Bob Nuttmann

Kodak Ektachrome Film Review

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This is an update to my Ektachrome e100 review of Oct 2018 which I made shortly after the film was introduced.  The above photo is of a wisteria bush in our garden.  I have taken many shots of this plant and its deep purple flowers.  I have used a variety of digital cameras from smartphones to DSLRs to mirrorless.  This Ektachrome shot using a Minolta 600si and 50mm f2.8 macro has the best color of all of of them.  In addition to being great color this picture also has very good detail and a nice rendering of what is out of focus.

Since that first roll in 2018 I have used about ten total.  My overall user thoughts on this film is that this is one of the best color photo films made.  I would have shot more of this film in the last 2 1/2 years but for the cost of the film and the extra cost to develop slide film.  Right now Ektachrome is about $14.95 US and the cost to develop is about $3 more than standard negative print film.  Pro quality negative film runs about 8-9 dollars right now, so if you use $8.50 and add $3 you get $11.50 more for Ektachrome than Portra or Ektar.

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Ektachrome e100 – Minolta 600si 50mm f2.8 macro
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Ektachrome e100 – Same Minolta and lens as above 
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Same film camera and lens as above.  
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Same film, camera, and lens as above.  

I do little to nothing different using this film compared to a color negative one as far as exposure goes.  I do look and try to keep the dynamic range of the shot down a bit.  So if I have shadows in the foreground and bright sky I either try to limit a bit at the ends of the range of exposure.  The other thing I do is spot meter the mid tones and then hit the exposure lock or use manual on my older cameras.  Of course for the ultimate in wide dynamic range today you cannot beat my iPhone 11 Pro.  It automatically does smart HDR and it seems like everything is in proper exposure.  But then the iPhone will not get the deep red of the rose in the above photo, and if it gets the red OK without blowing out the color it is just not as good as the shot above.  Oh, and the iPhone cannot get bokeh like what is on the above shot.  The lens used to get the above shot and all the rest of the Ektachrome shots in this post can be bought on eBay or a camera dealer for about $50-60 dollars.  This is not a Minolta lens it is a Sigma/Quantaray.  Quantaray was a house name for the Old Ritz camera shop chain and the Q lens is the same as the Sigma.

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Again the Minolta with 50mm lens and Ektachrome

In addition to Kodak Ektachrome I have shot quite a bit of Fuji Velvia 50 and Velvia 100.  If you want the most intense colors you can get from any film and beyond what you can get on digital Velvia 50 is your ticket to do so.  V 50 is a very fine grain film that I have enjoyed the results of.  But the saturation is intense, so that is the effect you have to want.  Unlike cranking up the saturation on Lightroom Velvia 50 looks more natural.  I have never seen a digital simulation of this film that looked like the film.  Velvia 100 is a different formulation and is a more rounded film that also does well with skin tones.  V 50 is not a good portrait film.  In my opinion.  For skin tones in my opinion Ektachrome e100 is the best of the trio of e100, Velvia 50, and Velvia 100.

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Same as the above

I only shoot 35mm film.  If you want more details you have to go up in film size.  I used to do that but don’t care to any more.  I love the look of film, but if I want to shoot Bryce Canyon with tiny details I will go to one of my digital cameras.

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Shot with Nikon D750 and 50mm f1.4 Nikkor lens
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Also D750
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back to Ektachrome
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Ektachrome

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The three photos above are Ektachrome but shot with an Olympus OM2n with 28mm 2.8.

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This is me with my wife using the Olympus OM2n and 50mm f1.8 with a tungsten filter.  
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Ektachrome using Olympus OM2n & 28mm f2.8 and sun shade but no filters.  

When is a good time to use Ektachrome?  Any time, just bring a tungsten filter for indoor artificial light.  I would also suggest a polarizer filter for bright sunshine landscape shots.  Just don’t use a polarizer when you get down to 24mm and have sky in the photo.

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