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They took my Kodachrome away...


Boffin

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For all that he went to digital for nearly all his photography several years ago, this made Mark a little sad.

 

A good business decision-but a little sad nonetheless.

 

 

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I was a little sad to read this too. Odd since I haven't shot a roll of film in at least 10 years

 

I feel a little guilty as well as sad. I still shoot transparencies but I use Fujichrome Velvia or Sensia these days.

 

Andy

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Ah, Kodachrome 25. I guess high-end digital may equal it but if so I don't know how.

Sure you do, Seth! If you digitally sample the light reflected off of objects in front of your camera and record that sample, the quality of the digital image is mostly dependant on your sample rate and storage device. The higher the sample rate and the larger sample, the better the quality. Right? ;)

 

By definition, until that sample rate approaches infinite, it will never equal "real" optics! Because up until that point, everything is a mathematical deterioration of the original light. But that's not the real issue. The comparison is one physical output on paper. So, until that rate yeilds a pixel size as fine as the smallest nuance of change possible in with chemical photography, digital photography will continue to produce a lesser end product. As they're not there yet, I agree with you ... it's not yet quite as good (though digital photography is WAY more convenient).

 

The question is, will they continue to improve that rate and file size to that point or simply agree on a standard "high end that no one can really see differences" - as the music industry did with digital sampling rates?

 

One thing for sure is just as in the music industry, companies/people are promising wizardry in the form of compression software that will yield an equal image - or even a better image - but with a smaller file size. How that is possible in either world, I have yet to grasp.

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Ah, but in either the audio or photographic world it's not the inability of digital to accurately capture analog data but the other way around... digital is too capable and lacks the imperfections of analog (warm color quality and grain structure of Kodachrome, high-end rolloff and tracking distortion in LPs, harmonic distortion in tube amplifiers, etc.) that give analog recordings the 'texture' that people feel digital recordings lack. IOW digital recording's high fidelity can actually be its undoing if the listener associates these other characteriscs as being associated with high quality.

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I've shot thousands of frames of that stuff over the years. The most interesting thing to me about that film is that it, like nothing else, infused our minds with what colors should look like. Oversaturated, a touch too much contrast, etc.

 

Kodak admitted as such, that it was intentionally unrealistic. It stirred the industry more than when National Geographic admitted that they used Photoshop extensively.

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Imperfections being warmer (i.e., some say better) is true for chemical color processing, too. And that is also part of my point that I agreed with you that yet another part of the analog world that is going away and will be missed. The digital world is convenient, but not necessarily "better" - especially at our level of technology (which is still changing (as you well know).

 

I agree that in general, many - if not most - analog distortions are more pleasing to perception than digital distortions. However, what makes digital seem cold is not yet wholly proven. That it is "too" capable is a theory based on logic extraction - presumed based on the absence of those analog elements you mentioned. But the reality is, in the digital world, as sample rates get higher and higher, the sounds become warmer again (though maybe not as worm as those imperfaction we've come to love) - not colder. The point is we limited ourselves with the 44.1kHz standerd. I hope in the photo world no industry standard sample rate set so soon that it limits what we can produce on film.

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Music land is very different than camera land, though. The technology in sounds is way beyond what we can discern. Not so in photography, though--the sensors are far better than the lenses. It's going to take old fashioned physics people to give us the lenses that can take advantage of the sensors.

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But the reality is, in the digital world, as sample rates get higher and higher, the sounds become warmer again (though maybe not as worm as those imperfaction we've come to love) - not colder.

I'm not sure how you came by that. Digital generally sounds 'colder' because higher frequencies are better retained, distortion is extremely low and SNR is very high. A higher sampling rate won't change that.

 

The point is we limited ourselves with the 44.1kHz standerd. I hope in the photo world no industry standard sample rate set so soon that it limits what we can produce on film.

I'm not sure that the original Redbook standard limits much of anything. A lot of people like to say that they can hear a difference at higher rates but those claims almost always disappear under controlled blind test conditions. A minute segment of the population can actually demonstrate such a capability but one has to ask whether these is some reasonable cutoff point and I think there is, meaning that it's questionable whether we should employ a format and bandwidth for consumer use that goes beyond what 99.9% of the population can detect. There has to be some reasonable limit. If such a standard is developed for photography it will likely be in the same realm. I don't know if I want to deal with a 50 megabyte-per-image standard if it only makes a difference for me once every 100 blue moons.

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(Man, I can't type. Just noticed all my typos. Too funny when one considers my career!)

 

David,

 

I agree with your statement about new lenses need to be devolped. The technology is fairly young.

 

However, my regarding point isn't that the maturity of the technologies areat the same level of maturity for both music and photography, so much as that they may develop in a similar manner (or not develop, if you guys will follow along with me).

 

Let's face, the best or most accurate doesn't always win out in the long run, especially when standards must be set. In the music industry, a sample rate standard was set at 44.1 back in the 1970s, when higher sample rates were simply not attainable for less than a small fortune. That has changed. Could it be better with today's technology, YES! Can people hear a difference? DON'T BELIEVE THE RUMORS! THE ANSWER IS A DEFINITE YES! I will admit that you'll never ever hear it on your Ipod (with digital music compressed yet further) or even the average home stereo system.

