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I'm on a film scanning mission. I bought a Nikon Coolscan 9000 last spring. I experimented with it to convince myself it worked and recognizing the magnitude of my task, put it away. Not it's winter and can't drive the cars so I'm going to start scanning. I bought a new Lenovo Thinkpad W510 (the W series is the root of the "new digital darkroom" with color calibrator and wicked dislay). Nikon software for the scanner is not supported on Windows 7 and I found two candidates. If you've got an older scanner that stopped working with Windows 7 try VueScan. Chances are 99% it supports the old beast. Silverfast is also a contender but it's very expensive, and the whiz-bang technology they use for scanning Kodachrome only works on the Mac...


To get the best out of the 9000 you need to calibrate it (regardless of what software you use). This is done with a so-called IT-8 target - a color and grey scale image that looks like the color picker for your monitor. This is especially true for Kodachrome. Which brings me to the reason for this topic...


Kodak stopped making Kodachrome in 2009 and believes the last of it was off the shelves near the end of 2009.


Processing Kodachrome will end at the end of 2010... So if you have a roll of Kodachrome in your junk drawer, send it lickety split to:


Dwayne's Photo Service

415 S. 32nd Street

Parsons, KS 67357

(620) 421-3940

Toll Free: 1-800-522-3940

Fax: (620) 421-3174


or forever hold your peace.


Kodachrome processing was incredibly complex, involved something like 30 steps and was never made available outside of blessed Kodak labs. The temperature and timing and the noxious chemicals were deemed too complex, time consuming and dangerous for home use (something about your city's wastewater treatment department would hate you for). I processed Ektachorme in the darkroom but Kodachrome was sent to Kodak.


Even Kodak admits that none of their current films can match Kodachrome.

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  • 4 weeks later...

The CBS News Sunday Morning hhow has a piece on the end of Kodachrome.


I'm in the process of scanning all of my negatives and slides. I'm doing a batch of Kodachrome slides now (three rolls so far) and seeing them makes me wish someone would come up with a digital camera exposure setup that could mimic it. They can't match the "punch". It's handling of reds is what made it. Somewhere one of my Grand Canyon trip slides will come up.


I wonder who will be the last roll of Kodachrome processed. It'll be a landmark.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm earnestly into my image scanning project (see below). I'm locked on a slide film right now since the cataloging is easier. I put them in 2x2 slide sheets (with 36 exposure rolls back to back). I haven't decided how to deal yet with the thousands of envelopes of negatives and prints - still looking for a storage solution.


One thing I can say is that the Kodachorome slides just have so much "punch" that even on some 35+ year slides, they still look great, and (independent of age) the colors are so much more saturated than any Ektachrome.


Scanning Kodachrome is difficult. The normal dust and scratch removal doesn't always work (contrary to what they say, it does work to some degree most of the time).


The project:

I have been seriously taking pictures since I was in college. I earned a fair amount of spending money taking wedding photos and, like CPR, go into "wedding mode" when I shoot. It's automatic to do the sequence. Anyway, because I had pro equipment (starting with a Nikon F2 and a Hasselblad clone) I have an equal mix of 35mm and medium format (6cm x 6cm) medium, and within that, a rich mix of negative and positive film. I estimate I have in excess of 10,000 images that I've located and I know there are slides and prints in boxes I haven't pulled yet, including 4 Grand Canyon trips that are still in slide trays.


The choices for scanning these for archival purposes are: (1) Spend up to $5/image to have it done on a drum scanner, which also involves removing slides from mounts or (2) a Nikon Coolscan 9000. I bought the Coolscan last spring and recognizing the magnitude of the task put it aside to winter. I'm getting about a roll a day done. I even get up at night to feed the scanner. It can take up to 20 minutes per image. The 35mm slide holder holds 5 slides, the negative holder up to 12 - 2x6 image strips, but most photo finishing places cut them to 4 although all of my developed/cut are in 6s.


I'm absolutely amazed at the quality of the Coolscan scans. I'll post up a few later.

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Dang, I thought the Nikon CoolScan V scanner that I have was pricey. That was until I just saw what the Nikon 9000 goes for. Sounds like a good winter project you have going on.





Coolscan 9000s (and 5000s, if you're only doing 35mm) are essentially free. For the past two or three years the prices have been constant. Buy it, scan your photos, and sell it on ebay for what you paid for it... At the time I found mine they were actually selling for more than retail because Nikon has discontinued them. I happened to find a dealer that had a new unopened one in stock and snapped it up.

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