On the topic of Kodachrome

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by thuggins, Aug 27, 2008.

  1. thuggins

    thuggins Member

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    I just got back my first rolls of Kodachrome from Dwayne's. I've shot VS almost exclusively for more than 10 years, with some occassional Provia (very occassional, and always with a warming filter) and even less Velvia. The Kodachrome is obviously a very different film from VS. The landscape shots were somewhat disappointing. Neither the saturation or contrast were comparable to VS (or Provia). The slides had a bit of a washed out look. The dynamic range was very impressive, though - much better than VS or Provia. Also skins tones came out beautifully (but VS is not a portrait film).

    But then I got to the roll shot at the Spring Flower Show at the Dallas Arboretum. The close-ups of the flowers were absolutely mind blowing. I've shot a lot of flowers, but I've never seen this sort of texture and tonality - you could practically smell them. I suspect this is because of the reduced saturation. I've had issues with flowers being so oversaturated that they take on a neon blurr (ahem, "Velvia").

    On the other hand I was using an OM-3 with the 90mm, f2 Zuiko - a well respected lens. So is this sort of 3-D detail typical of close-ups with Kodachrome? Or was it the lens?
     
  2. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    Kodachrome is special. Much do I miss Kodachrome 25. I would suggest thatthe lens, film, camera and photograper were all equally guilty.
     
  3. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I haven't shot much Kodachrome in the past few years, but I have kept track. It used to be my favorite film, but then it go expensive and hard to get processed, and I got into MF. I saw a good comparison a few years ago, and Kodachrome was by far the most accurate color film. I don't think things have changed, and that reflects my experience. The old K-12 version was more intense, but the K-14 chromes have worked hard to reflect the actual color values in the scene. VS isn't that way, and Velvia is far worse. VS (and Velvia) has purposely enhanced saturation, and VS tends to be a bit blue. Many people prefer that effect. I find it disturbing.
     
  4. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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  5. Alex Bishop-Thorpe

    Alex Bishop-Thorpe Member

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    My grandfather, mother, and now me have all recorded snapshots of my family on Kodachrome now. It's a nice tradition.
    I prefer Kodachrome 64 for slides, and have some K25 from 1986 which still produces wonderful results. However my last batch from Dwaynes had dust and (oddly) some form of string through the boxes and on the slides. I assume I just drew the short straw, but makes me think twice every time I load up kodachrome now.
     
  6. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    There was a lengthy thread about a year ago with numerous horror stories of Dwayne's processing problems similar to yours, so you're certainly not alone. It's hard to tell just how common these problems are, though; threads like that tend to attract problem reports like a flame attracts moths, but reports of lack of problems don't seem to be as attracted to such threads, so you're left with a skewed perception of how bad the problem is. It could be anywhere from quite rare to extremely common.
     
  7. kodachrome64

    kodachrome64 Member

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    The Kodachrome I get back from Dwayne's has always been perfect. They do an outstanding job, but everyone has problems now and then. Even though I shoot mostly B&W, it is by far my favorite color film. "Accurate" is how I'd describe it, and it's great for documenting families or trips. There's just nothing that compares.

    I send mine through Wal-Mart to Dwayne's and get their great service for only $4.88.
     
  8. dmr

    dmr Member

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    I was a bit concerned when reports of problems started showing up, but every roll I've sent in has been great. I'm thinking of trying them for E6 as well.

    My last K14 roll was stunning! :smile:
     
  9. AutumnJazz

    AutumnJazz Member

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    dmr: they only do cardboard mounts, and you can get cheaper/better (service wise) E6 processing done elsewhere.

    Personally, Kodachrome is my _favorite_ color film. I also shoot velvia, though.
     
  10. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser

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    Kodachrome picks up UV from atmospheric haze. That old skylight filter kicking around at the bottom of the gadget bag is the cure. A UV/haze/skylight filter used to be standard equipment on lenses and most folks have forgotten they had a purpose other than the gathering of dust and fingerprints. Sometimes changing the meter ASA setting to 80 can help with landscapes by being a better balance between the meter and the film UV sensitivity. Kodachrome works really well with polarizer filters.
     
