Kodak Retires Kodachrome Film

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    Jun 22, 2009 2:16 PM GMT
    Kodachrome was once considered the finest color film in the world, a transparency material that produced projection slides and motion picture film, and from which prints could be made. It's color quality & grain (resolution) were unequaled, still unmatched today by ordinary digital. National Geographic magazine had a policy for many years to only accept photographs made with Kodachrome. Even Kodak's more modern Ektachrome film wouldn't do.

    It's what I often used in my 35mm Leica cameras, and I had literally thousands of slides (remember slide projectors and living room screens?). I guess my 35mm cameras will soon be museum pieces, and lots of guys here won't even know what I'm talking about.

    But for some of us, this is one of those symbolic moments when more of the old world we knew fades away, to be replaced by something new.

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    Jun 22, 2009 2:24 PM GMT
    "They give us those nice bright colours. They give us the greens of summers. Makes you think all the world's a sunny day," he sang. "... So, mama don't take my Kodachrome away."

    Paul Simon.
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    Jun 22, 2009 2:29 PM GMT
    Saw this today onthe news. It's sad. Film, I think, gives much better resolution than digital. What will pro photographers use?
    When I got a new laptop a month ago, found it would not support my 5-year old Canon! Yikes, things are moving too fast for me!
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    Jun 22, 2009 2:36 PM GMT
    antelope saidSaw this today onthe news. It's sad. Film, I think, gives much better resolution than digital. What will pro photographers use?
    When I got a new laptop a month ago, found it would not support my 5-year old Canon! Yikes, things are moving too fast for me!


    I am a terrible amateur photographer. But all the professional photographers I know use digital, with the exception of medium format. But, most of the artists I know use both. Digital gives you exactly what you want. But film is random, full of unexpected noise and splotches.

    As much as I love film, digital has led so a sort of democratization of photography. Anyone can now pick up a camera and click away.
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    Jun 22, 2009 2:40 PM GMT
    Well I suppose this is a homage to slide film in general, not just Kodachromes, but even today's modern digital media and display methods are inferior to what we had. A digital flat screen or projector still lacks the snap & sparkle of what you get with a film slide on screen, a dynamic range from white to black and richness of color that only film provides. We've traded convenience for quality.

    And my favorite used to be a rear-lit table slide viewer, for my own personal showings. The way the slide images dazzled with back-lighting has yet to be matched by digital, the resolution as sharp as real life.

    But this is what we have now, and I assume in time technology will allow the quality to increase to what we had. Still, I do find this allegorical of life in general, that so-called advances often come with compromises, where we gain one thing, at the loss of another.
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    Jun 22, 2009 5:14 PM GMT
    It's a sign of the times. Everything is digital now. The pros switched a long time ago. Digital camera technology gets better and better every year, and film cameras are starting to make less sense.

    Pretty sad either way. I love Kodachrome pictures. They have a pretty distinct look. I know there are Photoshop plug-ins that can simulate the Kodachrome look, but it's just not the same.

    This is a fun site to browse through..

    http://www.shorpy.com/4x5-large-format-kodachromes
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    Jun 22, 2009 5:26 PM GMT
    Without a doubt, this is sad.

    I am a photographer, and started out using all sorts of film early on, and Kodachrome was definitely one of those films. I enjoyed its color richness and unparalleled picture results.

    Nowadays, digital "film" is just TOO perfect, depending on the resolution and pixel size within the camera. Even I frown upon how too perfect the resolution in many of my images are when I use digital, so I use other software means to "breakdown" the clean-sheen appearance of the shots to give the photographs a much more organic feel, sometimes using plug-ins myself, as xrichx mentions.

