Ektachrome Redux

Anscochrome c1958
building a Heathkit Apache
Transmitter in Labrador

Toronto. John Linsky sent me an email the other day announcing the rebirth of Ektachrome by Kodak. I replied in part, that Ektachrome is based on Agfa’s processes. Much larger colour-coupler molecules are used so they don’t drift from layer to layer making processing far simpler. The down side is a limit to accurate colour rendering and stability compared to Kodachrome (ASA 10) which used smaller molecules giving a wider choice of dyes and better colour accuracy and life.

I mentioned to John that I had processed the Anscochrome version of the film many years ago in Labrador (like the sample shot shown of me building a Heathkit Apache Ham Transmitter in Labrador in the late 1950s) using the film and processing kit supplied by Ansco plus the heat sealed cardboard slide mounts provided by Kodak. (John called later to say he too developed Anscochrome slides at home.)

Ansco was one of the first companies to offer bulk loads of their slide film (ASA 32:  modern camera sensors only go down to ASA/ISO 64 or 100) and do it yourself home reversal processing kits. The total process took me about an hour per roll once the chemistry was mixed for all the various baths. There was a first development in a b&w developer, stop, fix and wash before the colour reversal steps.

Exposure to light once the film was developed turned all the remaining silver halides to metallic silver allowing all subsequent processing to be done in daylight. The colour processing developed all colour layers at once (vs. Kodachrome which used a colour development process for each layer with narrow tolerances for the time/temperature of each step of each layer process).

A fixer bath removed the remaining silver and a final wash gave a beautiful film strip of slides with all right-way around colours (positive).

I sent many strips home for my mother to cut and iron into cardboard mounts like above. Other strips I cut myself and slipped each positive into a special cardboard mount fatter than the Kodak heat sealed mounts but faster allowing projection as soon as the frames dried and were slipped into the mounts.

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