- Johnny Wilson
First Impressions of Kodak Ektachrome E100
Despite shooting film since 2008, I've genuinely never shot with slide film! At least not with the intent of having it processed in E6 chemistry and not having it cross processed... When I was younger that was mostly because slide film was more expensive and my local labs only did C41 processing and some of them weren't even really that good at doing that... Nowadays all my films go through AG Photo Lab so it's much easier for me to get E6 films processed but it took Kodak Alaris releasing Ektachrome E100 in late 2018 for me to finally buy a roll and give it a try.
I initially bought a roll just after it was released, and was holding onto it for a more special occasion, but then the pandemic hit and I did hardly any travelling at all last year and by the time I got round to deciding to give it a try, the roll I had bought had expired by a couple of months... Not wanting that to taint my first experience I decided to order a fresh roll and for most of April I took it around with me loaded in my Canon EOS 650 to shoot some photos whilst out on walks and whilst catching up with the girlfriend for a week in Mersea Island.
When Kodak print "extremely fine grain" on these films, they are not kidding! I'm amazed by how clear and crisp these images turned out. Granted I'm using a fairly new - by film camera standards - SLR and lens with these shots but if you didn't tell people in advance that these were shot on film, they wouldn't actually know! I mean sure, they have the aesthetic that you can only get with shooting film but there is zero detail loss, zero fuzziness, zero erm... grain I guess! I'm so impressed by how sharp and detailed these photos turned out.
Colour and contrast reproduction is also really great, there is a real distinction between light and dark areas of the images with my film and I think that's because of the way the exposure compensation works on my EOS 650 but I actually like the really dark shadows as it gives the photos more depth. You can get around that by dialling up I guess - I measured this at box speed: ISO 100 but I wouldn't overexpose this film too much, Slide film is much more temperamental than print film and overexposing it will blow out the highlights and mess up the colour reproduction. You could get some cool images that way I guess:
Like what happened here when I accidentally didn't pay attention to my camera telling my aperture was too high! But it's generally not recommended!
I feel that in areas, the saturation is slightly muted, and the colour balance tends to lean a little bit towards the more bluer side of the spectrum, unless that's just my eyes (or something to do with my camera lens?) but not so much so that it completely ruins the photos, and I actually think that helps give the images that film photo aesthetic.
I'm really happy with how my first roll turned out, I made a concentrated effort with this film to really go for "print quality" compositions and only shot what I felt were the best shots I could get - owing to the restrictions on travel e.t.c! And I also only took it out in really sunny weather so as to make sure I got the best exposures I could get and I feel it's made a difference. I really want to shoot with more of it in different cameras, especially with my OM10 and the various different lenses I have with that. Also really interested to see how it handles being put through a cheap compact like my Trip 500 or something, coupled with the vignette it could make for some really dramatic images!
You can follow any future shots I make with this film by following my Flickr page and searching in my photostream for "Kodak Ektachrome E100" tags.