Is it me, or is it Ektar?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by newcan1, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    I've seen some of the threads here concerning Ektar 100, and impressions seem to vary from "greatest thing since sliced bread" to "Kodak was having a bad hair day".

    I tried some recently, as I thought it might be a good film to take to England with me next week. But my results were not good.

    Basically, I have a lot of color crossover. If I try to get the filtration right for most tones, the shadow areas end up very blue. The film seems to need more red filtration than others. But the crossover is the killer. Portra, on the other hand, is quite easy to print with.

    I've heard about color casts with Ektar, but is crossover in shadow areas a common problem? Or perhaps it is my developing - but I have not had this problem with other films.

    I'd be interested in reactions. Meanwhile, I think instead I'll be tapping my vast quantities of unperforated Portra 160 instead, and my trusty Nikkormat (converted to non-perf film) is going to have to be my travel companion.
     
  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Ektar 100 is both contrasty and oriented toward colour saturation.

    And in real life, shadows often are a bit blue (open shade lighting).

    So Ektar tends to make the blueness of shadows quite obvious.

    It isn't really crossover - instead it is just accentuating the situation when scenes are receiving illumination from multiple sources.

    If you expose Ektar 100 in the studio with controlled lighting, you won't see blue shadows.
     
  3. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    Well then maybe I need to find a different use for it. The scenes I had most trouble with were open landscapes with hills in the background, where the hills would be too blue. Maybe it would be better for things like urban scenes on an overcast day. I can use it in studio also, but that is not what I bought it for.
     
  4. Stew

    Stew Member

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    Try a warming filter on your camera and I think your problem will go away.
     
  5. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    How does a warming filter solve color crossover the OP is finding?
     
  6. Fixcinater

    Fixcinater Subscriber

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    I recently processed my first roll of Ektar (35mm), I was likewise surprised by the saturation and tendency for shadows to go very blue. In an image editing software program I was able to warm the shadows without throwing off midrange and higher tones, but I have not done any optical color printing so I'm no help there.
     
  7. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Member

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  8. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    Ron, my problem is that when the world is indeed a sunny day, the shadows are blue! And the rest of the colors, while saturated, are not really very pleasant.
     
  9. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I tried Ektar 120 recently when I bought a Bronica and the 1st roll was dreadful. I processed it for the normal time at the normal temperature but it looked to way over developed with hellish contrast. There was as you describe very blue shadow areas - not dense shadows that could not be dialed out using filtration, because then it became overall yellow.

    I think it was a problem of some degree of over development, despite processing it as per normal which gave rise to 'crossed curves' (where the three colours develop at different rates, not what they are designed to) What was also of note was the base colour of the film was a darkish brown, not orange as I normally get on other films. The later films were a little better but not perfect in that respect. Even scanning it was little better and the roll will stay with me as a reminder what a failure looks like

    The 2nd roll was better when exposed on a dull day and the third roll also exposed on a day with subdued sunlight wasn't bad either. I have yet to make any 'proper' prints but when I do I will scan and upload them. I will not be using Ektar again.
     
  10. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    My base color was orange, not brown. But the rest of your experience is similar to mine.

    I'll take a couple of rolls of 120 with me and try it on urban scenes with even lighting, but otherwise, I'm going with Portra and a few other things (Fuji F-500 movie stock, among others - which I've found to be an outstanding fine grained film when shot at 160 ASA - and maybe some Kodak Vision2 250D).
     
  11. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    In terms of what to use in future I'd say that based on your experience and that of BMbikerider the answer is obvious, stick with Portra. I recall an article with pictures by Roger Hicks who seemed to show that it was relatively easy to produce "strange effects" with Ektar. Unless you arrive in the U.K. at our very sunny and bright period of the year and who knows when that will be then I'd be wary of a 100 speed film anyway irrespective of Ektar problems

    pentaxuser
     
  12. boswald

    boswald Member

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    Ektar is a high contrast film, so your process must be dead on and your light sources the same colour. Shoot some colour patches to check your process, and then try some different conditions. The price you pay(as in b&w) for fine grain and high sharpness is that with a contrasty film, changes happen very quickly. This is not crossover, this is actually a sometimes uncomfortable level of accuracy. Our brains make a lot of adjustments without telling us- we 'know' that the shadowed part of an object is the same colour in a Platonic sense, but the actual reflected light is dependant on the light falling on the object. There is a reason why low contrast films are popular with wedding photographers. You not only have lighting issues on both sides of a face, you have multiple complexions in a group shot, and you are never allowed to make the blue and green people blue or green, but you must keep the ruddy from looking hypertensive(or crazy).
    So, Portra will make you look good, but you must make Ektar look good. That being said, you want a finicky film when setting up or checking your processes.
     
