Old 11-19-2011, 10:42 PM   #1
John West
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Unhappy World's worst film....for scanning

I would nominate Kodachrome 200 as the worst film of the modern era....to exclude old bad stuff like the original Ektachrome or Anschrome, etc. The relatively high 200 ISO was so tempting, and of course Kodachrome was the standard of the era. When I got a 70-200 f2.8 lens the extra ISO came in very handy for increasing shutter speed for hand held shots, or increasing depth of field. I used way too much K200. It looked pretty good in slide shows, but the grain and poor color really comes out when you try to scan the stuff. Here is an example of a shot that I really like but the grain and color really detract from the scanned version.

http://www.lifewastedchasingtrains.c...g2_itemId=3426

How bad do you think it is? Should I try to post it here?
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Old 11-19-2011, 10:44 PM   #2
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Where did the yellow go?
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Old 11-19-2011, 11:02 PM   #3
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well, the composition is great. I'm sure enough photoshopping would make it look good if you want to go that route. put in a fake blue sky, etc. depending how much of this stuff you have, you might want to get a drum scan done, just to see what the "best case scenario" is? Just a thought...
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Old 11-19-2011, 11:18 PM   #4
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John, I'd enjoy mucking around a bit with the colors. If you could send me "SPdonnertrk1lakebkgrd1000", the shot with the lake in the background, I would appreciate it.

If I am going to go to the effort, I want to do it on a really cool shot.

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Old 11-19-2011, 11:45 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by John West View Post
Here is an example of a shot that I really like but the grain and color really detract from the scanned version.

http://www.lifewastedchasingtrains.c...g2_itemId=3408

How bad do you think it is? Should I try to post it here?
Hey, that spot looks familiar...






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With UP ownership of the ex-SP, traffic over Donner is again growing, and the expectation is that UP will eventually reinstall the second track.
Whoa...seriously?
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:31 AM   #6
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I would nominate Kodachrome 200 as the worst film of the modern era....to exclude old bad stuff like the original Ektachrome or Anschrome, etc. The relatively high 200 ISO was so tempting, and of course Kodachrome was the standard of the era. When I got a 70-200 f2.8 lens the extra ISO came in very handy for increasing shutter speed for hand held shots, or increasing depth of field. I used way too much K200. It looked pretty good in slide shows, but the grain and poor color really comes out when you try to scan the stuff.
Yep....I did the same thing. I've managed to post a few of my old K200 slides---but they're quite grainy. It also had a strong affinity for red, although Photoshop can correct much of that stuff.
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:57 AM   #7
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K200 was abominable projected as well. If you were into blown out reds and lots of grain, it was a wonderful film. Otherwise, not ideal at all for railroad photography. And yes, scanning it is dreadful, even with a drum scanner.
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:58 AM   #8
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Believe it or not, I have some train pics I took of Radnor Yard in Nashville one snowy day back in '77 or '78. I believe they were on Kodachrome 64. I'm going to dig them out and see if they are worth scanning and submitting. I've had a few other 64 slides scanned and they came out pretty good.
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Old 11-20-2011, 03:04 AM   #9
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Red face Yellow

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Where did the yellow go?
You're right. I was so focused on grain and sharpness that I failed to diddle with the color balance. It should look a bit better now. Hopefully not too warm.....it WAS a hazy day.
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Old 11-20-2011, 04:29 PM   #10
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Looks fine to me.
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Old 11-20-2011, 04:40 PM   #11
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Looks fine to me.
It certainly doesn't look bad IMO. Like a beautiful woman in her 50s that hasn't had a bunch of plastic surgery.
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Old 11-20-2011, 05:45 PM   #12
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It certainly doesn't look bad IMO. Like a beautiful woman in her 50s that hasn't had a bunch of plastic surgery.
The poor picture has been damned with faint praise....I think....


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Old 11-21-2011, 03:17 PM   #13
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I nominate Agfa CT18 - quite popular from the 60's through to the early 80's as it was considerably cheaper than most other mainstream brands.

It degrades markedly over time, has colour issues and the grain is the size of golf balls.

Some shots scan just about OK, others you can't do anything with, seemingly regardless of the lighting conditions.


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Old 11-21-2011, 03:30 PM   #14
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This was taken with Kodachrome 200:

Image © Ron Flanary
PhotoID: 52679
Photograph © Ron Flanary


It was a really dark, rainy and grubby day, so when I climbed into the cab of the 3985 at Laramie, I made sure K200 was in my camera. It was the first time I had used it (old school rule from the film days: never, ever try out a "new film" if you're in a once-in-a-lifetime situation!).

