I Still Think The Old Ektachrome GX (SW) Was Better Than Current E100

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DF

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Like it reads.
Warmer reds, yellows and oranges together with more vibrant bluer skies. Today's Ektachrome reminds me of the old Elitechrome.
 

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I'm not really a slide film person but from all the E6 photos I shot, the ones I love the most were E200 on 120.
 

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It's a lot easier to add a warming filter to the current E100 Ektachome than to cool down the old one X version. Of course, in certain cases one might be able to shoot both regular and warmed versions, especially if your camera had interchangeable roll film backs, or if you used a view camera accepting individual sheet film holders. But don't hold your breath for a warm option becoming available again. Today's E100 is very similar in hue palette to the previous E100G.
 

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My, I was not a fan of the SW version. It was way too warm for my taste. I suspect it would depend on the subject of the photo. Whatever you like is OK.
 

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Hmmm. I've shot exactly one box of warm 4X5 Ekta in my whole life, and did get two shots where I liked the effect. But that's awfully low odds. If they offered it again, I'd completely ignore it.
 
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Today's current Ektachrome
It's a lot easier to add a warming filter to the current E100 Ektachome than to cool down the old one X version. Of course, in certain cases one might be able to shoot both regular and warmed versions, especially if your camera had interchangeable roll film backs, or if you used a view camera accepting individual sheet film holders. But don't hold your breath for a warm option becoming available again. Today's E100 is very similar in hue palette to the previous E100G.

Yes, I guess one could say 'ole 100G, or even "Elitechrome" is today's Ektachrome
 

MattKing

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Today's current Ektachrome


Yes, I guess one could say 'ole 100G, or even "Elitechrome" is today's Ektachrome

Except they incorporated a bunch of subtle improvements when they brought out the new version - some of which relate to the appearance of your results, and others of which relate to the new realities in the film distribution world, including better keeping between the time of coating and the time that the customer gets the film into the camera.
 
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It's a lot easier to add a warming filter to the current E100 Ektachome than to cool down the old one X version. Of course, in certain cases one might be able to shoot both regular and warmed versions, especially if your camera had interchangeable roll film backs, or if you used a view camera accepting individual sheet film holders. But don't hold your breath for a warm option becoming available again. Today's E100 is very similar in hue palette to the previous E100G.

Which warming filter would you recommend with the new Ektachrome? When would you use and not use it?
 

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I wouldn't ordinarily want a warmer look with Ektachrome unless there's a serious color temperature imbalance to the scene itself needing correction. I like it the way it is. But if someone wants it to more resemble the former GX product, they could try something like a KR1.5 filter.
 

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Just curiosity: Does todays's chrome come with filter-per-batch recommendations from Kodak? In ancient times it always did and the advice was critically good (unless one was using a mediocre lab).

If doing a project, like most LF chrome shooters frequently did, it was important to be aware, and to correct if necessary, the distinctive color characteristics of each box.

I don't think the minority of LF chrome shooters ("nature photographers") were aware of this reality because their films had no need to relate closely to each other.
 
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MattKing

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Just curiosity: Does todays's chrome come with filter-per-batch recommendations from Kodak? In ancient times it always did and the advice was critically good (unless one was using a mediocre lab).

Not for many years. Those recommendations were mostly related to variance in manufacturing - the tolerances were necessarily wider. The more modern films have been made with technology and methods that essentially eliminated the variability at time of manufacture. Nowadays, any variability comes from storage and handling differences due to a much less controlled distribution change.
 

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Thanks Matt. So... you're saying variability comes mostly from decline in utility of chromes?

My impression has always been that few photographers could distinguish between cyan, blue, and green.
 

MattKing

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Thanks Matt. So... you're saying variability comes mostly from decline in utility of chromes?

My impression has always been that few photographers could distinguish between cyan, blue, and green.

No.
The old variability was due to inconsistency in manufacture.
The current variability arises from the fact that with volumes being as relatively low as they are, there is no longer the economic capacity to provide the distribution and retail infrastructure that supported climate controlled shipping/distribution/retail availability, along with fast inventory turnover.
On the up side, part of the improvements engineered in the most recent and current version of Ektachrome were more stability in keeping for the film, and for Eastman Kodak, improved cold store keeping of the emulsions - which apparently are made in in quantity in one process, and then coated, over a period of time, during a number of separate coating runs. Those runs happen when there is sufficient orders for film to use up an entire run.

And on the differences between cyan, blue and green, I think outside of the small but significant percentage of people who have some deficiencies in colour vision, the problem is not one of distinguishing, but rather of identifying. Unless you have worked with colour in ways that require communication between individuals - e.g. publishing or colour printing - there is not a lot of rigor when it comes to describing which colour ought to be called what.
 

