1960's & 70's color film: Why does it look that why?

One thing I wondered is why does film from the 1960’s and 1970’s (color film I mean) have that certain ‘look’ or tone to it? I know nothing of photography, but it’s weird how pictures all looked a certain way, and suddenly it changed.


I can just tell it has that pre 1980’s look. Why does it look different, and what happened to change it?

Films have changed a lot over the years. Even today, you can tell the difference between Kodak and Fuji. Modern film is capable of reproducing colours ‘better’ than films of 30 or more years ago. ‘Better’, of course, is subjective. Perhaps ‘more truly’ is more accurate.

Here’s the obligatory Wiki article on the subject.

Genuine “high-speed” (anything above an ASA/ISO speed of 400) was rare before the 1970s, and most professional photrographers didn’t like it because of bad color, grain and other qualities. They did a lot of their shooting, even for stuff like spot news and sporting events, with slower speed slide or negative film, and had a number of tricks to push the film to work in lower light/faster shutter speed situations.

As newer, faster films were introduced, all those old workarounds became unnecessary, and the finished products got a more uniform look.

Color film dies (and print inks) also fade over time. In most cases, those images didn’t look that way when they were first taken. Yet another advantage to digital imaging.

If that’s supposed to be a navy blazer, it is starting to look a bit plum.

A lot of older film would fade in certain colours first. Really old movies are almost unwatchable due to their overall pink hue, because I assume the blue and yellow fades faster than magenta. Proper storage can slow the fading of dyes and inks, but not stop it.