Select Page

Advertisement
A brief history of… Kodak EKTACHROME filmA brief history of… Kodak EKTACHROME film

A brief history of… Kodak EKTACHROME film

Just as they managed to resurrect dinosaurs with DNA in Jurassic Park, Eastman Kodak and Kodak Alaris have pulled off the magical feat of resurrecting Kodak EKTACHROME film; but even though they had the complete DNA on hand it’s still been a massive effort to release one of the all-time great films stocks.

Even those who aren’t really dedicated film shooters would be aware of EKTACHROME’s big brother, Kodachrome. Sadly for a variety of reasons, Kodachrome is as dead as the Dodo, but EKTACHROME is very much here and at the time of writing, has begun hitting stores, both online and bricks and mortar. While Kodachrome is the film some people wish was the one being resurrected, and often overshadows EKTACHROME, back in the day a lot of photographers preferred EKTACHROME for its faster speed and the fact that it was not as demanding to shoot…or develop.

For most of the film’s life EKTACHROME was the workhorse film stock used by Playboy, National Geographic, and NASA. Two of the most famous photos of the 20th century were both taken on EKTACHROME, “Earthrise” on Apollo 8 and the first shots on the moon taken by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

Originally introduced to the public in 1946 as a faster alternative to Kodachrome, EKTACHROME quickly gained a following for its ease of use, wider range of film formats (including sheet film), ease of processing, but mostly for fine-grained saturated images it produced. Like Xerox for a copy, the word EKTACHROME became synonymous for transparency photography and a whole culture of slide film grew up around its use.

So, here is a historical timeline of Kodak EKTACHROME, one of the top two most iconic films of the 20th Century:

 

 

Kodak EKTACHROME timeline

1941?

Kodak Aerial EKTACHROME (E-3). Governmental, scientific and military use only.

1946

Kodak market KODAK EKTACHROME Transparency Sheet Film (ASA 32), the company’s first consumer color film that photographers could process themselves using newly marketed chemical kits.

1955

KODAK EKTACHROME Transparency Sheet Film (ASA 32) made available in rollfilm and 135/20 cartridges.

1959

Kodak High Speed EKTACHROME Film (Daylight ASA 160, Tungsten ASA 125) was introduced and became the fastest color film on the consumer market. Introduced in 35mm film format in 20 exposure (135/20) cassettes for exposure in Daylight.

Its speed was ASA 160, over two stops faster than the regular EKTACHROME film, (32 ASA). It was at that time, the fastest colour film in the world. The film was designed to be processed in the Kodak EKTACHROME Processing Kit, Process E-2, Improved Type. At this time Kodak Labs were processing 135, 828, 127, 620 and 120 formats.

Process E-3 was also introduced to the public.

Kodak EKTACHROME Aero 8442 (350 ASA / AI 25) introduced.

Kodak EKTACHROME Infrared Aero 8443 (100 ASA / AI 10) introduced.

1963

EKTACHROME-X film (ASA 64 / Process E-2 and E-3) replacing 32 ASA EKTACHROME. The new 64 ASA product is the first EKTACHROME film available in 135/36 format.

1964?

EKTACHROME Infrared Aero Film 8H3 (65 ASA) introduced.

1965

EKTACHROME EF, type 5241 (16mm) introduced.

1968

December 24th: The Astronaut William Anders shot one of the most iconic photos of the 20th Century “Earthrise”. The first image ever taken of the Earth as seen from the Moon. It was shot using a highly modified Hasselblad 500 EL, with a 250mm lens on EKTACHROME SO-368 film, custom-manufactured for NASA by Kodak.

1969

July 20th: First photos taken on the moon were shot with EKTACHROME EF and EKTACHROME high-speed color reversal, ASA 160 by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. In November of 1969, Kodak released a special commemorative issue of 12 shots taken on the moon.

1971

Kodak introduced Kodak EKTACHROME 160 Movie Film (Type A) and two new super 8 movie cameras which, in combination, made possible “existing light” movies for home use.

1976

Process E-6 was introduced. The first E-6 films were:

EKTACHROME Pro 50 Tungsten

EKTACHROME Pro 64 Daylight (EPR)

EKTACHROME Duplication film

1977

EKTACHROME 64 Daylight, EKTACHROME 200 Daylight and EKTACHROME 160 Tungsten (consumer films) were introduced.

1978

EKTACHROME 200 introduced. The new EKTACHROME 200 had significantly improved grain characteristics while offering a 1/3 stop increase in speed over the former E4-process High Speed EKTACHROME (160 ASA). It has improved colour reproduction with better separation of subtle hues of the same colour.

1979

Consumer 400 EKTACHROME introduced.

1980

EKTACHROME Professional 200 (EPD) introduced.

1984

EKTACHROME 100 (EPN) introduced.

