Pushing Kodak Ektachrome E100: My 2-Stop (ISO400) Experiment and LR Tips

Pushing Kodak Ektachrome E100: My 2-Stop (ISO400) Experiment and LR Tips

Analog Film Review

Pushing Kodak Ektachrome E100: My 2-Stop (ISO400) Experiment and LR Tips

Kodak Ektachrome E100 +2 Stop (400)
Kodak Ektachrome E100 at 400, Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 E60 V4

I’ve been thinking about pushing Kodak Ektachrome E100 to 200 or 400 ISO. Kodak Ektachrome E100 is a positive colour transparency film, especially since Fujichrome Provia 400X got discontinued and there’s nothing quite like it. Inspired by Kit Yip and Tommy Oshima’s flickr shots, I’ve wanted to use Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 for night portraits and street photography. After reading an article about pushing this film a stop or two to see how it changes colour and grain, I got curious. But, some other reviews that I am working on made me hold off.

Kodak Ektachrome E100 at 400, Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 E60 V4

Kodak Ektachrome E100 at ISO 400 (Pushing Two Stop +2)

Why am I revisiting this? Tony (@greenhillboss) experimented with this film at different speeds, and his results got me excited about its full potential. With a stockpile of 50 rolls in my fridge, it seemed perfect for night use, fitting my style. So, with my Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 V4 (E60) and Leica MP, I took pictures at a Hong Kong carnival.

Kodak Ektachrome E100 at 400, Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 E60 V4
Kodak Ektachrome E100 at 400, Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 E60 V4

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Results and Lightroom Tips

The film pushed well. It was grainier and had more contrast, but the grain looked better than expected. Sharpness still retained, overall quite magenta biassed. The colour balance was also cooler than anticipated, even with the varied lighting at the AIA carnival in Hong Kong, which usually yields warmer tones.

Kodak Ektachrome E100 at 400, Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 E60 V4
Kodak Ektachrome E100 at 400, Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 E60 V4

Before (left) and After (right)

A little tweaking in Lightroom fixed the shadows. Aligning the shadow curves with their individual RGB curve, I dialled in the look I wanted. The Noritsu scanner had added too much magenta and red, not really reflecting the actual positives.

Use separate RGB channels and adjust the curves

Should You Push Ektachrome E100?

Tungsten balanced slide film didn’t survive to see the recent resurgence of film photography, but I was fortunate enough to experience it. Many would advise against using slide film at night due to the colour casts it can produce; environments tend to turn orange, and some may shift to green. However, I find this effect unique and it leads me to question: what colours are truly accurate? Does slide film actually capture what we see, or do we perceive colour shifts because of how our brains process colour temperature? I’m not certain, but it’s a thought that draws me to use slide film in situations typically reserved for tungsten-based negative films.

Kodak Ektachrome E100 at 400, Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 E60 V4
Kodak Ektachrome E100 at 400, Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 E60 V4

I’m particularly drawn to the rich, dense contrast of E100. I feel that its limited latitude actually helps me achieve the distinct look I’m after. Consider it if you’re after that cinematic 80s feel, or if you want high contrast and unique colour shifts for your night shots. And, you can get extra flexibility if you ask me to shoot this at night. If Reflx Lab 800 or CineStill 800T doesn’t quite hit the mark for you, and you’re inspired by the likes of Greg Girard or Wong Kar Wai, it’s worth a shot to push this film.

I’m planning to push E100 to 800 (3 Stop) next. Stay tuned for updates! If you have tips or personal experiences with this or other experimental techniques, drop a comment or send me a DM. I’d love to hear from you!

For optimal website performance, images have been compressed. For high-resolution versions, please visit my Flickr page.

Kodak Ektachrome E100 at 400, Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 E60 V4
Kodak Ektachrome E100 at 400, Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 E60 V4
Kodak Ektachrome E100 at 400, Leica Noctilux 50mm f1 E60 V4
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