First of all, I’m happy that it’s happening at all. I’ve shot Cinestill but never any unadulterated ECN-2 film but it seems to be the big thing now. I’m glad 35mm film is coming back to its roots. There have been some big announcements in the past week or two, and even Kodak has been promoting it. Perhaps one day we’ll get rid of the C-41 process and shoot ECN-2 color negative completely; I had a dream about that once.
But despite the hyperbolic review by the Phoblographer, there is nothing new or game changing here. First of all, there was a company called Seattle Filmworks that was doing the same thing way back in the ’90s though they didn’t exactly have the best reputation for quality, I think they used a lot of recans and short ends of varying age. And even more recently the Film Photography Project has been hand rolling some movie film for people that either want to develop it at home or send it to a lab (there are several labs in the US that will do it, either with ECN-2 or cross-processing in C-41 chemicals).
I’ve been thinking about trying movie film in ECN-2 for a while, if nothing else, then because it should give me the same look as shooting super 8 or 16mm. And being a lot cheaper than shooting a roll of super 8, I could test out various lighting schemes and shots before going down the motion route.
But this is the first time since Seattle Filmworks that the entire ecosystem has been set up around just ECN-2 processing. Silbersalz35 does sell everything together at once though, so you’re getting a better idea of the full price, which is €20 or 4 rolls for €60. I assume that the quality will be top-notch but the big problem is that you’re shipping to/from Germany which won’t be quick and you’re looking at a shipping charge of at least €30 (which includes VAT I think). Then again it’s about €92 for 4 rolls of film which comes out to just under $25 per roll. And considering that the US labs are charging around $20 just to process ECN-2, maybe I’ll be trying this out after all.