Kodachrome

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by tjaded, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    A random Kodachrome post...

    I was just reading about the loss of another Kodachrome processing location in Europe, the discontinuing of Super 8 and 16mm Kodachrome, etc. I do fear the end of Kodachrome, and I'm stuck in the middle on this one. I know that this is an example of use it or lose it, but I rarely use 35mm film--I do a roll or two of stereo slides every few months. My main wish will probably never happen--to have Kodachrome in medium and/or large format again. It would be nice if Kodak did a little "retro" line, small runs of films with cult status and what not (have you seen the prices of Technical Pan on eBay?!?!) but that doesn't seem too likely. I guess what I'm thinking would be that maybe they would license out the rights for some other company to make Kodachrome (under a different name, of course) but would anyone be able to process it? I know Dwayne's is the last bastion of hope, but are their machines set up for 35mm only? Since the Kodachrome base is a b&w film, it seems that someone like Ilford could make the film stock and then Kodak would be off the hook from the anger of droping Kodachrome. Obviously, I live in a bit of a dream world, but it works for me! I get frustrated by the fact that there are so many films and such that I will never get to use. Can you imagine an art student studying painting, trying to paint like the masters to learn techniques and having the choice of watercolor or Adobe Illustrator? That's how I feel sometimes. Weird little rant, forgive me. I just looked at some Kodachrome slides and was shooting with a Rolleiflex today. I want to merge the two, thus this post.
     
  2. dmr

    dmr Member

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    I know that Dwayne's can do 8mm Kodachrome movie film and maybe 16mm but not sure.

    I don't think they do any MF/LF Kodachrome.

    OBTW, I phoned Dwayne's about a month ago and they said there is no planned cut-off date for processing Kodachrome.
     
  3. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    The demise of Kodachrome has been in the works for many more years than the current trend, then you throw in the process itself, that many states and countries won't allow anylonger and the lack of numbers of people that even know what it is let alone want to shoot it, the writing has been on the wall for a long time now as far as Kodachrome, I do imagine if you could put a group together that would purchase say.....about a million rolls a year, you might get someone to produce it again, I am not saying don't morn the loss of a film, but even in its heyday kodachrome was on the way out, newer processes, less enviormental concerns, easy films to work with, etc..and I am not a fan of all the newer E6 films, heck I shot kodachrome for a great number of years, but as photographers, we do have to adapt to the ever changing films that are being offered, lift a drink to the memory, and look for something that works for you now..

    By the way, I see your New, welcome to the best traditional resource in the world.

    Dave
     
  4. tjaded

    tjaded Subscriber

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    Yeah...I know. But I have to dream sometimes! Thanks for the welcome. Hey, at least this post was about something produced in my lifetime...I also want to do Autochrome. A genuine lost cause, a photographic luddite of sorts...that's me!
     
  5. braxus

    braxus Member

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    I called Dwaynes and they can only do 35mm or smaller formats. 120 and 4x5 are out. There is no lab left that can do those sizes. But PhotoEngineer Ron said Kodak has in its basement a dip and dunk Kodachrome processor that can do sizes all the way up to 4x5. Problem is its not being used and I doubt Kodak would let it go. As for Super 8- as long as 35mm K14 hangs around you can still get Kodachrome Super 8 processed by Dwaynes.
     
  6. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Here, here. I'm still trying to get over the demise of big V-8's and cheap high-octane gasoline. Some say "change is good; it's good to change", but I say "Change is never easy; it's never easy to change". Good daydreaming, tjaded... but please don't hold your breath!
     
  7. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I concur with Dave and Brian. I just shot out my last roll of Kodachrome. There as a time when I used it almost exclusively (substituting the "old" Ekatchrome only when I needed a faster slide film).

    Last year I bought a few rolls of K-chrome for nostalgia sake and just finished them off with this year's Autunm colors. It was a symbolic raising of the glass and toasting a dear old, and now departed, friend.

    Besides, I've got a bunch of rolls of the new Extra Color Ektachrome 100 to try out! :D
     
  8. DBP

    DBP Member

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  9. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    That 'machine' is not really a machine. It is a set of large tanks, common to all darkrooms at KRL, and a set of hangers on which Kodachrome could be processed. It is done by hand.

