Ektar – A Dream come True or Total Fail?
Kodak says,…Kodak Ektar is their finest grain film and perfect for scanning. Really? OK, I’ll bite. Well, it certainly has rich colors, As rich as Velvia 50 at twice the speed? I wouldn’t go that far, but close. Actually, I should just say “different”. It’s also available in ALL formats, so I guess Kodak is pretty confident in it’s abilities. But, in fact, it’s a very versatile film. A completely different feel from Portra. And while it’s saturated color palette is at the forefront, it’s no Velvia. But who shoots Velvia or Kodachrome anymore? As Fujifilm is killing off more films, I’m surprised people can still find Velvia. However, Fujifilm does make more money on their Instax cameras than all their film, papers and digital cameras combined!
Of course, being ISO 100 is fairly slow, so it should have fine grain,…and it does. It scans extremely well. The grain you do see, (at least from a 35mm Nikon F4s), is that pleasant film grain some of us actually strive for. Do not confuse this with digital noise. In the larger formats, it’s pretty much non-existent.
It does produce vivid colors. Whether this is a good or bad thing is totally dependent on your style and what you’re shooting. Yes, it can be adjusted in Photoshop, but then what’s the point? Some people are fine with this workflow, some are not. So, disregard my even mentioning it. If you want a lower contrast and a film more amicable to skin tones,…especially ‘ruddy’ skin tones, (reddish), use Portra. On the other hand, if you’re looking for that “pop”, you’ve got it in Ektar.
Contrast is high and great. Especially with any Zeiss lens camera. It’s actually noticeable. But if you’re using a low contrast lens, (Holga, etc) this film may just do the trick of increasing your contrast levels. Should you want that.
Up to about 1-2 seconds, no problem. However, anything past that and I would test. It’s not on the top of the heap in reciprocity failure. But then, I don’t know what you’re doing artistically.
I find an actual 3 stops underexposure and 1 1/2 stops over exposure to be about it’s limits. I would NOT use this film in particularly low light. But it does do well with flash or strobe. Use a tripod if you’re going to use lower shutter speeds. Believe it or not, this film is pretty much great for everything,…even fashion, where you have saturated colors. I would only steer it away from portraiture, but even that is dependent on the persons skin color.
Kodak Ektar Conclusion
So, Kodak is not lying. It is a great all around film, and the whites and blacks are detailed and natural. So give it a go. A great lab will make all the difference. Find Ektar Film