Somewhat Analog Things About Photography

Trying Kodak Ektachrome 100 Plus Professional For The First Time - First Roll Review

Ebay has once again come to me as my saviour ( or as my demise source ) and brought me the gifts of old expired film. The film is Kodak Ektachrome 100 Professional Plus ( known in short as EPP 100 ).

Kodak Ektachrome 100 Plus film canister and box.

Here's the star of this writing. Lovely film canister with film inside and mint condition film box.

Kodak Ektachrome is a slide / positive film meaning that you won’t get negatives - you’ll get positives. This means that you can glance at the pictures without needing to invert the colors ( and remove the orange cast ) in your brain.

Slide film is typically more saturated and contrasty than negative film. It has less dynamic range so you have to be more precise with your exposure. Negative film is quite forgiving and allows some underexposure and quite heavy overexposure. Black and white film ( not all obviously - but in general ) is the most forgiving.

Ektachrome I'm using here is also expired. It expired in September, 2005. So it’s not the new stock Kodak Ektachrome film that you can buy today. EPP 100 was announced in 1988 and discontinued in 2009. Ektachrome was brought back again in 2018 but it's not based on the EPP 100. It's based on E100G. What's the difference? With these codenames - who knows. I've read that the new Ektachrome is a bit more saturated although still quite natural looking.

Although the film has expired 15 years ago - the Ebay listing said that it was kept refrigerated and the seller had various other refrigerated films on sale so I was somewhat confident that it isn’t a lie. Obviously you can’t be 100% sure it would turn out well but I was confident enough.

I have to note that I have only shot slide film once in the past. About 10 or so years ago. I believe it was Fuji Velvia but I don’t remember the sensitivity. So I don’t really have much experience with slide films.

Expired slide film I didn’t want to trust my amazing Sunny 16 skills and also phone light meter didn’t seem like the best of choice so I decided to use the only film camera with light meter that I have - Pentax MZ-5. It’s a fine plastic camera. Pentax can do no wrong. I went with aperture priority for the whole film. MZ-5 isn’t the most professional camera ( for example you can’t lock meter reading which annoys me ) but it seems to be good enough from the results I’ve gotten in the past and I trust the light meter.

The lens of choice was SMC Pentax-M 50mm f1.7. No particular reason why. It’s a decent lens and 50mm is my go to focal length.

Pentax MZ-5 film photo camera and SMC Pentax-M 50mm f1.7 lens.

Pentax MZ-5 camera with SMC Pentax-M 50mm f1.7 lens. They made this all possible. Pentax is my hero.

Film was shot over multiple days ( if not weeks ). Only in sunny weather.

After some internet research I decided to rate this film at EI80 although it’s a ISO100 film. Some people wrote that this film works best with EI80. Also because it’s expired it won’t harm I thought.

Because I don’t shoot slide film often ( or ever ) I don’t have E-6 chemicals ( chemicals needed to develop this film ) and it wouldn’t make sense to buy them just to develop this film so a local lab did the developing and scanning. I might try C-41 reverse processing in future as I have 4 more rolls of this film.

Enough words - let’s have a look at the pictures and see what I think of this film. It won’t be a full roll but it will be about 80% of the roll. I only excluded not so great photos where they couldn’t be used to judge the film in any meaningful way.

The Photos

Woman with her reflection on car.

Actually first shot from the roll. As you can see the metering is a bit off. The blown face isn't fully recoverable. I would blame Pentax but Pentax is perfect so it must've been my fault.

Negative could likely handle this fine but not so much a positive film.

It's still and interesting shot seeing that reflection is accurately metered.

I call this: Real World Reflection

Some colorful leaves on fence.

Some leaves on fence. Not much to say here. It's likely slightly overexposed and there are some blown highlights but it was quite contrasty with the sunlight.

Colors are quite tame and not very saturated which surprised me.

I call this: Fence Growth

Toddler in sunny woods.

Not a fantastic shot but I included it to showcase the low dynamic range of this film ( and most slide films I imagine ).

I feel like metering is OK here - the scene is just very contrasty with the woods in shade and my sons white in direct sun which caused highlight explosion.

I call this: Sneaky Highlight Explosion

Public beach.

Again not a particularly beautiful or interesting shot but it shows that Ektachrome 100 Plus isn't too saturated. And the color balance is quite cool as well.

I call this: Sand Bush

Woman and her son on the beach.

Highlights are not blown. Yay. I think the film handled this shot well.

I call this: Smiling And Glancing

Public beach.

Colors look quite natural. From what I remember from my experience with Fuji Velvia - colors looked more "insane" and not so true to life there. You never know how much post-processing has happened for pictures on the internet - but Velvia shots there seem to agree with that as well.

I call this: Drumsticks

Entrance to publish beach.

Not much to say again. Well metered ( thanks Pentax ) and well handled by film ( thanks old Kodak ).

I call this: Entrance

Woman on public beach.

This slide film works well with skin tones in my opinion and doesn't make them in weird shades of unnatural color ( like Velvia can do ).

