It’s been over a year since Kodak’s big announcement that they’re bringing back the iconic Ektachrome 100 slide film in 35mm format. The revival was supposed to happen during holiday season 2017, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen and film fans have been kept waiting. After what we can only guess as a rigorous long-term testing, Kodak finally has a substantial update for us in the form of some successful test shots. It definitely stoked the fire for those of us who have been eagerly waiting, but also got most of us wondering if there has been some mistake with scanning the film.
Kodak shared the photos on their Facebook and Instagram. “Ektachrome 100: Our Development team is still working hard on the update! In the meantime, here are some successful test photos from our pilot-scale equipment,” they said.
However, many have noticed the quality of the images, especially the ones in the Instagram video. “Why do these samples look like they were done on VHS?” asked one Instagrammer. Kodak simply replied, “They did get a little grainy in video form, didn’t they? Take a look at our most recent Facebook post to see the pictures pre-video editing.”
The photos spark some excitement at the very least, but even the ones shared on the Facebook post (see below), it does seem like there’s an issue with the scanning. They don’t look as sharp as they should, and a couple of snaps have some slight color banding that could either come from bad developing or bad scanning. Some people guessed that these were most likely scanned with the Kodak Scanza, and the results may have been different if they were scanned using better equipment, like the Kodak Pakon f135. The images being square is also questionable, and we could very well be looking at crops instead of the whole picture.
As for the most important detail, we still don’t know when the Ektachrome 100 is actually coming out. The worst case scenario — there’s still a lot of tests to be done before we get a stable emulsion that is faithful to the much awaited, much loved original.
One thing is for sure: you don’t make a marketing mess out of an iconic emulsion that a lot of photographers still know by heart!