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06-30-2009, 01:39 PM   #1
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My first try at Ektar

I've been excited about Ektar since it was announced, and have finally gotten around to shooting a couple of rolls of it. I put the Ektar through my Pentax MZ-7. I used a pair of lenses -- the F 35-70 and the FAJ 18-35. One of the things that I like about the 35-70 is the 49mm filter size, which let me test the Ektar with and without filtration. As some test results showed that Ektar renders shadows quite bluish (which is accurate), I suspected I would prefer it shot with a Tiffen 812. Like most C41 films, the Tiffen 812 nicely warms the picture without appearing ridiculous, and I now consider it mandatory to get the best from this film.

Here it is without any filtration:



And here's the same shot with the Tiffen 812:




Ektar is quickly becoming known for it's beautiful blues. I find the blues saturated, but accurate to what I saw on the day.



As light levels drop, so does the saturation. In addition, it has less exposure latitude than a regular C41 film. A more pedestrian film might have preserved a bit more image at the extreme ends of the curve.




Oh, but those delicious colours! Ektar really does challenge my favourite colour film (Ektachrome E100VS) for delivering the "pop" that I love.



Even without the Tiffen 812 (as in these shots taken with the FAJ 18-35) I found Ektar to deliver an image that is more like transparency/slide film. I suspect that was Kodak's plan, because Ektar 100 can help fill the gap left by Kodachrome and potentially replace Ektachrome for some uses. Ektar delivers a transparency look that can be developed in any C41 minilab and scans well.




Even though I prefer this film with the Tiffen 812, you can see that the film is not overly blue in the shadows. This was a very overcast day. I think careful scanning by a lab you trust will be important (as it always is.) I had these rolls processed and scanned by Downtown Camera who are my favourite C41 lab.





In this shot, you can see how quickly the skies blow out. The skies that day were dark and textured cloudy -- I expected a C41 film to preserve at least some of that texture in the highlights.






Much to my surprise, I like having the "panoramic" switch on the MZ-7. I know I am simply throwing away film area by masking the top and bottom of the frame -- but seeing the frame already cropped helps me visualize the image. I also comfort myself that Panorama on the MZ-7 has more film area than Panorama on my old Canon Elph APS camera!




The secret to shooting with an 18mm lens on a full frame 35mm body? Get VERY VERY CLOSE to your subject!



Another pano:




And one last shot.



06-30-2009, 04:37 PM   #2
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great shots! I was wondering for Downtown camera, what kinda resolution files did they give you back?
06-30-2009, 05:21 PM   #3
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I'm gonna make a thread about panorama mode as soon as I get my films scanned. Love that closed fiewfinder

The ektar looks nice and the colors are saturated, but nowhere as much as Superia 400 (totally different class?). My first roll of Ektar is on my MZ-L, the 'luxury film' holder . Looking forward to finishing it

By the way... does it matter much where you process films? By that I mean a proper camera lab vs costco / superstore. Does the way the film is developed (not printed) affect the final scanned results later?
06-30-2009, 05:53 PM   #4
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I shot a roll of Ektar through my Spotmatic over the weekend, got the prints from Wolf and they look....blue. Nasty. I have to scan the negatives to see if it's them or the negatives. If it's them, they will be doing some re-printing.

06-30-2009, 07:36 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote

...By the way... does it matter much where you process films? By that I mean a proper camera lab vs costco / superstore. Does the way the film is developed (not printed) affect the final scanned results later?
There has been some intermittent discussion regarding processing on a few other threads. I had been having mine processed at Costco. The first couple of rolls were simply sterling, though the scans suffered a little from smoothing and sharpening artifact. The next several roll were poorly developed (poor density, low contrast, poor color saturation, and prominent grain (some frames) with even worse scans. I don't know what changed. I sort of think that they are pushing the limits on replenishing their soup. Either that or they have a maintenance issue.

I took the next roll to Target and the development was much better but the scans were significantly lower resolution than Costco. I was going to take the next roll to Walgreens (yes, I know...bottom feeding...), but found out that the local camera repair guy (Knight Camera Repair) is an agent for the processing lab at Blue Moon in Portland. They have a top-notch lab so I am eagerly waiting to get my first roll back from them. They are almost twice as expensive as Costco, so I skipped the scans. I will batch process the roll through the 5000 ED at low resolution to get proof images. The negatives should be back tomorrow. With any luck there will be a significant improvement.

