Tungsten Tungsten Tungsten

Today we’re taking a detour from my London adventures for a tutorial on how to shoot tungsten film with a hot shoe flash. Get ready, because I’m going to make this is as clear as possible.

I really wanted to try shooting with tungsten film for over a year now. Since I’ve been gathering photography supplies for my trip abroad, I figured now was as good as a time as any to get my hands on some of this mystical film. Two rolls later, I had no idea what I was doing, and as any sensible person who needs guidance, I took to the webs for answers.

And I found less than satisfactory results.


I’m a huge amateur when it comes to this film, so if you too are an amateur trying to shoot tungsten for the first time, I hope that my simple descriptions will help you in a way that I wish I had help. So let’s get started.

Tungsten film was used back in the good ‘ole days when digital photography was just a dream and studio lights gave their wonderful 3200K yellowish color cast on photographs. Tungsten film has a blue-ish tint to it to counter the yellowish/orangish color cast that is signature to tungsten lighting to balance the image and give it more neutral tones. So, what that meant to me is that I could shoot this kind of film everywhere but places with tungsten light, just to see what would happen.

The goal I had in mind was to shoot with a hot shoe flash with a yellowish gel. Ideally, my subject would be normal colors, being “corrected” by the tungsten film, and the background would be bluish. I got those results in some pictures, but not most. It probably had a lot to do with flash power and composition.

I shot with expired Kodak EPT 160T Tungsten Ektachrome 35mm film. The ISO is 160 for this film, which for me is a little odd since I’ve only shot 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600 speed film. So that was new. The film has been expired since 2009 but was cold stored according to the eBay listing, which explains why some images are a bit grainy.

When shooting this particular film, keep in mind that it is color slide film and that you will need to find a lab that will develop it. Going to your local CVS or Walgreens or where-ever probably won’t get the job done.

I’m super excited about these images, I’m so relieved I knew what I was doing enough to have exciting results, and they are so dreamy and beautiful and ahhhhh I’m just really proud of myself okay? I’m looking forward to using my other roll on my trip here in London, especially now that I see the potential.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll return to ranting about London soon, don’t you fret. Happy Shooting!


1 thought on “Tungsten Tungsten Tungsten

  1. Pingback: Upon the Edge of the Cliffs of Dover | Deo Photography

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