Slide Film - Aging and Fading

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I've been going through our old family slides recently trying to get a handle on how they are holding up. Some of these date back to the mid-1950's. Some non-Kodachrome slides that faded to pink more than 40 years ago, are, of course, still pink, although the majority of them sure look thin like they were very over exposed.

One roll from 1964 of non-Kodachrome (I have no idea what film it was, but with no visible emulsion so it can't be Kodachrome) has turned real smoky gray. In trying to restore the color by non-analog means, the grain appears to be huge.

I came across at least two other rolls from 1978 and '79 that I'm fairly certain were shot on K-Mart Focal slide film, and these not only have a magenta shift, but a very strong blue shift. It looks like the blue shift has also caused a general overall darkening of the images like they are all at least one stop underexposed. The grain in this film is golf ball size. Why I ever shot vacation pictures on K-Mart film instead of Kodak is beyond me.

So it looks like I have identified at least 3 types of fading: some to pink, some to smoky gray, and some mostly to blue with a little pink thrown in. Are there other fading/aging issues that I haven't discovered yet? Does grain increase as film deteriorates?

One other aging issue that I'm still trying to verify is if some colors turn rather muddy over time. I have some Kodachromes from around 1974 that were not processed by Kodak and they have a strange overall muddy look, kind of hard to explain, but maybe like they were shot late in the day, overcast, under exposed, with a lot of smog. Has anyone else experienced this with Kodachrome? Most of the Kodachromes much older look just fine, but these look odd.

Dave
 

John Shriver

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Poor processing of Kodachrome, particularly the re-exposure step, can result in murky color. Part of one layer gets the dye for a different layer, which mucks things up. The discount non-Kodak Kodachrome processors were very poor value. Kodachrome just loses dye density if you manage to fade it my excess exposure to light.

Ektachrome is the classic "goes pink" film. The Applied Science Fiction "Restoration of Color" feature (part of Nikon Scan) can do wonders, as can experienced work with the red, green, and blue curves. Ektachrome (of the fade pink generation) is very sensitive to heat, keep it cool and dry. Air conditioning helps a lot.
 

Mike Wilde

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You may also be seeing moive film as the film stock in some of the K mart etc films. Yes, d methods are a life saver in these circumstances. I have trhown my lot with this with Vuescan, which can allow a fair degree of control to the process, if you want to pursue it.
 
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Thank you for the replies. I suspect my dull Kodachrome slides are a result of poor processing and the fading to blue of my K-Mart slide film is just because it was a poor choice of film on my part.

I regret the choices I made on film and processing, and the problem with photography is that so often you get only one chance. These were vacation pictures containing family, relatives and friends, a number of which have since passed away. But at least I still have a picture, and while not like they were 30 years ago, they are far better than nothing at all.

Dave
 
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