    Yep, it's sad to see Kodak remove this type of film out. But it is certainly the sign of changing times.
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    Jun 22, 2009 5:27 PM GMT
    Kodachrome
    They give us those nice bright colors
    They give us the greens of summers
    Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, Oh yeah
    I got a Nikon camera
    I love to take a photograph
    So mama don't take my Kodachrome away
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    Jun 22, 2009 5:57 PM GMT
    I used to use Kodachrome all the time. Besides the colors being bright and vivid, I liked being able to browse the slides before choosing what prints I wanted. Nothing beat Kodachrome for outdoor photos on a bright day. I also thought it was cool how if you look at the slides closely, they have that "etched" look. I swear that gives the images little 3-D look when looking at them through a viewer.

    And yes, I liked Kodachrome better than Ektachrome also.
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    Jun 22, 2009 5:59 PM GMT
    paul simon will be devastated
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    Jun 22, 2009 9:02 PM GMT
    MunchingZombie said
    I am a terrible amateur photographer. But all the professional photographers I know use digital, with the exception of medium format. But, most of the artists I know use both. Digital gives you exactly what you want. But film is random, full of unexpected noise and splotches.

    As much as I love film, digital has led so a sort of democratization of photography. Anyone can now pick up a camera and click away.


    While I appreciate this observation, the conclusion drawn about professionals is not for the reason that "Digital gives you exactly what you want."

    Professionals use digital because it's faster and cheaper. The problem is that to get an image that is comparable to film, you need a 16bit digital back that's also high resolution. These camera backs run around $25K and the resolution is close to but not quite as good as 35mm. It is the only way to get a similar dynamic range. Once you start digitally manipulating/retouching most standard professional 8 bit digital cameras (except for some of the newest ones which are 12 or 14 bit), the picture degrades significantly when you try to bring up detail in the shadows, for instance.

    Film is an analog media and therefore has a far greater dynamic range in both breadth and in incremental variation. There are just as many artifacts and anomalies in digital images as in film.

    Most people don't notice the difference, but those giant transparencies that used to be in Grand Central Station would be close to impossible to recreate without spending millions on the development of digital technology to create it. The technology exists, but it is still cost prohibitive.
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    Jun 22, 2009 9:27 PM GMT
    bgcat57 saidMost people don't notice the difference, but those giant transparencies that used to be in Grand Central Station would be close to impossible to recreate without spending millions on the development of digital technology to create it. The technology exists, but it is still cost prohibitive.

    I also remember the gigantic Kodachrome images that used to be displayed in Grand Central, to demonstrate the phenomenal resolution of that film. They went away a few years ago, with the latest Station renovation, when a lot of the architecturally-defacing advertisements were removed.

    I'm sure digital technology will catch up, but in the meantime we must live with convenience over capability.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jun 22, 2009 9:42 PM GMT
    Kodachrome .......

    You give us the nice bright colors
    They give us the greens of summers
    Makes you think all the world's a sunny day, Oh yeah
    I got a Nikon camera
    I love to take a photograph
    So mama don't take my Kodachrome away


    icon_cool.gif
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    Jun 22, 2009 9:52 PM GMT
    Yeah, this CD thing is a big mistake. Nothing can capture the "subtle radiance" and "moody passion" of a Beethoven symphony like my vinyl record collections. This digitizing thing just chops up everything into numbers, and can never capture the "emotional subfrequencies" of analog.

    And yeah, these "electronic books" and "E-readers" are destroying the "tactile experience" of reading. Nothing can compare to the experience of "sensory illumination" that gently caressing a fine leather-bound copy of "War and Peace" produces in the "reading center" of the brain. Digital books just chop it all up into so many packets, devaluing thousands of years of laborious attention to typefaces, inks, paper, and glue.

    And yeah, this Internets thing, with its "social networking," "web camming," and "forums." It's destroying our "social fabric." All the fine traditions of social gatherings: the soiree, the salon, the afternoon tea, the coffee clatch, the gay bar... none of their "emotional connectiveness" can be replicated by "forum threads"... like... uh... this one that I'm...

    uh... inexplicably compelled to post on...

    * blinks *