175 Years of Photography - Film Lives On

Over on Prophoto Online is an interesting historical look at something near and dear to our hearts - film! The piece "175 Years of Photography - Film Lives On" (in German) takes a look at film from its humble beginnings as dry plates, to color and instant films through today. Despite the unstoppable onslaught of digital, it's still enjoyed by many photographers... Its demise often foretold, but still not realized. If anything, it's arguably enjoying a resurgence these days.

Translation to English (via Google):

Who has not heard of film, more than 130 years and, despite the digitization of photography, still plays a role. The film is currently experiencing even a renaissance, because the black and white photography and also the home lab encounter, especially in young photographer, again on interest. Distribution company mainly provide, in addition to color films for creative image composition, many black and white film types. This includes films for scientific and technical purposes. Color films are still made by Fujifilm and Kodak; Another producer is planning to resume production. How it started

Before the films in the early 1880s introduced dry plates were popular. By 1890 there were already a dozen or so manufacturers in Germany. It bothered her that her carrier consisted of breakable glass. Many photographers and producers were looking for a replacement for the glass plate. Condition was the invention of celluloid as flexible and unbreakable backing to 1870. The first usable roll film was 1884, the "stripping" movie of the American George Eastman. However, he produced a paper negative, which was not made transparent with wax and was transferred to the glass plate. For this film brought Eastman 1888, the "Kodak" box out. The film for 100 circular shots had to be sent in the camera to Kodak, where again a new movie has been inserted - true to Eastman's slogan "You press the button, we do the rest". That was the beginning of amateur photography.

1889 followed by Kodak in Rochester, NY, the successful "American Film", now a transparent film on Celluloidbasis. Two years earlier, the American pastor Hannibal Goodwin had brought out such a film and applied for a patent initially unnoticed. The Eastman did not, which led to a long legal battle between the two. Goodwin only received his patent in 1898, but two years later he was in an accident. 1913 was judicially determined that the Goodwin patent had been infringed by Eastman and Eastman 1930, paid a compensation to the successor.

Samuel N. Turner, Boston, invented the roll film in 1895 with - like today - on the back an attached light-proof paper, so that he no longer had to be necessarily placed in the dark in the camera as a "daylight-roll film." Eastman acquired a license for the production of this film, which was very popular at the end of the 20th century. This was in 1900 when the brought out by Kodak, simple "Brownie" camera. In Germany Agfa began in 1896 in Berlin with the fabrication of sheet films, 1900 was followed by roll films in various major recording formats. The films had to establish themselves once against the large-format plate cameras with their photographically better images.

Main task for the photochemical research was to eliminate the Rotblindheit and the flammability of the films. After Hermann Wilhelm Vogel in 1873 expanded the color sensitivity of photographic layers of originally blue to green and yellow, 1903, the Germans Adolf Miethe and Arthur Traube awareness of Orange. The different color sensitivity of films was an important prerequisite for color photography. 1940 was the low flammability "safety film" on Triacetatunterlage in Germany ready for production, its introduction had to be postponed because of the war but. In 1948 Kodak was the first manufacturer Films out in the 1950s, also photographic safety films were widely introduced.

Always new camera designs were associated with matching film makes and vice versa: the miniature film, still the world standard was due to the construction of the Leica camera by Oskar Barnack, who was introduced at the Leipzig Spring Fair in 1925. Barnack used the 35 mm wide film, where he enlarged on the recording format 24 × 36 mm. The first miniature film was fabricated by Perutz in Munich fine grain film for aerial photography.

The prerequisite for taking snapshots even in poor lighting conditions was a high film speed. Dr. Robert Koslowsky succeeded in 1936 when the Agfa 1945 secret gold effect. He allowed higher speeds with finer grain. Until then,: "increasing the sensitivity is always associated with a coarser granularity." Further progress in the fine-grained attached flat, light-sensitive silver crystals as the launched in 1982 by Kodak tabular "T-Grains" for more effective light output. They came first benefit of color films. Triumph of color films

Color films from 1979 finally sat through, as the proportion of color photographs was increased to more than 90 percent worldwide. The photo industry is that amateur photographers to color to move to switch from black and white, including price reductions contributed succeeded. Until then, it was been a long road: For colored transparencies on film base you had around 1930 initially to the old method to fall back, as they are from the legendary Autochrome plate with its color screen. The first miniature film for color photography was Agfacolor from 1932, but with special color stripe filters worked even after the complex, suitable only for a few cameras, including Leica and Contax lenticular method for recording and projection.

