Kodak Ektar 100: skin tone EI?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by ymc226, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. ymc226

    ymc226 Member

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    This is my first try at color in any film. I just bought Kodak Ektar 120 and need some advice on shooting outdoors regarding skin tones. Usually to get the skin tones in B&W in the shade I desire, I cut EI to half of what the box states.

    Do I do the same for color or do I just go with box speed? BTW I am using a Fuji GSW690III with a Voigtlander II reflectance meter.
     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Use the box speed. C-41 can be pushed and pulled with some losses. But why bother? The latitude of C-41 film is wide enough to cover most subject brightness range [SBR]. I do a lot of outdoor photography and I have had no problems with the box speed. I have not done long exposures in many years, so I am not current on C-41 reciprocity failure.

    Steve
     
  3. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I think it depends what look you're going for, but box speed or over expose half a stop should look OK I think.
     
  4. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    There are reports of this emulsion going blue in the shadows if underexposed or if the scene is lit from clear blue sky.
    This is common with most C41 so if pleasing skin tones are what you're after, filter for this if possible and I think 1/2 to 1 stop of over exposure will cover you.

    I haven't shot any Ektar yet (late to this party)but if skin was my priority I would go with a Portra.
     
  5. Markster

    Markster Member

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    Ektar 100 negative film (the new stuff) doesn't like over-exposure. It bleeds out and loses a number of colors. Expose at box speeds.

    Ektar so far seems to do skin tones just fine, though. I'm still shooting some rolls to develop, but my test roll looked good.
     
  6. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Ektar although a wonderful film and excellent for general photography it isn't the best film in the World for "skin tones" although acceptable Kodak Portra NC or Fuji Pro 160S are better for pure portraiture, having said that I would recommend with any film when shooting it for the first time should be shot at the boxed speed.
     
  7. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Ektar does not do well when under exposed.

    Ektar does not do well when over exposed.

    Hmmm ... may be the poster of post #2 knows something about shooting film at Box Speed. :wink:

    Steve
     
  8. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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  9. UKJohn

    UKJohn Subscriber

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    From my own personal experience I would rate Ektar at 50.

    The reason being when I first used the film I shot off a a couple of rolls at 100 using a variety of lighting scenarios and using both spot and incident light readings I found that the shadows were under exposed. Over exposing by one stop seems to work fine. The Russia images I have in my gallery are all shot on Ektar rated at 50 and I have made hand prints in a colour darkroom and had digital prints made both where good with no problems with printing or colour (in fact the hand printed ones looked excellent if I say so myself).

    John
     
  10. hrst

    hrst Member

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    I have no problems in underexposing or overexposing Ektar. It's a bit more contrasty than the Portra family, but still remarkably high in latitude. "Bleeding out" and "losing number of colors" is typical internet nonsense. What does those words mean anyway? First define the problems. Then check your workflow first if you have such problems. With today's color neg films, including Ektar, the film most probably has recorded the scene perfectly. Start printing RA-4 if you are not a nuclear physicist enough to be able to use scanners and scanner software :wink:.

    Also, OMG, shadows going blue. Come on, shadows ARE blue on sunny days. Ektar is saturation-enhancing film purposely, and by definition, like Velvia in the world of slide films. So of course it boosts blue shadows in sunny days, just like anything that boosts color saturation. If this is unwanted, select something else that does not boost saturation, like Portra 160NC or the new Portra 160.
     
  11. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Or filter for it.

    Our eyes adjust so we dont see open shade as inherently blueish even if that's what it really is.
     
  12. hrst

    hrst Member

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    If you filter for blue shadows, you end up having very orange non-shadows :smile:. This may or may not be desirable, again. You can filter between these, but if you want to avoid both, the only possibility is to reduce color saturation.

    Without filters, yes, the balance is much more on the side of blue shadows than orange light parts, so you may end up at a "better" overall balance with filtering and it may be closer to human vision in some cases. But, Ektar is quite warm to begin with.

    The problem has at least three aspects;
    1) Our eyes adjust for overall color temperature,
    2) Our eyes adjust locally for color temperature differences even in the same scene
    3) Compared to our eye vision, Ektar exaggerates color saturation, increasing the difference between blue shadows and orange sunlight in sunny day.

    As we all know, the difference between the color temperatures increases towards evening...

