Ektachrome slide film has been resurrected. Kodak Professional Ektachrome Colour Reversal Film, as it will be called, is scheduled to be available late this year, in 35 mm 36-exposure rolls (135-36, and boy has it been a long time since I’ve written that!). First, vinyl records, now film; what’s old is new again.
All of a sudden those old Nikon and Canon pro film cameras will be worth something, eBay’s photo section will take on a new vitality, and garage sales will be taking on a whole new level of activity.
Ektachrome had a distinctive look, and it was the choice for generations of photographers before being discontinued in 2012. The film was known for its extremely fine grain, clean colours, great tones, and contrasts. To say it was iconic is an understatement. Perhaps the only other film to surpass its stature was the long-gone Kodachrome.
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.
“We’ve been listening to the needs and desires of photographers over the past several years,” says Dennis Olbrich, president, Kodak Alaris Imaging Paper, Photo Chemicals and Film, “and wanted to bring back a colour reversal film . . . Ektachrome was the clear choice.”
Ektachrome is a colour positive film, also known as “reversal,” “slide,” or “transparency” film. Unlike all other Kodak pro films available today, which are colour negative films, Ektachrome generates a positive image that can be viewed or projected once it is exposed and processed.
Kodak notes this makes it ideal for high-resolution projection or presentations, and well suited for scanning and printing onto a range of professional grade photographic media.
The film is developed using the E6 process, apparently still available in many pro labs today.
At the same time as the planned fourth quarter launch of Ektachrome, the Kodak Professional Film App will be updated to include pro labs where E6 processing is available in addition to labs where colour negative and B&W film processing are currently featured.
For those of us with a few years under our belts (and perhaps also some grey at our temples), the return of Ektachrome gives rise to thoughts of home movie film. Uh huh, The Eastman Kodak Co. has announced the reintroduction of Kodak Ektachrome Super 8 film to support the adoption of its recently introduced Super 8 movie camera.
Eastman Kodak will produce the new Ektachrome for distribution by Kodak Alaris.
The two Kodaks say the combined scale of Ektachrome Super 8 and still film products creates a viable and sustainable business opportunity for both companies.