Had it with Dwayne's/Kodachrome

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Steve Roberts, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Sadly, it's the end of an era for me.

    After my last rant about the amount of crud on returned 35mm K64 slides, I opened another roll at the weekend. Yes, there were the usual specks that would need to be removed, but in fairness to Dwaynes, probably not as many as got my goat before.

    Then..... looking at my seascapes, I couldn't believe that I'd managed to get the horizons quite as wonky as they seemed to be. As I looked further through the film, I realised that I was seeing not the edge of the window of the cardboard mount, but the edge of the film's picture area creeping down on one side. By about number 30, I was seeing the bottom of film perforations in the slide window! All of the negs seem to be skewed in the mounts, but the problem gets worse as the film progresses.

    Words almost fail me. I have had E6 (and earlier E4) processing done at some of the most tin-pot local companies of days gone by and had some pretty "iffy" results from time to time, but at least they have always been mounted squarely (surely not a difficult operation compared to the intricacies of Kodachrome chemistry).

    If Kodak don't kill off Kodachrome, then Dwaynes' apparently cavalier attitude to its processing most certainly will. I shot my first roll of Kodachrome on the Isle of Wight in 1973. In 2007, I have shot my last.

    Steve
     
  2. Thanasis

    Thanasis Member

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    That's a pity. Look on the bright side though. Velvia 50 has just been re-released. Give that a try.
     
  3. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Perhaps another trip to the Isle of Wight for your first roll of new Velvia 50!

    I will buy your lunch and a beer.


    Steve.
     
  4. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Careful - I might hold you to that!

    I remember the occasion well. Previously my meagre pocket money only allowed me to use Boots Colour Slide Film, but I'd run out. I went into a "proper" photographic shop pleading poverty and the assistant took pity on me. He produced a roll of Kodachrome II which lacked its mailing envelope and let me have it for half price! With Kodachrome only sold including processing in the UK, that wasn't an issue. I still have the slides (somewhere!), some of which show the coloured bands of sand at Alum Chine. I also collected samples of the sand, which I think is now frowned upon if not illegal!

    Steve
     
  5. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    It's frowned upon but I don't think it's illegal. I was there a few weeks ago and they have posts and tape around the base of the cliff warning people not to touch it. I don't think they own it though as it is part of the beach.


    Steve.
     
  6. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    I recently got back 26 rolls, while most looked great, one had been cut wrong on a few frames. They gave me a new roll.

    Guys, this is life whether you like it or not. Grant Steinle does listen, this little lab in the middle of Kansas is trying to keep up and does care about quality control. Heck, they even mark my K-25 on the bag so I can keep it separate.

    So go ahead and use your garish and gross Velvia for your faked out photos of some foggy coastline, if that is what you need.

    This is the end of Kodachrome, this is hard, it will go in the next few years on the outside. But I for one will keep shooting it and shooting it until the lab closes. Some one has to, even if it means I get a buggy roll once and awhile.

    Grant, I hope you are reading this, bad press is not good press and the folks on here seem to have no problem furthering Kodachrome's demise to feel better about them selves ( not necessarily the original poster )...
     
  7. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    If there's a processing problem that happens repeatedly, I think it's fair to issue a warning to fellow photographers.

    When I get time to spend with my camera, the last thing I want is failure on the processing. I understand it happens intermittently, which is fair; humans are involved in the process and things go wrong. But there are now two threads on problems with this outfit. How is that not relevant information to other photographers?

    I'm not trying to start a flame war here, I am not, I am just trying to put things in perspective to the best of my ability. I had a film cunundrum happen on me not too long ago with some damaged b&w roll film. I have to go through all sorts of digital treatments in order to print these cleanly. Some people depend on reliability from film processors to get consistent results. Once again, this might save someone a lot of trouble of re-shooting important shots.

    My two cents.

    - Thomas

     
  8. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    I'm sure you remember the glass ornaments filled with layers of coloured sand that they used to (and no doubt still do) sell at Alum Bay. Here are a couple of pictures my father took in 1968 of the quarry near Brighstone where the sand to fill the ornaments came from.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nord_modular/119981196/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nord_modular/119981534/

    And yes, the originals are on Kodachrome!

    Ian
     
  9. RoBBo

    RoBBo Member

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    Got back a few rolls this morning.
    First one had the 'do not cut, do not mount' order ignored.
    Not a big deal.
    They look beautiful.
    It's a sad day coming...
     
  10. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Yes, Ian, I certainly remember glass lighthouses filled with coloured stripes of sand. I didn't know that the stuff was extracted from a quarry as well. Great photos - thanks very much for posting them.

