Friday, April 23, 2021

A Week at the South Carolina Coast

Sunset at Murrells Inlet, SC

I hesitate to use the word vacation, because I am retired, but it was a vacation from the kitchen renovation that is ongoing. We went to Murrells Inlet, SC for a week in mid-April, and it really was nice to do some traveling after a year of not doing any travel, other than day trips around NC.  Of course, we took the necessary precautions - mask up, and all that, and Bev was vaccinated, I had my first COVID shot, and Adrienne got hers shortly after we returned from our trip.  It was great to see the Atlantic, as it's been 22 years since I have been to the Atlantic coast. We left Weaverville on the morning of April 10, and arrived in the afternoon at our cottage that we rented for the week. It was little like going from Spring to summer-like weather.  It was great to have a real kitchen, as we have been making do with an ersatz kitchenette in the basement while our real kitchen is being completely renovated.  Even so, we ate dinner out a lot over the course of a week, as we had all that fresh and local seafood at the local restaurants.

Morning on the porch

First of all, Murrells Inlet is along what is called the "Hammock Coast," inland by the width of salt marshes from the Strand, a series of barrier islands that protect the marshes from the waves of the Atlantic.  Funny though, is seeing all those beachfront properties as easy prey to the effects of climate change.  At least there is less of an onslaught along the shoreline that is surrounded by the estuaries.

Our small cottage was perfect for our needs, and I enjoyed the quiet mornings there.  We were only a few minutes walk from the busy area with all of the restaurants, bars, and tourist-oriented places, yet we felt like we were in a very quiet spot.  I enjoyed the mornings with the sun casting shadows on the porch. 

Our rented cottage

One of the places that we visited - three times, in fact, was Brookgreen Gardens.  Admission on one ticket is good for 6 consecutive days, and in light of how much there is to Brookgreen, it certainly makes sense.  For the history of Brookgreen Gardens, go to  Brookgreen Gardens has over 2000 pieces of figurative sculpture in a garden setting, and I have to say that I was wowed by what I saw. Aside from seeing several works by two sculptors well-known by Michiganders (Marshall Fredericks and Carl Milles), I was introduced to Anna Hyatt Huntington's amazing work and many others. Of course, all this is in addition to the fabulous gardens and plantings, the Low Country Museum and the zoo. I spent many hours just walking around and loving the Tillandsia (although it's often called Spanish Moss, it's not Spanish and it's not moss - it's an epiphytic Bromeliad) hanging from the Live Oaks (Quercus virginiana).  To me, those trees exemplify the deep South, and with those long, arching branches, they provide a mysterious and languorous scene.  They also support other epiphytic plants such as lichens, mosses, and ferns. I photographed the hell out of them, seeking ways to convey that sense of wonder and place that they provide.  I'll know if I succeeded when I develop the film.

Don Quixote sculpture by Anna Hyatt Huntington

Live Oaks at Brookgreen Gardens

On the other side of Route 17, across from Brookgreen gardens, lies Huntington Beach State park.  This parcel is where the Huntingtons built their winter retreat, which Archer Huntington called Atalaya. He had a passion for Spanish history and literature, and Atalaya was designed to look like the coastal forts of Spain. It's now called Atalaya Castle, and is a shell of its former residence. Although I enjoyed walking around and through it, it seems a melancholy place. However, it provided some great photographic subjects, which I also hope come out the way that I saw them.  The beach area is large, and the North end of the beach is the best place for photography and wildlife viewing.  The south end is more managed for typical beach and camping activities.  

Atalaya Castle (Lumix DMC-LX3)

The North end of Huntington Beach State Park

Seaside memories

We also spent an afternoon in Georgetown, the third-oldest city in SC, incorporated in 1729. The historic district is a nice walk, and there are lots of beautiful old houses on the National Historic Register.  Georgetown is the second-largest seaport in SC and has several large industries. I did enjoy seeing that there is an old theater there, the Strand, which hosts theater and no longer shows movies. 

