Kodachrome -- let's do the time warp again

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Dec 4, 2003
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I've always been astounded by Kodachrome, but I had to pay some tribute tonight. This was a film stock that was unparalleled for its accuracy and archival quality. This evening I was looking through Kodachrome pictures on Google, and here are some examples that I found.


June 1943, New York, source.


1956, Minnesota, source. The depth of the early morning sunshine streaming in is just incredible.


January 1959, Los Angeles, source.


January 1963, source.


August 29, 1980, source. Looking at the glint on the eyeglasses frame it looks like a flash was used here.

I really enjoy going through old pictures like those because it's like a window into the past. The scenes are incredibly immersive because of the accuracy and depth of the colors when the film has been properly stored. By comparison, my family's slides from the 1960s and 1970s weren't on Kodachrome and the blue dyes have faded, leaving a lot of them in hues of orange and yellow. This is one of the best surviving examples I can find in our family's slide collection... unfortunately I don't know if it's on Kodachrome or not.


1967, New Orleans, my mom on the left, my aunt on the right

I had to adjust the white balance on it, and it actually is not too bad. However the contrast is a bit too high and it's rather grainy, which kind of suggests a high ISO film (200s/400s) which would not be Kodachrome. My dad's camera was not very expensive so I'm guessing the glass quality in this shot didn't help either.

If you find these types of photos interesting, I definitely recommend going over to the Shorpy photo blog and putting in "Kodachrome" in the search box. They do have a lot of other good photography on their site. I'm admittedly not very interested in B&W, but they do have some 100-year old pictures that used high-resolution film stock, as well as experimental color, and those are worth checking out.

And finally... do any chasers here have any 1980s Kodachrome storm shots? It would be interesting to see how they have held up against the DSLRs used in the field nowadays. I know a big problem is that it was a slow-speed film that would have been difficult to use under a storm base. The ISO 200 formulation came out in 1986 which probably helped a bit.
 
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Dec 4, 2003
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For what it's worth I tried adjusting the white balance on the kitchen photo above and got this:



I'm not sure if this makes it more lifelike, or makes the incandescent lighting too bluish. It does give me the impression of a magazine photo that doesn't have very good color registration, so maybe balancing it is the wrong thing to do.
 
Dec 8, 2003
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Southeast CO
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Going OT here... sorry... Have any of you seen a 4K (Ultra HD) television yet?

I was in a Best Buy a couple weeks ago with a friend who was looking for something else, and we walked past a 4K TV that was showing a (demo) video of just some nighttime city lights from up on some hill. I've seen a couple articles about 4K, but never read them, thinking "That's stupid; there's no need for anything beyond HDTV". Well, the 4K is AMAZING.