    Steve
     
  11. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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  12. kraker

    kraker Subscriber

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    Absolutely; fair enough, but it's also fair to add that I have recently sent and received 4 rolls of K64 (via Kodak Lausanne, processed by Dwayne's) and apart from some dust (inevitable, IMHO, and no big issue for me) they all look mighty fine to me.

    So, the processing problem might happen repeatedly, but certainly not continuously. Just my EUR 0,02.
     
  13. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    [GEEK WARNING] Looks like a Ruston-Bucyrus dragline excavator [/GEEK WARNING]

    Although Alum Bay always claimed that the sand was from the cliffs themselves I always thought that they probably got the sand from somewhere else. I didn't realise it was as close as Brighstone though.


    Steve.
     
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  15. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Was that the one with the Perkins sleeve-valve double-reciprocating sprocket advance diesel engine?? Hang on while I find my anorak...

    Steve ;-)
     
  16. Kino

    Kino Member

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    Wow... I've never heard of dragline excavator geeks!

    Sounds like a potential "Ripping Yarns" episode...
     
  17. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    Mentioned this to dad yesterday. He said there was one extra colour of sand in the Brighstone quarry compared to Alum Bay, plus the added advantage of not eroding the cliff that the pleasure park was built at the top of! Not sure where the sand comes from now. The quarry in the picture was exhausted and filled in at least 20 years ago.

    There was quite a cottage industry back in the '60s. Several of dad's colleagues used to take biscuit tins or buckets of sand home and spend the evenings drying it out and carefully filling the ornaments one layer at a time.

    Ian
     
  18. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    I should add my recent experience to this thread, I suppose for anyone curious about Kodachrome. Being 26, I have heard about this legendary film at various times in my life...but never tried any until three weeks ago. I went on a little hiatus from B&W photography and have been shooting Velvia with occasional other E6 emulsions for the last year in my Minoltas.
    Finally, I had to try a roll of Kodachrome just to say "I shot that" :smile: before I no longer could.
    Long story short...I paid $4.88 to have it processed through Wal-mart (I really hate that place, but what a good price!) that sent it on to Dwayne's. Got it back in 10 days, perfect shape. Honestly looks as good as the E6 rolls that I pay $11 to the local pro-lab in town to dip & dunk process...except in cardboard mounts, when I would prefer the plastic mounts.
    So...not sure what is going on at Dwayne's, and I feel for the photographer who's slides were not done properly - but mine came out good, so it's not an every roll thing...but obviously it's happening too often!
    Did you speak to the owner? Did you call Kodak? I would levvy some well-formed complaints in the right direction - that would help every Kodachrome shooter.
    I liked it enough that I will be buying more K64...here is a scan from my first roll of Kodachrome.
    All the best,
    Jed
     

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  19. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Hi Jed,

    There's certainly no arguing with that shot you posted!

    Good luck with your continued use of K/chrome, but just imagine the disappointment if that shot had come back with a processing or mounting problem that spoiled it.
    I appreciate your point about contacting Kodak, Dwaynes, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all, but I shouldn't have to. For one thing, Kodak have a downer on traditional products. For another, Dwaynes' QC clearly isn't worth a light, so even if I received back a conciliatory letter promising that all would be well for ever after, I wouldn't believe it. Thirdly, there are some excellent Fuji materials to work with these days (with quick and efficient processing in UK) and K/chrome IMHO doesn't have the lead over the competition that it used to have. Fourthly (here I'm in danger of going on but will do so anyway) I'd be more inclined to stir things up with Kodak and Dwaynes if they were just down the road or even in my own country, but the distance and all other factors leave me with the feeling that I'd be p***ing in the wind, as we say so eloquently in Blighty.

    I also wonder whether the dust/crud stuck to film issue is perhaps not as problematic to some as to others. Holding slides up to the light, using a viewer, loupe, scanning or similar might not show up the flaws (and thus be quite OK for their intended purposes) whereas I do project slides regularly and see any faults (mine as well as the film's!) in their full glory.

    Anyway, I look forward to seeing more shots like the one you posted!

    best wishes,

    Steve
     
  20. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    Hi Steve,
    What you say is very true. I would certainly be disappointed if they had messed up the processing on my first roll of Kodachrome. It may have turned me off to the film entirely, knowing that Dwayne's is the only place to get it processed. Thankfully they did a competent job, and I will purchase additional rolls of K64.
    I do feel very much for the loss of your quality shots. After all, is it so hard to ask for decent processing after all the time we take to pack our gear around, compose the shot properly, and then support the lab with the film we shoot? :smile: Ah...I couldn't imagine having to send my film overseas to get it processed, either. It is a shame Kodak could not keep at least one lab in Europe processing Kodachrome. That is truly the end of an era, and I'm glad to have a small part in it.
    By the way, I'd like to get to know you guys a bit better here - what sort of gear do you shoot, and what are your favorite subjects? I belive I will subscribe to APUG when I get paid on Friday...seems to be more my type of place than some of the other forums I am subscribed to at the moment, especially considering I am a dedicated film shooter.