The Inlet Crab House

We ate one meal at a restaurant every day, usually dinner. My two favorite places were the Inlet Crab House - a small place that seemed to cater more to locals, and the Hot Fish Club - which is a big place that offered up some of the best meals I have ever had.  All of the places around Murrells Inlet feature seafood, and a lot of it is fried.  That's why the Hot Fish Club was so excellent - there are many non-fried options to choose from, and we ate there two nights. We ate lunch at Wicked Tuna one day, and I had the most amazing shrimp Po'Boy ever.  I was also introduced to She Crab soup, which I tried at two different places, and it's a luscious mouthful of buttery crab meat and roe. Graham's Landing had the best version. I also found that Grouper was my favorite local fish.

A shrimp po'boy at Wicked Tuna

Okay, this IS a photography blog, not a restaurant review, so I'll list what I brought along for this trip. I decided that my Pentax 6x7 wasn't giving me enough exercise, so I packed it and several lenses into a backpack. I also brought my YashicaMat 124, and Holga, to round out the medium-format section. Imagine my chagrin when I went to load the P67 and found that I had left the take-up spool at home.  I wasn't going to ruin a roll of film just to have a take-up spool, so I waited until I finished up a roll in the YashicaMat to transfer it to the P67. The Holga went along for many of the trips.  The 35mm camp was pretty straightforward - Nikon FM3a, with a spare Nikon FM body, in case I needed it. For lenses I brought the 50mm f/1.4, 28mm f/2.8, 85mm f/2, 105mm Micro-Nikkor, 35-105 Nikkor zoom, and the Lensbaby Pro Optic 35. I added the Horizon 202, and shot about half a roll of film with it. The Yashica Electro 35 CC was a constant companion,  and I also brought along two 35mm toy cameras to round things out.  The only digital camera aside from my iPhone was the Lumix DMC-LX3, which I did use a bit.  Overall, I shot 8 rolls of 120 and 16 rolls of 35mm over the course of a week. That's a lot of medium format for me to shoot, and I used the 55mm lens on the P67 quite a bit.  Most of the film was b&w, but there was enough color to keep things interesting.  

I'll start developing the film this weekend, and I am looking forward to sharing the results.  I'll be in Pittsburg at the end of the month, and look forward to photographing there again.

some work ahead

All of the images shown in this post were made with my iPhone XR.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

The KEKS 30mm f/10 body cap lens

 KEKS Camera is a Taiwan-based company that produces the KEKS light meter, an attractive shoe-mounted light meter that's been getting some attention online. I was checking out their website, and saw something else that I figured would be a neat little item - a body cap with a 30mm f/10 lens mounted in it for $30. So, I place my order on March 18, and the package (envelope) arrived yesterday, April 5.   I'm sure that you are now wondering what the heck I'm talking about.

What is the KEKS body cap lens?

Typically, I have seen body caps turned into pinhole lens mounts for SLR cameras. That's pretty easy as a DIY project, and of course, there are commercially-made ones available. There are also pancake lenses that are very thin, made for M 4/3 cameras in the digital realm. The KEKS body cap lens is neither of these. It's an actual body cap with a 30mm f/10 lens from a Kodak single-use camera at the center.  There is no adjustment of any sort  except the shutter speed of the camera. The lens focuses from about 3 feet to infinity, and as you should expect from a single-use camera, the center is fairly sharp, while the outer edges of the frame are out of focus.   The idea is pretty good -- and because the distance to the film plane is shorter than with an SLR, the body cap lens is sold in only 4 mounts - Leica L39 thread, Leica M bayonet, Fujifilm X (digital) and Sony E (digital).  I bought the Leica Thread Mount (LTM), as it would fit my Zorki and my Canon 7 rangefinders.

As you can see, there isn't much to this lens, but I thought it would be something fun to play with.  The shallow profile makes the camera seem quite svelte.  I mounted the lens on my Zorki 2c, and loaded a roll of Fomapan 100.   Since the aperture is fixed at f/10, I shot at 1/250 sec in full sun, and adjusted accordingly in other conditions.   I just estimated the exposures and didn't bother with a light meter, as I strolled around in Montreat, NC, which is near Black Mountain.  As this lens makes the camera basically a point-and-shoot, I didn't worry too much about the framing on the Zorki.  I probably could have put a wide-angle optical viewfinder on the cold-shoe, since the tiny Zorki viewfinder isn't much help.

