The New Kodak Ektachrome Is Making Its Way Into the Hands of Test Photographers

The New Kodak Ektachrome Is Making Its Way Into the Hands of Test Photographers

Good news for film shooters out there: the Kodak Ektachrome revival is picking up momentum, as Kodak now has rolls of film in the hands of beta testers.

Kodak has said the new revival will be very similar in color, contrast, and saturation to the 100G formulation. The 100G stock was generally regarded as a naturally rendering film with pleasing if not relatively muted colors and somewhat better exposure tolerance than typical slide films. Ektachrome was first available in 1946 and eventually became the primary choice of a lot of shooters, National Geographic being one of them. It was a popular choice compared to Kodachrome especially for its vastly simpler processing that allowed more labs to handle it. It wasn't until 2012 that Kodak finally pulled the plug on the iconic stock, while its revival was announced in early 2017. It seems rolls are finally making their way into the hands of photographers.

Thank you @michaelturek

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Kodak hasn't given any word on when the Ektachrome revival will be hitting shelves for the rest of us, but it seems that the process is in motion.

Lead image by Thistle33, used under Creative Commons.

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10 Comments

michael buehrle's picture

cost for a roll ? let's face reality though, for all of the people that have never shot film they will blow thru rolls and then have to develop them. it's gonna probably cost you 15 bucks for a roll + developing.

Michael Jin's picture

Yeah, film photography isn't the cheapest hobby. Depending on how far down the rabbit hole you go, though, you can mitigate your costs long term by setting yourself up for home development (although for C-41 and E-6, it's a bit more involved in terms of equipment than B&W).

I think the biggest challenge is going to be that slide film has a pretty rough learning curve due to its unforgiving nature when it comes to exposure. If you're not used to it, you're probably going to get garbage results for a good number of rolls before you start getting some good ones and from a cost standpoint, that can get pretty discouraging.

There is a lot of excitement on the forums across the internet about this re-introduction.
My guess is that a lot comes from people who never shot film and those who remember with nostalgia loading film, re-winding and walking around with a pocket full of film.

The market for enthusiast and semi-pro cameras in the film days was much smaller and grew largely through the increasing automation of the cameras. Film processing costs kept the bulk of photographers from shooting enough to really get good.
It remains to be seen how many will be willing to spend money for every exposure, wait for processing, curse light leaks, scan film or (Heaven forfend) project their images for a willing group. The current excitement is the artifact of internet generated eagerness sparking unrealistic fantasies of bliss promised by a new product.

My guess will be after the initial burst of interest, sales will decline to a plateau of hard core hobbyists. The venture will be spun off to VCs somewhere as shareholders will eye the profit growth with a flinty eye and kill what is simply passion for a few rather than profit for them.

Andrew Richardson's picture

This might be one of the most grumpy, cynical things I've read in the past month.

I think the excitement is coming primarily from those of us who shoot film and are excited to see a classic stock being brought back. Many shooters, myself included, have only recently begun shooting with film in the past few years, so it is incredibly encouraging to see one of the major players in the field revive and old line. Black and white film sales have been increasing at right around 5% year after year for the last several years, and Kodak themselves said in their Ektachrome announcement last year that they were bringing it back because they have seen a steady increase in film sales so it just made business sense.

Sorry to sound so negative but I have watched the surges of enthusiasm roil the web egged on by sponsored blog posts. So much of the speculation,comment and enthusiasm of products stem from fantasies that are disconnected from reality.
Re: the current orgiastic frenzy surrounding the impending Nikon mirrorless introduction. When it finally lands it will be impressive no doubt. It will, however, contrary to fanboy pantings, not walk the dog and double on sax.
In the same way, we forget the pain of the past and remember only the best parts. Re-visiting the past will refresh the memory of that pain.
BTW I started shooting film in 1966. 35mm to 6x6 to 4x5 to 5x7 to 8x10. B&W, Color neg and trans.

Tony Tumminello's picture

Since I can't seem to find Agfa CT Precisa 100 at normal prices these days, this looks like it could be an interesting replacement! That being said, I haven't tried Provia quite yet and at the rate Fuji has been axing their film stocks I should probably jump on that sooner rather than later...

Michael Jin's picture

Knowing that Fuji has been discontinuing things, I'm of the opinion that it might just be better to avoid them altogether lest you risk falling in love with one of their films and then being depressed when they discontinue it... Then again, there are some rumors that Fuji is getting the message that there's still SOME demand left so who knows?

Tony Tumminello's picture

Eh, I like to have options hanging out in my fridge/freezer for when I'm not wanting to shoot the same old same old, so even if it's discontinued I'll have some amount of access to it. When Acros 100 was discontinued, I was pretty upset because it's still one of my favorite films and there's no replacement out there that I know of that has the same resistance reciprocity failure that Acros has, so I stockpiled a good amount of it in my freezer despite likely not being able to restock it much in the future.

Also the suggestion of not buying their film almost seems like it would just end up as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Not buying Provia because they might discontinue it down the line will reduce demand for their film...and well at that point if demand is down then yeah they're gonna definitely cut the film stock. I'm not saying that I, myself, have that much purchasing power and provide a high degree of demand, but if lots of people think that way then that's a fast way to lose another film stock.

Michael Jin's picture

Well, if rumors are to be believed, it could very well be possible that Fuji is no longer actively manufacturing film nor have they been doing so for some time now.

By contrast, there are numerous companies out there that we know are actively manufacturing fresh film so I would personally opt to support those companies over a company that's simply selling off stuff they've been keeping in a freezer for years after shutting down manufacturing.

Then again, that's just me.

I don’t understand why EVERY film related article is filled with comments from presumed digital converts ranting how silly film is. Here we have commenters now offering up half baked psychological profiles of people who are interested in the rerelease of ektachrome.
If you think film stinks, move on. Don’t read the article.
Personally I’m happy ektachrome is coming back. More options is a good thing. And maybe it’s a good sign that Kodak can survive.