  11. PKM-25

    PKM-25 Member

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    Our eyes are very forgiving and somewhat misleading when it comes to the exact quality of light we are seeing when we photograph. Kodachrome puts an end to the question of if you shot in good light or not. If you shoot in rich warm light bounced off the side of a building at an hour before sunset, Kodachrome will show you accurately what that looks like. But if you shoot at high altitude in the middle of the day, well..unfortunately, Kodachrome will be accurate there too.

    I just got back some 30 rolls of KR from Dwayne's, flawless processing. And much to my chagrin, some shots were flat, I forgot to approach the film differently in that case. Then there were the shots from Pike Street Market in Seattle with my Leica 35 1.4 aspheric...holy cow were those good!

    By the time the year 2010 rolls around and the film turns 75, I hope to have shot close to 1,000 rolls of it.

    I am off to New York City in the morning, I am not bringing a DSLR, I am bringing a Leica MP-3 and M3 with Kodachrome 64 and 25.

    Just keep shooting the stuff folks, and if you have contacted me through the project site, I have been really busy this Summer, I will return your emails.

    Cheers,

    Dan / The Kodachrome Project.
     
  12. MMfoto

    MMfoto Member

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    On Dwaynes: I've never had a "perfect" experience. The processing itself has always been great, it's the film handling and customer service that's been very poor. The perpetual dust I can live with, but the continually miscut and mismounted slides I cannot. I've had entire rolls miscut so that part of each frame is cut off. Also the last frame is often cut in half, this may be because they need more of the end to tape to the next roll for continual feeding into the processor, but it seems excessive. Beyond that, I've had several rolls with missing bits of film, an unmounted frame cut, not in half, but on both sides, so that just the middle of the frame remains. Where did the rest go? Again, I send in nine rolls in a well packaged box, and get back nine rolls of spilled slides, in an ENVELOP. They didn't bother with a box and sealed the slide boxes with magic tape which then sticks to the spilled slides, what do they expect? Also, I've had unmounted rolls returned in cardboard rolls with just a piece of masking tape across the opening, no box, no plastic bag, just dropped in a USPS padded plastic envelop..... these are NOT really sealed and the post office drops 'em on your front porch, hopefully it doesn't rain (I live in Seattle).

    Anyways, I've been very committed to Kodachrome, but currently the biggest factor in wether I keep shooting it is not availability, but that the one place that processes it is not comitted to providing a quality service.

    I know people will not like to hear this, but that's my experience.
     
  13. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    ^^^^MMfoto

    Sorry to hear of your bad experiences with Dwaynes. I've had the dust issues and the (very) occasional mis-mounted slide, but nothing worse than many other processors (including so-called Pro E-6 labs).

    Others have written that Dwaynes are receptive to customer queries and comments....have you taken the problems up with them direct? And would Kodak Customer Service be interested, after all Dwaynes are their "Official Licencees"?
     
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  15. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    It's sad that this fine film's days may well be numbered partly because of the processing shortcomings. I for one have regrettably given up on Kodachrome for that reason. The dust referred to by MMfoto is just one of many problems and one of the most basic photographic issues for which there is really no excuse. I can't say I've had dust issues with any other processors beyond the occasional fleck of white plastic from a mount. Strangely, my last roll of Kodachrome stock came back somewhat better than others, but whether this was because of any improvement or just coincidence I don't know.

    Steve
     
  16. AutumnJazz

    AutumnJazz Member

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    I haven't really had an issues with Dwayne's, but the way they've been sending uncut rolls has irked me.
     
  17. kodachrome64

    kodachrome64 Member

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    I've had nothing but perfect processing from Dwayne's, whether I send it directly or through Wal-Mart. Their scan CDs suck terribly though, so don't even bother. And they take an extra 3 days to do scans if you select that option, so I can do it myself in much less time.

    Processing has always been top-notch. I don't much care for the way they package or mail the slides, but for the bargain I get at Wal-Mart I am hardly complaining to be able to get it developed for a low price and no shipping costs. Kodachrome is definitely worth my $12.00 per roll.
     
  18. AutumnJazz

    AutumnJazz Member

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    I've been getting them uncut and having a local pro lab roll scan and mount them for $12.50.

    I'm insane. I must pay over $20 a roll for processing.
     
  19. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    Interesting that some seem to have nothing but good to say about Dwayne's and others (like me) seem to have had nothing but hassle. There don't seem to be many who are on the fence on this one. I wonder whether some of us are more inclined to be critical because of the high standard of service we have previously enjoyed from Hemel Hempstead and latterly Lausanne?