The KEKS lens in the Zorki 2c

I developed the roll of Fomapan 100 in D76 for 7 minutes last night, and scanned the negs this morning on my Epson V700.  Once I looked at the scans, I could easily see that the lens performed pretty much as I expected - relatively sharp and contrasty in the center, with the image becoming progressively softer towards the edges.  Not a bad look for the way I shoot, but if one is expecting sharpness all around, this $30 gadget is not for you. 

Here are some results from yesterday's shooting. 

Thursday, April 01, 2021

Widening My Horizon Part II

Using 35mm film in a Pentax 6x7

Back in mid-February, I wrote a post about some ways to get panoramic images with a 35mm film camera.  At the time, I had not yet shot anything with a panorama mask and 35mm adapter in my Pentax 6x7.  I ordered my panoramic 35mm adapter from Clever3dPrints on Etsy, and it arrived soon after. The adapters to fit a 35mm cassette into the 120 roll film spot work very well.  The panorama viewfinder mask fit over the ground glass, but I think it's a 1/2mm too thick, as the prism doesn't snug in tightly with it in place.  Second, the 35mm adaptor to go over the film gate doesn't really fit well, and wanted to rub against the shutter curtain so I decided not to use it, and expose the entire width of the film. 

The back of the Pentax 67 opened up, showing the supply
and take-up cassettes, and the taped-on leader.

You need to set the film to 220 on the Pentax 6x7 pressure plate as well as the 120/220 selector button on the right side of the body.  To make sure that I got as much out of the 36 exposure roll, I taped a length of exposed 35mm film to the end of the fresh roll that was connected to the take-up cassette.  The take-up spool is an empty cassette (obviously oriented upside down. As it turns out, I need to make the leader a bit longer, as there was a length of unexposed film at the beginning of my roll.  The 220 setting is necessary if you are using a 36 exposure roll, and you should get close to 19 shots, unless you respool your own film and make it a 40-exposure roll.  

The beauty of using this without the panoramic mask in the film gate is that I get 24x70mm negatives, excluding the sprockets.  If you are sprocket freak, then you'll appreciate the exposed sprocket area. Compared with my Horizon 202 (more about that in another post), it's a bit wider - 12mm. I used the Pentax 55mm lens on the 6x7, which is about equal to 28mm in 35mm. The Horizon 202's lens is also 28mm, but the crop with 6x7 55mm lens  results in an image without any distortion that one sees with the Horizon camera.  

The obvious drawback with this setup is that the film still has some exposed frames that will be ruined if you open the back in daylight, unless you forgo shooting to the end of the roll.  I brought my camera back home and opened it up in my bathroom/darkroom and rewound the film into the original cassette.  I shot a roll of Ultrafine Extreme 100 and developed in D-96.  To say that I was happy with the images is an understatement.  All of my shots were handheld. The D-96 came from the FPP store.  All of my frames were scanned on my Epson V700 scanner.

Some results.

Dillsboro, NC

Dillsboro, NC

Rt. 197 up Ivy Knob to Cockscomb Mtn.

The French Broad River at Ledges Whitewater Park

After I scanned in the negatives, I was pleased at how big those images could be viewed. Zooming in revealed a lot of detail, and a print from them would be quite striking.  You may ask why not just crop any 6x7 negative post scan to be a 24x70mm negative, and my answer is:

  • You can no longer buy 220 film that is fresh
  • There are so many more emulsions in 35mm
  • The viewfinder mask defines your image area
  • It's part of the process

In part III of this series, I will discuss my experiences with my Horizon cameras.   


Monday, March 22, 2021

What's with the Kodak M35?

