The Eastman Kodak Company announced Monday it would retire Kodachrome, its oldest film stock, because of declining customer demand in a digital age.

It was the world’s first commercially successful color film, immortalized in Mr. Simon’s song in 1973: “They give us those nice bright colors. They give us the greens of summers. Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day. … So, Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away.”

via Kodak to Retire Kodachrome, Its Oldest Color Film Stock –

About ten years ago I was an avid amateur photographer. I owned three Nikon camera bodies (FE-2, N-70 and N-90s) about half a dozen lenses (the one lens I really lusted after, the 300mm f2.8 Nikkor was always out of my financial reach) and a host of accessories. I was such an avid photog that I was asked to do, and did, the photography for my mother and father’s-in-law 50th anniversary. I even had a couple of photos published as companions to hiking stories I used to write for the local newspaper.

I was a big fan of Kodachrome. I have boxes of slides to this day.

During that time I was also an active member of the amateur photographer newsgroups. When the first reliable, accurate and inexpensive digital cameras came out I predicted that within 10 years it would be impossible to buy the films that most amateur photographers used. Kodacolor was put to rest years ago. Now Kodachrome, the grand master of color film, is being retired.

Oh, I was laughed at and and called an idiot for predicting the demise of these beloved films. I was told that digital cameras would never be good for anything but soccer mom’s point and shoot commodity photos. But I simply told them to remember my predictions and we’d check again in ten years. Well, that’s now.

I suspect a cottage industry for film will remain in place for a while, but film prices will skyrocket as the economies of scale become unwieldy.

I long ago sold my cameras (replacing them with the venerable Nikon FM-2N since I couldn’t completely let go of my film habit) and did so deliberately to get rid of them while they were still worth some money. I used the money I got from selling the cameras to buy my two main guitars and had about a thousand bucks left over.

Amateur photography isn’t a cheap hobby…