Steve
06-30-2009, 07:38 PM   #6
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good report, i have been reluctant to try ektar b/c i like using 400 speed film and because a lot of the pictures i saw initially had a pastel cast, however your photos are looking good so far.

as to the blown highlights, that is more likely the mediocre ability of most photolab scanners. compare http://simonsays.zenfolio.com/newyork2008/h3cedbb3d#h3cedbb3d a DTC scan vs http://simonsays.zenfolio.com/hirescan/h2797be12#h2797be12 Coolscan V

QuoteOriginally posted by FotoPete Quote
great shots! I was wondering for Downtown camera, what kinda resolution files did they give you back?
hi-res is 3000x2000 although the resolution is high, it's actually not that sharp. i actually stopped going there b/c the colors on my scans with fuji film were not very good. and their chrome scans are poor, how they can actually give those scans to me in good faith i have no clue.

Last edited by k100d; 06-30-2009 at 07:47 PM.
07-01-2009, 05:31 AM   #7
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They give 3000x2000, or 6 megapixel, files.

While I like the C41 scans from downtown, I agree that their E6 scans are abysmal. K100D, where do you get your stuff souped and scanned?

Andi Lo, Costco development actually made me give up shooting film for a number of years. Before I was serious about photography, I had taken a dozen rolls of film on vacation in England and Scotland, and Costco did a terrible job. They obviously were using exhausted chemistry, and the scans were as poor as the developing. I used a compact digital camera after that to avoid minilab processing. Since getting serious about photography, I have found Downtown to be the best compromise for me --- their C41 development is always consistent, I like the look of their Noritsu scans (not overly sharpened like all the Fuji Frontier scans) and their price is reasonable. They are also very conveniently located for me. Now they have also proven that they can properly process and scan Ektar, which seems to be a tricky film.

Ironically, I tried using Toronto Image Works (the highly recommended lab owned by Ed Burtynsky) but I was underwhelmed by the results and the price.

Last edited by filmamigo; 07-01-2009 at 05:40 AM.
07-01-2009, 06:34 AM   #8
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I sent in a roll of Ektar for processing just yesterday, will post results when I get it back. I used A&I for this first roll.

07-01-2009, 08:23 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by filmamigo Quote
where do you get your stuff souped and scanned?
i go to elpro now, they do a good job and are very friendly. i find my 400H scans aren't too sharp, but a bit of USM cures that. so far so good.
07-01-2009, 08:32 AM   #10
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Filmamigo,

Your images look ok, some of the better ektar images I have seen, but aside from the blues, it is the reds that get me. Look at that crazy red/orange taxi in your last image. That red looks like my singers red shirt

As for processing, I find that Target does a good enough job for me and when I have a special shot, I will scan it myself and pp it myself, but I prefer to have them good from the get go.
07-01-2009, 01:21 PM   #11
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@filamingo, stevebrot: thanks for the answers I guess I'll only give my 'luxury films' to the better labs. The Superia 400s and Kodak golds I eat up for fun every week will stay at superstore... can't afford weekly pro processing
07-01-2009, 11:32 PM   #12
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Hi,
I sent a roll of Ektar to a local pro lab and got the negatives back today. As I suspected, processing makes a big difference and as the OP noted, Ektar is very much a daylight balanced film that goes cool in even light shadow. The pleasant surprise was that proper development brings out significant subtlety in color rendition with this film.

I have posted the shots on the " Lets see those film shots" thread (Link Here), but will leave couple of small teasers here as well...





Steve

(Usually does not cross post...but is very excited about this outcome...)
07-01-2009, 11:35 PM   #13
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Steve, By far and away, you have put out the best ektar 100 images I have ever seen. Somehow you even managed to control that crazy red channel. Impressed I am to say the least. I need to get some more and go at it again.
07-01-2009, 11:55 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jgredline Quote
Steve, By far and away, you have put out the best ektar 100 images I have ever seen. Somehow you even managed to control that crazy red channel. Impressed I am to say the least. I need to get some more and go at it again.
Thanks for the thumbs up! I am pretty convinced that the "awful red" is an artifact of development in old soup, though my next roll may very well prove me wrong . Kodak has a history of marketing "pro" grade films that are picky about development. Ektar 100 may well fall into that category.

Steve

BTW...I really appreciate the OP for his thoughtful comments at the beginning of this thread. The more people that give Ektar a try and share their experiences, the better we all will get at using this new material.
07-02-2009, 07:01 AM   #15
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Stevebrot, nice images! Those are really beautiful, I am glad you shared.

The more I see, the more I am intrigued by Ektar. Totally agree with your comment that it is possible to capture a wide gradation of colour. It's an interesting film - it manages to be saturated like E100VS but it does not "block up" and deliver ungradated chunks of colour the way that E100VS does. Now, sometimes I like that look, but for subjects like your flowers, the Ektar is much more successful.

Jgredline, I wouldn't judge Ektar by the ugly orange taxi cab in my last picture. Perhaps someone from Toronto can chime in, but it seems pretty accurate to me. The cabs in Toronto really are that ugly and garish.
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