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The last roll of Kodak Kodachrome film was produced earlier this year and given to a famous photographer to shoot with. In addition, the last place you can even have Kodachrome processed will stop at the end of the year. For anyone still wondering – film photography is dead. Can you buy other brands? Sure, but just as the song Kodachrome says "I can read the writing on the wall."

It doesn't matter if you think film photography is better than digital photography – the battle is over, and digital has won. Just like Beta is still available – to professionals with high-end cameras only  – because VHS won that battle. For a while you could buy blank tapes, but that dried up pretty quickly. And now VHS is going away as well, replaced by Digital Video Recorders (DVRs). Technology marches on, and unless you don't want to move forward with it, you need to change with the times too.

What's this have to do with Macs? Mozilla is hinting that the next version of Firefox, now in beta, won't run on PowerPC (PPC) Macs. Now, I know a lot of people are still using PPC machines, and they're doing a great job for them. But If you continue to hold out on buying an Intel Mac, you're going to slip further and further behind. The latest and greatest software from Adobe is for Intel only, not just Creative Suite 5, but Lightroom and other software. The latest Mac OS only runs on Intel machines.

Update: Today's Apple event, about iPods, music (and maybe video) will be streamed live – but only if you have an iPhone, iPad, Ipod Touch, or Intel Mac (as OS 10.6's QuickTime X is required). PPC Macs and Windows machines have a clunky workaround though.

So am I saying run out today and by an Intel box? Nope. What I am saying is that if you haven't already, now is the time to take stock of exactly what you are doing and determine if you need to upgrade. If you are doing professional work, and have to interchange files with others, you will probably need to start saving your nickels for a new machine  (and probably some of the new software). If you want to surf web sites with the latest and greatest frills, you soon might not have a modern browser to do it with (Apple will probably drop PPC support for Safari at some point next year I'm guessing). 

That said, there are many perfectly good reasons not to upgrade. I have a PPC Cube with an upgraded processor that is my answering machine. The current version of the software does everything I need it to do, the hardware is more than capable, and I like the way it looks, since this machine sits in my family room.  I have another upgraded Cube running as my backup internal DNS server (yes, I run my own DNS servers rather than use my ISPs – it's a geek thing…). Again, this machine does the job just fine, and Leopard Server is fine for something like that.

If you're happy with running your current programs, you should at least start checking which ones never made the transition (and if they're OS 9, won't run on Intel) and plan for the day your machine dies. You may be forced into an Intel at that point (even on the used market, as more and more PPC machines will be disappearing). Better to have a transition plan that to have to do it in a hurry.


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5 Responses to Kodachrome

  1. Sharon says:

    Yikes! It me awhile to switch to digital but I still held on to my Nikon N80. I guess I had better hurry and shoot the several rolls of Kodachrome I have left!

  2. Traditional film photography will remain a viable artistic medium for a long time with speciality product produced by specialty vendors who understand and evangelize film photography for its unique process and aesthetic merits. Take Polaroid and the Impossible Project as a perfect example

    Popular photography as we understand it is dead. It will evolve into videography as mass technology becomes dominated by motion video and the ability to easily extract stills for commercial and personal sharing purposes.

    Your technology focus which limits itself to illogical comparisons to video standards adoption (i.e. Beta vs VHS) doesn’t demonstrate a holistic cultural understanding of the photographic medium.

  3. Tom B says:

    There are things I miss about film. Digital still shows a lot of objectionable noise in low light. But, I don’t miss the expense of film. I can shoot thousands of digital images a year, deleting the ones I don’t like. I have a lot of freedom to experiment. In the film days, not only did all the processing cost a bundle, but I never had a good idea about whether I “got” the shot I wanted until the roll came back from the drug store or camera shop.

    I hope MP3 does not replace CD. I like the convenience of “shiny discs”. No files to manage.

  4. Barrett says:

    As a dominant photographic medium, film bit the dust some time ago. It’s still my principal medium for my work, and I don’t see that changing all that soon. Losing Kodachrome is unfortunate, but I haven’t shot much of it in the last decade (and Kodachrome has been on “dead men walking” status since before digital even had a toehold in the market). As long as the films I generally rely on are readily available (they are), and the means of their processing are in relative close proximity to home (they are), and especially until camera manufacturers stop trying to sell me what amount to portable computing devices that you just happen to stick lenses in front of, I’ll keep my “ancient” film burners running.

    Ditto with my PPC Macs: while the ability to use a reasonably up-to-date browser is no small thing, I don’t have to jump and run the hour Mozilla or Apple makes the move to Intel-only. (Hey, didn’t I hear something to the effect that Mac OS X 10.7 cuts off support for some early Intel Macs?). Eventually, I’ll make the jump, but based more on my own metric rather than Apple’s, Mozilla’s, or, for that matter, yours.

    – BWB

  5. Jack Beckman says:

    “didn’t I hear something to the effect that Mac OS X 10.7 cuts off support for some early Intel Macs?”

    I don’t think anyone outside of Apple has seen 10.7 yet, so I’m not sure where you read that – would be interested in a link if you have one.

    “Eventually, I’ll make the jump, but based more on my own metric rather than Apple’s, Mozilla’s, or, for that matter, yours.”

    All I was doing was trying to get people thinking about it – if you’ll note, there’s a whole paragraph on why you don’t need to rush out and upgrade.