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 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.
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.
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.