If you have been trawling ebay for a bit, you might have come across a bunch of colorful, reusable 35mm cameras under the name Kodak M35.  Now, I know they are cheap little plastic cameras, but why aren't they available in the USA?  There are plenty of eBay sellers - all from China, Taiwan, or Korea, with prices ranging from nearly $30 to quite a bit more, as if these were some sort of collectible.  I searched US sellers, and although B&H have them listed for sale, there are no photos of the product, and their site says expected delivery in 7-14 days, but at $25.00 each.

Now, with the Dubble Film Show and the Harman 35, I certainly don't really need another camera in that same class, but I would like to test one out, as I am prepping for a 35mm toy camera issue of Monochrome Mania.  The Kodak M35 looks very similar to the Dubble Film and Harman products, and yeah, there's only so many ways one can manufacture a cheap plastic camera that is barely a step-up from a one-time use camera.  

What surprises me most is that these camera have Kodak branding, yet not a peep from Kodak in the US about selling/marketing them.  They are colorful, and sure to attract young buyers, so I have to wonder why there has  not been anything about them from Kodak or Kodak/Alaris. Are they testing the waters elsewhere before they sell in the US?  I don't expect anything better than what I have gotten from the Dubble Show or Harman 35, but at $25, they would be an attractive alternative, and priced right. Of course they are probably worth $10, but that's where we are these days with new film cameras, no matter how low-tech they may be.

Some digging in the Web led me to Sino Promise Group in Hong Kong, which proclaims itself as the largest distributor of Kodak/Alaris products in the world, and THAT's where I found the Kodak information about the M35 and the M38 cameras. Here's the key bit of information at the bottom of the page about the M35: "Sino Promise Group LTD. manufactures and sells the above film cameras. The Kodak trademark, logo and trade dress are used under license by Sino Promise Group LTD. Products are not available in all countries."  Indeed, they appear to be marketed in China, Philippines, Thailand, etc. 

Specs are pretty much the same as the Dubble Film and Harman 35 cameras

So, there you have it.  Sino Promise Group makes these under license from Kodak, and markets them, not Kodak.  Maybe we will eventually see them sold here in a variety of stores, but they were introduced in 2020, and the M38 model looks a lot more like the Dubble/Harman cameras.  I bet they are all made in the same factory - perhaps Great Wall?   Keep your eyes open for them to appear somewhere in the US at a retailer... or a flea market.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Exploring ECN-2 Films

Over the past decade, as color film (C-41 and E-6) choices became more limited, I have seen a lot more attention paid to those cinema film emulsions offered by Kodak and Fujifilm. Yes, we still-film shooters have been putting cine-film in our cameras for quite a while. If you have used Kodak Double-X or Eastman 5222 film, it's a b&w ISO 200 negative film made for cinema.  At one time, the only way to get small quantities of it was to buy the unused "film ends" from an outfit in New York. Small quantities typically were about 70-200 ft, and the price was pretty cheap. As more people started using it, it became popular enough for resellers (such as the FPP, Cinestill, and Ultrafine) to buy the big reels of fresh 5222 and re-spool into 35mm cassettes and market them. I still don't understand why Kodak has not offered the 5222 as a still film. It's an excellent b&w emulsion with great latitude and is very pushable. There are other b&w emulsions that are made for cine use, but that's another story. 

Note that the C-41 still film has rectangular sprockets, while 
cine-films have rounded sprocket ends. The same holds true for
B&W cine-films vs. still camera films.

However, cinema color films are what this post is about. The use of color cine film in 35mm cameras goes back into the late 1970s, when Seattle Film Works sold their cheap color negative film that “only they could process.” Touted as the SWF-XL process, it was actually ECN-2, which uses slightly different chemicals than C-41, and also involved the removal of the black remjet layer (more about this later). The film was surplus cine film stock, and could have been made by several companies, as we were not told anything other than it was Seattle Film Works film, ISO 400 or 200. Due to the remjet coating, ordinary photo labs would not accept the film, because it would contaminate their chemistry. I'll link here to the Wikipedia article on SFW, and you can read more about their business and its demise.  I did use SFW in the mid-90s for a while, and they offered both prints and slides from the same roll of film. The slides were not very good, as they were copied from the negatives, and faded after about 10 years.  Lesson learned.  However, properly exposed fresh SFW film produced excellent negatives.  Don't judge a film from 30-year rolls that sat who knows where. The FPP has a podcast episode that discusses the SFW film.