    Steve
     
  20. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    ^^^Steve

    As one who used the Kodak Hemel Hempstead service, and subsequently Lausanne, I think that there is something in what you say. In about 12 years of slides from Hemel, I cannot remember one single fault!

    To be fair to Dwaynes, the dust I have had has been loose bits from the card mounts and packing, which brushes off...but why oh why did we lose the modern plastic mounts and boxes which Lausanne provided? :confused:

    Poor mounting and other marks are, however, inexcusable...I'm still on-the-fence with my own experience, so fingers crossed that my new enthusiasm for Kodachrome will not prove mis-placed......I've not totally forgotten that Fuji are still there to offer quality products, and the Fuji UK processing service is top notch. :wink:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2008
  21. tim_walls

    tim_walls Member

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    That could be true - I've only started with K64 recently, and only had about half a dozen rolls done by Dwaynes, but I've been impressed with the service and have no complaints at all. But I never used HH or Lausanne! (Although I'm not sure what they could do that Dwayne's don't; maybe get some attractive Swiss girls to deliver the rolls to me personally :wink:.)
     
  22. Craig

    Craig Subscriber

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    Interesting about the plastic mounts, as when Kodak Canada and latterly Kodak US did the processing they always used card mounts. I've never seen Kodachrome in North America mounted in anything but cardboard mounts.

    Unlike some of the others here, I've never had a problem with Dwaynes processing either, but then I send my films in through Kodak who forwards them to Dwaynes, rather than using the mail.
     
  23. railwayman3

    railwayman3 Member

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    ^^^Craig

    Kodak UK used card mounts right through until sometime in the 1980's-ish(?). They were quite durable, easy to handle and didn't seem to shed any significant dust....some photographers didn't like the later plastic mounts which had a waxy feel, and I believe that the Pro versions of the films continued to be returned in card mounts. Dwaynes card mounts seem very flimsy and fiddly at the side of the old Kodak cards.
    Lausanne used (IMO) a better form of plastic mount.

    All Kodachrome regularly sold in the UK has always, so far as I know, been process paid by Kodak, and, again SFAIK, there has never been an independent service. Until the closures, the supplied mailers carried a long list of the Kodak labs in all the various countries and could be used anywhere in the world. They now have only the Lausanne address, and, oddly enough, say "Kodak Processing not available in the USA". :confused:

    Kodak E6 has never been sold processing-included. Some of the "amateur" Fujichromes are sold with or without "official" Fuji processing.
     
  24. Aurum

    Aurum Member

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    Certainly the UK market for slides has always been more receptive for process paid film for the non-pro side.
    Kodachrome and Agfachrome were always process paid, and the Fuji E6 products just carry on the tradition.
    Its only the states that forced Kodak to stop doing process paid Kodachrome, which IMHO was a retrograde step for the amateur market in that territory.

    I always preferred the agfachrome slide carriers to the kodak ones, as they were much better made and being colour coded (one side navy blue, the other white) easier to put into slide viewers in subdued lighting
     
  25. MMfoto

    MMfoto Member

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    I've been meaning to write a letter actually, cc'd to Kodak. After my last order arrived I was a bit too hot for a phone call, frankly. Also, my only experience with customer service has been Dwayne's calling to question a "special" request I made:

    I sent in the above mentioned nine rolls with a note saying that two rolls were images of the night sky and to please not cut if the frames are not visible. Someone called me, I'm still not sure why, sounding terribly irritated saying repeatedly that this would "slow production," and that they'd have to pull my film from "production" and have "someone" inspect it. The phrase "slow production" was used repeatedly. Honestly, the correct response from any lab worth it's salt is: of course, we would never cut the film if we can't see where the images begin and end.

    So I haven't been exactly inspired to pick up the phone. I'll eventually write a letter, but it is just a tad frustrating that the only K-14 processor, worldwide, appears interested only in "production."
     
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  26. accozzaglia

    accozzaglia Member

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    By default, I request that any film I have processed anywhere not be cut. This goes for KR64 rolls I had sent to Dwayne's. There were no problems: the Dwayne's rolls were returned with a paper lining the length of the film strip, and then coiled within a 35mm-fitted cardboard tube segment.