 

The are lots of studies out there and a lot of misinformation and people can debate that all they wish. Please consider this. All, mind you, all home recording software and hardware is capable of a standard sample rate of 96kHz. The higher end products (as I have and I'm no pro) can do several times that, and pro recording studios several time more than that, if they want. These systems and software would not be able to sell at all, much less to professionals, if the rumors of "no one can hear the difference we true." And believe me, people with pretty decent systems can hear the differnece IF they know what to listen for.

 

Sorry to go on about music in this thread about photos but it is part of my comparison. And while I know that people may argue the differences can't be heard by most people, some can - and some may be a whole freakin' lot. And with more training, that number increases. Perhaps there is a market for 88.2kHz or the recording studio standard of 96kHz. But then, people would have to admit their Ipods are insufficient. And in the end, maybe the masses just don't care.

 

So, David, I do indeed hope someone develops the lenses you speak of, because if in order to make a product meet the market more quickly, producers may set a standard to and the lenses stay right where they are because it's good enough - well at least for those who are color-blind, can't see contrast well, or just don't care about those pictures (their Instamatic 110 was good enough).

 

(And yes, I do realize that in a free market I can create my own company, set my own standard, and compete in the market, etc., etc and then see if I can pay my bills later on. :P But before all that I can at least try to put a ridiculous rumor to rest between friends. But if I had to lay odds, I'd say I'm not shaking anyone's belief in it, so I'll stop ranting about it! :dopeslap::S )

 

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A lot of people like to say that they can hear a difference at higher rates but those claims almost always disappear under controlled blind test conditions.
Yes, like the entire recording industry.

 

A minute segment of the population can actually demonstrate such a capability but one has to ask whether these is some reasonable cutoff point and I think there is, meaning that it's questionable whether we should employ a format and bandwidth for consumer use that goes beyond what 99.9% of the population can detect. There has to be some reasonable limit. If such a standard is developed for photography it will likely be in the same realm. I don't know if I want to deal with a 50 megabyte-per-image standard if it only makes a difference for me once every 100 blue moons.

 

99.9% of the population? Well, I believe you work in the audio industry, so you might be right. But then again, you might not be. Personally (now here's me holding on to my beliefs) I don't hold much for studies that say x amount of people can do such and such simply because we sampled a minute (... no let's make that) microscopic segment of the population and declare them a relative sample.

 

Well, sorry, to challenge and bolt, but I won't be replying for a while because I've got to run. Going riding for a few days. I enjoyed the discussion. Thanks.

 

Just a guy missing that Kodachrome! ;) See you guys, someday?

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Dave McReynolds

I'm sorry to see Kodachrome go too. Not so much that I was ever a big Kodachrome user, but the same thing will probably happen with a lot of related products. I was heavily into 8X10 large format photography some years ago. While I drifted out of it, I saved all my gear, expecting that I would pick it up again in retirement. At the time I was into it, you had a choice of several different brands of excellent black and white 8X10 film and paper, at reasonable prices, since such a large quantity of it was used in commercial photography, particularly architectural photography. Now all that work is done digitally, and the only demand for gelatin silver film and paper is by amateurs, which is probably too small to sustain commercial production long-term.

 

The joy in it for me was learning to reproduce the processes used by Adams, Weston, etc., by manipulating the chemistry and the light. I doubt that I would ever be as interested in manipulating the images on a computer, although I take all my snapshots these days on a digital camera and enhance them on my computer like everyone else does.

 

I understand that supplies of large format film and paper are still available, and one of these days before they run out I suppose I should buy up a bunch and put it in the freezer. On the other hand, if they're gone before I get around to doing that, I suppose I could revert back a hundred years and make my own film and paper. A lot of people who did that in the late 1800's went crazy from the chemicals. I wonder if anyone would notice the difference?

 

Adams, Weston, and the other great large format photographers all had their favorite lenses, and I think these classic lenses produce a distinctive tonality that is inherently more pleasing than a more perfectly designed modern lens. I acquired and used some of these lenses, and plan to use them again when I get back into it (provided I don't get run over by a dirt truck first).

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Higher sample rates are used during the recording process because those extra few bits are useful when doing mixdowns and studio effects. They are of no benefit in a home environment, you just can't hear another 40 dB of dynamic range when you're already at 96. And most knowledgeable recording engineers will agree, the only part of the 'recording industry' that really believes otherwise are those trying to sell you something. There is a common misconception that more bits somehow have to be better but in reality going beyond Nyquist requirements doesn't result in a more accurate represetation of an analog waveform. The reasons for this are extremely technical and it wouldn't do any good to detail them anyway as objective fact just doesn't matter in these types of discussions, believe me I know.

