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Why Is Kodachrome So Popular?  
User currently offlineMidway DC9-10 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 265 posts, RR: 0
Posted (14 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 2577 times:

I have noticed how so many photographers and forum members use K64 exclusively for their aviation photography. Why is this film so popular, even as newer films such as Provia 100F are constantly evolving?

I personally use Provia 100F and like it very much. However, I may plan to sell or trade slides in the future and have heard that it will be hard to do so unless you use K64 or K25.

To me it seems more advantageous to use a film like Provia for the following reasons: the extremely fine grain, the extra speed, and the ability to push this film.

Any advice will help!

Thanks,

Midway DC9-10

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineDsmav8r From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 579 posts, RR: 7
Reply 1, posted (14 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 2465 times:

Kodachrome 25/64 is considered the "industry standard" so to speak, but I think things are beginning to change. I have been a loyal Kodachrome user for the past 10 years, but it is becoming more and more difficult to process. There are only a handful of labs left in the U.S. that can process K-14, so it can typically take 5-7 days to receive your slides. So, naturally a film like Provia F which is better in every aspect (except archival quality) is going to become increasingly popular. Plus, it usually only takes 12-24 hours to process, if you are fortunate enough to have an in-house E-6 lab at your local camera shop.

Just my two cents.  

Aric Thalman
Omaha, NE



To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home
User currently offlineThomasphoto60 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 4024 posts, RR: 26
Reply 2, posted (14 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2454 times:

Well when my career as a photographer was starting out in the 80s, Kodachrome was GOD!, no one who took their career's seriously, would consider anything else. Thankfully, when films like Fujichrome 50D (now discontinued) and Velvia came on to the scene in the mid-80s, as well as some of tighter/finer grained Ektachrome emulsions, Koadachrome's days as being the 'required' film were quickly becoming numbered.

The only advantage that Kodachrome has over it's E-6 counterparts is archiving. Aside from that Kodachrome is probably going to go the way of B&W, (as will most films over the next 20-30 years) a film used more for artistic purposes, than everyday shooting. The biggest disadvantage to K14 films is just that... the K14 processing. It is done by so few labs globally, that it is no longer an option for many photographers who need their work back in hurry, and many cases in a few hours.

Long live Fujichrome!

Thomas



"Show me the Braniffs"
User currently offlineBrick From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1591 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (14 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2453 times:

I guess I should feel lucky that I can get drop off K64 for processing and get it back in 2-3 days in the Minneapolis area.  

Mark Abbott
Minneapolis, MN



A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man...
User currently offlineThomasphoto60 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 4024 posts, RR: 26
Reply 4, posted (14 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 2447 times:

Yeah, consider youself fortunate, I live in Houston, and any Kodachrome film has to be shipped to Dallas for processing, and you get it back 1 week later! It was better at one time (many moons ago) when I could get 2 day service, but those days are history.

Thomas




"Show me the Braniffs"
User currently offlineDullesGuy From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 247 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (14 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2439 times:

Wow I too now feel privaleged, it only takes 2-3 buisness days to get my K64 slides back. I live in Fairfax, VA area.



stephen



"..the joy of the Lord is your strength" Nehemiah 8:10
User currently offlineJasonm From Australia, joined May 2000, 238 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (14 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2441 times:

We only have one K-14 lab here in Australia (Sydney) so it takes weeks to process Kodachrome films. I hate the idea of sending film off in the mail anyway.

As Midway said, the evolution of faster and fine grain films (that can be pushed) gives makes Kodachrome seem 'old-hat' these days. But it does have excellent archival qualities!

Cheers,
Jason


User currently offlineDsmav8r From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 579 posts, RR: 7
Reply 7, posted (14 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 2439 times:

Anyone who has a Kodachrome lab in their city should feel fortunate.   There used to be one here in Omaha up until last June, now all of my KR rolls are sent to either Minneapolis or Seattle. Very inconvenient when I can get a roll of E-6 back the same day.

Aric Thalman
Omaha, NE



To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home
User currently offlineMidway DC9-10 From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 265 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (14 years 2 months 2 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 2425 times:

Thanks for all the info!. This is my second posting on Airliners.net and it is nice to see such helpful knowledge being shared.

Does anyone know how other slide films compare archivally (in years) to kodachrome? And will I ever have a problem selling or trading if I continue to use Provia?

Thanks,

Dave



User currently offlineThomasphoto60 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 4024 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (14 years 2 months 2 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2422 times:

Don't quote me but I believe that the life of Kodachrome....well, lets put it this way...it will probablay out live you!

I believe that most E-6's have a lifetime of some 40-50 years depending on the ISO rating, again I am not certain. I am sure that there are 1 or 2 individuals who participate on this forum who know much more that I on this topic.

Unfortunley, most collectors want Kodachrome, at least at the shows that I have been to, that was the required film.

Thomas



"Show me the Braniffs"
User currently offlineFastGlass From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 0 posts, RR: 5
Reply 10, posted (14 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 2421 times:

One slight edge Provia might have over K25/K64 is in the scanning process, however this doesn't apply to everybody. Several ex-K-shooters tell me that their slide scanners have a difficult time adjusting to the Kodachome color balance. That makes me wonder if the newer film scanners are "tuned" to an E-6 color balance, whilst in the past this was not the case.

...just a passing thought.


User currently offlineDsmav8r From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 579 posts, RR: 7
Reply 11, posted (14 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 2425 times:

Kodachrome can be very tricky to scan, even with presets within the scanner software. It usually requires a lot of color correction with your photo program to make your scan look like the slide. The best way to scan Kodachrome is with a drum scanner, but they are VERY expensive. Some pro labs may offer digital scans with these scanners, but I have never looked into it.

