• Buying Kodak film doesn't make you a better American

  • Discussion of photography and videography techniques, equipment and technology, and links to personal railroad-related photo galleries.
Discussion of photography and videography techniques, equipment and technology, and links to personal railroad-related photo galleries.

Moderators: nomis, keeper1616

  by MEC407
I know a few railfans who refuse to shoot anything but Kodak film, based solely on the reason that Kodak is a USA-based company. They believe that shooting Kodak film helps protect USA jobs, is more patriotic, etc. Well, think again. It turns out that Kodak is shifting a lot of their film production to China and other countries where it can be made dirt-cheap and where the employees can be treated like dirt. The only Americans who benefit are the already-overpaid executives at Kodak, not the blue-collar folks who used to do the actual work of manufacturing film. It won't be long before Rochester NY is a ghost town, save for the executive offices.


P.S. They're discontinuing Super8 Kodachrome.

  by MikeF
And it certainly doesn't make you a better photographer! :P

Seriously, it shouldn't come as any surprise that Kodak is moving much of its production overseas. At the rate film manufacturing is becoming a money-losing venture, it doesn't make economic sense for them to produce it in a nation where workers are paid decent wages and benefits. Unfortunately that's the case in too many industries these days, and our beloved president's administration isn't helping the situation.

I wonder how many of those proud patriotic Kodak shooters buy their film at Wal-Mart? :wink:

  by MEC407
I do like several Kodak films... but I also like products from Fuji, Agfa, Ilford, etc. I buy a product based on its quality and on the result I'm looking for, not based on where it's made.

It irks me when I talk to some of these folks who'll go to Rite Aid or Wal-Mart and pay $6 for a roll of Kodak MAX, in the name of patriotism and jobs, when they could instead get a roll of Fuji Reala or NPH for half that price, and it's a better product in every possible respect. And if they'd take a look at the box, they'd see that their Kodak MAX was made in China. I wonder how much of that $6 goes to the Chinese worker who made the film, and how much goes to the executives in Rochester?

As far as Kodachrome is concerned, Dwayne's may stop processing it in the near future now that Super8 Kodachrome has been discontinued (16mm Kodachrome can't be far behind). Then, assuming 35mm is still available, it'll have to be processed in Switzerland. Switzerland!

These same folks will probably go out and buy a Ford or Chevy that was built in Mexico, rather than buy a Toyota or Honda that was built here in the USA.

  by Brad Smith
I used to work for Kodak but haven't followed them lately. However, it is my understanding that all emulsion coating is still done at Kodak Park, a literal company city within the city of Rochester. They did just close the paper mill and are importing it, but coating-the critical step-is still done in house.
Digital is fast making silver halide film obsolete in North America, but the overseas demand is still strong, so Kodak is marketing heavily there as they attempt to turn to digital here.
If your objective is to buy American to support American jobs, Kodak is still your best bet.

  by Alcoman
There are other reasons for buying Kodak Film including the fact that 30 years from now, I can look at my slides and enjoy them.
Can you say that about digital ? No. You will lucky to have your pictures after 8 years.
I have been using K64 and the newer Ektachrome films for 35 years.They are the best in my opinion.

As a side line, One of the reasons that Social Security is so much in the news lately is because jobs are being exported thereby cutting into the income side of SS and fewer people are paying into the system.
The Goverment should put an end to this job explotation by giving businesses a tax incentive for keeping jobs in the U.S.

Just my 2 cents.....

  by mxdata
As I have to use both digital and film photography in my job, I find that each has its place and its advantages and disadvantages. However a recent project to do about 2000 digital scans of slides for a museum at 4000 DPI resolution showed me that when you start getting digital file sizes up around 60 megs each, they eat up hard disk space at an incredible rate and get to where making backups is slow and tedious unless you have a portable hard drive. The experience kept me very busy adding new hardware to my system.

  by MikeF
It's anybody's guess how long digital images will last, and of course it depends greatly on the vigilance of the person who is preserving them. If you just leave them on your hard drive and forget about them, you probably won't be able to see them in eight years, but if you keep proper backups and move them to current media periodically, they can theoretically last forever. But you're correct, it is easier to stash away a Kodachrome slide in a dark box and know that it will last much longer than any of us. For what it's worth, the latest Fujichrome films are said to be stable for 300 years, although I know some people don't believe in those tests. Anyway, I am confident my Provia slides will be around well after I have any use for them.