    Anyone with the chemicals and the proper re-exposure system could run Kodachrome in sizes from 35mm - 8x10 if they wanted. The process runs nearly 2 hours.

    It is even possible to use tricolor exposures on 3 sheets of B&W and then process them to give a set of "Kodachrome" separations that can be laminated together to give a single transparancy. This can be done in any size you wish.

    PE
     
  10. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    As far as I am concerned, when they discontinued ISO 25 Kodachrome, it was extinct, I did extensive testing with both 64 and 200 and I am sorry, I just never got the same results, when the 25 died, the music died!

    I feel the same way about the Velvia 50, I don't like the 100 versions even close to the 50, that is why I stocked over 400 rolls of the 50 when I heard what was going on, even if the E6 processing goes away, I can easily do this in my sidekick processor..

    But I am testing some others now...

    LOL

    :rolleyes:

    Dave
     
  11. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I just got back a roll of Kodachrome 25 I shot at the Japanese Festival on Labor Day. I took several shots parallel with a roll of Kodak EIR. Just to see the difference and record the actual colors of the subject vs. the false colors of the EIR.
     
  12. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    I know a lot of folks really like Kodachrome - and some say it is the best film out there. Having never shot it - Only Ektachrome (E100V) - what is the advantage of Kodachrome? I heard somewhere it really brings out the skin tones and shows reds really well? ?:smile: ?

    Interesting thread - I would like a little perspective on the subject. :smile:
     
  13. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Kodachrome is(or was) a great film, but it is not the where with all to photographic startdom! It was just another tool that photographers used to achieve a certain result, there has been so many good films in the past and still currently, I don't quite understand Why people don't branch out and look at other alternatives, most any film that has been produced in the last 65 years have been good, the skill comes in knowing how to use it!

    Dave
     
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  15. Michael W

    Michael W Member

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    I love the classic Kodachrome look as seen in the work of Helen Levitt & National Geograpic photographer William Allard.
    Soft, muted, gentle colour.
    I much prefer it to the saturated colour & sharpness of most modern films.

    It does seem however that the current version of Kodachrome is different to the classic formula. Not just in the lack of a 25 ISO but also in the formulation.

    Funnily enough I have noticed a trend recently away from saturated hyped up colour & back to a more muted look. I see this in TV commercials, feature films & general still photography, both commercial & artistic. A lot of this is being done digitally, using the desaturate option in photoshop, but it is interesting to observe.

    I would like to shoot some Kodachrome again but it's a headache living in Australia. You can't buy it here anymore so I would need to have it shipped from USA, then post it back after exposure & then have it posted back to me. So that's 3 sets of postage to be paid.
     
  16. dmr

    dmr Member

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    I'm having a final fling with Kodachrome. I have 3 more rolls of 64 left, and probably will not get any more.

    Back when I first used Kodachrome (I think the vintage was Kodachrome II 25) it was regarded as having the "nice bright colors" as the song said. This was long before the enhanced saturation films and the "Fuji blue" sky.

    While muted by today's standard, yes, it reproduced skin, reds, any warmer shade, autumn foliage, etc., quite well.

    Ektachrome, on the other hand, was kind of a "cooler" film, more grainy, and less sharp than Kodachrome. The Ektachrome colors of that vintage had just a bit more "pop" than Kodachrome, and the soon to be extinct Walgreens/Agfa 200 reminds me of the look and feel of the Ektachrome of the early 70's era.

    Back then I shot a lot of slide film because I wanted color but I could not afford to get roll after roll printed only to throw 70% of them away. I could inspect them with a magnifier or projector and have the ones I liked printed.

    Kodachrome of that era was most definitely sharper than Ektachrome, and to me the current Kodachrome 64 appears sharper than Velvia 100.

    I've accepted the fact that Kodachrome has only a few years left. I would love for some company to buy the rights to it and make it, but that would be a poor investment. Just taking a trip to the real world here.

    I can imagine the day that Big Yellow announces its end. All the talking heads playing the song and reading inaccurate copy about what Kodachrome was. I get nauseous just thinking of it. :sad:

    Oh well -- so it goes ...
     
