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Subject: Archival properties and graininess of photographic films

Archival properties and graininess of photographic films

From: Monica Hoskin <llmah>
Date: Tuesday, July 13, 1993
Andrew Lyne,

This is a rather simple response to your questions,to get you started. I
have been working in conservation for only a year and a half. However, I
worked as a medical photographer for 3 years prior to this position.  We
worked with some of the same situations as you seem to.

First the archival question.  It is very important and simple. Black and
white film is fairly equal in archival potential, what changes this is
the processing a couple of extra steps in film or paper processing will
secure a lasting image.  As far as I know, Kodachrome is the only
available archival quality colour film.  The images are sharper, and the
processing is more 'archival' than E6 --because Kodachrome is a dye
transfer process on b&w emulsion.  If you compare old E6 images to
Kodachrome it is easy to see the archival limits.  E6 images seem to
keep exposing over time, 'bleaching' out.  I don't recommend them for
any professional work.

In the US there is only one place, in California, that will process
medium format Kodachrome!  It was an expensive hassle for me with my
personal work.  Anyway, I think you could successfully work with 35mm
and maintain the quality to which you are accustomed.  I assume you are
using a studio for most of your work.  We used Kodachrome 25 with great
results.  We needed retina images for arterial,etc., information that
could also be slide-projected, or printed for medical journals.  The
grain is tight, and the image holds detail.  For copy-stand type work a
1:1, 55mm macro lens from Nikon, Zeiss, or Leica (in ascending order of
personal preference) along with Kodachrome 25 should maintain your high
quality standards with little compromise.

I hope this is helpful, it is sad to find medium format work forced
further into the corner.  Good luck.

Monica Hoskin

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:11
                  Distributed: Tuesday, July 13, 1993
                        Message Id: cdl-7-11-004
Received on Tuesday, 13 July, 1993

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