1987

EKTACHROME 64T (EPY) introduced.

1988

EKTACHROME 100 Plus Professional (EPP) introduced.

EKTACHROME 100HC introduced.

1990

EKTACHROME 50HC introduced.

1992

EKTACHROME 100X 120 introduced.

EKTACHROME 400X (EPL) introduced.

EKTACHROME 320 Tungsten introduced.

EKTACHROME P1600 introduced.

1993

EKTACHROME Underwater film introduced, production ceased 2 years later in September 1995.

EKTACHROME P 1600 introduced.

1996

EKTACHROME E100S introduced.

EKTACHROME E100SW introduced.

1997

EKTACHROME E200 introduced.

EKTACHROME Professional Infrared EIR (EIR 2236) introduced.

1999

EKTACHROME 100D color reversal film 5285 (35mm) and 7285 (16mm) for motion picture use introduced.

EKTACHROME E100VS introduced.

2003

EKTACHROME E100G and E100GX introduced, replacing E100S/E100SW.

EKTACHROME E100GP introduced specifically for the Far Eastern markets – fine grain and exceptional rendition of whites.

2007

EKTACHROME Professional Infrared EIR discontinued.

2012

Kodak ceases production of its other color reversal films, although stock remained, and they continued to produce chemicals.

2017

January 5: Eastman Kodak and Kodak Alaris announce they will bring back EKTACHROME 100 At The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The film will be made available initially in 35mm, 36 exposure cassettes.

2018

March: The new EKTACHROME 100 (E100) will be based on E100G.

June: Initial scans of (8mm) EKTACHROME made public on social media.

July: Rolls of EKTACHROME E100 in the hands of beta testers.

September 25: Kodak Alaris announces the public release of new EKTACHROME E100 in 35mm format. 8mm and 16mm to follow.

October 8: Kodak introduces EKTACHROME 7294 Color Reversal Film in Super 8 format. 16mm format to follow.

 

 

How will new EKTACHROME compare with the original? Well, images I have seen from film sent out for Beta testing certainly have that EKTACHROME look.

As the timeline shows there was not just one EKTACHROME, but a whole family of films. According to my research and snippets from Kodak Alaris, the new film was based upon the E series EKTACHROME E100G, which had extremely fine grain and neutral, yet saturated colours. Of the E series film, E100G was the finest grain film, so I suppose they chose that for its ability to be scanned, as this is one of the major reasons for the popularity of Ektar 100, Kodak’s finest grain negative film.

As noted by Kodak in their press release: “Resurgence in the popularity of analog photography has created demand for new and old film products alike. Sales of professional photographic films have been steadily rising over the last few years, with professionals and enthusiasts rediscovering the artistic control offered by manual processes and the creative satisfaction of a physical end product.”

Let’s hope that the resurrection of EKTACHROME will turn the tide and create a whole new generation of film lovers.

Slide night anyone?

~ Cheyenne

 

 

Image Gallery

 

 

Sources and further reading:

Kodak EKTACHROME Press Release, September 25, 2018: LINK

EKTACHROME E Series Films 2003 (Recovered): LINK

EKTACHROME E100G (Recovered): LINK

EKTACHROME Wikivisually: LINK

NASA Earthrise: LINK

NASA Earthrise: The 45th Anniversary video: LINK

Apollo 11 Moon Landing: LINK

Museum of Victoria, Kodak Heritage Collection: LINK

George Eastman Museum: LINK

Kodakery Podcast about EKTACHROME: LINK

 

 

Write for EMULSIVE

The driving force behind EMULSIVE is knowledge transfer, specifically creating more of it in the film photography community. You can help by contributing your thoughts, work and ideas to inspire others reading these pages.

Take action and help drive an open, collaborative community: all you need do is read this and then drop me a line.

 

 

Lend your support

Like what you see here? You can support EMULSIVE by helping to contribute to the community voice on this website (see above), or by heading on over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and considering financial support from as little as $2 a month.

As if that’s not enough, there’s also an EMULSIVE print and apparel store over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique prints of photographs made by yours truly

In short, I want to continue building this platform and I’d love your help to make that happen.

About The Author

Cheyenne Morrison

In today’s digitally obsessed world I have chosen to return to old-school analogue photography. Instead of using digital cameras and Photoshop, I choose to use vintage cameras, classic manual focus lenses from the 1950s and expired film. My images are all analogue, with no digital enhancements necessary.

10 Comments

Comments are welcomed and encouraged on EMULSIVE but there are some instances where comments will deleted, and authors of those comments banned. They are as follows:

  • Comments deemed to be spam or solely promotional in nature will be deleted. Including a link to relevant content is permitted, but comments should be relevant to the topic at hand.
  • Comments including profanity, containing language or concepts that could be deemed offensive will be deleted. Note this may include abusive, threatening, pornographic, offensive, misleading or libelous language.
  • Comments that attack an individual directly will be deleted, as will comments that harass other contributing authors. In short, please be respectful toward others.

