At one time National Geographic's Kodachrome lab (yes, they had their own dedicated lab) processed the highest volume of still photography Kodachrome film in the world.
My question for the OP is - are there photographs in the publication that are shot on other slide films, and if so, how well are they reproduced?
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Did the photographers in the example photos you saw use a tripod?
In case the shots were from magazines with amateur contributors, at ASA 25, without a tripod, unless the photographer was very careful, the shots would be likely have some blur.
Kodachrome has a "bas relief" effect on the emulsion surface.
It is quite noticeable if you hold the slide at a obligue angle when viewing the emulsion surface.
I use a Nikon CS9000 scanner and I have found focus to be a problem when using the dedicated slide tray.
The problem seems to be solved by removing the slide from the it's holder and using Nikons FH869GR glass holder.
Excellent discussion here folks, thanks...
In terms of the blurry quality I see, it does not appear to be an issue of focus (though perhaps that should not be ruled out), but a combination of sharpness, shadow detail, and overall resolution. The shortcomings in these three areas make for a print that looks blurry, especially in comparison to the various digital shots shown on the same page.
With regard to a tripod, there is no indication as to whether a tripod was used. I use a tripod for about 80-85% of my shots, but I have gotten excellent results, ranging from "sharp" to "very sharp," when shooting hand-held. Of course, one has be be prudent in regard to shutter speed, aperture, and lighting conditions, but any good photographer should know this.
I also note that the film shots in this periodical will also (though not in all cases) look dull and rather monotone--and this comes from one who despises overly saturated films. For my color shots, I prefer Portra 400 and Pro 400H, and I find "vivid" films to be rather neon-looking. I avoid these films.
Last edited by FilmOnly; 03-20-2012 at 03:12 PM. Click to view previous post history.
There is no question that it is the reproduction that is lacking, I've noticed this in books and magazines.
Originally Posted by FilmOnly
If you have never seen a good Kodachrome slide in person, by all means find some and get them projected. It will be a revelation, and keep in mind, it's just a tiny little 35mm frame. I also have several dozen rolls of 6x7 slides, on Kodachrome 64 PKR 120.
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I have not worked with Kodachrome, but have scanned thousands of E-6 slides on various devices, as well as having them professionally scanned. I have never seen a single scan that comes close to the quality of the original. Invariably, the saturation, contrast and tonality of the image all suffer. While some of this can be compensated for, the best end result will always be poor facsimile.
Kodachrome has been said to be a difficult emulsion to scan well; something to do with the red channel. But if you want to see how good the quality of traditional scan reproduction is, you need only go back 20 to 40 years reading Time and National Geographic where thousands upon thousands of Kodachrome slides were shot around the world and scanned so beautifully as to hold everybody in a bewitched state. I know that's how I felt in the 70s and 80s, long before the faux purity and sharpness of digital landed.
I have attempted to scan some of my Kodachrome slides from the 1980s but cannot get the hues right. I don't have this difficulty with Fuji/E6 slides.
I wonder if the Photomultiplier tubes and Quartz-Halogen illumination of the drum scanners vs a fluorescent bulb of the current genre had anything to do with it...
Originally Posted by Poisson Du Jour
Maybe. It was photogravure or something in those days — traditional image-to-plate preparation, and the printed results were uniformly beautiful, showcasing the best photographers' work in possibly the best medium of that era.
Originally Posted by Bill Burk
I always enjoyed looking that that layered look of a Kodachrome in reflected light.
Originally Posted by Paul Goutiere
I suppose there is some truth to that being a problem with "scanners".