 

I realize that many people claim to hear differences in just about anything. Not just SACD but coax. vs. optical digital cables, different brands of CDR, even the difference between copper and silver conductors. It doesn't even matter if the claim is physically impossible, the subject knows they can hear a difference. Well, until any kind of objective testing is done that is. Then the test itself must be faulty. BTDT.

 

But just to stay on topic, I'll still miss Kodachrome...

 

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Couchrocket

Meanwhile... back at the Kodachrome ranch....

 

The death of film does make me sad, in a way. On the one hand, the digital photographic age has opened up attempts at serious photography to the masses on a grand scale by providing "the darkroom" in any office or laptop, a wonderful thing. On the other hand, the digital photographic age has opened up attempts at serious photography to the masses on a grand scale by providing "the darkroom" in any office or laptop, a horrible joke on all serious photographers. :rofl:

 

One of my friends puts it this way. "Today, you buy a nice DSLR and you're 'a photographer.' You buy a nice violin and 'you have a nice violin.'" :rofl:

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When I started in photography the SLR was a relatively new thing (I still have a Pentax Spotmatic in the closet, can't bear to sell it on Ebay for all of fifteen bucks.) After I shot a roll I took it to my closet darkroom and developed it (D-76? Microdol?), then chose an appropriate paper (Kodak? Ilford? Which contrast? Which finish?) to print it. Timed the enlarger exposure, then developer (I can still smell the Dektol), stop, fixer. Do it again if the results weren't as desired. And of course listen to my mom yell at me if I stained the sink with chemicals. In college I had access to color processing equipment and learned that color adds an order of magnitude of complexity in the darkroom, but I mastered it. Many hours involved in getting that perfect print (which was never perfect, just as close as economically possible.) And of course true professional work was way out of my league, could never afford the equipment even if I had the talent (which I didn't.) But damn, even doing basic work you learned a lot about photography, just impossible to avoid it.

 

Now you can buy a digital SLR and Photoshop and do in minutes what used to take many hours. I guess that's better. I guess. But it's strange to think that skills that were once so common will (for the most part) probably die with my generation.

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RichEdwards

A great photographer can make a wonderful photograph using a Cheerios box with a pinhole in it. All the great equipment available today won't make a lousy photographer into a good photographer. The equipment means little. It's the eye, the ability to see good photographs, that separates the artist from the mediocre button pushers.

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INteresting how the format difference affects your use of the camera. When I was in high school with a Canon FTb I shot Kodachrome 64 mostly - the extra speed was good for the weak flash unit. On a roll of 36 I usually got 1 or 2 very good images, because they were composed and thought out for several minutes each before snapping - because each shot was $.35.

 

Now with a Panasonic lumix 8MP digital I take my camera along far less, but shoot 100-200 shots of which generate the same 1-2 good frames

 

The new tendency is to shoot lots, delete most and never print any to look at just fill up the hard drive!

 

Its definitely a different hobby.

 

 

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  • 1 year later...
DavidEBSmith

Followup: the last roll of Kodachrome ever produced has been shot and processed.

 

http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2010/07/23/128728114/kodachrome

 

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2010/08/the-last-roll.html

 

If you have any Kodachrome laying around, the last lab that processes it will stop at noon on December 30, 2010.

 

http://www.dwaynesphoto.com/

 

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INteresting how the format difference affects your use of the camera. When I was in high school with a Canon FTb I shot Kodachrome 64 mostly - the extra speed was good for the weak flash unit. On a roll of 36 I usually got 1 or 2 very good images, because they were composed and thought out for several minutes each before snapping - because each shot was $.35.

 

Now with a Panasonic lumix 8MP digital I take my camera along far less, but shoot 100-200 shots of which generate the same 1-2 good frames

 

The new tendency is to shoot lots, delete most and never print any to look at just fill up the hard drive!

 

Its definitely a different hobby.

 

 

Film is expensive, pixels are cheap.

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INteresting how the format difference affects your use of the camera. When I was in high school with a Canon FTb I shot Kodachrome 64 mostly - the extra speed was good for the weak flash unit. On a roll of 36 I usually got 1 or 2 very good images, because they were composed and thought out for several minutes each before snapping - because each shot was $.35.

 

Now with a Panasonic lumix 8MP digital I take my camera along far less, but shoot 100-200 shots of which generate the same 1-2 good frames

 

The new tendency is to shoot lots, delete most and never print any to look at just fill up the hard drive!

 

Its definitely a different hobby.

 

 

DH says the same thing. Of course he also admits that, with pixels so cheap, he also tends to take photos that he might not have tried before. So he may take a photo that he doesn't really expect to have come out, but is surprised by how good it really is. On film, due to the cost, he would never have tried it because it just didn't look like it would be good. So digital has made him more willing to take photographic risks.

 

As for me-I am grateful to digital because I am a horrible photographer. The ability to toss my horrible shots and only keep the okay ones saves me an enormous amount of $$$$ in wasted film. :>

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INteresting how the format difference affects your use of the camera.

 

I think that was true not just of the analog/digital divide, but when people moved between analog formats. When I switched from a view camera to an SLR, I tended to take more pictures, too.

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