Life After Ektachrome

Life After Ektachrome

Many of us shooting colour  have been shaken by Kodak’s  decision to ditch Ektachrome,  in all its formats…. (seems such a short time ago that  dearest Kodachrome was lost.)  With all the panic-buying recently, I find it hard to accept the ‘low sales figures’ argument,  but whatever their reasons,  we shall soon have to make some serious choices.

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Only one reversal film now, the one on the right

Reversal colour film has decided advantages over negative.  You see the image in its purest form right there on the lightbox.  Half a minute later it can be seen big on a screen. With Ektachrome’s  passing,   many will no doubt switch to Fuji reversal emulsions.  Others will adopt the colour negative approach.   The only reversal film now made by Kodak  is Tri-X  black and white,  available in Super-8  and 16mm. Fuji continues to manufacture a good range of 120 and 35mm slide film,  including a low-priced emulsion for Agfa.  But Fuji’s  share of the movie business has always been much smaller than Kodak’s,   maybe that’s  why they recently decided to quit altogether.   And yet  small firms have been slitting Fuji colour reversal film and putting it into Super-8 cartridges.  Wittner offer Velvia which is very sharp,  and is processed in the same chemistry as Ektachrome.  I don’t know if they can keep the price reasonable,  an important factor for people these days.There is currently a fairly good choice of still colour negative emulsions from Fuji and Kodak,  not to mention smaller suppliers like Agfa.   Meanwhile,  Kodak insists it is serious about staying in the analogue film movie business.  Indeed they have just introduced  a new and biting sharp Super-8 colour negative film:  Vision 3 50D.    This is the same stuff used in major feature films….  some of the faster  Vision 3 emulsions were used for Steven Spielberg’s  “Lincoln”.

Colour negative is one option for stills and movies,  but there needs to be a decent range of emulsion choices,  both negative and reversal,  to suit all artistic projects.  Every film has its own unique look.   It seems crazy to me,  throwing  away that time-honoured  and well-loved reversal film… Ektachrome.

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