A bunch of expired SFW films. Image by Michael Raso, 2021

So, you found some old rolls of the Seattle Film Works in a box? Who knows how they have been stored for the past 30+ years?  I'd say use the film for testing if a camera is advancing the film properly. Yes, you could develop them in the home-brew ECN-2, but why waste your time?  If you do decide to shoot them, rate at ISO 50 and maybe you'll get something.  With any long-expired color film, you will get color shifts and loss of sensitivity. Be aware that by the mid-1990s, Seattle Film Works switched to regular C-41 films (and still with the SFW-XL process on the label), and if they have Photoworks labeling, then they are definitely C-41, and not ECN-2. So, at minimum, the film will be 20 years old. You can probably get a good idea of what type of film you find in those SFW cassettes merely by looking at the sprockets.  ECN-2 films are cine-films and their sprocket holes are rounded, whereas C-41 films have rectangular sprocket holes. Also, if the cassettes are labeled as manufactured in Germany, they are most likely Agfa C-41 films.

NEW INFO!  - (04/21/21) I just found a packet of information dated 1987 from SFW that lists the films.  They are as follows - 

  • SFW 6231 - 100 ASA - European (Agfa?)
  • SFW 6251 - 200 ASA - European (Agfa?)
  • SFW 5247 - 200 ASA - Eastman Kodak Motion Picture Film
  • SFW 6271 - 400 ASA - European (Agfa?)
  • SFW 5294 - 640 ASA - Eastman Kodak Motion Picture Film

What's the big deal about color cine films?

Kodak is the only producer of color cine-films, and many movies in the past several decades have been made on their Vision3 ( series of films.  The big deal is that these films have good latitude, excellent color rendering, are optimized for particular types of lighting, and are available in ISO ratings of 50-500. Fujifilm produced its Eterna line of cine- films, which are now discontinued, like so much of Fujifilms' analog business. 

The big problem with any of these cine ECN-2 films is that all have a remjet layer on the base side of the film. The remjet coating protects the film against light-piping, halation, and static buildup on the film as it moves through the cine camera. Kodachrome also had a remjet layer, and it was both a cine and a still film. The remjet is mostly carbon, and if you process the film without removing it, you'll have an awful mess in your chemistry and the film won't look so great, either.  Commercial cine film labs have machines with 30 PSI water nozzles and roller-like scrubbers that remove the remjet before it gets run through the developing process, and there are also chemicals involved that introduce a mild base that dissolves the bonding agents in the remjet, making its removal easier.  

So, while there are some fantastic color cine-films that could be shot with still cameras, you can't just reload them into a 35mm film cassette and then take them to a C-41 lab.  If you relabel the film as C-41 and it gets processed, you will be persona non grata forever for ruining their chemistry and contaminating their processor with carbon residue.  DON'T DO THAT!  You can develop the film at home, or send to a lab (listed below) that will handle ECN-2 films.



The removal of the remjet is actually fairly simple, and doing this method as a "pre-wash" before any developing will remove 99.9% of the remjet, with the remaining easily removed physically when you hang up the film to dry. Here's the procedure:

Dissolve 1 heaping tablespoon of Sodium bicarbonate in 500ml of water at 100°F (38°C).  Pour into the developing tank with the film inside. Start shaking the tank vigorously (like a cocktail shaker), and be prepared to "burp" the gas escaping every few seconds. Do this for about 30 seconds, and pour out the foamy black water. Refill the tank with water at the same temperature, and shake vigorously again for 30 sec.  Pour and repeat until the water that drains out is clear.  There may also be a tint in the wash water from the dyes in the film – it may be green, pinkish, yellow, or purple. Now, you can proceed with the developing process, either C-41 or ECN-2.  Many people have developed the color cine-film in C-41 with satisfactory results, and processed C-41 films in ECN-2 with good results. However, I think that because the color-cine film was designed for ECN-2 processing, that's the better option, if you can do it.