    Your comment about Fuji Chromes brings up a valid point. E6 has come a long way in archival properties - that was something that K14 always had an edge in before, or so I've been told. The processing of E6 can be done anywhere at a local pro-lab in a dip & dunk Refrema type processor with NO rollers touching your film! That is a major advantage in my way of thinking. :smile: Also the latest E6 chromes are finer grained than Kodachrome, allowing for a possibility of more enlargement.

    Here is a recent one I shot on Fuji Velvia 100 (plain 100 version, not 100F).
    Let me know what you think...
    Here's to hoping you've the best days yet to come for film photography across the pond!
    Jed
     

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  21. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Hi Jed,
    I think you're right - a European K14 facility such as we used to enjoy at Laussanne would have gone a long way to help ensure the continuing use of K/chrome here. Surprisingly (to me) few people seem to see the two weeks plus turnaround time from Europe as a problem. I don't like it but would have lived with it if the results were up to scratch (bad pun - sorry!) but with everything else it's left me disillusioned and having just sold my last remaining roll of K25 on eBay for the ridiculous sum of thirteen of our English pounds. It was dated 07/2002 but of course the keeping qualities of K25 are legendary. It cost me less than half that as part of a bulk purchase - probably a better investment than gold!
    The archival qualities of exposed K/chrome are pretty good, but when I look at thirty year old slides, I can see no fading or colour shift in the K25s whereas E4s from those days are frequently showing their age. On the other hand, the Ks are much more subject to mould issues than the Es, which I put down to the mounts - Ks came back in cardboard mounts then in the UK whereas E4s were invariably returned to me from local processors in plastic ones. UK Kodachrome processing later changed to plastic mounts, which was probably the best combination.
    As for kit and subject matter, that's probably a question for a different forum, but as you've raised it here, I use an assortment of Pentaxes, 42mm and K-mount (even a pre-42mm Asahiflex on occasions). My interest goes up to and including the K series and my two favourites are the KX and K2. Much as I love the K2, if I knew a flying saucer was about to land, I'd pick up a KX because of my lingering distrust of too much automation and the KX's ability to function without batteries. Subject matter for me is usually industrial archaeology.

    Best wishes,
    Steve
     
  22. Stan160

    Stan160 Member

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    I normally send E-6 films to Peak Imaging in Sheffield, but because of the current postal strike I didn't want to risk loss or damage so made enquiries in some high street shops.

    All three shops quoted a 2 week turnaround :sad:

    Next time I visit Silverprint I'm going to add a Tetenal E-6 kit and slide mounts to the order.

    Ian
     
  23. Renato Tonelli

    Renato Tonelli Subscriber

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    I recently made the switch to Fujichrome emulsions because of a lost roll and one ruined roll of Kodachrome. Because i print to Ilfochrome, I'm experiencing some color bleed as I had been warned about. Fujichromes are beautiful but Kodachrome is in a class by itself and i miss it enough to consider going back to it and putting up with some hassles.
     
  24. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Just be aware that if you use Fujichrome mailers in the USA - the film will go to Dwayne's.

    Last night I scanned my latest batch of slides just received from them and they are filthy! One shot was of a dear friend which I wanted to send to him.

    It took a hell of a lot of "healing" with PS to get rid of the big chunks of dust.

    If I'd known before scanning I would have wiped the slide first - but these slides were taken fresh from the box just for scanning and then right back into the box.

    Frankly, I am appalled at the low quality of Dwayne's work! :mad:
     
  25. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    Did they give them back in cardboard mounts? that might be some of the dust problem...I wonder what it would take to get us some plastic mounts from Dwaynes like I get from my local pro-lab that does my E6.

    Two weeks turnaround in UK? What is with the shops there? It seems that most pro-labs here in the states will do it in 3hrs to overnight, depending on their work load. If I were to use Fuji mailers, I could mail the film off, and get slides back in 10 days for $4.50 per roll! (But I like to support local business, so I got to the local lab usually with my E6.)
    Man I really feel for you guys now...truly amazed at the way film is being handled. You would think the labs would be kicking up the quality level, and stressing the importance of film handling, etc - to lure people back! No wonder so many people are making the switch to the darkside. Well, I've tried it out, even the recent Sony A-700, and for image quality, I'm still in love with film. :smile:
    I better run to work, catch you all later,
    Jed
     
  26. dslater

    dslater Member

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    Hmm - you know until Dwaynes became the sole Kodachrome processor and Fuji's processor, I only heard good things about them. I wonder if they are now overwhelmed with work and have had to hire a bunch of inexperienced people to keep up?