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I can't remember box imprints giving recommended CC corrective filtration after the days of old style Ektachrome 64, which, even without supplementary filtration was well enough balanced that outdoor photographers seemed to have consistently ignored the CC batch control issue, including me. Routinely encountered variances in natural sunlight color temp were broader anyway. Correction made more sense for specialized lab dupe and interneg films, or tungsten-balanced studio films in relation to strict product color representation. But even that became unnecessary as the precision of the coatings themselves significantly improved.

In addition, placing a stack of CC filters over the lens in the field would have compromised sharpness, whereas in a studio CC lighting gels can be placed over the lamp instead. Either way, it would be difficult to do it correctly if a good color temp meter weren't at hand to double-check things. And those supplementary CC recommendation were present only with respect to batches of "Professional Film", which were intended to be stored under optimal conditions until time of sale, and within reasonable date. Toward the end, even freshly sold dupe films could sometimes be a decade or more out of date, as demand for them fell, and could exhibit serious crossover issues as a result.

But I'm no "wing-it" or a "shoot from the hip type" when it comes to being especially nitpicky with hue distinctions. As an adjunct of my regular day job I did architectural color consultation and taught professional color matchers. In a number of aspects, color vision is as much about training the psychological variables as the physiological. My own ability to distinguish very similar hues even in the color darkroom work has progressively improved despite advancing age. One learns what to compare, and how to best objectively do that. But where color film is concerned, it has to be united to the endpoint - the exact mode of color reproduction, whether in the transparency form, or in press reproduction, or in a specific kind of color print, and how much latitude there is in the cumulative process to absorb and correct the native color flaws in the film itself or not. This is both fun and challenging, but sometimes a bit frustrating. No color film is perfect, and none ever will be.
 
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jtk

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Matt and Drew: Thanks for two remarkably good responses.

For my context, I worked for Faulkner Color Lab in San Francisco. Our clients were almost all professional photographers. I was responsible for developing a high-end art-photographer clientele as well, and making that profitable (we raised prices bigtime). I did learn to accurately "call" colors as well as density using conventional photo terms. Our half-dozen enlarger-using printers were comparably skilled. We had shoot-outs with Don Faulkner, who everbody recognized as the very best (and had to, since he owned the lab). We also had several long-time machine printers (for weddings, mostly) and they made highly personalized judgement calls when it seemed important to augment electronic advice.

The visual skill set I developed at Faulkner, decades ago, have been important to my inkjet printing...
 
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Of course, if your screen isn't calibrated, it's all for naught. Even then, since everything is converted to sRGB on the web, there could be changes if you calibrate in let's say Adobe. Also, you could be calibrated, but the guy viewing on the internet at the other end has an uncalibrated monitor.

It can get frustrating scanning film, especially negative color rather than chrome. With chromes, at least you can compare to the original slide.
 

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Matt and Drew: Thanks for two remarkably good responses.

For my context, I worked for Faulkner Color Lab in San Francisco. Our clients were almost all professional photographers. I was responsible for developing a high-end art-photographer clientele as well, and making that profitable (we raised prices bigtime). I did learn to accurately "call" colors as well as density using conventional photo terms. Our half-dozen enlarger-using printers were comparably skilled. We had shoot-outs with Don Faulkner, who everybody recognized as the very best (and had to, since he owned the lab). We also had several long-time machine printers (for weddings, mostly) and they made highly personalized judgement calls when it seemed important to augment electronic advice.

The visual skill set I developed at Faulkner, decades ago, have been important to my inkjet printing...

I'll remind old pros that Kodak sold lots of CC gel filters back then, sometimes simply to correct color traits of different polarizer brands.

There was no reason to "stack" multiple gels filters (other than M+Y when we lacked R)... many of us kept a few gels with different color characteristics, or we could immediately get from a pro-friendly "camera store" such as Adolph Gasser's.

As well, some photographers (like me) relied on a particular CC filter on certain lenses during the the year-long transition from E4 to E6. Some were initially uncomfortable with the color characteristics of E6 Vs E4 Vs Kodachrome Some big name NYC labs lost clients because their EK E6 "looked purple" compared to their Fuji E6.

Artworks (studio) did use always use certain CC filters on Nikons used on animation stands, to correct light from heavy 16X16" polarizers on Norman (Balcar?) strobes.
 

