Kodak Ektar 100 and where to get processed?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Andrew Moxom, Aug 3, 2011.

  1. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Subscriber

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    Okay, I am shaking a few things up here by trying out a pro-pack of the Kodak Ektar 100 color neg film in 120.... As I'm normally a B&W shooter only, I've not done color work for absolutely ages.. Likely over 10 years! I've been kindly asked by my wife to make some color shots of our eldest son for his senior year school year book (NO PRESSURE THERE!) I cannot remember the last color neg film I tried. At any rate, where is a good place to get this film processed? With so many places shutting their color lines down, and with this being medium format, my options have dwindled significantly. For now, I am just wanting the film developed, and will scan it myself for sending in files and will likely have those digital files printed later.

    Also, how are people rating this film? At box speed, or otherwise?? Is there anything finnicky about this film that I am not aware of? Special filters needed to adjust color temp etc??

    I've searched a few threads that show this film has some color casts in home C-41 kits, and some people are not too happy with it overall. So just needed to know what I can expect...

    Thanks!

    Andy
     
  2. Greg Davis

    Greg Davis Subscriber

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    It has a unique color palette, and I rate it at 100. I have used home kits without any problems, but if you want a pro lab, try Dale Laboratories in Hollywood, FL. They do a great job and take film from all over.
     
  3. RPC

    RPC Member

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    It is great film for scenics and outdoor use, with strong color saturation. But for people shots Portra 160 might be a better choice with it more normal saturation, for more realistic skin tones. But it you are scanning it maybe you can adjust.

    I have made a prints in my darkroom with Ektar and have had no color problems as yet.

    RPC
     
  4. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    Ektar might be a little punchy and saturated for portraits, nonetheless, i'd suggest Richard Photo Lab in LA. It takes about 3 weeks, but supposedly they're the best on the west coast.
     
  5. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    I'd shoot it about 1/2 to full stop slower than box speed (over expose). Any time I rated it at or above box speed, I found I got a cyan/magenta cast I couldn't get rid of. Slightly over exposing did the trick for me.
     
  6. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I shoot it at box speed. Precision Camera or North Coast Photo (NCPS) both do a good job processing and will give you a decent price on scans. If you choose Precision, go to Rangefinderforum and find the ad on that site on the left of the screen.
     
  7. stavrosk

    stavrosk Member

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    Ektar is just a bit too colourful for such an occasion I have to say.
     
  8. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I've shot Ektar in everything from 35mm to 8X10. Right now I'm printing 4x5 and 8X10 sheets onto CAII
    20X24 and getting superb results. The problem with blue is easily corrected, but ideally should be done at the time of the shot. If significant, it's hard to correct afterwards. Rather than shooting at a lower ASA to get enough density to the layer, simply use the appropriate warming filter per a color temp meter reading or comparable experience. I carry and 81A and 81C. Then shoot at box speed (100) with the appropriate filter correction,of course. I have my C-41 dev by Lightwaves in SF.
     
  9. Lee L

    Lee L Member

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    Call West Photo and National Camera Exchange (the downtown pro store, not a suburban branch) and ask to speak with their pro reps. Ask the rep who's doing the best C-41 in town that still does 120 and 4x5. They should know because they'd still be selling any 120 that pros are shooting and have some idea about labs. I'd go in town before shipping halfway across the country. Mpls - St. Paul should still have enough going to have at least one good lab doing C-41, although runs may be spaced out a few days. (National put a huge 3-4 mm wide scar across the C-41 4x5 negative of my brother's wedding photo (1981 or so) that went across his face and his bride's, so don't use their in-house lab if they still have one.)

    If you don't get anything from West or National, shoot me a PM and I'll put you in touch with some local commercial studios that might have an ear to the ground.

    Lee
     
  10. rjbuzzclick

    rjbuzzclick Member

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    I take mine to Universal Color, Inc. in New Hope, MN. (www.universalcolor.com). I believe that they do all of National Camera's processing now.
     
  11. RPC

    RPC Member

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    Cyan/magenta = blue
     
  12. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    There must be a lab in the state capital that can process the film dip and dunk for you, if not even closer to you. Have you tried the Yellow Pages for a local lab? If nothing else, "word on the street" is that when Wal-Mart receives medium format film for processing, they send it to an honest-to-goodness Fujifilm U.S.A. lab for processing. If that really is the case, it couldn't be that bad of an option.

    Not to stray off topic too much, but I would really not use Ektar for senior portraits, unless it is going to be purposefully contrasty and saturated. Heck, I don't even like it for most landscapes, where many people seem to love it. I like it for certain still life pictures (purposefully garish ones), and that is about it, for the most part.

    Additionally, the process for Ektar is no different than for any other color negative film. It should name the process right on the backing paper or film cassette, so lab techs know what to do with it. Based on threads here on APUG, many lab owners seem to have told customers that it needs special processing, but this is just not true. So, while I definitely recommend quality professional processing, it does not need to go to a special lab just because it is Ektar.

    I am also not sure medium format is warranted by the situation. I think 35mm would be just fine. The quality of modern films is outstanding; 35mm can be pushed quite far. And let's face it: yearbook printing is not going to be top notch anyhow. It will mask any advantages medium format might have.

