Whats the difference between Kodachrome and Ektachrome

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ted_smith

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I'm probably not Googling this correctly, but I'm confused about Kodachrome and Ektachrome. I love slide film myself and like to use it when I can afford to buy it! So the return of Ektachrome has peaked my interest. But I am a little muddled.

According the Wikipedia, Ektachrome was first introduced in the 1940's and discontinued in 2013. And Kodak have announced that they are brining it back, hopefully some time in 2018.

Kodachrome was introduced in 1935 and discontinued around 2009 with the last lab that could develop it closed in 2010. Kodachrome, as we know, being the the most iconic film, used I gather for the Afghan Girl photo for example. No plans to reintroduce that.

My question is : they were both slide films, but what was the difference between them both? I assume there were differences? Or was there? There seems to be a lot of buzz and excitement about the return of Ektachrome (I keep checking for release announcements) but was it originally similar to Kodachrome? If not, why the excitement? Won't it just be the same as the other slide films like of Fuji Provia? Or was Ektachrome an amazing world renound film as well, just as Kodachrome was? In which case, if the differences were very few then I can understand that the return of Ektachrome might be considered as a return of Kodachrome.What I did find via my usual supplier AG-Photographic was "We used to market the original Ektachrome 100D as offering a similar look to Kodachrome, but without the processing and scanning difficulties."; so is that it? It's just easier to process and scan, but visually largely the same as Kodachrome?

What I'm getting at is, what is Ektachrome likely to bring to the slide party?
 
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Ektachrome fades faster than Kodachrome.

Kodachrome has better color in my opinion.

rainbow-girls-of-the-beat-generation-daniel-d-teoli-jr-a-c-1.jpg


Kodachrome, after 1938/39 is more fade resistant. This one is from the early 50's.
 

sissysphoto

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Kodachrome had its colorants added during processing in a highly specialized procedure. Ektachrome had its colorants self contained and could be home processed. Long story short.
 

railwayman3

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Kodachrome had its colorants added during processing in a highly specialized procedure. Ektachrome had its colorants self contained and could be home processed. Long story short.

As sissysphoto says, the two processes were quite different in procedures, and I would add that this resulted in different couplers and dyes being used and therefore a different colour pallette in the finished slides.
There have also been changes and improvements of both products over the years, Kodachrome has had two main changes (K-12 and K-14) and Ektachrome at least three (E-2, E-3 and E4 processes).
Even where different films have the same process (e.g. Kodak, Fuji, Agfa, etc., have, or had, E6 process films), there are subtle differences in results between brands and speeds. Agfa also used their own slide process, quite different from Kodak, until they also standardised on E6, and this Agfa process was used by many other manufacturers after WW2. All with the tiny variations in results....which is why we all get all excited about a new film !
 

BAC1967

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The most exciting part of Ektachrome film returning is that it will be available in Movie film formats like Super 8 and 16mm. You can get pretty good E6 slide film from Fuji right now but color reversal movie film is not made by anyone else right now. I’m very excited for some Super 8 and Regular 8mm movie film.
 

NJH

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Google something like Provia100f v Ektachrome 100G. Loads of old threads around and the indications on social media from Kodak is that this new film is based on E100G.
 

MattKing

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The technical differences between Kodachrome type films (there were non-Kodak versions) and Ektachrome type films are and were quite interesting.
Kodachrome is/was essentially black and white film, with couplers in it that allow it to become colour film at time of processing.
Ektachrome has the colours in it (essentially) before you process it.
The Kodachrome process is/was a lot more complex than the E processes for Ektachrome.
You can do a good job of processing Ektachrome in your kitchen sink.
In contrast, with the exception of the very last Kodachrome K-labs, the processing machines for Kodachrome were very large and processed large reels of film made up of many customers' rolls spliced together on to one large roll. The processing machine I am familiar with was the size of a city bus (and much louder) and the reels of spliced film consisted of about one mile of leader, one mile of spliced film and then another mile of trailer. In busy times of the year, it was run almost continuously throughout a 24 hour day - reel, after reel, after reel.
A really high percentage of Kodachrome shot was movie film.
There is a good argument that the reason Kodachrome is gone is that the amateur movie film market just about dried up.
There are some technical problems with the Kodachrome approach (primarily the cyan coupler IIRC) that were never solved. Some will disagree, but at the end, Ektachrome had more accurate colour. And while the dark keeping characteristics of Kodachrome continue to be unsurpassed, the long term stability of recent Ektachrome is much better than in the past.
By the way, if you look up the patent information for the last, K-14 version of Kodachrome, you will see that the patent was issued in a couple of names, one of which is the real name (R. Mowrey) of the person known as Photo Engineer here on Photrio.
 

