Film review: Kodak EKTACHROME E100 – shot at EI 100, 200, 400 + 800 first impressions
Here’s a quick look at a recent shoot of new Kodak EKTACHROME E100 shot at box speed, then up to EI 200, 400 and 800 – one, two and three-stops of push processing. *1
The images below form part of an extended set of reviews, which will cover EKTACHROME E100 shot at EI 100, EI 200, 400 and 800, as well as cross processing (XPRO) and XPRO + push processing. In short, I have a lot to be getting on with. The four rolls covered here were made up of some EKTACHROME I purchased myself and some sent to me by the lovely folks at Kodak Alaris – cheers guys.
This may be a quick article but order is everything, so here’s how it breaks down:
Table of contents
(Click on a link to jump to that section)
The film, cameras and development
It’s new Kodak EKTACHROME E100. 35mm/36 exposure cartridges – just released and shipped fresh. I had the various rolls for anywhere from a few days to about a week before shooting them. Once in my posession, they were frozen and defrosted in the fridge, warmed at room temperature before shooting.
I shot the four rolls in two pairs as follows:
Roll 1 – Nikon F100 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D (EI 100 / box speed)
Roll 2 – Nikon FM3A + Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S (EI 200 / 1-stop underexposed)
Roll 3 – Nikon F100 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D (EI 400 / 2-stop underexposed)
Roll 4 – Nikon FM3A + Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S (EI 800 / 3-stop underexposed)
The film was developed 48 hours after being shot in fresh Fuji chemistry at my local slide film lab. The EI 200, 400 and 800 rolls were push processed by one, two and three stops respectively and scanned on a Nikon 5000ED scanner to TIF files.
The cameras (Nikon F100 and Nikon FM3A above) both used center-weighted metering and automatic film advance. I framed each shot with the Nikon F100 first, then repeated the process with the FM3A – both handheld. The frames were shot at f/4, f/5.6 or f/8. It goes without saying that the cameras have different metering systems and the lenses are not identical, not least because one is manual and the other autofocus. That said, they are close enough for my purposes and I hope are for yours.
Pay attention to the captions of the (zoomable) images above. They might provide a hint for where this mini-review is going…
On a slight tangent, I am more than happy to replicate the tests here with identical gear on the basis that someone sends me either a Nikon FM3A + Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S lens or Nikon F100 + Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D lens. Your call 🙂
Here goes nothing.
I’m going to share eight samples in pairs (as they were shot). This will give you comparisons for EI 100 vs 200 and EI 400 vs 800. For the more rigid testers reading this, I am happy to test four rolls at the same time with the same cameras and lenses…if you’re able to send over either three Nikon FM3As + Nikkor 50mm f/1.2 AI-S lenses or three Nikon F100s + Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AF-D lenses.
Drop me an email, there’s always hope…
Pair one: EI 100 vs EI 200
First off a quick side-by-side phone snap of the developed film. As with all the images in this article, click/tap on the images to view in full-screen. On the surface, there’s not much difference between the two sheets but you can see a difference in the edge markings: they go from a medium orange tone (EI 100) to light orange tone (EI 200).
Although we lose some saturation in the edge marking/rebate area, the push processed images are deceivingly more saturated and vivid than those which were not. This is mostly down to blue/purple tones coming to the fore. The frames feel a little brighter and colours saturated because of the cooler tones, especially in the frames with plants/trees. See for yourself:
Pair one, sample one
Pair one, sample two
Pair one, sample three
Pair one, sample four
Pair two: EI 400 vs EI 800
Another quick side-by-side phone snap of the developed film. As with pair one above, there’s a difference in the edge markings, although this time, it’s much easier to see: they go from a light yellow (EI 400) to almost transparent (EI 800).
The resulting effect on the images is stark in comparison to pair one: shadows appear even colder, with more of a blue/purple tint and there is there is noticeable grain when compared to EI 100/200. None of this causes me to repel in disgust and in a couple of the frames below, it adds to the image (in my opinion).
I will say this: cooler tones aside, the film handles push processing exceptionally well when compared to Fuji Provia 100F (RDP III) at EI 800. I won’t provide commentary here between EKTACHROME E100 and Provia 400X’s push processing performance because well, apples and pears.
Here are the samples:
Pair two, sample five
Pair two, sample six
Pair two, sample seven
Pair two, sample eight
The results really do speak for themselves. Shooting the film at EI 200 and push processing one-stop results in a slight but pleasant difference in colour rendition and almost zero difference to grain. Given the high saturation look and increased vividity, I would happily shoot this film at EI 200 and not look back – even if it’s just a trick of the eye.
Would I shoot the film at EI 400 and 800 again? Yes, absolutely. A big part of this test was to see if it could be done and if the results would be broadly acceptable to my eye. I would be happy to shoot the film and push process it either two or three stops if needed. In fact, my gut tells me that cross processing rolls shot at these speeds will be worth a shot, especially those shot at night or in low light.
Something for a future test will be to try EI 400 and/or 800 with a warming filter (85b), just as recommended for tungsten-balanced films like CineStill’s 800T. I’ve a feeling the results will be very nice indeed.
It is said that the original EKTACHROME film palette was guided by George Eastman to reflect how subjects looked under bright midday sunlight on a Summer’s Day in Rochester, New York. I wasn’t there and can’t verify this particular urban legend but true or false, EKTACHROME E100, like almost every single colour film in existence, will react differently depending on where you are in the world and the light that’s thrown at it. Your results will vary and that, dear friends, is the beauty of the medium of film.
This is a brand new film for me – and everyone else – so there’s a lot more work ahead having fun, playing around and understanding it’s nuances indoors, outdoors and under various artificial and natural light sources…not to mention the thousands of possible results from combinations of film plus exposure plus light plus lenses.
You can expect an extended review at some point over the coming weeks. In the meantime, please leave your thoughts below and as ever, keep shooting, folks.
- EI: Exposure Index – This is the “speed” at which a film is metered or “rated” when shot (the number you set your ISO dial or external light meter to. It’s not the ISO.Some people use the term ISO to describe how they shot a film. For example, “I shot Portra 400 at ISO 800”. This is incorrect inasmuch as the ISO of a film cannot be changed. The correct way to describe the above would be to say, “I shot Portra 400 at EI 800” – the film was exposed at EI 800.It’s not a big deal but I thought I’d quickly touch on it here as, for the sake of clarity, I use the term EI almost exclusively and have recently found that some readers are confused by the term. Erik Gould does a great job of describing the difference between EI and ISO here in part one of my Black and white film high EI shootout article.
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