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Kodak BW400CN

For those that knew the true beauty of the film today is a very sad day for many photographers.

In a statement recently issued by Kodak, the company has now discontinued their BW400CN film. Though the film isn’t as prolific as Tri-X, it still created beautiful portraits and images overall. In fact, Kodak billed it as the finest grain black and white chromogenic film made. And in some ways, they’re correct–though the grain isn’t as fine as with some of their other emulsions.

Kodak is also stating that it should still be available in the market for around the next six months; though it can often be seen sold at places like WalGreens and more. So in fact, it may not last that long.

When I first started the site, I reviewed the Leica M7 using this film. It was an awesome experiences.

B&H Photo, Adorama and Amazon still have stock of the film if you’d like to store some in the freezer for another day.

 

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Image by Dan Zvereff. Used in our previous interview with him.

For all the lovers of the analog world out there, you should know that a recent Change.org petition to revive one of the greatest films that the world has seen: Kodak Aerochrome. Shooting Film first caught wind of the story and states that UK based Jasmin G is calling on Kodak Alaris and the Lomography company to revive the film. Lomography tried to do a variant called Lomochrome Purple, but it totally isn’t the same thing. While Lomochrome puts an emphasis on purple colors, Aerochrome put it on a pinkish purplish red.

How do they do this? For starters, Aerochrome was an infrared film originally developed for surveillance reasons. Years ago, the US would fly planes over the Congo and other regions with dense vegetation to find guerilla troops. When developed, the film would render the greens into a color like what you see in the image above that leads this story. However, later on the commercial world started to use it for art projects. Dan Zvereff and Richard Mosse are two famous photographers that come to mind at first. We have a full introduction to the film at this link–which also explains how it works.

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julius motal film photography high schools

For $250,000 on eBay, you can become the owner of one of Kodak’s 60-inch acetate film coating lines. The massive machine was put on sale by Moses B. Glick, LLC, an industrial surplus machinery dealer, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. The eBay listing says that there are 18 of these lines available, which isn’t surprising given that Kodak ended acetate base production last year.

The listing reads “Originally used for acetate film coating but may be repurposed.”  Of course, if you want to be the next Kodak, then this is an essential buy.

Though we’d caution against being the next Kodak given the trajectory of the company in recent years, particularly with the licensing of its name to JK Images, a company that introduced several unimpressive cameras at CES earlier this year. Kodak’s film lives on under Kodak Alaris, but Kodak lost some of its gravitas when it ceased production of Kodachrome in 2009 and processing in 2010.

At the time of this post, there around 70 people watching the listing, and there have been two declined offers. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know what those offers were, and we’re not sure how many there will be.

Perhaps there’s someone out there with deep pockets and a film itch they’ve been looking to scratch. Who knows? We’d be more than happen to see something happen with this in a way that advances photography. There are 18 available, which means there are 18 chances for something truly great to happen.

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This post first appeared on photographer Jim McGarvey’s blog, and is being syndicated at The Phoblographer. All photographs were taken by Jim McGarvey and are used with permission.

The Electro-Optic Camera was designed and constructed by Eastman Kodak Company under a U.S. Government contract in 1987 and 1988. Kodak’s Microelectronics Technology Division (MTD) had announced the first megapixel CCD in 1986. In 1987, a government customer asked Kodak’s Federal Systems Division (FSD) to build a prototype camera around the new CCD. It was a true skunk works project with a very small team. Ken Cupery was the project manager. I (Jim McGarvey) was the lead engineer. MTD engineer Bill Toohey designed the CCD analog circuitry, and technician Tom McCarthy assembled the whole system.

The camera was intended for unobtrusive use where a film camera would not attract attention. To conceal the unusual nature of this device, we mounted the CCD in a small addition to the back of a standard 35mm camera body and stuffed most of the system in a box that could be carried in a normal camera bag over the shoulder. The ribbon cable connecting the two was thin enough to run inside the bag’s strap.

This project led to the Hawkeye II cameras Kodak marketed to government customers and then, in 1991, to the commercial Kodak Professional Digital Camera System and the subsequent series of Kodak DCS cameras. It was not until Nikon introduced the D1 in 1999 that any other company offered a commercial DSLR. See The DCS Story and the links at the bottom of this page for more.

I don’t know if this camera still exists. I delivered it in person to the customer’s offices and never saw it again. Perhaps it’s still hiding in some secret storeroom. The photos here were taken in the FSD studio at Kodak, on film, of course. I have a set of beautiful 8 x 10 prints and these images were scanned from them.

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The customer preferred Canon film cameras, so I chose the beautiful and rugged New F-1 body. The removable door was easy to modify to attach the new CCD back. The back housing was milled out of a solid aluminum block. The three small allen screws at the center of the back were used to adjust the focal plane of the CCD. The three LEDs to the left of the viewfinder indicated the status of the digital system.

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The original film pressure plate was removed and holes punched in the door for the new parts. The plate surrounding the CCD was a “table” machined from a block of aluminum. It was pressed against the body film rails by springs between it and the door. The table legs passed through the door and supported the back housing.