  17. PhotoHistorian

    PhotoHistorian Member

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    Dave,
    In all honesty, I felt Kodachrome went extinct when "Big K on the yellow box" discontinued Kodachrome II. Not even 25 had the "zip" II did. Lucky for me I had several bricks of K-II in my refrig well into the Kodachrome 25 era. As for why Kodachrome? I have Kodachromes my Dad shot in the late 30's and early 40's and they still look fantastic. Then there are the Ektachrome from the 60's that are totally gone. Besides the look of a Kodachrome the long term storage in my opinion is a huge advantage of Kodachrome.

    Walker
     
  18. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    What he said!
    As long as the fungus doesn't get them (more of a problem in the earlier cardboard mounts) my 30+ year old Kodachrome slides seem set to outlast much more recent material of other types/processes (not that I have many of those).
    My one proviso about Kodachrome II/25 is that if you went out on a gloomy day the film really showed it. Often a problem in SW England.

    Steve
     
  19. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    The old arguments for buying Kodachrome were:

    Better colour
    Finer grain
    Higher sharpness
    Greater longevity when processed
    Greater longevity/toughness before processing (no dye precursors in the emulsion)

    In my own view -- I started shooting Kodachrome II and Kodachrome-X (the latter was a really nasty film) in 1966, and my late father-in-law shot original Kodachrome from the 1940s onwards -- most or all of these advantages have been eroded over the years, several to the point of non-existence. Of course we don't know about longevity after processing but I am prepared to believe the manufacturers' claims of multi-decade life. I've not bought Kodachrome in maybe a decade. When it goes, I'll be sorry, but only for nostalgia's sake, as I don't actually use the stuff.

    My own favourite of all time was Fuji RF/RFP ISO 50, which was dropped when Fuji brought out the vile, slow, garish, magenta-tinted original Velvia 50: I will never understand why that film has so many devotees.

    Which only goes to show that colour quality is a matter of opinion anyway, and that styles change. Today I shoot almost exclusively Kodak Elite Chrome 100 Extra Color, which gives me a very different look from my 1960s to 1980s Kodachromes, 1970s Ektachromes (best forgotten, but then, they've faded badly anyway), 1980s Agfachromes and 1990s Fujichromes.

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com -- with decades of colour in it...)
     
  20. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

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    I liked the old Fujichrome 50 too. Fuji Astia is OK too, but I prefer Kodak E100G for skin tones. As you say, it all comes down to personal preferences.
     
  21. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    What she said - because she said it all! :D
     
  22. dmr

    dmr Member

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    One disadvantage I occasionally hear about Kodachrome is that the dyes deteriorate (more quickly than the chromogenic ones??) under the heat and light of frequent and prolonged projection.

    I really haven't seen this myself. I've never owned a slide projector and I've always taken slides with the intention of printing or scanning the good ones.
     
  23. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    I've never noticed this with the many Kodachrome slides I have accumulated over the years - but over all that time, I probably have only projected them a couple of dozen times. I mean, how often can you show slides and still keep friends? :wink:

    Anyway, I just picked up the slides from my last two rolls. Tonight I'll pour a glass of wine and scan them. Then I'll pack the boxes carefully away, and lift my glass in a farewell toast to Kodachrome.

    But, you know, I did see a whole bunch of the stuff sitting on the shelf at the store when I picked mine up today. Maybe I should....oh, no, got to give it up! :D
     
  24. Bromo33333

    Bromo33333 Member

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    I dug into it a bit and found out that Kodachrome is a more color fast than ektachrome, and holds up much better to exposure to light. But because it is dye based, it will fade as well - it just will take longer.

    I suppose that means that color film isn't very "archival" - especially when compared to B&W ... ?
     
  25. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    Kodachrome dyes were at the leading edge of technology when the current process was developed in the 70s. Since then, no new advances have been made, but E6 film technology has advanced considerably and so has dye stability.

    IDK what the comparitive situation is now, but I would guess that E6 and Kodachrome film are nearing parity for stability.

    PE
     
  26. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Back in the days when I developed slide-tape training programs (if you don't know what I'm talking about you are probably under 40 :smile: ) we found Kodachrome to be more durable in terms of colorfastness under frequently used and prolonged projection situations. But sometimes we would just use Ektachrome slides because they were cheaper to repro in quantity; we'd just replace the slides more often.