5 frames with Kodak Ektachrome E100 in low light – By David Narbecki

Something readers of 35mmc might not know is that Kodaks new Ektachrome E100 has been available in super 8 and now 16mm. I don’t usually shoot slide film, but I do shoot a lot of super 8 and super 16.  Reversal film is very interesting to me for one reason, it makes filming, editing and projecting a movie shot on film more feasible. This is something I have wanted to do for some time now and I even began collecting equipment to do so. Before I shoot a short film though, I wanted to test out the film with the easiest way being to shoot a roll of 35mm.

First frame from the kisaten i loaded my camera.

On a short trip to Osaka this summer, I decided to load my MP (0.58) with the new Ektachrome E100. I took a few photos throughout the day in a variety of light and situations but was invited to a festival towards the evening. When my friends and I headed for the festival, the sun was already beginning to set. At that point I still had more than half the roll left and was afraid the shots at night would not be usable. I don’t often use film slower than iso 400 let alone slide film, but decided that since this was a test, I should photograph in a variety of situations.

I shot the remainder of the roll at the festival. Upon returning to Tokyo I sent the film off for development and was pleasantly surprised at the results. Especially with the photos from the festival and generally photos that were taken in low light. Most of these photos would have been taken at 1/30th with the Summicron 35mm ASPH. wide open at f/2. It is by no means my favorite way to photograph but it gives me a good idea of the limitations of this film. With a faster lens and maybe some lighting I feel it would produce good results even on super 8 or super 16 in a similar situation.

With the surprising results I thought it would be best to showcase what Ektachrome E100 can do in low light with these 5 frames. I’d encourage anyone wanting to use Ektachrome for photos and film to test it out first. Not all the results at night were usable and especially on super 8 I can see the results at night not being as pleasant.

In the end, it is very possible to get usable results from Ektachrome at night. I think you are limited by the type of film and the speed but with the right subject and just a little bit of light you can still work wonders!

Without having much of a use for reversal film, it had been quite some time since I last photographed with it. Within that time I have become quite a fan of super 8 and 16mm and the ability to shoot reversal film is very exiting. I’m sure there are other film makers out there interested in the analog process that want to traditionally project their work or even project home movies like when they were younger. It is still an expensive endeavor but I’m glad Kodak has made Ektachrome available for super 8 and especially 16mm.

I did happen to take my super 8 camera to this same festival and will be making a video on Ektachrome E100 from both a stills and film perspective. When I’m done with that it will be posted on my YouTube channel. And if you want to know more about my thoughts on Ektachrome I wrote a first impressions on my blog.

All photos scanned on Epson perfection v750 pro with SilverFast software.

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16 thoughts on “5 frames with Kodak Ektachrome E100 in low light – By David Narbecki”

  1. Even with a Summicron f/2.0 lens, ISO 100 film requires a tripod for low light. Did you use one or did you hand hold. I an asking only. because the images are very soft and appear O.O.F.
    Images 2,3, and 4 have interesting composition.

    1. I hand held the camera and searched for places with any light source. For some photos I used the strap and shot from the hip, pulling the camera down to try to steady it. Since I was shooting wide open and from the hip I didnt hit focus 100% and its very possible that there is some motion blur. I usually use much faster film and sometimes the grain can cover for a missed focus or slight camera movement but it definitely wont get passed 100 iso slide film! haha
      Any later in the day and I would not have been able to photograph anything so I wanted to finish the roll ASAP.
      Thank you very much for the comment!

  2. Great use of Leica Cameras. Wonderful images of Japan. I can feel the Japan I know : people, lights, … story
    Some of best images of Japan here, maybe the best : for me …
    The color are great. No filter ?

    1. Thank you very much for the lovely comment! I’m so glad you liked my photos! Japan is my favorite place to photograph, so many great opportunities and stories!
      I didnt use any filter on the camera, I believe slide film can be more accurate with certain filters in certain lighting situations but I dont use slide film enough to own one… Thank you!

    1. Thank you very much! I was really surprised by how much information and detail was actually captured even as the sun was going down! I havent used slide film in quite some time but this new ektachrome is impressive. Knowing it is not completely useless in low light im looking forward to trying it on super 8 and 16mm!

  3. I would’ve added a stop or two of shutter speed to the darker ones, great images nonetheless! I’ll be checking out your channel 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for the nice comment and support!! I was already at my limit for comfortable hand held speeds and unfortunately didnt have a tripod… it wasnt ideal but im glad there was an actual image recorded! haha

  4. This is what 1.4 and 1.2 lenses are for – long before everyone chased the thin dof dragon, fast lenses allowed you to shoot what you needed with the slow films

    1. Definitely! I wouldn’t normally use iso100 this late but sometimes you are forced into using what you have. I like the trade off of the summicron but occasionally I’d like to have a first gen summilux… Even if it’s not the sharpest the character and extra light would be great!

  5. Great shots! Since returning to shooting film I have learned that you know what? Every image doesn’t have to be super tack sharp, film delivers atmosphere to images that makes up for lack of sharpness in my opinion, these are perfectly useable shots I can see exactly what is going on in the pics. I also shoot a summicron and I have found so far that often the image appears sharp but when you zoom right in it may not be 100% critical sharp – that’s the sign of a beautiful lens. Great work, keep it up.

    1. Thank you for the wonderful comment! And glad to hear you’ve returned to film! Welcome back haha that is one of my favorite things about film especially with rangefinders. The subject matter and atmosphere will 9 times out of 10 be more important than nailing focus 100%. Usually I push my film so 100iso was a challenge and you can definitely tell where I guessed focus and where I actually tried to focus but I feel the images still convey what I was trying to say! Yes!! The summicron, especially 35mm asph, renders images in the most amazing way. Focus is very forgiving and the transition from “in focus” to out of focus is very smooth. It’s my favorite lens, I don’t know why I own so many others haha

  6. Hi David, great post, I will be checking out your channel shortly. I’ve had an itching to shoot a short film on super 8 over the last little while but upon learning that E100 is available in 16mm and doesn’t cost too much more!

    1. Thank you so much for the comment and bringing me back to this post! Upon re-reading it, I went searching for my super 8 scans but couldn’t find direct comparison footage to match these photos. It really made me want to follow through with the comparison video idea! I have also wanted to make a straight 8 style(only in camera “editing”) short film to project with E100 or Tri-x reversal but haven’t found the right project. Even with some editing, making a short film on film to actually project seems fairly reasonable with the 16mm version! Unfortunately, while super 8 is still somewhat supported in Japan 16mm is more difficult to find and I haven’t had a chance to use 16mm E100. I had forgotten about it with so much going on these last few years but definitely a topic to explore soon! Thank you!

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