View Full Version : Longevity of Ektachrome

neil poulsen
3-Jan-2007, 03:27
I've been looking at some 5x7 Kodak ektachromes lately from the 50's and 60's. They're faded and show a horrible magenta shift. It's really sad.

Is this what we can expect from current transparency films, or are there transparency films available that will have good longevity?

Ted Harris
3-Jan-2007, 06:14
I think we can expect some fading an dcolor shift from any color film over time but they will not all necessarily be badly faded or have a horrible color shift. A lot depends on how the film was stored and how often and for how long it was left in the light.

If you recall the cover of the January 2006 View Camera (nude looking in a mirror) that image was from a late 50's early 60's 8x10 Ektachrome shot by Peter Gowland. The original transparency had some color loss, but not severe. There was also a noticable color shift but again not severe. The trannie had been fairly well stored and out of the light most of its life and that helped for sure. My point was that while it took me several hours to prepare the image that eventually ended up on the cover it was doable and a lot of that time was spent touching up scratches as opposed to fixing color shift. BTW, Peter said, after seeing the magazine, that it was the best print of that trannie he had ever seen.

I haven't followed the development of color dyes in terms of imrpovements in newer emulsions but I am sure there have been some and that others will comment.

Oren Grad
3-Jan-2007, 09:48
Go to Wilhelm's site and download the relevant portions of his "Care and Permanence" book, especially chapter 5:


Although it's way out of date relative to current films, it still documents nicely the substantial progress in the stability of color transparency films up through the date of publication.

3-Jan-2007, 14:52
My 4x5 Kodachromes from the early '50s appear perfect, while the Ektachrome from the '60s is virtually gone. (Both stored in ordinary film boxes). The Kodachrome prints made by Kodak (I presume using the same dyes) are also still perfect. Unfortunately, both were discontinued.

3-Jan-2007, 15:12
Much more than on light (which is an important element) the color shift depends on storage humidity.

Robert Hughes
9-Jan-2007, 07:30
Older Ektachromes were processed using the E4 chemicals and specifications. E4 was notorious in the motion picture world for its color fading. In the 70's or 80's Kodak switched over to the E6 process which is more stable than E4. But you'll never get the fabled longevity of Kodachrome out of Ektachrome stocks. If you've got very important work that needs long term archival preservation, make b&w separations.

Oh, by the way - hello, all. This is my first post to your forum. I'm eagerly awaiting my eBay special (a Busch Pressman 4x5") as my first foray into large format.