It’s an exciting time to be a film photographer! After sitting through the last 15 years or so feeling like it was gradually fading away, the last couple of years especially have seen a very notable rise in enthusiasm for film as a photographic medium.
Kodak are largely thanks to a big commercial buzz around film at the moment because of their apparent enthusiasm to continue to invest in new film emulsions, or simply brining back previously existing ones. First there was Kodak TMax P3200 and then last year in Autumn of 2018 we saw the very long anticipated return of Kodak Ektachrome! Initially only in 35mm, and still currently only in 35mm, but there has been some hope that it may be reintroduced in medium format 120. I am especially keen for that as a Hasselblad shooter, as well as Nikon F5 shooter. However, the other day a representative from Kodak Alaris did say that it looks very likely that it will be back in 120 format later in 2019. They are currently doing tests with it and refining the material slightly for that format, as reported by Kosmofoto the other day, who were reporting on an interview held by the Sunny 16 podcast. So this is really very exciting.
Personally, like thousands of other people, I ordered a batch of 5 rolls of Ektachrome when it came back out and thus far I have shot two of those five rolls, because either a) the light has not been right or b) I only had my Hasselblad with me and not my Nikon F5. I blogged about one shoot with the F5 fairly recently below:
I liked the results a lot. It is a nice film, and it seems to do well with skin tones too. Though I am still getting a slightly better feeling for Fuji Provia to be honest, which I have used for some years whenever I wanted to use slide film. I find Fuji Provia to be wonderful for such a range of things, including even portraiture, but it gives a nice punch to the image without looking stupid or colour toned. Ektachrome is very very good too, but I did find it seemed to suffer from colour casts more apparently than Provia does, requiring a filter sometimes to correct it (which I don’t have). I am not impressed by FujiFilms lack of interest in continuing with film production though and I get worried about relying on their film stocks these days because I am not really one to buy lots of different kinds of film. I prefer to use one kind for portraits, one for landscapes, and one for black and whites (Kodak Portra 400, Kodak Ektar or Fuji Velvia for landscapes, and previous Fuji Acros for B&W but now Kodak Tri-X 400 or Kodak TMax 100). I have been an avid user of Fuji Acros 100 for over ten years, starting with it in 2008. It was without doubt their best black white film (arguably THE best black and white film) and then to see them (Fujifilm) stop that was very sad. It makes me wonder if Fuji Provia might be next to get the chop, in which case everyone will just have to switch to Ektachrome whether we want to or not. Given what I am sure must be a dent in Fujifilms slide market share by Kodaks reintroduction of Ektachrome, and given Fuji’s apparent willingness to drop film production the minute it gets remotely too difficult, it would not surprise me if it goes. I really hope they don’t though. Better still, I’d like to see Fuji get back on the wagon and start competing back.