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Kodachrome

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I am in the process of scanning images of Egypt shot on Kodachrome 64 in 1997, and they are as good as the day I shot them. They also scan beautifully. I know there is little chance (sadly) of Kodachrome coming back, so are the new Ektachromes anywhere near as good? Please don't recommend Fuji films, I like the feel of Kodak.

Gerry

 

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I've been very pleased with the new Ektachrome, and it has a "Kodak" look to it. I doubt if it will age as well as Kodachrome, but I'd recommend you try it.

One of the Kodak workers on the Ektachrome project publicly said they should try to resurrect Kodachrome next, but higher management quickly said it wasn't feasible. However, if the demand "bubble" for Ektachrome continues strong, their evaluation should include the idea of "captive" processing so they would also recover costs through being the only source for processing, since it wouldn't be an E6 product and would require all new chemistry, etc. At one time the US courts prohibited Kodak from selling film including processing, but they can no longer be accused of being an overwhelming monopoly. 

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1 hour ago, TomB_tx said:

I've been very pleased with the new Ektachrome, and it has a "Kodak" look to it. I doubt if it will age as well as Kodachrome, but I'd recommend you try it.

One of the Kodak workers on the Ektachrome project publicly said they should try to resurrect Kodachrome next, but higher management quickly said it wasn't feasible. However, if the demand "bubble" for Ektachrome continues strong, their evaluation should include the idea of "captive" processing so they would also recover costs through being the only source for processing, since it wouldn't be an E6 product and would require all new chemistry, etc. At one time the US courts prohibited Kodak from selling film including processing, but they can no longer be accused of being an overwhelming monopoly. 

I believe the problem with resurrecting Kodachrome is they can't formulate it with a silver content because of pollution guidelines, and without that it is nothing except another Ektachrome.

Gerry

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5 hours ago, gwpics said:

I believe the problem with resurrecting Kodachrome is they can't formulate it with a silver content because of pollution guidelines, and without that it is nothing except another Ektachrome.

Gerry

Kodachrome's "problem" is the dyes, that stay in the chemicals and are not incorporated onto the film like all other colour film (E-6, C-41). The chemicals for the K-14 process are hard to make (maybe impossible with new environemental laws) and custom, i.e. are not used in other processes. In theory they could still be made to order, if you have a couple dozen (or hundred) thousand dollars for a huge order.

Then there's the issue of mixing and monitoring the chemistry. Usually that would require a chemist or a trained photolab technician. And lastly, the re-exposure steps, through colour filtered light, during the development process (also unique to Kodakchrome). Those machines were made, tuned, serviced by Kodak only as far as I know. If Kodak gave the exact specs of the lights, filtering etc., they could probably be made by others too. 

So the problem with Kodachrome first and foremost would be restarting the manufacturing process for chemicals (in large amounts) and minilabs, before even thinking of coating the film. And all that is before considering changing environmental laws. If some substances need to be substituted, it's a couple millions in R&D (if there are enough photoengineers left).

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Posted (edited)

Here a nice Kodachrome article, from 2009

😎

👇

Somewhere to send Kodachrome to be processed (sort of ...)

looking at nostalgia "colors" and having thousands of Kodachrome slides as fresh as newly processed some decades ago,

I admit that there would be no more "new" Kodachrome.

Having also E6 processed slides, some colors faded or muted years ago.

Edited by a.noctilux

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1 hour ago, giannis said:

Kodachrome's "problem" is the dyes, that stay in the chemicals and are not incorporated onto the film like all other colour film (E-6, C-41).

Well, I'd adjust that to say that the dyes are incorporated into the film only during the development stage - and remain only where they are needed.

Otherwise all Kodachrome pictures would be black & white. ;)

But the rest is generally correct.

Kodachrome film did not contain dyes or dye couplers before processing (out of the factory, it was in effect three strictly B&W silver emulsions) - the dyes were added only in the development process. The dyes could thus be carefully chosen for longevity, since they were manufactured industrially, outside the darkroom. The processing was very complex, with four separate development, three separate color-dye creation steps and two separate reversal steps. A K-14 processing machine took up a whole room.

https://kodachromia.fandom.com/wiki/K-14_Process

Other films are chromogenic ("color-creating") - half the dye molecule (the coupler) is built into the film in the factory, and converted into a complete dye during processing. Which limits sharpness a bit (the couplers diffuse light in the film), and other qualities such as permanence, since the primary qualification for those dyes is that they can be "manufactured" on the fly in your own bathroom/darkroom.

Now, the E-6 process has evolved over 45 years, and is sharper and more permanent than it once was (T-grain films, chemically-enhanced edge effects, improved couplers). And in some ways has always been as good or better than Kodachrome for scanning and reproduction (punchier saturation at normal ISO, lower D-Max). But K'chrome still held a sharpness edge, longevity and handled colors more subtly (unless intentionally underexposed 1/2 stop for saturation) right to the end.