    Luckily, with color neg, you can mostly do the filtering afterwards. For this purpose, overexposure is recommended. So, overexposing allows for post-compensation against blue shadows, if it is what you want. So in this regard, the internet "legend" is correct. I just wanted to point out the reasoning.
     
  13. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    +1

    I've hit it at +4 to +5 stops. It got dense and hence noisy from flatbed scanning. But even the brightest clouds still hold detail.


    If you want saturation + contrast in highlights such as a sunset.. you spot meter those said highlights and expose for the spot meter reading.. no adjustment.
     
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  15. Sysygy

    Sysygy Member

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    I have a flickr group called Kodak Ektar Portraits

    There are many looks to this film. Many of the portraits are quite beautiful.
     
  16. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Color film goes blue/cyan in the shadows because shadows are that color. They are illuminated largely by sky light, which is blue. Normal daylight color balance (5500K or thereabout) is a combination of this same cool sky light with the warm color of sun light. In shadows or tungsten or cloudy days or whatever else, our brains do a lot of adjustment so that we don't see these colors all that extremely, but a film is not as smart as that. It is stuck at a single color balance and has no brain.

    Ektar, being a very vivid film, makes the blue shadows, or any off-daylight source of light, have an even more heavy cast than it normally would. So, it's not odd in that it "goes blue" in the shadows and cannot be corrected. All color films do that. It is just that it is a saturated film, so it will show any color cast more glaringly than most films.

    The best option for neutralizing it in the shadows is on-camera filtration. But in lieu of that, make sure the shadow areas get a healthy amount of exposure. You need to have enough dye density on all three layers of the film to allow you to have full control over color balance. Stated shortly, overexpose your film in off-daylight-colored light if you wish to attain a truly neutral color balance in the end.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2011
  17. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    I'd be curious to hear from those who wet print Ektar and also get blue/cyan shadows, more so than other negative film. Most of the complaints I've seen are from those who scan, and in my opinion, most of that could/should have been corrected out in Photoshop.

    I don't wet print color film and I have no issues with Ektar.
     
  18. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    ...not to mention discussed on DPUG instead of APUG. IMHO we really shouldn't be talking about films in relation to scanning here, and that includes using scans to judge the properties of a film. It's no real way to judge their properties as they pertain to analog printing methods. DPUG could really get rolling if the people who scan to print had their discussions there, and APUG would also benefit as a result. How many film problems posted here are indeterminable because of the variables associated with scanning?
     
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  19. Tim Gray

    Tim Gray Member

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    That's why I said I'd be interested to hear how people who wet print this film find the shadows. Do they get blue/cyan?
     
  20. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I have not used Ektar, but every other color film I have used shows blue shadows. I would expect nothing different from Ektar.
     
  21. Denverdad

    Denverdad Subscriber

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    A popular recommendation is that Caucasian skin should be rendered about 1 stop lighter than middle gray. If that is the shade that you are working towards, and if I understand your exposure strategy correctly to mean you rate the film at half speed while metering directly off of skin (i.e., without any adjustment to the metered value), then I think that you are actually rating your film at box speed to begin with. In other words you would obtain the same final result if you assumed box speed and used an exposure which placed skin tones at +1 relative to a middle tone. Assuming I have all that right (please correct me if I am wrong), then a suggestion for rating Ektar at box speed does not actually imply any change in the exposure you would have used with B&W.

    The shorter answer is that I don't think you need any exposure compensation relative to what you are doing now when you shoot in color; at least in terms of obtaining the same tonal relationships.
     
  22. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    I disagree, this is Analog Photography User's Group, not Analog Printing User's Group. A scanner is a tool, it can tell me about the density range, colour and other properties of a film. It can tell you properties about the film, which is useful to us, it doesn't need to say jack about analog printing to be relevant here.

    Making recommendations to people on APUG that is based on doing analog printing (when they've asked about film, not paper and it's clear they don't do analog printing (same as vast majority)) is unethical, especially when some of the people asking have incorporated the film into their workflow in a commercial sense and the advice ends up bad when analog printing is assumed when the vast majority of cases analog printing isn't done. I have seen many people make recommendations on how to treat someone's film that are based on analog printing as their default response to someone who obviously isn't doing analog printing but using film without making that clear to them - even when this person was using film in a commercial and critical scenario - that is really dodgy and unethical and it is an ignorant attitude to take. It is more likely to drive film users away to digital.

