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markbarendt
06-17-2013, 12:09 AM
So, I'm hunting through 6000 slides that my family took way back in my youth, specifically for shots of my mom this first round.

Problem is, that half of all the shots I've made it through are out of focus or suffer motion blur. Slow Kodachrome and poor use of manual focus. Most of my shots are sharp, but my granddad and dad seem to have struggled.

They look great as 35 mm slides, most even looked at least acceptable from across the room projected, but 1/2 the scans/prints I got back on the first batch sucked, so I threw the offenders in the enlarger, grain focused, and sure enough the shots suck for focus and the blur is real. These aren't art shots, this is my history, a little sharpness would be handy.

I could hardly believe it, seems that when projected my mind kinda corrected for or ignored many of the imperfections given the subject matter and I had not bothered with my loupe. For a print though they are just plain bad.

Anybody else find this issue where a slide show looks fine but the prints just suck?

Oxleyroad
06-17-2013, 01:38 AM
I have similar experience. Only two years ago my father had asked me to scan a good number of his pictures taken on Kodachrome and Agfa when he was a yound unmarried man working in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the early 60's.

The Kodachrome are all still brilliant colour, the Agfa not so. While they all seem to project sharp many of them have not been able to be scanned. I put it down to what the images are projected on. A painted wallpapered wall, a sheet or even on the rare occasion a projection screen, none of which has had a brilliant surface for determining if the image was sharply focused or not. Dust and finger prints are also a big problem as Dad did not think to not let my brothers and I as kids handle all of the slides in and out of the carriers.

railwayman3
06-17-2013, 03:07 AM
I've found the same thing, shots taken by my grandfather in the 60's and remembered as something special, now look disappointing, and prove difficult to scan and print.

(Perhaps some of it is the memory of being amazed as a kid at color pictures on a screen. In the intervening years, film and equipment improved, our own photographic knowledge, skills and expectations gradually improved, while images generally, in print, television and movies were revolutionised in technical quality.)

markbarendt
06-17-2013, 08:34 AM
Tis amazing how we view things differently in differing contexts.

Michael R 1974
06-17-2013, 08:55 AM
This relates to my post in the "40x60 from 35mm" thread. When we look at things from normal viewing distances, the subjective evaluation of definition has a lot to do with whether or not we have the impression there is as much detail as we think should be there. This is complicated by the visual/mental tendency to "fill in" missing detail. And this tendency is even further complicated when the subject matter is familiar because we know what should be there, which makes it that much easier to fill in whatever detail might actually be unresolved in the image.

David Brown
06-17-2013, 09:02 AM
Yep. I was always amazed at how bad an 8x10 enlargement could look from a "perfectly good" negative that looked great at 3x5 ... :blink:

I have all of my Dad's old slides and prints. All taken with Brownie Starflashes and Instamatics. Having a good scanner is key, and then they take some post processing. (Sorry APUG) I have more problems with color fading than sharpness, however. Perhaps because I have low expectations on the sharpness.

DWThomas
06-17-2013, 09:06 AM
Hmmm, yes, I've seen some of this -- except the slides are mine from the 1960s, not my grandfather's! :confused:

I have scanned a few for my PBase galleries, with intent to do more, but was surprised at how much work was involved due to needing major tweaking. Even some that were on Kodachrome did not appear nearly as good in terms of color as I remember them. Makes me wonder if there may have been some occasional substandard processing involved, as I did sometimes go with discount mail order places.

The early ones that I have scanned were taken with my Argus C3 -- the Brick. And using Sunny 16 in the beginning, probably not recommended with Kodachrome! I hope one of these days to tackle some from the mid-60s taken with my Konica FP and see what they look like after all these years. I think I had largely switched to Ektachrome by then, so that could turn out to be a different source of disappointment. Some Anscochrome out of my Minox from the mid-60s that I home processed has faded and color shifted a lot. It took everything I know (which may not be all that much!) to even approach a decent scan from them. Not to mention an 8 x 11 mm frame ain't very much data.

