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mbosulliv
12-07-2008, 09:46 AM
Does anyone know 1) the type of color film used by American photographers in WWII 2) where I can pick some up? I would really like to start taking photographs with my SLR using WWII color film in order to add a nostalgic element to it.

Rising Sun*
12-08-2008, 07:14 AM
Does anyone know 1) the type of color film used by American photographers in WWII 2) where I can pick some up? I would really like to start taking photographs with my SLR using WWII color film in order to add a nostalgic element to it.

I don't know what film they used, but there is a good chance it was Kodachrome as that was the American colour standard film at the time. Ektachrome wasn't produced until after the war.

Note, however, that Kodachrome was based on 35mm movie film and produced transparencies (slides for projection), not prints.

I don't know what the practice was during WWII, but for a long time from the 1950s until digital finally took over transparencies were the standard film for all quality colour reproduction in magazines such as Life and National Geographic and a host of others because of the quality of the image and the ability to reproduce it on the printed page. I suspect it might have been the same during the war as there wasn't any alternative apart from print film.

If print films were used, it'd probably be Kodacolor which was first produced in 1942 and was a colour negative film (similar to black and white negative film where the colours produced on the paper print are the opposite of the ones on the film).

If you can pick either film up now it will be only about sixty years past its expiry date, so it may not produce a great image. You might also have trouble finding the chemistry (developers etc) to process it, and they will also be long out of date and less able to produce whatever image you might capture on the film.

Current descendants of WWII film types have been improved many times through advances in chemistry etc and are of a very different quality to their WWII ancestors.

Rising Sun*
12-12-2008, 03:40 AM
I've checked in Peter Maslowski's book "Armed with a Camera", which is a history of aspects of American WWII combat photography, and Kodachrome was the colour film used by the Americans.

Here's a gallery of some WWII Kodachrome pictures.
http://castlemaine-boy.smugmug.com/gallery/3667787_jacgv#209600921_Q9WKe

Kodachrome wasn't used much in combat photography as it required ideal lighting conditions to get a good image. B&W film was much more suited to the range of lighting conditions encountered on the battlefield and was the dominant medium. The photos in the link are obviously staged and often artificially lit, but the colour rendition is rather nice.

Rising Sun*
12-12-2008, 05:13 AM
BTW, for extra detail on the images in the link click on x3 or Original in the picture size dialog box that comes up on the right of the screen for each larger image. There is some great detail in some of those pictures, which shows what a great film it was.