mshchem

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Kodachrome is the film my father used to document our family, from the late 40's into the 80's. He used Ektachrome as well later on. One thing that makes these slides amazing, is my dad always sent his film to Kodak for processing. Kodak's processing labs were (IMHO) the best. I used Kodak to process and print Ektacolor-S print film in the early 70's, the prints were (still are) amazing .
Slides are amazing, Fujichrome Provia-F is my favorite survivor. I'm looking forward to seeing Ektachrome come back.
It's important to remember that commercial photography moved away from Kodachrome early. Some expert on this site can give the details, but Ektachrome sheet film allowed for results to be evaluated in a matter of hours. Kodachrome required packaging, posting, waiting for the films to be returned. Kodachrome was a magical film, trying to bring back the original would most likely be a commercial failure. The Fujichrome and Ektachrome films scan and project beautifully.
 

fdonadio

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Ektachrome fades faster than Kodachrome.

Kodachrome has better color in my opinion.

rainbow-girls-of-the-beat-generation-daniel-d-teoli-jr-a-c-1.jpg


Kodachrome, after 1938/39 is more fade resistant. This one is from the early 50's.

I am sure the model has “faded” more than this slide. Gracefully faded, most probably, but faded nonetheless. :wink:
 

removed account4

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hi ted_smith
i the main difference is kodachrome is
now a cult status film ektachrome isn't
ektachrome was a regular e6 film the other
was a long complicated process to ..process
kodachrome from my experience shooting it ( limited )
was it didn't have a blueish tint unfiltered ektachrome always
in my limited xperience shooting it had a blue tint, could have probably
used a filter my studiohallmate would say LOL
kodachrome slides they say are archival ( whatever that means )
the other not as much ... ( although i have one on a windowsil i stare at sometimes
in the daylight that is almost 30 years old and looks OK )
ektachrome is being re-issued so you will be able to use it again !
the other probably if you think about it and wish hard enough
when you dream at night you might be able to shoot it ...

not sure if i was much help?
 
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Ektachrome was an E6 emulsion. It is not "like" or "similar" to Kodachrome in any way.
Kodachrome was a specially-formulated K-14 process that couldn't be done at the High Street store offering other types of film processing.
Kodachrome (PKR, PKL, depending on whether it was the consumer or professional emulsion) had irksome blue sky tones, while Ektachrome, while (mostly) faithful to the scene, suffered the usual problems of vainly trying to equalise tones in a high contrast scene (common with all E6 films), and it could be very, very blue.

PKR/PKL is a lot better archivally than Ektachrome, and could be said to have given a more natural look to photography, even if by today's bold colour standards in E6 make it look like a page out of Jane Austen book.

Ektachrome 2018 (it is not based on 100G, but a re-formulation) will bring nothing new to the masses that we have not seen before in trained, skilled hands. The social media posturing, hysteria and hyping will eventually die down and folks will move on looking for the next challenge to carp incessantly on Instagram about.
 
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Cholentpot

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Ektachrome was an E6 emulsion. It is not "like" or "similar" to Kodachrome in any way.
Kodachrome was a specially-formulated K-14 process that couldn't be done at the High Street store offering other types of film processing.
Kodachrome (PKR, PKL, depending on whether it was the consumer or professional emulsion) had irksome blue sky tones, while Ektachrome, while (mostly) faithful to the scene, suffered the usual problems of vainly trying to equalise tones in a high contrast scene (common with all E6 films), and it could be very, very blue.

PKR/PKL is a lot better archivally than Ektachrome, and could be said to have given a more natural look to photography, even if by today's bold colour standards in E6 make it look like a page out of Jane Austen book.

Ektachrome 2018 (it is not based on 100G, but a re-formulation) will bring nothing new to the masses that we have not seen before in trained, skilled hands. The social media posturing, hysteria and hyping will eventually die down and folks will move on looking for the next challenge to carp incessantly on Instagram about.

Ain't you a ray of sunshine.
 

mshchem

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Regarding stability. My understanding is Kodachrome has great dark stability. Ektachrome was used for commercial slide production because it held up better to being projected. Is this correct?
I have 70 year old Kodachrome slides that are perfect. I have Ektachrome slides that are from the 70's that are perfect. All processed by Eastman Kodak in Chicago or Rochester labs.
Anscochromes from 1950 are very faded.
 

Theo Sulphate

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In simplest terms, I would say Kodachrome is a film with three black & white layers, each layer being sensitive to different colors. The appropriate colors for each layer are then added during the highly complex processing steps. Non-Kodachrome films have the color couplers in the film at the time of exposure, not added during development, so the development process is simpler.
 
