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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What is this crossover effect everyone is referring to?
I would totally agree with this. And i'm in the Pac. Northwest.
Originally Posted by wblynch
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.
Originally Posted by Wolfeye
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:
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
I use Ektar, and its really punchy as everyone says. I like it, but I agree that it is designed for scanning. Here is one of mine off a Noritsu scanner straight from my lab