ECN-2 kits have only recently become commercially  available for hobbyist development.  Previously, one had to sequester the chemicals necessary for the process and mix them.  Here are the ingredients that you will need if you wish to mix them yourself:

ECN-2 Developer - to make 1 liter

  • Sodium Carbonate - 25.6 grams
  • Sodium Bicarbonate - 2.8 grams
  • Sodium Sulfite - 2 grams
  • Potassium Bromide - 1.4 grams
  • CD3 Color Developer - 4 grams

ECN-2 Bleach - to make 1 liter

  • Potassium Ferricyanide - 40 grams
  • Potassium Bromide - 29 grams

Dissolve the mixtures for each in 800 ml of 110°F water and then add water to make 1 liter.  Label  the containers very distinctly, as you don't want to bleach your film before developing it!

The ECN-2 development process is as follows:

AFTER the Sodium bicarbonate pre-wash, 

1. ECN-2 Developer for 3 min at 106°F 

2. Stop using an acid stop bath or a water stop, for 1 minute (100°F)

3. Wash using the Ilford method (which is pouring water into the tank and shaking for 30 seconds) (100°F)

4. ECN-2 Bleach for 3 min at about 100°F

5. Wash again, Ilford method (around 100°F)

6. Fix using any fixer** for 5 min  (100°F)-(I keep a separate 1 liter of fixer just for this process, as I don't want to contaminate the fixer that I use for other films)

7. Wash (Ilford method) 4 times (80°-100°F)

Note that you should agitate the develop, bleach, and fix steps every 30 seconds for best results.

8. Remove the film and hang to dry - I wipe down the back of the film with a Photowipe until there is no longer any carbon residue - usually 3 passes with the wipe.  DO NOT wipe the emulsion side.

**To make 1 liter of non-hardening fixer, you’ll need the following:

  • 800 ml of water at 125°F
  • 240 grams Sodium Thiosulfate
  • 30 grams Sodium Sulfite 
  • Mix, and add water to make 1 liter.

Using this method has produced excellent scans from the ECN-2 films that I have developed.  

There is some disagreement among hobbyist practitioners about the use of the sodium bicarbonate pre-wash.  I have tried not using it, and using just water alone will not remove as much carbon, and I ended up with more remjet on the film to remove physically after development, and more crap in the developing chemicals (which were C-41). It makes sense to remove as much of the remjet as possible BEFORE development to reduce the contamination of your developing chemicals. The kit from Ultrafine includes a reusable alkaline pre-bath.

SOURCES for ECN-2 Developing Kits:

Color (ECN-2) Cine Films 

I admit to not having tried all of the color cine-films that are available.  While you can find the Fujifilm examples for sale on ebay, be aware that these are discontinued films, and are not going to be fresh. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't try them, but be aware of the age factor.  In addition, many of these 35mm films may be available in 16mm, should you want to load your own 16mm still cameras, such as the Minolta 16. 


  1. F64D - A low-speed daylight balanced film with fine grain, high sharpness and saturated colors. 
  2. ETERNA 500- This appears to be a high speed film suitable for Tungsten lighting.
  3. ETERNA 250D - A fine-grained daylight-balanced film with lovely, rich colors.
  4. REALA 500D - Contains Fujifilm's "4th color layer" 

There are other cine-films that were manufactured by Fujifilm, but since all are discontinued, I'll just refer you to to this chart.


All of the Vision3 films listed are in current production.

VISION3 50D - The finest-grained color film by Kodak. While the 50D is a slow-speed film, it's great for most outdoors shooting, and of course, with a tripod, there's no problem for longer exposures.  I like the colors and the highlight detail, as well as the contrast. 

