[rollei_list] Re: Kodachrome - the truth
- From: Thor Legvold <tlegvold@xxxxxxx>
- To: rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2005 20:04:15 +0200
for what it's worth, I've shot truckloads of Velvia and really love it
for certain things, especially landscapes where I live (Norway) where
the light isn't always the greatest, and there's a lot of green (think
Ireland.....). Velvia really makes things look great here, saturated,
intense, and shows all the subtle variations in hues due to it's
larger-than-life rendition. It's my standard 120 format emulsion, for
lack of anything else that I can find that I like. It's one of the
reasons I'm shooting more and more B&W.
However, it looks nothing at all like real life, and is horrible for
I had the good fortune to shoot both Kodachrome and Velvia while in
Egypt some years ago (6x6 format, both in 120 roll film), and I like
both image sets. Same camera, lenses and subjects shot at the same
time. The Kodachrome ones however have a certain quality that I really
like, that suits the atmosphere, the light, the people, everything. And
yes, there are kids and women with purple (and blue, green, red, etc)
clothing and shawls and it's all there. Velvia is a bit "over the top"
in many situations, and kind of hits you over the head and screams
"look at me". That's great for an art director looking for a catchy
snap for a spread, but the Kodachrome has some quality I'm at a loss to
describe that just makes it more lifelike, even though it's not
(initially) as "exciting". YMMV, it's quite subjective.
The revised formulations of Velvia might be better in these regards,
but the more I use KR the more I like it. I'm only sorry I discovered
it so late. Well, I'm also sorry that it's been discontinued in 120 or
I'd be shooting truckloads of it instead of Velvia the last 10-15 years
(KR in 120 was discontinued 10 years ago IIRC). I've tried the new
Ectachromes, and while they're more neutral in colour rendition than
Velvia, they don't have that 3-dimensional quality I get with
Kodachrome (and with Velvia, but in a different way). Seems like all
modern films are aiming for that super-saturated look. Maybe people
won't look at anything else anymore, since we've become accustomed to
that look. In my opinion there is room for low-contrast low/medium
saturation natural-looking emulsions. But I guess for most people
that's just "boring".
As for processing, here in Europe everything goes to Switzerland. And
I'll keep sending it to them as long as I can get a hold of it. In our
society it seems that everything is supposed to go faster and faster,
sp much that people forget the value of waiting, of spending time, yes
even the week it takes (two here) to send in the mailer and get your
chromes back ;-). I'm not sure that's a good development in the long
Film (movie) still uses Kodachrome, as well as other emulsions, all of
them look much better than video and HD (I've seen direct comparisons,
have a director-friend who shoots super-16 as well as DV and HD), I
hope as long as Kodak delivers to the film industry they can take the
effort to load those tiny canisters for us 35mm shooters :-).
On 13. okt. 2005, at 17.42, Peter K. wrote:
The biggest issue with Kodachrome is the limited places you can have
it processed. I believe there are two left in the US. Qualex in NJ and
Dwayne's in Kansas.
Putting that aside, the other issue with Kodachrome is that it cannot
accurately reproduce the color purple. Instead any purple or lanvender
The best display of this was in the late Galen Rowell's book the Art
of Adventure. He shows the same flower photographed with Kodachrome
and again with Velvia. Velvia showed the flower correctly as being
purple. Kodachrome rendered the flower blue. I tried this myself and
it is true.
As Erwin states, no film will yield absolutely faithful coloring as
ones sees in the original, but for me E100 and Fujicrhome do a better
job than Kodachrome.
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