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I've shot countless roles of Kodachrome, Ektachrome and Fujichrome in my day. Kodachrome favored reds and warm colors best of the three, while Ektachrome leaned much more towards blue and cooler colors, and green just jumps out at you with Fujichrome. Of course Kodachrome is long gone. My favorite of positive film is Fuji Provia F 100 - it renders the entire gamut well and is the best balanced with deep saturation across the spectrum.

Mike
 
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I've shot countless roles of Kodachrome, Ektachrome and Fujichrome in my day. Kodachrome favored reds and warm colors best of the three, while Ektachrome leaned much more towards blue and cooler colors, and green just jumps out at you with Fujichrome. Of course Kodachrome is long gone. My favorite of positive film is Fuji Provia F 100 - it renders the entire gamut well and is the best balanced with deep saturation across the spectrum.
Mike

I agree. Provia 100F is just about the only colour film that is run through my two Zero Image 69 pinhole cameras. For some odd reason I have never been happy with the results from the pinholes using either of the Velvia emulsions, and felt Provia carried a scene much more faithfully over long exposures.
 

zen_zanon

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What I'm getting at is, what is Ektachrome likely to bring to the slide party?

What it brings is another option to pick from! Right now there's really only Velvia and Provia. Velvia being very saturated and Provia being neutral but with a tendency to go quite cool toned. Ektachrome will bring another option and considering it's supposed to be quite close to the old E100G...will be more neutral in terms of color balance than Provia. Sure the differences are subtle, but it's similar to having the more plentiful options of C-41 (Ektar vs Portra 160 vs Portra 400 vs Portra 800 vs 160NS vs 400H).

Another thought is that Ektachrome was a line of film just like Portra is a line of film. There were over a dozen various Ektachromes, many of which were produced / sold simultaneously. Perhaps with the return of an E100G-like film...eventually we may get a vivid version like the old E100VS or E100S. All depends on how well this first stab at re-entering the E6 market goes.
 

DREW WILEY

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Astia was distinctly more color-accurate or neutral than either Provia or Velvia, and was better at long exposure too in this respect; but it was less popular due to being less saturated.
 

zen_zanon

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Astia requires time and color filter compensation before Provia does when it comes to long exposures.
 

Sirius Glass

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Kodachrome for a while produced muddy skies. Ektachrome gave skies the color we remember.
 

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Having shot both in the last few years of their existence I can agree with many of the comments here. Kodachrome had a nice "chiseled" look to it when in sharp focus, but at the same time was a bit grainy. Ektachrome had almost nonexistent grain. Kodachrome was often a bit warmer, and when light was bad would "fade to gray" (to use my own very unscientific terms). Reds could sometimes look a bit "rusty", unless the subject had very saturated reds. Ektachrome, like many E6 films, would often "fade to blue" in bad light. But both could capture warm light very nicely. Ektachrome definitely looked more modern and smoother, while Kodachrome had a nice old-fashioned look.
 
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ted_smith

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OK, thanks everyone. Seems that explains everything. It would seem, overall, that Ektachrome is the preferred film for a variety of reasons, so how exciting that it will be returning. Just have to wait for it to be available now!
 

fdonadio

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OK, thanks everyone. Seems that explains everything. It would seem, overall, that Ektachrome is the preferred film for a variety of reasons, so how exciting that it will be returning. Just have to wait for it to be available now!

It’s not that simple... A lot of of people that actually shot Kodachrome back in the days prefer it for several reasons. I never did, as I would have had to mail my film to Panama to get it processed and lots of rolls my friends sent never came back. But the Kodachrome x Ektachrome debate is a very divided one, I can say it for sure.

From what I gather, Ektachrome is a more modern film (with its associated process, E-6) and solves some problems Kodachrome had — while it introduces some other problems for some. It’s a more convenient and economical process, less prone to development errors and does not require a complex machine like Kodachrome did.

Having shot a lot of Kodak and Fuji E-6 films since the early 90’s, I was pretty much happy with the results I got from Ektachrome, especially EPP and EPR. All my rolls were manually processed in a pro lab and they had a pretty strict washing regime. They look as good now as they did when I got them from the lab, but 20~25 years is not that much.
 
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Astia was distinctly more color-accurate or neutral than either Provia or Velvia, and was better at long exposure too in this respect; but it was less popular due to being less saturated.

It was also quite grainy. Prints (RA-4) produced of my South Pacific trip in 1994 are jarringly grainy against prints made from RDPIII or RVP50. An anaemic palette, though giving the neutral colours you speak of, was not what people wanted then, or even now.
 
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Sirius Glass

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It was also quite grainy. Prints (RA-4) produced of my South Pacific trip in 1994 are jarringly grainy against prints made from RDPIII or RVP50. An anaemic palette, though giving the neutral colours you speak of, was not what people wanted then, or even now.

+1
 
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