VISION3 250D - I love the look of this film.  It has such lovely color rendition and reminds me of Kodachrome.  It's fine-grained, and it's nothing like the old 35mm C-41 standby, Gold 200.  If Kodak could produce this film for still photographers (i.e., without remjet), it would be really popular.  I have only processed it with ECN-2, so I don't know how different the colors would be in C-41. 

VISION3 200T - I have not used this film. It's for Tungsten lighting, so indoors would be ideal, especially with incandescent bulbs.  However, if you are using color-temperature adjustable LED light panels, you should set them to 3200K to mimic the Tungsten lighting, which also applies to the 500T below. 

VISION3 500T -This is an excellent high-speed film that has good shadow detail, fine-grained, and looks great under Tungsten lighting.  Of course, you can use it in daylight with a No. 85 filter, or just shoot it and color correct the scans.  This is the same film that Cinestill sells as 800T. There is no native 800 ISO cine film.  In essence, Cinestill is telling you to push the film 2/3 of a stop, which is not a lot.  However, pushing the film higher may not result in the best results. I think that some people coming from digital to film see the higher speed ratings much as they see changing the ISO on a digital camera. However, if a film's native ISO is X, then the most reliable results as found by the manufacturer is at X, not X + 500.  So, proceed at your own risk, and be aware that your results may vary.

other ECN-2 Kodak films

Eastman Kodak EXR 5244 is a color intermediate film sold by Ultrafine Online.  They list the ISO as 1.  The film was introduced in the 1990s, and is discontinued.  It’s reported to have saturated colors, and I have a roll that I have yet to shoot. With such a low ISO, it’s certainly going to be tripod city, and in lots of light.  The 1999 literature from Kodak states:

“EASTMAN EXR Color Intermediate Film 2244 (35 mm and 65 mm ESTAR), 5244 (35 mm and 65 mm acetate), and 7244 (16 mm acetate) is intended for making color master positives from EASTMAN Color Negative Camera Films, and for making color duplicate negatives from those master positives. You can also use EASTMAN EXR Color Intermediate Film for preparing color duplicate negatives from black-and-white silver separation positives. It contains an integral mask similar to the mask in Eastman color negative films but is more red in color. It has excellent image structure, tonal scale, and reproduction contrast near unity when recommended printing and processing procedures are followed. It features micro-fine grain, high sharpness and high resolving power.”

Certainly an interesting film to try out! You will find other expired ECN-2 EXR and Vision2 films if you trawl eBay and Etsy.  

My Experience with ECN-2

Shooting with these films certainly gives me more emulsions to try out, and I have not been disappointed in my results, whether they were processed in C-41 or ECN-2 chemistry.  I recently tried a roll of the Fujifilm F64D that I rated at ISO 50.  The results were fantastic, as the examples will show.  It's very fine-grained, and the colors pop.  I also acquired some rolls of the Fujifilm ETERNA 250D,  and it too, has wonderful color. The remjet of the Eterna 250D comes off much quicker than the Kodak films, and I do not suggest putting a normal C-41 film together into the same developing tank if you are developing  multiple rolls in one tank.  My result ended up with lots of carbon on the C-41 emulsion, making it look like a snowstorm on the scans. I want to reiterate that the Fujifilm cine stocks are now only available via eBay and Etsy sellers, and are not in current production.

The Kodak Vision3 films are beautiful, with excellent colors, and it's a shame that Kodak doesn't make them available as still films.  You can buy any of them from the Film Photography Project Store in 24 exposure rolls and 100 ft spools..  Cinestill sells the 50D and 800T (really 500T) Vision3 films in 36 exposure rolls, but the remjet has been removed, so they can be processed by any lab.  That alone makes them quite desirable for those wanting to use a local film lab. The two Cinestill-branded films are also available in 120, which is a nice option. Ultrafine Online also sells fresh Vision3 films and some of the expired ECN-2 films, including 100 ft rolls. So long as you home-process the films or send to a lab that will take ECN-2 films, these color cine film stocks offer more avenues to explore. 

