"Peter, I noticed the relative lack of film grain in your scans, even the detail view. Do you agree?"
I certainly notice the grain. The detail scan I posted was scanned at 8000 ppi and using a 3.3 micron scanning aperture, which generally accentuates the grain. It was Kodachrome 25, which is finer grained than either 64 or 200 and seems to be on par with Velvia 50 but with a different character. The detail scan had no sharpening at all applied to it.
"My scans of Velvia and Provia on my Minolta 5400 scanner show more film grain, or probably grain aliasing to be more accurate."
Hard to say without seeing scans of the same piece of film from the two scanner. A few years ago a friend brought his 5400 over to my studio and we did some side by side comparisons. The Minolta was surprisingly good for the price but was definitely harsher overall and lacked the smoothness in gradations that is apparent in the Howtek.
"Is the lack of grain in your scans the result of the small size of the samples you posted, or maybe scanning at 8,000 ppi avoids grain aliasing, or maybe Kodachrome has less noticeable grain than Velvia or Provia, or maybe the grain isnít as noticeable in the detail sample since there arenít any uniform areas like clear sky? Itís not all that important. Iím just curious."
Well, there's always more apparent grain in areas like blue sky and much less in areas of detail, so that may be affecting your perception. The blue skies are much less "pure" in Kodachrome when looking at a grain level, being made up of smaller clumps of what I'd call contaminating colors - things like purple dye clouds in between the more cyanish overall sky color. That may account for the tendency for Kodachrome skies to skew slightly toward magenta. Just surmising though. Of course, that phenomenon is apparent in any film.
After having scanned several of this latest batch of film it does appear that the later emulsions of K64 certainly seem to be slightly less grainy than film from years ago, but I have no idea whether there was any real change to the film or if the newer chemistry has anything to do with it or some combination including overall exposure. There are areas of highlight detail that appear almost grainless in comparison to the detail scan I posted earlier.
Even after seventy plus years of Kodachrome, it continues to mystify.