Shooting Expired Kodak Ektachrome 100

Shooting Expired Kodak Ektachrome 100

Published by Dave Roberts on  February 13, 2023 under Film Photography Tips and Tutorials and tagged Ektachrome 100, Expired Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 is, thankfully, the only current slide film where it’s future is quite certain – although we hope that any rumours about Fuji ceasing production are just that. So when there’s fresh film, why shoot expired Ektachrome 100? I can’t answer that, as I don’t know why other than I can’t resist a bargain. I’ve acquired a couple of batches of this film in 120 (along with some similar E100SW and E100G, and an odd roll of E100VS in 35mm) so at least I can have a play about and see how it shoots. As we know, expired slide film doesn’t lose speed, so the conventional wisdom is to shoot it at box speed. Conventional wisdom it may be, but it seems to work for me so far.

As usual, I’ll start with my favourite shots from the rolls I’ve shot – so you can stop here if you want!

What Did I use to shoot this film?

All these were shot in a Zenza Bronica ETRSi with either the Zenzanon 40mm f/4 or 75mm f/2/4 lens, you guess which! I love the system but the 40mm could do with being a bit faster. The first roll I shot on a hike up a favourite little hill that’s local to me in Eryri (Snowdonia) called Mynydd Mawr. That translates to ‘big mountain’ which compared to the neighbouring mountains, it isn’t as it’s around 400m shorter than Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). I can imagine some exasperated local being questioned by a Victorian cartographer, and on asking what the mountain is called just makes something up. It’s called Mynydd Eliffant (Elephant Mountain) or Mynydd Grug (Heather Mountain) locally as well, both much more descriptive names than the official one.

15 shots in an ETRSi is a nice total for a walk, although the conditions turned out rather hazier than anticipated. This film wouldn’t have been my first choice for the day’s conditions, I’d probably have gone for Portra or something cheaper, but it’s what I had to work with and with Velvia 50 in the other back It was the best option. I’ve since added a few more film backs to my kit!

The results from this roll of Expired Ektachrome 100 turned out quite warm – but who knows how much of that is down to the scanning. It wasn’t a great day for shooting either, so I got what I got and all in all it was a good reflection on this muggy and lazy outing. There’s no rushing when you’re lugging medium format kit up a mountain.

If I cut this roll of Expired Ektachrome down the middle, it would say ‘vintage’

Taking some more shots in some finer weather gave me more of that vintage vibe. A few of the shots came out a bit washed out (not included) but I really like how the colours rendered on the buoys and the photo of the boat looks like it was taken in the 1960s. It even made a graveyard look rather summery.

I’m sure that if I cut this roll of Expired Ektachrome down the middle, it would say ‘vintage’. This makes it quite a useable film which is fortunate as I’ve another 8 rolls of this batch waiting for the right project. 

How well does Expired Ektachrome 100 Cross Process?

I also decided to cross process one roll from another batch. It wasn’t a planned decision, but my excellent regular lab (Traia Labs in London – I’m not affiliated, and that’s just a link!) were not currently processing E6 film and I didn’t want to set up a workflow with another lab. So I decided to get it cross processed instead, as the roll had already been loaded into one of my film backs for a few weeks. I wouldn’t have chosen to cross process this roll, as this film was from a much more reputable source than the other two, and would be a very interesting comparison to see how that fared compared to the other batches. I think there’s still half a dozen form this batch in the freezer, so I’m looking forward to see how it compares to fresh E100.

The results from the cross processing are exactly as I’d expect. That is, totally unexpected. I like the look this time and they’re certainly rocking a lomo aesthetic. Who needs insta filters when you can x-pro.

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