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How Long Do Kodachrome Slides Last?

By Elaine Elliott

From photojournalism to family vacations, nearly everyone used Kodachrome slides from the 1950s to 1990s as the medium for memorable moments. 

Due to high quality coloration and film stability, Kodachrome slides were the go-to pick for colored photographs. In fact, National Geographic used Kodachrome exclusively for over fifty years.

In addition to its features in print magazines, Kodachrome had a flourishing lifespan prior to its discontinuation in 2009. Kodachrome slides were used to document US presidents like Franklin D Roosevelt and royal coronations like the one for Elizabeth II. Kodachrome film even inspired Paul Simon’s song “Kodachrome” and the name for the Kodachrome Basin State Park in Utah. These are some of many reasons why Kodachrome was the longest lasting brand of color film in history.


Kodachrome was the first reversal color film introduced in 1935. Due to the pioneered reversal technique, Kodachrome slides could be mass-produced and marketed to both photo professionals and consumers in later years. Throughout its history, Kodachrome slides evolved in the 1960s and 1970s under the names of Kodachrome II, Kodachrome-X, Kodachrome 25, and Kodachrome 64.


Its large appeal is mainly due to how long kodachrome slides last in dark storage. Kodachrome slides and photographs can be stored for a long time without the risk of deterioration. Which comes to our question- how long do Kodachrome slides last?


Kodachrome’s photo durability can last over a century if stored in a dark, cool, and safe environment. The yellow dye in Kodachrome film is considered the least stable, and even this dye only witnesses a 20% loss of dye after 185 years.

But the long-lasting effects of Kodachrome slides come with a caveat. If exposed to bright light (such as a projector), Kodachrome slides and photographs are inferior to other film brands and will see color fades within one hour.


This is why it’s important to digitize your Kodachrome slides and photographs with Kodak. Our digitizing services can bring your Kodachrome slides to life so you can safeguard and share these memories for generations.


Kodachrome 64, the last Kodachrome slide product on the market, was discontinued in 2009. Kodachrome is no longer produced, so if you have any Kodachrome slides or film remaining in storage, you should consider such analog media as sacred relics worth protecting!

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