The invention of the ultimately successful multi-layer film with color development was due to German and American inventors: the chemist Dr. Rudolf Fischer in 1912 for his time not yet realizable basic principle, the musicians and photo amateurs Leo Godowsky Jr. and Leopold man in 1935 for the, because of its high sharpness, legendary Kodachrome film as the first of its kind, the chemist Dr. Gustav Wilmann and Dr. Wilhelm Schneider Agfa created around 1936 the universal Agfacolor method for slides, negatives, paper photos and movies. The following on this first films for popular slide shows negative films for colored paper images (1942 by Kodak, 1949 by Agfa) helped the color photography for anyone to break through soon. Of course, the film is only a means for beautiful pictures, the photo paper also plays an important role. It was also constantly evolving.

After the war intervened more manufacturers in Europe, Japan and the United States after previous tests successfully recipes from Agfa and Kodak color films, and brought out his own films. It started the race, the film manufacturer through acquisition of optimizations and innovations of the competition. Also, if some films were earlier suitable for development in the home laboratory, the amateurs attracted the submission at the photo dealer or submission before the development. For large laboratories emerged, the so-called photofinishing companies who today specializes in the manufacture of paper images, photo books and so-called value added photo products.

This footage was always professional - with very high color brilliance, for portraits, shots with different lighting types, with warmer and cooler colors and for the higher sensitivity of exploitation by the so-called push processing - films for every need and every taste! They were also improved considerably in their sharpness and fine grain. Color films achieved in the course of time the desired high sensitivity black and white films. Finally, the picture and color stability could be increased and the scannability - optimized - as an important step towards digital technology. Facilitates photography

Another exposure latitude, especially important when negative films, and the high fineness of grain are due to the multi-layered structure of the films started in 1963. Low sensitive layers are connected with higher sensitive. Such complex film structures, which were added yet filters, control, protection and release layers require highly accurate Begusstechnologien for the movies. Accessories, such as the 1972 Kodak introduced the so-called DIR couplers produce special effects in favor of sharpness and fine grain. The achieved by the exposure latitude preventing faulty exposure, formerly a real problem for color photography, was also a prerequisite for the simple disposable cameras (Single Use) with pre-loaded film. Meter were superfluous, since the exposure is automatically controlled in modern cameras.

Systems for a simplified film loading, such as the Agfa Karat cartridge (1937), the Kodak Instamatic system (1963) and the Pocket Kodak film (1972), helped photography to another breakthrough. Your smaller image formats required new, finer-grained films whose improvements then optimized also by its assumption of the conventional films. Development institutions and also the home laboratories benefited which is passing through from the early 1970's processing compatible with internationally prevailing Kodak processes. Even more manufacturers besides Kodak could now sell their films worldwide easily.

But there were aberrations, such as the disc system with round film washers (1982) and, in 1996, given the nascent popular digital photography too late introduced Advanced Photo System (APS) with magnetic data recording. The 10 × 8 mm measured Disc negatives were grainy, but brought the small screen and roll film photography, the new standard sensitivity class ISO 200/24 ​​°. The survey was 100/21 ° and highly sensitive with ISO 400/27 ° into the existing range of films since 1976 with ISO, which offered any color film manufacturers.

Play a special role is still the instant film. Their pioneering had been the American Dr. Edwin Land. In 1948 she came out from Lands Polaroid for black and white photographs and 1963 for color images, first manufactured by Kodak. Kodak introduced temporarily also produces its own instant film, but lost a patent infringement suit by Polaroid. From Fuji to be continued and re-released by the new company Impossible Project brave for Polaroid cameras. Long live the movie

Even if with the advent of digital photography often was felt that this was the downfall of the film, so this scenario has not been set. The film paragraph is sharp declines with digitization - although this does not lead to the conclusion that there will be no more movies sometime. Currently experiencing the film, as already mentioned, a renaissance. The next film enjoys living photographers who love to keep negatives and slides into the hands to look on the light table or project. Despite the now attained a high resolution of digital photos medium and large sizes of the films are also desirable. You still have a future as a proven medium and not subject to technological changes in their visual Aufrufbarkeit.