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Capturing Disneyland Magic on ECN-2 Film
By Paul McKay
What is your favourite Disney film? And an even more important question for analogue photographers - what is your favourite film to take TO Disneyland? After my recent summer trip to Disneyland Paris, I can categorically state that nothing brings the magic to life like ECN-2 films! Read on to find out why
What are ECN-2 films?
ECN-2 refers to a chemical development, like C-41 (the typical colour negative development for standard colour film) or E6 (for colour slide film). So ECN-2 films require a different process to reveal the images in your negatives. They are colour films adapted from Kodak Vision 3 movie emulsion, so that you can use them in your 35mm film camera and get incredible professional results.
The adaption is necessary because Kodak doesn’t sell Vision3 films in a format ready for still cameras. They rely on other companies (and we recommend the wonderful folk at SilberSalz) to cut them down to size, add sprockets, and package them in a way that’s easy to shoot.
The famous entry to the park!
The Disney gear
For my July trip to Disneyland Paris I chose to shoot SilberSalz 250D 35mm film. I picked ISO 250 as I was expecting some cloud and some sun, and I chose D for Daylight balance as I knew most photos would be taken outside. While you can absolutely use Tungsten-balanced films outside (for example SilberSalz 200T) the colour would be slightly different and I wanted to stay true to the Kodak science.
I loaded it in my Lomography LC-A+ camera - the sister camera to the LC-Wide 35mm film camera - my favourite camera for when I need to move fast. The pocket size, zone focusing and auto-exposure setting allows me to go from zero to photo in the quickest possible time. Essential attributes for a theme park with things happening all around you!
You can see the gorgeous vignetting in the corners of the frame from the iconic LC-A lens
Benefit of Kodak Vision3 Film
Vision3 is Kodak’s premium movie film - used in Hollywood on productions like Oppenheimer or the Succession series - and this means that you’re getting serious quality in your camera.
I’m not the kind of film photographer to understand technical sheets, all I can judge is the results I get back from the lab. And for me the two most obvious benefits are the richness of the colours, and the exposure latitude.
This was a really bright day - but you can see that the film has coped with the extremes of light, even the reflections from the metal on the ride
Shooting into the sun, and the film has still picked up tons of detail in the shadows and the 'dark side' of the store sign
Processing ECN-2 Film
The quality of ECN-2 film is only brought to life when matched with true ECN-2 development. Why do I need to say ‘true’? Because you can get images from Kodak Vision3 film in a multitude of ways - including washing off a layer of carbon (remjet) and then processing in C-41 chemistry like a regular colour negative film.
This is a legitimate (and faster, cheaper) method of processing your images, but it’s not the chemical system that Kodak designed to be used with the film and there are trade-offs in the final results. And most importantly - it will not get the best from the film.
If you’re looking for your films to go through the proper process then you can order ECN-2 developing with the WonderLab.
I couldn't NOT include a photo of the iconic castle!
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