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  1. #1

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    Observations of Koda, Ansco, Agra, Ekta chromes, archivalness or not

    Just last night I finally found the stash of family slides I've been searching for. A few frames of 35mm Kodachrome with shots of my Dad and a girlfriend in an aluminum canister, ca. 1940 to other materials up to about 1970.

    The real heart stoppers were 4x5 Kodachromes of Boston, and my beautiful mother and her beloved first born child (guess who, ha ha.....), 1942 to 1947. Ironically found simultaneously almost to the day with the end of Kodachrome processing, eh? Stunning color, beautiful as the day they were processed.

    Starting in the late forties or early fifties my father started shooting slides with his 1944 Leica M2. Mostly Ektachrome, but also some Agfa and Ansco.

    As expected, they have faded badly. One of the other brands, I can't recall which, did not fade to Ektachrome's magenta, but green, IIRC. I sampled different slides up to about 1964, then all of a sudden, the colors were still "very very good!" It's as if a whole new generation of film and/or processing came into being. I don't know enough about these histories, some one here surely does.

    Since the latter generation of chromes is now about 45 years old with no special care in storage, maybe "they" really have gotten the archival thing down. Especially since we know that a lot more work has been done to that end since then. I looked at lots of our drugstore prints from the 70's and their condition is, I would say, "good" to "very good." Impressive for cheap.

    Maybe things aren't as bad as we want to believe.

  2. #2
    holmburgers's Avatar
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    I hope you're right. I think it's true to say that our slides/negs won't deteriorate nearly as bad as Ektachrome and the like from the 50's, 60's.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Verizzo View Post
    The real heart stoppers were 4x5 Kodachromes ... Stunning color, beautiful as the day they were processed.

    As expected, they (other chromes) have faded badly. ... I sampled different slides up to about 1964, then all of a sudden, the colors were still "very very good!" It's as if a whole new generation of film and/or processing came into being.
    I am currently going through my Dad's old slides as well: 1958 - mid 1970s. There are a few Kodachromes (still perfect), but he basically bought whatever was sold at the drugstore. Many of the older ones are very purple, but it varies. The ones from the 70s, for the most part, seem pretty good.

  4. #4
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    All my Kodachromes dating back to 1974 are looking great, of course, as are my grandfather's from the mid-fifties. My E-4 films show fading-Ektachrome and Fujichrome. My E-6 Fujichromes from as late as the early 80's have lost a lot of their green-I think it's mainly yellow dye fading. My E-6 Ektachromes have faded some, but it looks like maybe the magenta is what is going first. Agfachromes are supposed to fade a lot, but mine from the mid-and late-70's look excellent, and as always, the most like Kodachrome.
    Last edited by lxdude; 12-30-2010 at 05:08 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

  5. #5

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    Here is a comparison I posted a good while back. http://www.apug.org/forums/forum40/5...ktachrome.html

    I found two slides in a batch of vintage slides that came in a thrift store collection which were of the same subject, one Kodachrome, the other Ektachrome, and apparently from the same time period.

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    Nice catch and a lot of luck, bdial!

    OK, so it is sounding like something changed in the mid-sixties, at least in the Kodak offerings. Was that the change from E-4 to E-6 films and processing? Something else?

  7. #7
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    Each generation of the Ektachrome and Kodacolor - Ektacolor family has seen improvements in image stability. The same is true of Agfa, Fuji and Konica color films. We kept charts of product vs image stability in standard units of hours vs foot candles of exposure or temperature and humidity.

    The first generation of color films were couplers in solvents, then UV absorbers were added, then Oxygen scavengers were added, then changes to the couplers and developers were made to make the dyes less aligned... etc. Each of these improved the films.

    Kodachrome uses a technique called micro-crystallization or high glass transition temperature for the formation of the dye clouds. This is one of the methods used in today's E6 and C41 films, but it took a while to get there with incorporated couplers.

    PE

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    Thanks, PE! I knew that if anyone had some good insight, you would.

    In the mean time, I found this on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ektachrome The year change, 1966, from E-2 to E-3 coincides, seemingly, with the improved color stability I saw.

  9. #9
    AgX
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    It still depends on the intended use of a film is designed for: one well-known manufacturer advises to store a certain film in refridgeration for storing after processing. This film is not typically used for archival work.

  10. #10
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    Well, that is very true. For example, ECP (Eastman Color Print) film used for motion picture projection, is considered a throw away film with a short lifetime. This is due to its transient use, and the expectation that if a show is reintroduced to theaters, the original negative will be reprinted. The archiving of color films is usually done by using separation B&W negatives.

    No dye is permanent. I can go further and say nothing man-made is permanent.

    PE

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