Film Review: Expired Kodak Ektachrome 400 on Contax TVS

Mar 22, 2018
3 min read

During my last trip to Finland, the guys from Kameratori gave me a few rolls of expired film that was taking space in their fridge since forever and a few of them were the famous Kodak Ektachrome.

After many failed attempts, I finally managed to shoot this roll of expired Ektachrome 400 that I’ve been carrying everywhere since a few months. It went in Italy, France and Spain before I could find the best location to shoot it but everything happens for a reason and I think the opportunity came at the right time!

I ended up shooting it on the streets of Aveiro in Portugal with my Contax TVS and we finished the roll for the sunset at a beach nearby.

SPOILER: The most decent images are at the end!

How To Expose Expired Slide Film

When shooting expired C-41 colour film, the general rule is to overexpose by 1 stop per decade (some even recommend 1 stop every 5 years). But when it comes to expired slide film (E-6) it’s a different story.

Knowing that slide film is far more sensible to light, I’ve asked around me what should I do with this roll that expired in the 90’s. I’ve heard that it should overexposed by one stop, or half stop and some said to shoot it a box speed, which I ended doing. This approach worked for most shots but not all as you will see.

Looking at this first series of images, I think that it would have supported at least a third or half extra stop of light. Some pictures taken in the city came out underexposed, especially the ones shot in the shade. As soon as the subject or environment was brighter, the film was capturing enough light to be exposed properly.

Here’s the selection of images where it didn’t work out. Even though I changed nothing on the camera settings, they came out really dark compared to the other ones even though the scenes were properly lightened as you can see in the video.

Then we move on and went a few kilometres away to catch the sunset on the dunes near the ocean. It was freezing out there but totally worth it! Sun was getting low, the light much more interesting and it gave me my favourites shots from this roll.

The colour shift made a good match with the golden hour and I really love how the magenta cast combined with the warm tones. When used with the right light it can give, in my opinion, very nice images!

The only thing that we out of control is the grain. If you zoom in the pictures, you will see that there’s heavy grain almost everywhere. To be honest I wasn’t expecting to see so much grain coming from a slide film. But I don’t have much experience with slides and even lens expired ones!

I still have a few rolls left of expired Ektachrome and will probably try to cross-process next time, as my favorite lab Nation Photo is able to do this kind of development. It will also be another good opportunity to try overexposing it a little and see if I can get better results.

Hope you enjoyed this series of images and I’ll come back soon with more experiences I’m working on!

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