Sometimes I think of old family photos not as records, but as memory triggers. For that they don't have to be perfect! :D

Wolfeye
06-17-2013, 09:49 AM
My dad died when I was five, and when he did, nearly everything of value he had was sold or "traded" to pay off debts. I have no idea how many of the debts were real, nor did my grieving mother, so it all went. Guns mostly. Photographic equipment too, including my dad's 35mm camera. I never saw it, knew of it, nor even what make / model it was. So here's my take - it was probably a zone-focused point and shoot of Asian origin. My dad was in the Navy in the 1950's and I have lots of slides and images from 1955-1967 when he died. They suffer from the same sort of fault; few are properly exposed and few are well focused. There's not much you can do except make a collage. That way, you have an 11x14 or whatever, showing your family history, and the sharpness won't matter much.

I look at the slides every once in a while. They're still nice enough. Memories are precious whether blurry or sharp. :)

markbarendt
06-17-2013, 10:06 AM
There is no doubt that its nice to have them regardless of the condition.

Does make me appreciate my fancy auto focus Nikons.

railwayman3
06-17-2013, 10:32 AM
I have scanned a few for my PBase galleries, with intent to do more, but was surprised at how much work was involved due to needing major tweaking. Even some that were on Kodachrome did not appear nearly as good in terms of color as I remember them. Makes me wonder if there may have been some occasional substandard processing involved, as I did sometimes go with discount mail order places.

The early ones that I have scanned were taken with my Argus C3 -- the Brick. And using Sunny 16 in the beginning, probably not recommended with Kodachrome! I hope one of these days to tackle some from the mid-60s taken with my Konica FP and see what they look like after all these years. I think I had largely switched to Ektachrome by then, so that could turn out to be a different source of disappointment. Some Anscochrome out of my Minox from the mid-60s that I home processed has faded and color shifted a lot. It took everything I know (which may not be all that much!) to even approach a decent scan from them. Not to mention an 8 x 11 mm frame ain't very much data.

Sometimes I think of old family photos not as records, but as memory triggers. For that they don't have to be perfect! :D

Apart from my "memories" theory above, I'd agree that there is definitely a real color changes and fading in some of my Gramps and Dads slides from the 1960's and 70's. Kodachrome seems to have survived with little change (all Kodachrome processing in the UK was at that time by the Kodak factory). Ektachromes are variable, but those processed by Kodak look good (they had a factory service then, through local photo dealers).

Agfa and some unknown film (maybe GAF or Ansco?) have faded, while some professionally made souvenir sets have all faded to a dull pink. The latter say "printed on Kodak film", presumably Eastman movie print film which was notorious for this.

I've not tried much scanning from their color negs, dating from about 1970 onwards. But allowing for the greater improvements in color neg since then, the few which I have scanned produce results similar to the original optical prints, where I still have these to compare.

Black and white prints from the 1930's and 40's look like the day they were taken. :D

Jeff Kubach
06-17-2013, 11:18 AM
My father took photos of the family years ago, they where in focus, but none where artisic.

Jeff

Poisson Du Jour
06-17-2013, 05:40 PM
My parent's parents used Kodachrome way back in the early 1960s to photograph me crawling around in what appears to be a frock (!) with a headband on (!!). Yuck! They're in focus, but motion blurred and a bit unsteady. I'm looking for the one or two where I was apparently photographed trying to ride on the back of a chihuahua. I would have tried anything in those days...

blockend
08-15-2013, 04:47 PM
Yep. I was always amazed at how bad an 8x10 enlargement could look from a "perfectly good" negative that looked great at 3x5 ... :blink:
Make a virtue of a necessity - print small. Most of my family's album photographs were tiny, only a few studio pictures got close to 5 x 7. The pleasure, even in my reading glasses years, is peering into the image to pick out details from the past. Incidentally, a friend of mine who has a Leica mostly prints 5 x 4", and beautifully at that. The scale gives them an intimacy, especially as he presents them in a book, that gallery sized prints so often lack.