Mxdata, it's good to see that you're still around. I was getting worried after not seeing any posts here or on eBay in a while.

  by MEC407
Alcoman wrote:The Goverment should put an end to this job explotation by giving businesses a tax incentive for keeping jobs in the U.S.
Wouldn't it have to be a fairly massive tax incentive to convince a company like Kodak to keep the jobs here and pay the workers $15 an hour when they could otherwise move the jobs to China and pay the workers $3 an hour?

The money still has to come from somewhere. If they can't get it from one tax, they'll get it from another tax, and/or they'll cut things like Social Security.

  by MEC407
For what it's worth, Kodachrome slides fade more quickly than E6 slides when they are projected. And we all know how railfans love to put on slide shows! :wink:

  by Alcoman
MEC407 wrote:For what it's worth, Kodachrome slides fade more quickly than E6 slides when they are projected. And we all know how railfans love to put on slide shows! :wink:

I disagree...I have many slides from the 70's that project just as well now as they did over 30 years ago! They are ALL K64 too! :-)

  by MEC407
According to the tests done by Wilhelm Imaging Research, Kodachrome is superior to early E6 emulsions when it comes to dark storage (i.e. shoe box), but Kodachrome fades more quickly when exposed to light.

With that in mind, I too have lots of old Kodachromes that have been projected many times, and they still look nice... but because I can't go back in time 30 years and compare what they look like now to what they looked like back then, I really have no way of knowing whether they've changed or not. The colors haven't changed much, I know that, but it is very possible that they've faded a bit and it's just too subtle to notice because I don't have any comparison.

  by MikeF
It's true, Kodachrome is undisputably the most archival film in dark storage, but its light-fading characteristics leave something to be desired. In his authoritative book on the subject, "The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs," (Preservation Publishing Co., 1993, ISBN 0-911515-00-3) Henry Wilhelm states that Kodachrome slides projected for very short periods of time may be projected many times without showing noticeable fading; however, Kodachromes that are projected for several minutes at a time may fade noticeably after as little as 45 cumulative minutes of projection. Incidentally, Kodachrome's cyan and yellow dyes are quite stable -- it is the magenta dye that is problematic. Wilhelm notes that if Kodak were to develop a new magenta dye, Kodachrome could easily have both the best dark stability and the best projector-fading stability of any transparency films. Of course, that was in 1993, and we all know Kodak is not going to put any effort into improving Kodachrome now. I will quote an excerpt from the book's recommendations for color transparency films:

For the photographer who prefers Process E-6 films, Fujichrome films are clearly the best choice. Fujichrome's resistance to fading during projection is the best of all slide films -- for a given amount of fading, Fujichrome slides can be projected twice as long as Ektachrome slides. However, when [the] yellowish stain that occurs over time in storage is considered, Fujichrome's stability in dark storage is roughly equal to that of Ektachrome films. ... Kodachrome has the best dark storage dye stability of any color film, and Kodachrome, as a result of its unique, external-coupler processing method, is the only color transparency film that remains completely free from yellowish stain formation during prolonged storage in the dark. Unfortunately, however, Kodachrome has the worst projector-fading stability of any color slide film on the market.

The "yellowish stain" he mentions is a result of the chromogenic development process of E-6 films; undeveloped dye couplers that remain in the emulsion after development may over time discolor and stain the emulsion. Keep in mind the book was written in 1993; since then, this problem has allegedly been reduced. It's also questionable whether this was ever a great problem. Personally, I have several hundred Ektachrome and Fujichrome slides from the '70s and '80s in my collection and I don't believe any of them exhibit this staining.

It should also be noted that in the past 10 years both Kodak and Fuji have worked to greatly increase the stability of E-6 films. It may no longer be fair to say Fujichrome is "clearly the best choice." Rather, I think both films are at the point now where either one would be an excellent choice and would certainly outlast the photographer. If you don't do much projection, don't mind the expense and difficulty of obtaining processing, and find its color rendition attractive, Kodachrome may be a better choice. These days, one other factor that should be considered is the convenience of digital scanning. Fujichrome films are usually reported to scan better than Ektachromes, and all E-6 films are easier to scan than Kodachrome.

Whatever you choose, just don't buy it at Wal-Mart. :-)

Edits: spelling
Last edited by MikeF on Sun May 15, 2005 7:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

  by Alcoman
I am just glad that I can look at them at all! When compared to some cheap brands of film, I will take good old K64 or even E-6 Kodak film any time.
I have seen some slides that have been taken in the 40's that had a awlful color shift and turned red or blue from age. It does not pay to use "bargain brand" film.
Sure I may not live another 60 years to enjoy them, but someone else can.