    It helps to filter all color films, even negative ones, in off-colored lighting. But because Ektar is contrasty and saturated, it is even more important with this product than with many other color neg films. For light open shade, I'd at least use one of the heavier 81 series filters. For deep shade, I'd go all the way to an 85+82 filter combination. Overcast weather will play hell with this film too.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 3, 2011
  13. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

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    Very helpful. My point was that I get sometimes both--I've had some rolls that I slightly underexposed with cyan and other rolls with magenta, and as far as I could tell, no rhyme or reason.

    I began to overexpose by 1/2 stop and found that they looked perfect.
     
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  15. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    It is probably from shooting in color temps other than 5,500K, or whatever the film is balanced for. The extra exposure you gave the film likely made accurate color correction possible by giving all the color layers adequate exposure.
     
  16. SkipA

    SkipA Member

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    My high school senior photos were shot in a studio on sheet film. If I recall correctly (big if) it was 5x7. The prints were color, but I have no idea if it was negative or positive film. I knew next to nothing about photography at the time, but I loved shooting my 126 instamatic. I'd never seen or even heard of view cameras or sheet film or sheet film holders before. I recall grilling the photographer constantly throughout my sitting.
     
  17. RPC

    RPC Member

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    I have heard of complaints of shadows going excessively blue on Ektar, and have seen it myself in some prints I have made but accepted it because the shots were on a sunny day and the blue skylight would be expected to cause some blue in the shadows. Add to that the fact that Ektar is a high saturation film, and this would cause the blue in the shadows to pop out just like everything else. That is my theory of why some users are reporting this. Someone correct me if there is a reason why this wouldn't be so.

    The characteristic curves on Kodak's website show the yellow layer curve to be slightly higher in contrast than the magenta and cyan, so if anything this should be causing the shadows to go yellow. But I know of no one reporting that. Perhaps Kodak deliberately designed the film this way to help minimize the blue in shadows.

    RPC
     
  18. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    In addition to all the "Ektar isn't the best portrait film" replies (adding that both of the new Portras are excellent, assuming you want to stick with Kodak), I should add that "scanning and attempting to get good skin tones off C-41 is really hard if you haven't done it before" and that I personally find Ektar much harder than other films to get good skin tones from a neg scan. So you might want to avail yourself of your lab's scanning services, at least for that one important shoot.
     
  19. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    If you're shooting portraits of you're son I recommend the new Kodak Portra 160 rated at the boxed speed, the colour palate and skin tone rendition are superb, Ektar is a wonderful extremely sharp and saturated film that great for general photography, but would not be my first choice for people pictures.
     
  20. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Ektar isn't garish and balances skin tones when you colour balance the film. It's more realistic than Portra which fiddles with the colour to give you a wide range of colour balance/grading options while prettying up someone's skin.

    I once read the argument on here something along the lines of Ektar making someone's face really red and patchy - they were referring to an old weathered face that was in reality like that, where as they said Portra didn't do that and gave normal looking skin <- In which case Portra didn't give normal looking skin as the subjects skin didn't actually look like that, where as Ektar faithfully reproduced the flaws.


    If your skin tones on Ektar are close to real life saturated red objects your colour balance is way off.

    They're no where near a saturated red subject.

    Eg;
    [​IMG]
    Me Aerial Filming by athiril, on Flickr



    If you're doing something like trying to shoot nice smooth portraits in hard lit direct sun conditions with harsh shade across a face, then I would think bigger differences would be had by working on your skill and knowledge as a photographer.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2011
  21. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    Ektar 100 is a great film, and I have had good results from both Dwains photo, and Milford Photo with 120 format when I had it processed and scanned by both of these places.

    Something I have not had good luck with when using Ektar 100 is scanning myself. I don't know what equipment you have, but if your thinking flatbed scanner at home think again. Let the people that do it all the time and have the right equipment that gets calibrated regularly scan this film for you. Having the lab scan the film is only a few dollars and we are talking about a handful of rolls that you will only be shooting for this once in a lifetime event. If you don't like the lab's scans you can always scan yourself, but once you get your film from the lab it is a lot harder to get them to scan it.
     
  22. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I think Athiril is talking about something I once said. I shoot photos of old people - Ektar exaggerates the ruddy complexion and makes faces look like they're glowing with bluster. Portra tones down the ruddiness and flatters faces. Old people like this effect but they don't like to see their ruddy, patchy faces glowing like they've had too much sun or alcohol. However, if you're photographing pale skinned young kids I'll bet even Fortia would render the skin nicely.
     
  23. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

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    Pro labs in Mpls have been dropping like flies.

    National Camera does c41 35mm in house, I believe everything else goes to Universal. West does C41 35mm in house, don't know about 120.

    I haven't used Universal very much recently (maybe 1-2 rolls of E6 in the last year), but I'd be comfortable using them. I think they do enough volume to keep fresh, but no so much that they lose sight of what they're doing.

    I think Mpls Photo Center may do C41 too.
     
  24. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    It's a user issue not a scanner issue, it takes about 10 seconds to dial in corrections. The image I posted was scanned on a flatbed with the scan utility it shipped with.

    Bigger issue is using poor quality monitor that isn't calibrated. You can't see what you're actually correcting to.
     
  25. Coffeehound

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    I have had some really good results from The Darkroom out west in CA. I thought they were advertising here but can't find any links. I would suggest that you click on any of the many partners and or sponsors and such here on the board. They are committing their money time and good name to help keep this board alive.
    Jackie
     
  26. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Do you mean these guys:

    http://www.darkroomlab.com/

    That's the lab I use and have been happy with them for many years!

    I didn't know they are sponsors... but they should seriously consider that if they are not.