Ektachrome 100 is Back!

I’ve been a professional photographer for going on 20 years.  That's a loooong time.

Long enough to remember what is was like when everyone shot film.  And long enough to remember how the industry changed after digital cameras came on the scene.

Friends, let me tell you, those were dark days. Labs closed. Film stocks were discontinued.  And for a while, it seemed as though film photography was a dying art.

Fast forward to today.

Film is not only still alive, it is a thriving and an industry in and of itself!  AND, thanks to our friends at Kodak Alaris, film stocks that were once discontinued are back on the shelves!

Over the summer, I had the extraordinary honor of being asked to be one of a small handful of photographers from around the world to Beta Test a film stock that Kodak Alaris is bringing back, Ektachrome 100!

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About the beta test

I am a portrait photographer who shoots film exclusively in studio with artificial lighting.  I decided that I would shoot my Beta rolls in the same style to see how it compared to the C-41 stocks that I was used to working with.

I was curious to find out how the new Ektachrome would do in a studio setting using strobes and flash.  And I wanted to know how it would handle different skin tones and arranged to have a diverse group of models come in for the test.

I was also curious about its latitude and shot a couple of exposure tests, just to see.

Here is what I learned

  • The old Ektachrome was known for its vibrant colors and the new Ektachrome lives up to this reputation!  The colors in my images were rich and vivid. Very true to life! This was also the case with the skin tones!  What you see is what you get with this stock! So, if you want the colors you’re photographing to look exactly like they do in real life, this is the stock for you!

  • Ektachrome is currently only available in 35mm so I was expecting to see more grain than I’m used to (I’m a medium format shooter), but I was wrong.  This stock is smooth like butter!

  • Like most slide film, Ektachrome does not have much latitude.  If you over exposure it the way many photographers do with C-41 stocks, you will blow your highlights and introduced unwanted color shifts.  For best results, rate it at box speed and meter for your midtones.

Kodak Ektachrome Exposure Test on White Backdrop by Sandra Coan
Ektachrome Exposure Test on gray/blue backdrop by Sandra Coan

Will I use Ektachrome in the future?

I sure will!

I’ve actually become a little obsessed with this stock and can not wait to get my hands on some more!  

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It is my new go-to when I want rich, saturated color, deep shadows and beautiful skin tones!  But I’m also dying to experiment with it a little…. maybe even try cross-processing (something I haven’t done since the 90’s… ha!)

The takeaway

Ektachrome is beautiful and a lot of fun!  Go get yourself some. You will not be dissapointed!