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The back circuit board held the analog circuits that needed to be close to the CCD: Clock drivers, correlated double sample and hold, and output amplifier. Analog video passed through the cable to the A/D converter in the shoulder pack. The CCD was epoxied to a thermoelectric (Peltier) cooler to refrigerate the chip for lower dark current. The cooler was epoxied to a block of copper attached to the back housing to dissipate the heat.

Ideally the cooler goes inside the package directly under the chip, but that would have been too costly for this prototype. But cooling the package means the window could fog or frost up. The white and gold component at the far left is a humidity sensor that allowed the system to maintain the window temperature above the dew point. The result was limited cooling and a negligable improvement in dark current.

The cable coming off the right end of the back goes to the battery compartment of the F-1 body. Body power was supplied by the main system battery and the current was monitored to determine when the shutter was opening and closing. This scheme was the topic of the only patent I bothered to obtain for this very novel product!

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That cool looking black box held most of the electronics, a 3.5 inch, 100 Mbyte hard drive to store the images, and a big lead-acid camcorder battery. To get power in to charge the battery and image data back out, I designed the world’s first digital camera dock to go with the camera. When the black box was plugged into the dock, the battery was charged (from any worldwide AC outlet, or a 12 volt car lighter socket) and the image data automatically copied to an 8mm video tape (in digital form, of course) using an Exabyte tape drive. The gray connector atop the dock unit carried a SCSI bus and power.

There was no image display anywhere on the system, so you had to take your 8mm tapes to a computer with another Exabyte drive and read off the images, which were stored as raw, uncompressed tar files. The little alphanumeric LCD did offer a crude, 8 bar histogram to help with exposure adjustment, and there was even a 1 pixel spot meter that could be scanned about the image to see where it was light or dark.

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Here’s the shoulder pack happily docked. This whole stack must have weighed about as much as 4 or 5 modern laptop computers!

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The EO Camera was a government project, so the moment I had it working well, I went looking for some military subjects. Rochester isn’t a very heavily fortified city, but I did find a fleet of old 2½ ton Army trucks behind the National Guard armory. I felt like a real secret agent shooting these guys from the shadow of a nearby wood.

This is the only sample image I have from the EO Camera. It’s scanned from an 8×10 thermal print made in 1988, so it doesn’t quite reflect the true image quality of the camera. There are some light scuff marks on the trucks and fence that were not in the image. The sky shows some banding from the printer. Otherwise, it’s not a bad sample. The fine diagonal lines at the right edge are digital noise that was part of the image at that point. Click on the image to see it at the original resolution of 1320 x 1035, and you’ll have a good idea of the state of the art in 1988!

The firmware was written in PL/M, Intel’s proprietary language. The CPU was an Intel 80C196 16 bit microcontroller.

The data sheet for the KAF1400 CCD reveals its odd pixel dimensions of 1340 x 1037. Think 4:3 aspect ratio. Think video!

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The block diagram shows the main features of the electronics. Analog video from the sensor arrives at the video processor, which includes a lograthmic amplifier to make the most of the 10 bit A/D converter resolution. I made the 10 bit converter from four CA3318 CMOS 8 bit flash converters. 12 bit flash converters that would work at 10 Mhz were available, but too power hungry and expensive.

Images went to DRAM first. The 10 Mbyte bank of DRAM would hold a burst of 6 images, but they could be captured at 5 frames/second with the F-1 motor drive attached. The hard drive would hold 60 images. Image counts for both DRAM and hard drive were displayed on the status LCD.

I drew the block diagram with MacPaint, on a Macintosh Plus, I think.

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This is the layout of the main circuit board. The whole thing was hand wire wrapped – all through hole parts! All this stuff would fit on a quarter today.

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The first page of the schematic shows the CCD back circuitry. The rest of the schematic was all hand drawn and looks pretty rough for such a historic project.

The original post has PDF files of Jim’s original documents. Be sure to check them out.

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Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Replichrome Totally Rad Slide film II review images (20 of 20)ISO 1001-400 sec at f - 9.0

Kodak E100G

When it comes to creating film emulsions in digital photography, there are loads of options out there. Many embrace a very Instagram-like ideal (VSCO) while others take a scientific approach (DxOMark.) Totally Rad!’s Replichrome II is another scientific option. This is a new batch of film renderings from their first Replichrome preset pack, and includes some of the world’s most loved film’s like EG100 and Velvia.

And when you really think about the way that the company approached the product, it only makes a lot more sense.

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Photo by Michelle Rae

Photo by Michelle Rae

On November 1st 1954, Kodak first announced Tri-X film. This is the black and white film that has been in the cameras of many a photographer for its beautiful look. Tri-X has always embraced its grain and has given street scenes and candids a gritty yet jaw dropping image to enjoy. Kodak Tri-X captured lots of scenes in the Vietnam war. Many photographers that have worked for Magnum Photos like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Eisenstaedt, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, and many more have used the film in their documentary work. Though digital is still the primary form of photography for many a lensman, it still remains popular in documentary camera work.

The film is known for being contrasty and grainy. It has been used not only a lot for street photography and reportage, but portraits.

Tri-X is still available in both 35mm and 120 films in its more common ISO speed of 400.

Via Intelligent Life