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Although color photography has actually long predominated, monochrome images are still produced, mostly for creative factors. Practically all digital cams have an alternative to shoot in grayscale, and practically all image editing software can integrate or selectively discard RGB color channels to produce a monochrome image from one shot in color.


Early experiments in color required exceptionally long exposures (hours or days for camera images) and could not “fix” the photo to prevent the color from quickly fading when exposed to white light. The first permanent color photograph was taken in 1861 utilizing the three-color-separation principle very first released by Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell in 1855.

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This provides the photographer with the 3 standard channels needed to recreate a color image. Transparent prints of the images could be predicted through comparable color filters and superimposed on the projection screen, an additive approach of color recreation. A color print on paper could be produced by superimposing carbon prints of the three images made in their complementary colors, a subtractive technique of color reproduction pioneered by Louis Ducos du Hauron in the late 1860s. Russian professional photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii made comprehensive use of this color separation method, utilizing an unique video camera which successively exposed the 3 color-filtered images on different parts of an oval plate. Because his direct exposures were not synchronised, unstable subjects exhibited color “fringes” or, if rapidly moving through the scene, appeared as brightly colored ghosts in the resulting forecasted or printed images.

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The discovery of dye sensitization by photochemist Hermann Vogel in 1873 unexpectedly made it possible to include sensitivity to green, yellow and even red. Improved color sensitizers and ongoing improvements in the general sensitivity of emulsions steadily reduced the once-prohibitive long exposure times needed for color, bringing it ever better to industrial viability. Autochrome plates integrated a mosaic color filter layer made from colored grains of potato starch, which permitted the three color elements to be tape-recorded as surrounding microscopic image pieces. After an Autochrome plate was reversal processed to produce a positive transparency, the starch grains served to brighten each fragment with the right color and the small colored points mixed together in the eye, synthesizing the color of the subject by the additive method.

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Kodachrome, the very first modern “integral tripack” (or “monopack”) color film, was introduced by Kodak in 1935. It captured the 3 color parts in a multi-layer emulsion. One layer was sensitized to tape-record the red-dominated part of the spectrum, another layer taped just the green part and a third recorded only heaven. Agfa’s likewise structured Agfacolor Neu was presented in 1936. Unlike Kodachrome, the color couplers in Agfacolor Neu were integrated into the emulsion layers during manufacture, which considerably streamlined the processing. Currently, readily available color movies still utilize a multi-layer emulsion and the exact same principles, many carefully looking like Agfa’s item. Instantaneous color film, utilized in a special camera which yielded an unique finished color print only a minute or two after the direct exposure, was introduced by Polaroid in 1963.

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The latter is now the most common form of film (non-digital) color photography owing to the intro of automated image printing equipment. After a shift duration centered around 19952005, color film was relegated to a specific niche market by low-cost multi-megapixel digital cams. Movie continues to be the choice of some professional photographers due to the fact that of its distinct “look”.