Shooting Expired High Speed Ektachrome Film E4 1977

Shooting Expired High Speed Ektachrome Film E4 1977

Published by Dave Roberts on  February 14, 2023 under Film Photography Tips and Tutorials and tagged Cross Process, E4 Process, Expired Film

These rolls of expired High Speed Ektachrome found their way to me when I bought a pair of vintage hard 120 film cases on eBay, which do that job wonderfully and meant that the film was practically free. It was advertised as three rolls of HS Ektachrome, but turned out to be some Plus-x and two rolls of Ektachrome, though the third roll could be anything until I open it. That shall be known henceforth as Schrödinger’s Roll….

Thinking this was just another slide film, I just went  out and shot it and didn’t find out that it was an E4 film until the roll was actually exposed. This was something of a surprise when as I hadn’t realised it was an E4 film when I bought it, meaning it can’t be processed like regular E6 films as the emulsion will literally melt off due to the temperature. E4 was the commercial process used to process slide film prior to E6, which began to replace the older process in the late 1970s. Thanks to some advice on Reddit, I came across Traia labs down in London who have done some work on this kind of film before and can cross process it for some interesting results. Not only that, but they don’t charge an absolute fortune to so so, just a few quid more for cross process. As a bonus, they practically work on the principle that if you’ve got film we’ll process it (so long as it’s not ECN2!)

How I shot the Expired High Speed Ektachrome

I shot this at box speed (EI160) in my trusty Zenza Bronica ETRSi with the 75mm f/2.8 Zenzanon lens, I’ve seen so much conflicting advice online but shooting slide at box speed seems to be the most common approach. Not that it means it’s right, as it seems that shooting expired film is the only way to find out for certain.

How did the Expired High Speed Ektachrome turn out

To say I like the results would be too strong a word! They’ve definitely come out interesting, but I suspect that the film could have done with some more light by looking at the scans as it seems that the lab did all they could to get me a useable image. Considering that this is a roll nearing 50 years old, cross processed as the original chemicals are unavailable, I reckon the lab did a wonderful job getting anything out.

I’m not sure if this means that the film needed a bit more light, something I was reluctant to try with slide film, or more likely these results are probably a combination of this roll being so far gone that the process to develop it has become defunct – and the usual shenanigans you get when you cross process. 

I eventually decided to open Schrödinger’s roll to discover it was indeed a second roll of HS Ektachrome, d. I’m looking forward to shooting the second roll despite the mixed results from this roll which could yet well turn out to be something completely different as regarding film but in the nature of expired film will certainly give me unexpected results.

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