Aric Thalman
Omaha, NE



To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love aviation, the sky is home
User currently offlineHias From Germany, joined Sep 2000, 349 posts, RR: 12
Reply 12, posted (14 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2403 times:

I have to say that the K-films are very good in quality and grain, but as they cost as much as two Fuji Sensia, I rejected in using them. I live in Germany and the films had to be send to Switzerland to be processed and this took 2-3 weeks. As rumours said recently, Kodak is going to stop its K-series in the near future (in Europe or worldwide ?).

I think you can't say that the K-films could be archived longer without a loss in quality compared to other films, as noone has 30 years old Fuji Sensia/Velvia or what else...

Many spotters in Europe have changed from Kodak to Fuji, as the colors on the K64 were not always the best.

Viva Fuji.

Mathias


User currently offlinePropfreak From Switzerland, joined Mar 2000, 157 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (14 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2406 times:

hi everybody
myself I have been shooting with K64s for the last 20 years and I am still happy with it, even if it takes a couple of days to get the slides back. I live in Switzerland (where there is a lab) and it takes about 5 days to get my slides back. as for many european spotteres changing over to Fuji, I haven't noticed so far (at least not in Switzerland) and I still now many people who wouldn't consider trading Fuji-slides.
viva k64...
Olav


User currently offlineUSAir_757 From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 996 posts, RR: 8
Reply 14, posted (14 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 2403 times:

True fact. Kodak is stopping the KR series as we speak. And I think RG(Roal Gold(Yes i'm one of those "PRINT FILM" shooters)) may be going as well. I am seeing less and less and less RG100(RG25 is already gone). I used to be able to get it at the local pharmacy and photo shop. Now I have to go all the way to Portsmouth or Manchester to get it. I think Fuji is really giving Kodak a run for their money, and I am switching over to Reala for the moment. I can get the Reala at the local photo shop, really convenient. And it's not as expensive, either. $4.99(and we're talking 36-exp rolls here).

This photo was on Fuji Reala,

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © C. Wassell




And this on RG100:

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © C. Wassell





Cheers
C. Wassell



-Cullen Wassell @ MLI | Pentax K5 + DA18-55WR + Sigma 70-300 DL Macro Super
User currently offlineTomH From United States of America, joined May 1999, 960 posts, RR: 2
Reply 15, posted (14 years 2 months 1 week 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2400 times:

It's true that at one time you couldn't get a publisher to consider your color work unless it was Kodachrome. It is also true that if you shot slides in the 1940s and 1950s and it wasn't Kodachrome, chances are they have faded away by now.

The days of Kodachrome's domination are gone for a variety of reasons. This is largely because competing film manufacturers have greatly improved their product lines. Personal opinion here, but I also think Kodak deliberately limited distribution of all their slide film in the past 15 years in favor of color print film, which has also been vastly improved.

There have been rumors about Kodachrome's demise for at least 20 years, so I'm skeptical about this one. I heard one of the problems with Kodachrome that couldn't be altered or improved upon was that the chemistry involved is pretty unkind to the environment. This in itself could severely affect profitability.

I would like to pass on a note regarding archival qualities. I recently came across a couple of rolls of Kodachrome from 1941, and a couple from 1945. No, I didn't take these slides, it was well before my time. The color and grain was marvelous, probably much as it was when they were first returned from the developer. I don't know the history of their storage life, but quite a few of them had suffered from the dreaded "spider fungus" that grows in the emulsion. I think this is usually from humid storage conditions.

It's important to realize that archival storage is that which occurs in an archive. An archive is monitored by professionals, in a controlled climate environment. The use of the originals is restricted, and duplicates are made for distribution and projection. Even the most serious photographers among us are not likely to truly posses and archive.

I knew a fellow who was a serious photographer from the midwest USA. In the 1950s, before air conditioning was everywhere, he moved to Florida. He told me many people like himself were forced to give up photography because the heat and (especially) the humidity ruined their collections.

No matter the excellent archival storage reputation of a film, if it has been stored in a basement or attic, it is probably junk. Next time someone tells you they know of an old collection of aircraft slides that their uncle took way back when, brace yourself. Might be more of a heartache than a goldmine. If you want to avoid the bitterness and dissapointment you are likely to experience when viewing these old slides, simply send them to me. I'll open a cold one and grind through that disaster for you, heartache free. Tough job, but someone's gotta' do it.
TomH


User currently offlineCkw From UK - England, joined Aug 2010, 769 posts, RR: 16
Reply 16, posted (14 years 2 months 1 week 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 2380 times:

Kodachrome's previous domination in terms of sheer quality is certainly challenged these days - I think much of the debate is now down to personal preference, many prefering Fuji's more "natural" tones than Kodachrome's vivid reds. That aside, there are 2 facts about Kodachrome worth knowing:

1- Scanners with infrared channels used to digitally "clean" slides (eg. Nikon) cannot apply this technology on Kodachrome - something to do with the layering of the dyes. The slides will scan OK, but with no dust/scratch removal.

2- Not only does Kodachrome have tried and tested archival properties (by this is meant the fact that the dyes in Kodachrome are inherently more stable than in other films), it is also more tolerant of poor storage both BEFORE and AFTER processing. This is one reason it is the choice of, say, National Geographic photographers - Kodachrome could survive weeks in a tropical jungle!

I have the families collection of slides going back to the late 50s - a mixture of Kodachrome and other films. While these have not been abused, they have not been treated with the care they should have been. But without exception, the Kodachromes could have been taken yesterday while the Agfas, Ektachromes etc. have all deteriorated to some degree. If I were a slide collector, I think I would want Kodachrome.

Cheers,

Colin



Colin K. Work, Pixstel
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