Ektar 100 vs. Portra 160VC: an informal comparison

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by MikeSeb, Jul 18, 2009.

  1. MikeSeb

    MikeSeb Member

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    For you C-41 shooters I've posted a few thoughts about these two films on my blog here.

    I'd welcome your opinions also about Ektar in comparison with other films. I've shot little transparency film in my day--personal preference and habit only. I've heard some say that Ektar reminds them of Kodachrome; do you experienced Kodachrome shooters agree?

    Thanks for reading, and for your feedback.
     
  2. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Ektar does not remind me of Kodachrome that much. It seems like it is *trying*, but falling short...not that it is a bad film or anything; just not like Kodachrome. Besides, in order to really make the comparison, we would have to view prints from both films. I don't think that comparing an RA print to a directly-viewed transparency is a useful comparison for any *practical* purpose. For practical purposes, this means comparing litho prints made from each, as we would see in a magazine, for instance.

    I think that E100VS is closer to Kodachrome (25 and 64), and is also directly comparable on a light box.

    P.S. Waffle House - yah! We can't get sweet tea out here in the sticks, so trips back east are always appreciated for Waffle House sweet tea, if nothing else.
     
  3. james23p

    james23p Member

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    I shoot a ton of Kodachrome and it is my primary film and will be until Dec 2010. But as far as print film goes Ektar 100 is the first C41 film that has excited me I have even shot a few rolls of the 120 version and it sure is a wow factor as far as I am concerned. Does it look like Kodachrome well nothing seems to look like Kodachrome but it is closer than other C41 film out there. This is a very good film I will use it alot when Kodachrome goes away along with Ektachrome E100G.

    Jim

    PS I love the pool shots great color and sharpness!
     
  4. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    I'll add my grain of salt with some earlier comments on APUG abour Portra VC, Ektar, and Ektachrome VS

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum40/63474-new-ektar-100-vs-160vc-4.html#post817112

    I do agree about the dull days colour cast, though (all examples 35mm Ektar 100, neg scan, Contax IIa with 50mm f/1.5 Sonnar, KR1.5 filter). The sky can get a bit magenta as well:

    [​IMG]

    With Ektar, you'd better look for saturated colours if the light is dull:

    [​IMG]

    I shot Ektar on a very dull Fall day last year, interested in seeing how it would saturate colours, but it changed little:

    [​IMG]

    In the following shot, I'm satisfied with the saturation of the bright colours, but the competition with the greenish/magenta cast due to the dull day is annoying:

    [​IMG]

    I have not had the chance yet to print Ektar 100 on RA-4, but will do so very soon to see how much the cast can be filtered out.
     

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  5. Admbws

    Admbws Member

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    So we're comparing scans? Scans with auto-white/colour-balancing presumably?

    With all due respect, unless your scanner has been properly profiled these tests are indeed informal. Nevertheless substantially better than the "I just got these scans back from the drugstore and this film is awful!" threads seen on various forums.

    It's a shame Kodak doesn't release high-res "textbook" scans to show us exactly what their films can do when they put easy "scanability" on the feature list. I imagine the lack of any proper scanning standards is a major obstacle.

    Anyone tried printing this film optically?
     
  6. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Color casts in overcast light are too be expected on any film, and are always exaggerated on the more saturated and contrastier films. The films are balanced for somewhere in the neighborhood of 5K, and overcast days do not have a 5K color of light.
     
  7. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Anyone know the color temperture of an overcast sky?

    Steve
     
  8. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    It varies. Usually cooler than a clear noon day by around 1,000 to 2,000K.

    As for the color of the sky on the print, that is up to you.
     
  9. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Thanks, that is what I was thinking.

    Steve
     
  10. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Let's see your RA4 prints, then.
     
  11. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Sure thing.

    If you want to use filters over the camera lens to handle this, a color meter will tell you the ambient color temperature for the particular overcast day in question. Otherwise, just make a guess in the neighborhood of one of the aforementioned color temps, I suppose. 81A, 81B, or 81C are good guesses.
     
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  12. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Using filters to correct for cool light on an overcast day will cause the same colour cast in the sky as it does when you correct on the enlarger. If you are shooting transparencies then finding a good middle ground may be a good idea, but it is not like correcting for an interior shot with mixed lighting. Or it is just like it if the interior has unfiltered light seen through a window. The window light will look nice and pink or cyan/blue depending on what you are correcting for. The big difference is that the temp change on an overcast day is far less (I'd be surprised if it were as much as 2k) and the sky isn't actually white but has a light tone and can/will pick up the filtration just like the window.

    If it is a print do a colour dodge or burn on the bit that is not what you like. For a trany maybe an nd Gr on the sky.

    Meanwhile, I don't think, other than reds that Kodachrome was all that saturated at least nothing like what is being made today (maybe like EPP). I've found it to have great tonal range and local contrast throughout especially in reds where other films seem to fall down.
     
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  13. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Yes, I developed the habit from shooting 4x5 transparencies. I generally do it on neg film too, if I am using a tripod and such. I figure I may as well, since I have the proper filters in my case anyhow. I want to apply the CC to the sky and everything else in the picture equally. The same CC that will make the ground look pretty much how it looks will also make the sky look pretty much like it looks. The problem is thinking that a sky will turn out neutral, when you can look right at it in person and see that it is not really neutral at all.

    +2,000 K over clear noon light is indeed a large jump for mid day...but time of day does matter as well, as does the vastly variable definition of "overcast". I view it as everything from thin clouds, to fog, to storms-a-comin'...anything in which the light is coming entirely through the clouds instead of directly from the sun.