Jim Colburn - Don't Ask

What's in a Name?

I read in USA Today recently that Kodak will be overhauling it's repackaging and renaming some of the film they make. So 100 ASA film will become "Kodak Bright Sun" and 200 ASA film will be called "Kodak Bright Sun & Flash." 400 Max film will become "Max Versatility" while the 800 version will graduate to "Max Versatility Plus." Now if a film's name suggests that it has the maximum versatility possible how can another film have even more? Am I not supposed to use film with Bright Sun? Do I have to change films every time the little light comes on in the viewfinder telling me that I should use a flash?

While this situation might seem strange to some people those of us that have been dealing with film for a while can take this in stride.

It seems to have started with Panatomic-X. It's a obviously a panchromatic film and a product of the nuclear age. I'm sure that the "X" meant that it was real special. Then there was Plus-X. A better film than the atomic kind because they added something to it to make it that way. Exactly what I don't know but it had to be something special.

Next was Super-XX. It had to have been even better than Plus because, well, it's Super and with two X's.... wow. The successor to Super-XX was, of course, Tri-X. Three whole X's? It had to be better than that now crappy Two X film. Now some may not know but when it was introduced Tri-X was only 200 ASA. It stands to reason that when they went to 400 ASA they should have called it Four-X. But seeing as how there was an American condom called Four X they probably didn't want to get people any more confused than they already were.

Since a lot of film is sold in drug stores it would have been interesting..... "Price check on Four X please! Not the 3 pack or the 12 pack, the 36....... He's going fishing with a couple of buddies and wants to be prepared for a beautiful sunset......"

Australia has a beer called XXXX (or Four X) and that could've caused problems too..... "Sure mate. This'll help you see LOTS of interesting colors, now drink up."

Then there's Fuji. They produce Velvia, Astia and Provia amongst others. Is the Velvia cheesy? Why not Amateurvia? How about Panchovia for the Mexican and Central American markets? Does Reala do a better job of capturing reality or is it just Real Good? How superior is Superia?

What's wrong with a few simple numbers anyway?

Jim Colburn

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed are barely my own much less my employer's so don't blame Time Magazine, Time Inc. or Time-Warner for anything written here. The guys at the Army Corps of Engineers that defined the term "Hundred Year Flood" have a lot more explaining to do. There's been four of them since 1993...