Monday, March 05, 2012

Bye Bye Ektachrome, Don't Forget Fujichrome!

Last week we heard the news that Eastman Kodak was discontinuing their slide films.  This is not a huge surprise considering the market shift to digital.  For those who are still enjoying film -  the primary products are usually color negative and black and white now.
We do see a unique market in the plastic cameras from Lomography and others who provide interesting tools to explore photography.  I would venture a guess this is dominated by the color neg 400 ISO products.  How many Diana's are loaded with Pro400H 120 now?  Occasionally people will shoot slides and cross-process for that funky look.

On the B&W side it is easy to see how this product is a cash cow for Kodak (Hello Tri-X !) but B&W remains in the line at Fujifilm with Neopan 400 and Acros 100 due to their ease of development.  
Unlike E-6 and C-41, anyone can shoot and enjoy home processing of B&W film.
I felt like sharing some thoughts on the joys of slide film shooting.  I think anyone who has not had the experience is missing out on one of the true ah-ha moments in photography.  When you shoot E-6 film you have a varied palette of colors to choose from.  You can choose Provia, Astia or Velvia and each will render the world in a slightly different contrast, saturation and hue.  Back in the day when there were about 10 different slide films I used to explain the characteristics to people as similar to the process of buying your vanilla ice cream in the grocery store.  We all know there are several varieties.  Breyers was super white vanilla, Haagen Daz was a bit yellowish, Turkey Hill was in between, then you had Friendly's, Stewarts, Ben & Jerry's, Store Brands etc.  Each had their own palette if you will and each were vanilla.
Knowing how each of these tools react to the world in front of us is what makes them a joy to use.  And now with the discontinuation of the Ektachrome line up - shooting E-6 films is just as easy as ever using the Fujichrome slide mailers sold at retailers like B&H Photo and Adorama (links below-shameless plug).
Random 35mm Slide Images in a display mount page
Slide film for me is now a rare capture device but I still love the cameras I used.
My GR-1 was my go to point n shoot and is awesome.  The Fujifilm GSW-690 was of course the most awesome manual point n shoot I could find.  Then I relied on my EOS-3 and occasionally at the US Open the Canon EOS-1N RS.  Those were the good old days.  Blasting away frames and waiting for hours or days to see if you had "the shot".  All kidding aside the experience of going on vacation with some slide film and not quite knowing what you had in your bag until days after you returned home seems distant and almost forgotten.  So I push myself to shoot some slide film every once in a while.  Scanning is pretty easy so there's a hybrid workflow that is available.  I look back to the days when it really changed which was around the fall of 2001.  Digital cameras were getting better and the rest in history.

I pulled out some slides & negatives from Sept 11, 2001 and you can see what the day was like on film.  The obvious constriction that day was that as I exposed the tower falling (negative frames 34 & 35 enlarged) you can imagine what happened next - I ran out of film and as the roll rewound the building fell in front of me.  Surreal on all fronts.  (See the antenna tower changing location in the frame.)
So here we are in 2012 and if you want to take the slow methodical route of capture and truly test your photography skills for exposure and composition - go out and buy some E-6 slide film and a couple mailers and see what it used to be like!  I am sure you will see color differently when you experience a Velvia colors versus digital ones.
B&H Photo Slide Mailer Link













I am an employee of FUJIFILM North America Corporation.
The statements, comments and opinions expressed here represent my own, personal views and are not endorsed by, or affiliated in any way with, FUJIFILM North America Corporation or its affiliates.

4 comments:

  1. Anonymous11:11 PM

    Long live Velvia and Provia!

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  2. Wonderful information - thanks for sharing!

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  3. Anonymous12:05 AM

    Hi good overview. I thought astia was either no longer made or only available in 120 form in certain markets. Is this true?

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  4. Astia is discontinued BUT it continues to be sold in the USA in 120 and 4x5 formats which we have current stock in. Enjoy it while you can!

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