Of note, Kodachrome's cyan dyes block more infrared, making the use of scanner infrared dust detection/removal (Digital ICE) troublesome.

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1 hour ago, adan said:

Well, I'd adjust that to say that the dyes are incorporated into the film only during the development stage - and remain only where they are needed.

Otherwise all Kodachrome pictures would be black & white. ;)

But the rest is generally correct.

Kodachrome film did not contain dyes or dye couplers before processing (out of the factory, it was in effect three strictly B&W silver emulsions) - the dyes were added only in the development process. The dyes could thus be carefully chosen for longevity, since they were manufactured industrially, outside the darkroom. The processing was very complex, with four separate development, three separate color-dye creation steps and two separate reversal steps. A K-14 processing machine took up a whole room.

https://kodachromia.fandom.com/wiki/K-14_Process

Other films are chromogenic ("color-creating") - half the dye molecule (the coupler) is built into the film in the factory, and converted into a complete dye during processing. Which limits sharpness a bit (the couplers diffuse light in the film), and other qualities such as permanence, since the primary qualification for those dyes is that they can be "manufactured" on the fly in your own bathroom/darkroom.

Now, the E-6 process has evolved over 45 years, and is sharper and more permanent than it once was (T-grain films, chemically-enhanced edge effects, improved couplers). And in some ways has always been as good or better than Kodachrome for scanning and reproduction (punchier saturation at normal ISO, lower D-Max). But K'chrome still held a sharpness edge, longevity and handled colors more subtly (unless intentionally underexposed 1/2 stop for saturation) right to the end.

Of note, Kodachrome's cyan dyes block more infrared, making the use of scanner infrared dust detection/removal (Digital ICE) troublesome.

Yup, you're correct, that's what I meant. No dyes at all would mean B&W image after all. Also agreed, Kodachrome was not as high resolving as people make it out to be (it had high acutance though),  and all colour negative film has more accurate colours than slide, since it can "filter out" unwanted absorptions in the dyes through the orange mask.

Maybe even E-6 is more accurate than Kodachrome, which had a bit of crossover especially of magenta,  but I guess few shot Kodachrome for colour accuracy, as few shoot E-6 for the same reason now.

I remember looking chemical manufacturers and checking prices and minimum orders for all the published components of Kodachrome chemistry, the hardest being the colour couplers of course (C-16, M-32, Y-54). If I remember correctly, the price came to a bit over $100,000 for a gargantuan quantity.

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Thanks for the comments.

Any comments on the new Ektachromes.

Gerry

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love it but it has a narrow exposure tolerance, so if you going someplace with bright sun and harsh shadows it will take work to get it just right  but when you do :-)!!!!!! scans great too.

 

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Some manufacturing processes require more than a knowledge of the physics and chemistry. Could Kodak actually reproduce the Kodachrome of old? I don’t of course know, but I wonder.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, sblitz said:

love it but it has a narrow exposure tolerance, so if you going someplace with bright sun and harsh shadows it will take work to get it just right  but when you do :-)!!!!!! scans great too.

 

Thank you Steve. Your comments are useful, and it does beg the question whether it is better to shoot C41 film if it is going to get scanned anyway because of the greater exposure tolerances. I used to know where I was with film before digital but it seems a minefield to me now!

Gerry

Edited by gwpics

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7 hours ago, Michael Hiles said:

Some manufacturing processes require more than a knowledge of the physics and chemistry. Could Kodak actually reproduce the Kodachrome of old? I don’t of course know, but I wonder.

Going from memory, Kodachrome was a complex multi bath process. Apart from the environmental considerations, the processing system was expensive to run, so only possible with substantial throughput. As Kodak wound it down, it got to the point where there was one (contract) lab still doing it, until the number of films being sent in dwindled away and became so outdated as to make it pointless keeping it open.. I cannot see there ever being sufficient Kodachrome films shot, even worldwide, to make such a process viable again unfortunately. Pity. The M8/9 CCD is probably as near as we'll get .....

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15 hours ago, gwpics said:

Thank you Steve. Your comments are useful, and it does beg the question whether it is better to shoot C41 film if it is going to get scanned anyway because of the greater exposure tolerances. I used to know where I was with film before digital but it seems a minefield to me now!

Gerry

Slide film gives you a much scan, there is no yellow to disregard, blacks are truly blacks, etc. If the concern is scanning alone, Ektachrome is far superior and I find it better than Ektar 100 in terms of the color in the shadows.

 

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8 hours ago, sblitz said:

Slide film gives you a much scan, there is no yellow to disregard, blacks are truly blacks, etc. If the concern is scanning alone, Ektachrome is far superior and I find it better than Ektar 100 in terms of the color in the shadows.

 

Steve 

Thanks for your thoughts. I think you are 100% right, and I will look carefully at the Ektachrome range.

Kind regards,

Gerry

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