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Gel filters have serious disadvantages in the field. They are susceptible to moisture, trap dirt, grime, and fingerprints, easily get crease marks and scratches.
Glass CC filters were available, but were often inaccurate in the lower densities related to film batch balancing, and only single-coated at best. Almost nobody carried them. And you mentioned the problem with polarizers often being not neutral. I only used polarizers in relation to copystand work, and never in the field - I loved the reflections in nature. But relative to cross-polarization in the studio, I had to offset the cumulative greenish bias of the polarizing filter on the lens and polarizing sheets on the copy lights with a 5cc magenta filter.
 
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jtk

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Gel filters have serious disadvantages in the field. They are susceptible to moisture, trap dirt, grime, and fingerprints, easily get crease marks and scratches.
Glass CC filters were available, but were often inaccurate in the lower densities related to film batch balancing, and only single-coated at best. Almost nobody carried them. And you mentioned the problem with polarizers often being not neutral. I only used polarizers in relation to copystand work, and never in the field - I loved the reflections in nature. But relative to cross-polarization in the studio, I had to offset the cumulative greenish bias of the polarizing filter on the lens and polarizing sheets on the copy lights with a 5cc magenta filter.

Drew, you're certainly right about gels. I don't recall anybody ever using glass cc filters but those plastic filters and kits were heavily used despite their optical shortcomings...but I doubt anybody used those in critical work.

Many did/do use good quality polarizing filters in the field, but those are difficult with slrs. 5 second exposures were acceptable, assuming a good tripod. Good argument there for large format.

Yes, polarizing of copy photography did produce a "greenish bias" but not if done properly, with a 5cc or similar filter...on the camera lens. Nobody used hot lights for critical copy work in modern times, IMO, or even in my own ancient times.
 

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Might be a good time to remember Flickr, where skies are magenta and skin tones are...um...

That's one reason I rarely post photos online, but do participate in color print exchanges, where photographers have skin in the game (good enough to make and share prints and know how to view them).
 
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I find a polarizing filter used at/near 90 degrees to the sun an absolute must for all outdoor shooting of transparency films, especially when it's $1 per frame, otherwise, I don't know how others are getting those "saturated" colors.
 

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I've spent my whole adult life shooting in the outdoors with both color film and black and white. I've trekked thousands of miles through mountains and desert carrying large format gear, and made many many color prints of the very highest quality. At current replacement cost, an 8x10 color shot isn't a buck, but around $35 dollars every time you trip the shutter. And never once have I felt the need to resort to a polarizer. I have tested them. And the eye's perception of color saturation actually has less to do with how "colorful" something is, than the specific relationships between hues and if they are wisely modulated by intervening neutrals or not. Many color photographers mistake sheer decibel level of color from its effective use. And that mistake has only gotten way worse now that it so easy to silly-saturate things in PS. But often less is more. Go to a museum and take a look at some of Rothko's use of color in his paintings, or Van Gogh's; they had real color strategies, and not just a set of bright pigments.

Don't get me wrong. Some of my favorite coffee table books contain the work of color photographers who were addicted to polarizers for certain reasons, not necessarily color saturation itself. One example is Yoshikazu Shirakawa, whose famous Himalayan work often encountered the extreme glare of snow and glaciers. But so have I, without polarizers. And great work has been done before polarizers were ever invented. So a lot has to do with personal style. Yet it is also important to get a good handle on how your shots are going to be specifically reproduced. A competent slide or chrome or color negative is just a starting point.
 
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jtk

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Don't get me wrong. Some of my favorite coffee table books contain the work of color photographers who were addicted to polarizers for certain reasons, not necessarily color saturation itself. One example is Yoshikazu Shirakawa, whose famous Himalayan work often encountered the extreme glare of snow and glaciers. But so have I, without polarizers. And great work has been done before polarizers were ever invented. So a lot has to do with personal style. Yet it is also important to get a good handle on how your shots are going to be specifically reproduced. A competent slide or chrome or color negative is just a starting point.
https://www.yoshikazu-shirakawa.com/en/

Wild colors :smile:

My taste allows me to I avoid most coffee table books, save Penn and Avedon.
 
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I find a polarizing filter used at/near 90 degrees to the sun an absolute must for all outdoor shooting of transparency films, especially when it's $1 per frame, otherwise, I don't know how others are getting those "saturated" colors.

I like polarizing filters too. But if overdone, they squash the life out of the colors in trees. Below is an example. I now back off from full effect and leave some reflections in the leaves so they're more natural looking.

Another thing to keep in mind is when using a wide-angle lens, you can get different saturation of blue in different parts of the sky depending where the polarizing effect is. So you might want to use it only with normal and telephoto lenses.

You could use Velvia 50 for greater saturation which often waives the need to use a polarizer.

Good luck.

Maximum polarizing effect:
 
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