 

 

  1. Cheyenne Morrison

    Benjamin: This article is not an exhaustive summary of every Ektachrome stock, it is a timeline, and I ONLY included information where I had verifiable dates from Kodak, and they only had one person dealing with my enquiries. I will however answer some of your questions.

    Your last link between disappearance of Agfa Precisa and emergence of Kodak Ektachrome 100 is drawing a very long bow. Agfa CT Precisa was in fact either Fuji Trebi 100 (the Japanese amateur version of Provia) or Provia 100 batches, which does not pass the very strong Fuji QC for Provia 100F. I have that from reputable sources, and there are many example showing comparisons of the edge coatings online.

    Fuji (despite entreaties by myself and many others) has made the corporate decision to exit the film business, and are surprised by the exponential growth of Instax films. Film comprises a very small part of their overall business, and I think their rational is that film is a dying business, or at the least becoming a niche one they do not view as profitable. That is despite the fact Instax film has become incredibly profitable for them.

    E100G and E100GX did “replace” E100S and E100SW, even though E100S and E100SW stayed in production simultaneously. Often Kodak would have production stocks left over that they would continue to sell while the newer emulsion was being produced. That statement on the timeline was from the official Kodak press release when the new films were released to market.

    Elite Chrome: There are actually several in this family, but I was never able to find a definitive date when it was introduced, and with no inception date had to leave it off the timeline.

    Elitechrome 100 EB3: This was the consumer version of Elite Chrome whose discontinuation was announced in 2011. There are anecdotal reports that EB3 is the older version of the emulsion that was continued after 2003.

    Elite Chrome EB: Often just called Elite Chrome 100. Kodak advertises this as “The daylight film is aimed at amateur photographers and amateurs”. There is no verifiable statements or information from Kodak, but it is widely reputed that EB was superior to EB3. Reportedly introduced to the market in 2003,

    Elite Chrome EBX: Properly called Kodak EliteChrome Extra Color 100 (EBX) it was also marketed under these names.

    KODAK EKTACHROME 100 High Color
    KODAK EKTACHROME ELITE Extracolor 100
    KODAK Professional ELITE Chrome Extra Color 100

    Introduced approximately 1999, this was Kodak’s attempt to deal with the growing commercial success of Fuji’s Velvia line of films. Kodak’s description when it was released stated … “Kodak Elite Chrome Extra Color 100 Film brings a new dimension in color reproduction to Kodak’s Elite family of slide films. Featuring the highest color saturation available in a 100-speed consumer slide film, it has the versatility at this speed to provide higher shutter speeds to stop motion or allow the use of smaller apertures for increased depth-of-field while delivering extra bright colors. Try Elite Chrome Extra Color 100 Film for your outdoor picture-taking, especially for nature and scenic photos where you want bold, dramatic colors.”

    “EBX (EliteChrome Extra Color 100) was the consumer version of Ektachrome E100VS. I was part of the R&D team that created these films; the films were first commercialized in 1999. I was a member of product development teams responsible for the successful design of four new Ektachrome color slide films that were first commercialized in 1999”. Thomas Danhausser, Kodak.

    Discontinued in March 2012 Kodak stated … “Kodak’s “suggested replacement is the E100G 135-36 or Elite Chrome 100 Extra Color / EBX 135-36.” – November 18, 2011.

    Elite Chrome EBX vs E100VS: There is very little officially available details about these two films, but professional photographers such as Steve McCurry shot E100VS when Kodachrome was no longer in production. EBX was aimed at commercial studio and landscape photographers, but Kodak didn’t really get their marketing to match Velvia, and the two versions of the film and conflicting marketing led to a misconception that Elite Chrome was a consumer version, when in fact Kodak marketed Elite Chrome Extra Colour (EBX) at professionals.

    Kodak 100D: The stories about this film are replete with claims that 100D and E100VS are the same thing, but he 35mm stock (5285/7285) is perforated BH-1866 as opposed to the KS-1870 pattern used for cinema film, which is number-coded 5085. Super 8 version of 100D was 7285, which “may” mean it was a different emulsion. I don’t claim to be an expert on cinema film, or Super 8 film, and relied on information directly from Kodak.

    Official Introduction of Kodak Ektachrome 100D Color Reversal Films 5285 (Recovered Nov 23, 2011)
    https://web.archive.org/web/20111123015914/http://motion.kodak.com/motion/Products/Production/Color_Reversal_Films/5285.htm

    Reply
  2. Apologise for my ignorance…. is this ektachrome e100 a slide E6 development film or is this C41 negative film ? Thanks

    Reply
    • It’s E6 color slide.

