you are buying film second-hand, who’s to say it was stored in a, “cool, dry place?”

Until the film is developed, there’s no way of knowing if it was stored properly or just stashed in someone’s car trunk in Arizona.

Edie

 
Comment by ATVs for Sale
2009-09-24 14:03:33

I personally wouldn’t collect something that becomes unusable over time. That seems kinda pointless. If something is useful, use it while you can. There is no need to hoard it away as a collector’s item.

 
Comment by Health Blog
2009-10-01 15:21:30

It’s a shame to see this go. I still have several Nikon film cameras I am quite fond of using. I used to get fabulous results with Kodak Ektar and Kodachrome film exposed a quarter stop down.

Digital camera have taken some of the art and science out of picture taking.

 
Comment by Ignacio Neil
2009-11-15 08:26:26

I think an era is coming to an end. These were most selling one in the world history and have gain the customer’s belief in no time. It’s sad that they are ending this.

 
Comment by Briefcases
2009-12-03 16:11:17

Collecting something that deteriorates over time is silly. It’s like collecting fruit that is all bound to rot and decompose. I’m sure most people would rather collect something that will go up in value over time. Who would later buy some expired film?

 
Comment by mimar
2009-12-24 05:38:43

Who would have thought that the humble spool of film will end up being a serious collectors item, a rarity? I love it!

 
2010-01-06 07:50:39

I also found the same thing but it is really Alas! that this spectacular and exceptional kodachrome has to come an end.

 
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