My ECN-2 developing kits came from three sources – a home-brew kit from August Kelm five years ago, and my recent kits are from Conspiracy of Cartographers on Etsy, and a kit from Ultrafine.  The kits are based on the Kodak formulas. Some of my ECN-2 film was developed in the FPP C-41 1-liter kit, and I will indicate the developing chemistry in the image descriptions.  I also recommend that you use the Kodak-based ECN-2 kits  soon after mixing, as they may not have the shelf-life of mixed C-41 chemistry. My experience is that after a month, the films that go through the process are underdeveloped with “thin negatives”.  However, they did scan in pretty well with adjustments in the scans. The ECN-2 kits should yield 10 - 12 rolls per liter of chemistry, if used within 1 month.  It’s definitely cheaper than sending your film out to a lab!  

Vision3 50D Examples

Marquette, 2016, Nikon FG, dev. in C-41

Ann Arbor, 2016, Nikon FG, dev. in C-41

Ann Arbor, 2016, Nikon FG, dev. in C-41

Ann Arbor, 2019, Yashica FX-7, dev. in ECN-2

Asheville, 2020, Nikon N80, dev. in ECN-2

Ann Arbor, 2019, Yashica FX-7, dev. in ECN-2

Vision3 250D

Chimney Rock, 2021, Canon 7, dev. in ECN-2

Asheville, 2021, Canon 7, dev. in ECN-2

Asheville, 2021, Canon 7, dev. in ECN-2

Pittsburgh, 2018, Nikon FM, ECN-2 dev.

Pittsburgh, 2018, Nikon FM, ECN-2 dev.

Weaverville, 2021, Nikkormat FT2, ECN-2 dev.

Vision3 500T

Mansfield, OH, 2017, Pentax K1000, ECN-2 dev.

New Jersey, 2019 Canon T-60, ECN-2 dev.

Ann Arbor, 2017, Pentax K1000, ECN-2

Toledo Zoo, 2017, Pentax K1000, ECN-2

Fujifilm F64D

Asheville, 2019, Ricoh XR-M, ECN-2 dev.

Asheville, 2019, Ricoh XR-M, ECN-2 dev.

Fujifilm Eterna 250D

Dillsboro, NC, 2021, Spotmatic F, ECN-2 dev.

Biltmore, 2021, Spotmatic F, ECN-2 dev.

Burnsville, NC, 2021, Spotmatic F, ECN-2 dev.

Burnsville, NC, 2021, Spotmatic F, ECN-2 dev.

The minuses of working with ECN-2 films

First and foremost is the remjet issue.  You need to completely remove all traces from the back of the film, otherwise, you'll see white areas or spots on your scans.  You may only notice the residue after scanning.  I find it easy to lay the strip of film emulsion side down on the LED light pad and then use a dry microfiber cloth or Photowipe to remove the remaining carbon residue on the base of the film.  It's easy to fix a few spots with a healing or cloning tool in your editing software, but large areas will show up as white blotches unless you have done a thorough job of remjet removal. Here is a good example of a bad job of remjet removal:

Second is not contaminating your chemistry.  Let's say that you want to develop some C-41 films in the ECN-2 chemistry.  You really want to reduce the number of free carbon particles in your chemistry, so an alkaline pre-bath of your ECN-2 films will drastically reduce the amount of gunk that ends up in your chemistry.  So, yeah, remjet is still the thing.  If you only use the chemistry for ECN-2 or only C-41 films, it will probably be less of a problem. I developed a roll of the Eterna 250D  and a roll of Kodak Color Plus 200 (C-41 film) together in aged ECN-2 chemistry.  Not only were the negatives thin, but the Kodak 200 had picked up carbon from the Fujifilm 250D remjet. It looks like a snowstorm on the scan - and almost like an effect you would pay extra for.

look at all the white spots.  Kodak Color Plus 200.

However, despite these little problems, I remain enthused about the ECN-2 films. The colors are glorious, and the fine-grained emulsions have no peer in C-41 films. Definitely give them a try.  The FPP Store and Ultrafine Online are the best places to get your hands on these films as well as the developing kits.