Kodak Ektachrome searches for bright colours during Munich's festive season

Kodak’s re-introduction of its legendary Ektachrome film has been big news in film and photography circles, with the re-release coming towards the end of 2018. I figured it was about time I got my hands on some to see what all the fuss was about. Come join me in search of bright colours to see what this film is made of!

Kodak stopped producing its flagship slide film, Ektachrome, more than 5 years ago due to dwindling demand, primarily due to the rapid rise of digital photography from the late 1990s. Thankfully there is currently a bit of a resurgence in film photography, and whilst this is still very much a niche market, the good old folks down at Kodak decided to bring Ektachrome back from the dead, quite literally!

This film has been around for a very long time, I believe it was developed back in the 1940s. Along with Kodachrome, it became a staple of all slide film and is most likely those old film shots your parents (or grandparents) used to watch on projectors.

According to Kodak


Chrome. Bold Color. Vivid Detail.

From studio to location, fashion to landscapes.

New KODAK PROFESSIONAL EKTACHROME Film E100 delivers outstanding image quality and performance:

Virtually grainless scans and enlargements

Clean, bright whites

Moderately enhanced color

Neutral tone scale

Outstanding skin tone reproduction

You can find a really interesting article about the history of Ektachrome with some wonderful shots of the factory where the film is made here.

About the shots

Munich in December is probably not the best time for a film like Ektachrome, which at ISO 100 and being a slide film needs (actually, “demands”) a lot of light. Either way, I threw caution to the wind and off I went looking for bright colours. I also figured it would be good to try out how well it faired in low light situations (spoiler: you’re better off using this film during a bright day!).

Funnily enough I decided to opt for my most basic camera, my Nikon L35AF point and shoot camera. My other camera (Leica rangefinder) had a roll of Kodak TMax 3200 in it (hint hint, my next post!) and I also wanted to show it isn’t the camera that makes good shots. I did however have to forcefully cancel out the flash a few times to get the kind of shot i was looking for.

All my shots were taken handheld, which is why some are a bit out of focus (in particular those shot inside). As I said I am not a big fan of drowning a scene in flash so I usually cancel it out, which increases the chances of something being out of focus. Remember this is ISO 100 film, that needs a ton of light to get a nicely exposed shot.

As usual, all images are clickable and viewable full screen. The bigger the screen you have the better you will see the wonderful colours in some of these shots!

Munich’s English garden on an overcast but bright winter’s day. Actually I am quite impressed by the dynamic range considering this is slide film, which is usually very unforgiving in that regard.

Super bright and wonderful colours, this is exactly how I was expecting this film to come out when properly exposed.

Nothing special about this shot (albeit a very German looking suburb), I was really wanting to see how the film handled the high dynamic range situation.

The Chinese tower in the centre of the English garden. A nice venue for a Christmas market.

Definitely one of my favourite U-Bahn stations. Shot on a stable platform top without flash. Nice colour rendering with a bit of movement too.

I have never been one for taking close up flash shots of random strangers and thinking you’re cool shooting street photography (it’s also just rude), but actually this shot of my mate Conor came out quite well. Kind of reminded me of the famous shot taken with a Leica (see shot here).

Always like a good reflection.

You can find all sorts of things at a good German Christmas market. I like how the colours came out in this one.

A random Santa Claus doing an automatic run back and forth between two huts. The highlights are quite blown out in this shot though.

Another impressive high dynamic range shot. I would usually expect this from colour negative film, but not so much from slide film.

One of the many Christmas Markets Munich has to offer. This show would have come out really well on medium format film (and with a tripod to hand!). But lack of sharpness aside, I still like the colours in this shot!

I also got a shot of the band with flash and basically it focused on a bald guys head infront of me like a telescope looking at the moon. This shot, whilst underexposed, is still quite nice. Ektachrome isn’t made for low light situations so not bad considering.

Another favourite U-Bahn stop. The bit of train movement works well with the design of the lighting.

Museum’s, low ISO film, and no tripod - a recipe for shaky shots. That is OK though as I like the overall mood of this shot in the BMW museum.

Not as bright as if I had used flash, but I still like the shot.

One of my favourite shots of the roll. I love the concept of different layers in a scene, especially if it concerns people doing different things.

Given I was looking for bright colours with this film, how could I not take a shot of this BMW! It was actually the last shot of the roll and for some reason the Nikon decided to try to eat the film as it was rewinding it, hence some of the holes in the negatives (right of the shot).

Bit of a failed shot really, in my mind I had a vision of crossing lines and everything being very sharp. All I ended up with was an overexposed blurry mess.

Munich’s famous Eisbach wave. Once you have visited here it makes perfect sense why you come across people in wet suits and surfboards on the underground.

Overall observations

Despite the high price tag (c. €14 for one roll!), this film does not disappoint. Part of me thinks actually I could just go into a local German drugstore and buy some Agfa Precise 100 CT slide film for c.€4, but then again that film does not have anywhere near the dynamic range or true to life colours. Plus, if you want to be hip you’ve got to be seen loading a roll of Ektachrome into your camera, right?

Jokes aside, this film is special. Not least because of its history (film photography by its very nature is melancholic and always brings back memories of times gone by), but also because it is just a really nice emulsion. I won’t be buying loads of rolls, but saving some for a bright day is a definite winner. I will absolutely put a roll through my Leica camera in the very near future.

I hope you enjoyed the latest post and as always, stop reading this pick up a camera and go out and take some shots!

See you next time,