  13. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Ektar works beautifully in Los Angeles and Las Vegas light. Maybe not for North Europe and the British Isles.

    I would love to hear from South America for their impressions.
     
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  15. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    Haven't had problems with it here in the Seattle area either. But, then again, my favorite film is the now dearly departed Fujicolor Pro 160C, which was essentially a C41 version of Velvia.

    -J
     
  16. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    I like Ektar as a scanned film. I've only printed it optically once and after the "Oww my eyes!" reaction at first, I kinda liked it. It excels as a scanned film though, where you can more easily correct casts and shadows and such. That is, if you like contrasty colorful images. Some folks just plain don't like that look and Ektar will never be the film for them.
     
  17. RPC

    RPC Member

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    I develop Ektar myself and print it optically and just don't see the blue shadows talked about. I have plotted its curves and see no more crossover than any other film. As has been indicated any blue in the shadows people are seeing may be due to blue reflection from the sky enhanced by its saturation. It would take a lot of crossover to cause users to voice the complaints they have had but I do not measure it. I use Kodak chemistry, perhaps other chemistries cause it.
     
  18. Kilgallb

    Kilgallb Subscriber

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    What is this crossover effect everyone is referring to?
     
  19. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    I would totally agree with this. And i'm in the Pac. Northwest.
    This is the key. Ektar was designed for scanning. In my experience, it works best when exposed as if it were ISO 50 film. Warms it up a bit, and removes the blue tones that it can get. I'm in the crowd that says Ektar is the best thing since sliced bread.

    This is way contrasiter and punchier than Portra by a long shot, and IMO the color is unreal from what you'd historically get from color negative. Straight Noritsu scans, from the best lab in the world, Richard Photo Lab:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    Agfa made a 25ISO colour neg film about 20 years ago. The grain was almost non existent, but the contrast and colour saturation was off the clock. It had zero latitude in both the exposure and development stages. It was sharp as hell but totally unmanageable. I think I used it twice then never again. Almost a forerunner of Ektar in all respects.

    Like you I am resorting to Portra after this but if it doesn't come up to scratch it is back to Fuji again
     
  21. mr rusty

    mr rusty Subscriber

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  22. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I like Ektar, I understand it was Kodak's effort to make a C41 film with the characteristics of a slide film. I think they did pretty well, and it might be the first colour film I use in 4x5.
     
  23. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    I guess I could try shooting it at ISO 50. But then I could use Vision3 50D instead, also virtually grainless but I've had a lot of luck with the ECN-2 stocks. Contrast can be managed upwards in RA4 printing (by adding hydrogen peroxide), but regrettably, not downward.

    I'm also wondering if Ektar is intolerant of even the slightest processing error. Maybe it is a film that should always be sent to a professional lab, or at least always only Kodak developer used.

    As for Fuji, how different was the Pro C film from the Pro S? I have lots of Pro S, but I'm not sure if I like the grain.

    And as for the Ektar, I have been printing it on Crystal Archive C, which I get good results on with Portra; maybe I should try printing on Portra Endura, which I also have on hand.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2013
  24. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Not only do shadows in open shade tend toward blue so do objects in the distance due to light scatter which removes much of the red component of daylight light. Nature does her own thing whether we like it or not.

    A word of warning, never use a new film or camera on an important trip. Wait until you become familiar with what is new.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 31, 2013
  25. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    Just overexpose it a stop and see what happens. It'll be better.
     
  26. RPC

    RPC Member

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    Try adding sulfite to the developer or lowering the pH.