    Almost all film is scanned before display including printing. You would therefore end up seeing all discussions end up on DPUG even though majority of the questions and things being discussed by people are analog issues.


    DPUG is not for any kind of analog discussion.

    Things like colour correction belong on APUG, I can tell someone an image needs to be corrected towards magenta more because it is green.

    Things like how to colour correct a scan belong on DPUG. However every member of APUG, is an ambassador of APUG. Make it a better place. We want to see more people on here trying film for the first time. Without making it too hard on them and telling them printing is the only way or to go away, etc. You want these people to be enthusiastic about it and tell all their friends and other budding photography peers.


    Anything that relates to the film side belongs on APUG, not DPUG. DPUG isn't a place for it, it merely has a niche scanning subsection (which isn't for stuff relating to film, but scanner/scanning talk, not film developer talk with an aside about scanning that wouldn't be enough to make it relevant to a digital forum) under a site that caters for digital photographer's needs - unnecessary the site should be closed down, there is a million and one other digital photography forums.



    Being helpful is a virtue. On the other hand telling people to go elsewhere to a place that doesn't meet their needs is just *effed* in the head. That's harming the community at large and going to be bad for film user population and film usage at large. Because I am certain one reason APUG is here is to provide a commuity of peers to support analog photography users (and not just analog photography users that are financially well off enough to afford the time, space, and equipment to also be analog printing users), so that growth can be achieved in the uptake of any analog photographic tools and materials. I'd prefer my favoured materials for photography to stick around rather than be an elitist p***k (I'm not pointing this at you btw) about how they're supposed to be used.
     
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  23. hrst

    hrst Member

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    I partly agree. I think the best action towards both film usage AND analog printing is to tell the benefits of analog printing and why film users should at least try it; without assuming it as a default, because it isn't (unfortunately).

    I can only say that analog color printing from negatives is both easy and rewarding. In many cases, it also saves from many complicated hard-to-debug things. Letting the commercial labs do the printing is like rolling dice, and scanning as another option seems to be too difficult for many people. But RA-4 printing is surprisingly straightforward. You'll never have surprising problems with grain. You'll always have the same standard curves and contrast that have been designed to look good. You won't normally have color crossover or "purity" problems; color balancing works without messing up the colors like most image editing software do. Etc.

    I do both and I have high level of theoretical and also practical information on scanning and digital image processing, but still (or that's why) I prefer the method that is designed to work by engineers that knew what they are doing.
     
  24. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Athiril please drop it.

    You have been around long enough to know that discussing scans/scanning at APUG is a dead horse and bringing it up just breeds hate and discontent.

    DPUG is not anti analog, hybrid stuff belongs there. It is part of why it was started.
     
  25. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Agree. All Athiril did was ID the elephant in the room. I shoot film, as much and as often as I can. My lab uses a hi-end scan/print line. They're experienced custom printers, whether optical or digital, and their work is superb.I'm reasonably certain I'm not the only one here who uses such a service. Likewise, I don't get the dismissive snub about digital printing when the post was about film.
    Film shooters hereabouts can't have too many friends.
     
  26. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Where did the idea that discussion of film is off limits at DPUG come from? That is just not true, and one can see that if they visit DPUG.

    It's really much more simple than this: 1) Almost everything discussed here can be discussed at DPUG (though for certain things, APUG will generally give better information). DPUG is simply for those using anything from 99% to 0% analog methods and materials. 2) But not everything discussed on DPUG can be discussed here. This site is only for 100% analog methods and materials.

    Kind of like, "All insects are bugs, but not all bugs are insects." :D And we have all known that since pre-school.

    My point was simply that if a scanner is being used to judge ones film, then the discussion is more suited to DPUG, as that site covers both digital and hybrid methods. Talking about scanning here, and using scanners and computers to make general statements about films muddies too many threads on this site and runs the risk of breeding misconceptions about analog materials.

    If this means that 90 percent of APUGers really should be posting on DPUG, so be it. Both sites would be improved IMO. But habits and routines die hard. Good luck getting that to happen.

    At any rate, we've said our pieces, and let's just move back to helping the OP.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2011