The results were acceptable, including this flash shot. Still, the film had grain the size of beach balls, and its color sensitivity was too saturated (with a strong affinity for red). As John noted earlier, however, it was "okay" for slide shows. It just didn't hold up well if you wanted a wall-sized enlargement....
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Old 11-21-2011, 04:23 PM   #15
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Is there a single one of us out there who took his first photo sometime in the 20th Century who doesn't wish he'd shot every damn thing on Kodachrome 25 or Kodachrome 64 (depending on conditions)?

Where it really hits you the most is when you changed film in the middle of a trip or outing, and you see the vast difference between the Kodachrome and the other film (even be it K200).

My biggest film regret, however, was in college when I was using the same camera for railfanning and pictures of friends - I started keeping Kodak Gold in the camera (quite often 800 ASA and before that, I think for awhile, there may have been a 1000 ASA version). If K64 is a silk sheet, high-speed Kodak Gold is a course rasp.
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:21 PM   #16
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Fortunately, almost all of my slides are K25 or K64. Unfortunately, I used way too much of the Gold negative film as well. K25 was amazing. 20x30 enlargements looked great.
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Old 11-21-2011, 09:22 PM   #17
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Well maybe if you old geezers had kept using it, it would still be around!
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Old 11-22-2011, 12:33 AM   #18
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Well maybe if you old geezers had kept using it, it would still be around!
Touche!!!!
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:26 AM   #19
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Smile The beauty of slide shows.....

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As John noted earlier, however, it was "okay" for slide shows.
.....is the image generally wasn't on the screen long enough for anyone to zero in on the beach balls and crummy color. Posting on the internet or making a print is a whole different thing....too much time to linger.

Another problem was that about the time K200 became available was also about the time Kodak was closing down its big proprietary labs (and going to the private mini labs), and quality control at our Kodak lab in Palo Alto was going down the tubes. They ruined some irreplaceable slides of the old snow sheds at Donner and other good stuff.

By contrast Provia 400 which came out in 2007 was a great high speed slide film. I shot some on my last film shoot in South Africa, and it scans really well and mixes in a slide show with the regular Provia very well.
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:35 AM   #20
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I shot some on my last film shoot in South Africa, and it scans really well and mixes in a slide show with the regular Provia very well.
South Africa, who knew? Great stuff!

Image © John West
PhotoID: 195947
Photograph © John West


What is that lump in the background?
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Old 11-22-2011, 02:50 AM   #21
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Well maybe if you old geezers had kept using it, it would still be around!
Sewing a Hatchetman voodoo doll as I type.
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Old 11-22-2011, 03:28 AM   #22
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South Africa, who knew? Great stuff!

Image © John West
PhotoID: 195947
Photograph © John West


What is that lump in the background?
And that is Provia 400. The lump has a name but I have forgetten it. It's kinda a roundtop mesa.
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Old 11-22-2011, 03:49 AM   #23
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My Kodachrome 64 was basically problematic from the point I had some knowledge of what exposure was (and we all know a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing) and the loss of Kodak quality control. I shot K-200 but since is was not marked on the slides, I don't know which ones they are. Maybe they are the ones that are all cyan-black that I can't get a decent scan from.

For what it is worth, I think John's slide looks just fine. A different palette; just not the one he wants.
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Old 11-22-2011, 03:55 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Ron Flanary View Post
This was taken with Kodachrome 200:

Image © Ron Flanary
PhotoID: 52679
Photograph © Ron Flanary


It was a really dark, rainy and grubby day, so when I climbed into the cab of the 3985 at Laramie, I made sure K200 was in my camera. It was the first time I had used it (old school rule from the film days: never, ever try out a "new film" if you're in a once-in-a-lifetime situation!).

The results were acceptable, including this flash shot. Still, the film had grain the size of beach balls, and its color sensitivity was too saturated (with a strong affinity for red). As John noted earlier, however, it was "okay" for slide shows. It just didn't hold up well if you wanted a wall-sized enlargement....
This is one of my fav shots on RP Ron. I really dig the black gloves.

Content is worth more to me than the media.
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Old 11-22-2011, 04:09 AM   #25
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Content is worth more to me than the media.
That's almost exactly what Joel Jensen was saying at the Lake Forest conference for the Center for Creative Railroad Photography and Art in 2010. There was this ultra-grainy shot he took of a crew room for Linda Niemman's book, Railroad Noir. The shot, by the way, wouldn't have ever, in a thousand years, made it to RP. I remember that Linda said, "I can smell this room." Indeed, it was a powerful image...but not the sort of stuff that would be well received here.
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