      Reply
  3. A really good read Cheyanne, well researched, thank you for taking the time.

    Reply
  4. @Kodak @KodakProFilmBiz I really enjoyed this. Thanks for putting it together!

    Reply
  5. “Making KODAK Film” 2nd edition by Robert L. Shanebrook will be back in print. If you want a copy send an email to me and I’ll notify you when it is available.

    Reply
  6. You’ve entirely missed out on the entire Elitechrome line, which many people mistake for “amateur” versions of E100(something). Kodak never did much to disspell that notion, even selling Elitechrome at lower prices, while never officially referring to Elitechrome as amateur or consumer films. Elitechrome, while being part of the Ektachrome family, appear to have been different films of their E100(something) counterparts, because a.) at one point, Kodak began printing “Kodak Professional” also on the Elitechrome boxes, and b.), it was illegal for Kodak at least up until 2007 to market the same film under different labels.

    I’d’ve also liked to hear when Ektachrome Type G movie film was introduced. AFAIK, E100G and E100GX didn’t “replace” E100S and E100SW in 2003, as the four stocks were still made in parallel for a number of years.

    I’ve always thought the Apollo photos were taken on Kodachrome.

    What was introduced in 1999 was not E100D, but a movie version of E100VS. Not even the name of E100D existed up until Wittner Cinetec in 2005 ported Elitechrome ExtraColor aka Kodak EBX to Super8, in reaction to the poor initial performance of E64T in Super8. Next, Oliver Stone then used that same EBX stock to shoot the first 35mm movie feature film on EBX, being his WTC film, and another director used the stock to cross-process it for a crime thriller during that same year. Because of Wittner’s huge success of EBX aka “Wittnerchrome100D” in Super8, where Wittner had to order about five to seven new batches of EBX widerolls from Kodak within one single year, Kodak eventually relented and released EBX in Super8 and other movie formats themselves around the end of that 1-year period. And *THAT* was when the name of E100D popped up for the very first time ever, when Kodak was following Wittner’s example.

    Even today, many people still confuse EBX for E100VS, because a.) both stocks have super high saturation, and b.) except for E64T, all Ektachrome and Elitechrome stocks were known during the 2000s to have slightly coolish colors. But you can tell E100VS from EBX with one look, because E100VS had a terribly strong blue tint or cast in the shadows, a blue cast as strong as Ektachrome Type G used to be green, so that you thought that E100VS was actually outdated stock (and thereby increasing the contemporary reputation of the Ektachrome and Elitechrome line of being “those terribly blue films”, where only E100VS really looked “terrible”). EBX never showed this cast in 135, just as it never did in its movie incarnation. This gave for the absurd situation that people erroneously thought of Elitechrome overall as “amateur products”, where the supposed “professional” version of E100VS had a poorer image quality performance than its supposed “consumer” counterpart of Elitechrome ExtraColor aka EBX. While it will show a cast then, EBX doesn’t even show the exact same cast as fresh E100VS does if you have it lying in the sun for a decade after its expiry date.

    Finally, while Kodak’s marketing department has *SAID* that new Ektachrome is supposed to resemble E100G, in practice it looks as warm or yellowish as E64T did, while at the same time having less saturation and contrast than E64T did, where the latter feature (less saturation and contrast) makes it psycho-visually look grainier especially in Super8, even though on paper, new Ektachrome has an RMS of 8, even lower than E64T and in the same ballpark as K25 and even more fine-grained than K40.

    Anyways, remember how the spokesman for Ferrania vaguely hinted in a long Q&A how “film companies nowadays co-operate much more closely behind the scenes than you’d imagine”? What I find *REALLY* peculiar is that after roughly 18 months of delays, new Ektachrome suddenly appears at the same time as disappears AgfaPhoto Precisa, another 100 ASA daylight slide aka reversal stock which looks yellowish and used to emphasize pure reds just like new Ektachrome. Precisa was an unknown Fuji stock where there was a rumour that it was Provia, but when you compare them side-by-side, it looks much more like Sensia which disappeared around the same time as AgfaPhoto first began printing “Made in Japan” on their Precisa boxes. Also note there seems to be a sudden shortage of Fujichrome slide film which is announced to last “at least up until December”. If Velvia will continue to be in short supply after December, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kodak is gonna suddenly announce the return of EBX or E100VS.

    Reply
  7. Wow :O Kodak Ektachrome Timeline – 1968 – ” . . . the most iconic photos of the 29th Century . . . ” Ektachrome was ahead of it’s time! 🙂
    But great news of a great film, looking forward to reliving shots of the past.

    Reply

Add your voice to the discussion

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Find out how you can help support EMULSIVE from as little as $2 a month on Patreon.Learn more