I also shot with Fuji X100 during this day and had a very similar shot with that. Colors are quite similar but Ektachrome is definitely slightly cooler.

I call this: Stand Shadow

Some small leafs in forest.

Ultimately quite boring and looks a bit overexposed. The tip of the leaf is blown. Should've metered for highlights here ( not that it's easy with MZ-5 ).

I call this: Lonely Leafs

Small football field in forest.

Who said you can't have a small football field in the middle of the forest!

Not much to say about film here - just an interesting place.

I call this: Forest Stadium

Flowers in garden.

Slight overexposure again and a showcase of very natural looking colors.

I call this: Flower Garden

Woman in sunrise light.

I quite like this photo of my wife. Light comes from sunrise. I don't fully remember how warm the light was but I really like how it's represented on this film.

There's obviously some blown highlights but that's to be expected as my wife's face is in shadow. Could've even overexposed it a bit more but overall I like the metering.

I call it: The Warm Touch

Duck in some pond.

Not a great photo or much to say about film but LOOK AT THE DUCK!

I call this: The Duck

Landscape of a lake.

A bit more landscapy shot. Maybe a touch overexposed? I still think that the film would've struggled to not blow the sky without the help of some filters.

I call this: A Slow Fade

A leaf being shined on by sun.

Another leaf photo. This time exposed well ( I don't remember if I tweaked with exposure compensation here ). Overall I like how film handled this.

I call this: Sun Leaf

Tree with a branch.

Yeah, yeah - sky is blown but it doesn't harm anything here in my opinion. Film handled it well. And Pentax did good too.

I call this: Branch Exposure

Photo of some birches in sunlight.

I think this scene was handled really well. Not so much the photo but how the film captured the scene. Not overly warm - even in sunlight. Contrasty and saturated enough but not overbearingly so. Just nice.

I call this: Birch Land

Sunny scene with some grass and trees.

Another very well handled scene I think. Sure - your newest iPhone would have more detail in both shadows and highlights but it would look unnatural and not true to life.

Enough detail in the shadows and still that warm glow in the highlights.

I call this: Warm Touch Of The Sun

Mother and her son in forest.

Another day in the woods. Very nice skin tones.

I call this: Attachment

Mother and her children in forest.

Photo is a touch overexposed maybe but I do think that film could've handled it better ( or at least - I would've liked if it did ). Faces are a bit too blown. It was a contrasty scene but I shot with Sigma DP2 Merrill this day as well and it handled it slightly better ( and it's not known to be camera with most dynamic range ).

I call this: World Exploration

Landscape of lake in the woods.

Because everything was pretty evenly lit here by the sun - film handled it well. Again I don't see my initially expected slide saturation here but it's still pleasing and you can saturate in post if you want to.

I call this: Lake And Trees

Family walking in forest next to a lake.

Some blown highlights but nothing too unexpected. Pretty well handled.

I call this: The Walk

Two trees in front of lake.

Dynamic range test. Passed.

I call this: Two Trees

Photo of Sigma DP2 Merrill outdoors.

My good friend the "slide film of digital cameras" - Sigma DP2 Merrill.

Black object in the shadow in front of bright background have trouble to both the camera metering system and film.

I call this: Digital Friend

Mother with a sleepy son.

My wife and son post forest walk. Son awaits the sweet release of a nap.

Exposed well. Skin-toned also well.

I call this: Nap Time

Young lady sitting in car.

Daughter is also tired.

Metered and handled well once again.

I call this: Tiredness


When I first looked at the photos I remember being somewhat disappointed. The photos themselves aren’t very groundbreaking but I don’t think that was the reason for my disappointment. I think I was expecting more saturated results. I was expecting Fuji Velvia results - but this is not Velvia. And I think that is actually great!

When looking at these pictures again to write this writing - I’ve actually grown quite fond of the results.

Sure - the dynamic range isn’t fantastic but for slide film I think it’s absolutely acceptable if not good ( like I’ve mentioned several times - I don’t have much experience with slide film ).

The saturation is low when compared to other slide films. And maybe even when compared to something like Kodak Ektar which is quite a saturated negative film. But what that gives you is very nice looking and natural colors that work especially well for people.

Color balance also leans towards cool not warm which on sunny days works really nice. I also want to try this film on more natural / overcast days to see what happens.

I’m not sure about my choice of shooting it with EI80. I think that on sunny / contrasty scenes EI100 is actually better as quite a lot of shots were overexposed a bit. Next time I will rate it as EI100 to compare the results.

It seems to be like a good film for post processing as it’s relatively flat which allows you to move in many directions if you so wish. I’ve kept all post processing to simple levels and very small color tweaks - and I like the look as is.

At first I wasn’t super excited about the results - now I want to shoot the other 4 rolls that I have remaining and I also want to try the new Kodak Ektachrome to see how it's different.

I can’t say go and try the new Kodak Ektachrome ( because I’ve never tried it ) but if you have a chance to try the old stock EPP 100 and you don’t want the Fuji Velvia look and / or want to shoot portraits then I think it’s a great film to try.


Loading comments - please be patient.

Add Your Comment