Shooting 16-year expired Ektachrome P1600

About 3 months ago I won an auction for 2 rolls of very expired Ektachrome P1600. I’m not too sure why I bought the stuff. I didn’t even know Ektachrome existed in a 1600 speed variant. I’m not a huge slide film user (I’ve actually only shot it once before on 120). Nevertheless, I was browsing the film section of Yahoo Auctions and it looked interesting so I thought I’d give it a go.

ektachrome box

Couple of days later it arrived. Expired in 2002, the ad made no mention of any sort of storage conditions. I assumed the worst. As a relatively inexperienced slide film user, I foolishly applied the general rule of thumb for expired color negative film to the expired Ektachrome. It was expired 16 years ago, so I overexposed the film 1.5 stops. I’ve since learned that this rule shouldn’t be applied to slide film, as the latitude differs greatly. Nevertheless, I was still able to get some usable results, albeit the slides look terrible.

Ektachrome 1600 (2002)

I shot this roll in my Nikon F3 and 50mm f/1.4. I used the Nikon F3 for its metering system. I shoot 90% of my work on my Leica M2 and meter by eye, but this was a very unfamiliar scenario for me. I almost never work with slide film and certainly not slide film that was this expired, stored in unknown conditions.  So I took the Nikon F3 out and shot the roll around Tō-ji temple and on the Skyway of Kyoto Station.

expired ektachrome-5

As expected, there was a heavy amount of grain, plus some base fog and color shift. I was still quite impressed with the performance given the conditions. I tried to shoot both a mixture of soft, even light and harshly contrasty scenes to test the film’s capabilities.


The magenta cast and the severe grain is apparent in both the above pictures. I’m actually a big fan of harsh grain and I don’t mind it at all given my expectations of the film (1600 speed film, 16 years expired), but the magenta cast was a bit less desirable.

expired ektachrome-2

Overall I definitely enjoyed a handful of images the film yielded. I’m a sucker for grain and it was oddly enjoyable shooting a roll without much guarantee of what the results would look like. I have 1 roll of this stuff left so next time I’ll probably overexpose by less and try to shoot scenes with more forgiving light.