Ektar - a bit dissapointed

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by david_waugh|3, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. I know there 's been a lot of talk about Ektar, but I wanted to share my 2c worth. I've heard people call it "the 'new' chrome" and boy they aren't wrong! No latitude at all! Here in Australia there is no Ektar so I ordered a 5 pack in120 from the US. Very excited to finally try it out, but I have to say I am disappointed with my results. The colour seems sooo off and there's a sort of harshness to it. I absolutely LOVE Portra and perhaps in a way I was just expecting a finer-grained, more saturated version of that.
    So what do you think - have other people warmed to it immediately, or is it an acquired taste? Does it get better of time as you get used to it? Perhaps I need to rethink exposures - be more exact and never go over... I want to love it :)
  2. Like every other film it is a matter of personal preference. I love Ektar and did so from day one.
  3. David, First, I think your website is terrific. You should post some of those images here on Photo.net. I can see, with the harsh contrasty lighting conditions you have down under, why Portra works for you & Ektar doesn't. I think Ektar would do for low contrast, low saturation scenes but is overkill for the conditions you work under. Though I've never used it myself the results I've seen from Ektar on this site put me in mind OF TEXTING ALL IN UPPER CASE. KIND OF LIKE SHOUTING! Not to say there's not a place for it. Also, could it be the printing causing much of the trouble? Lot's of possibilities. Best, LM.
  4. First, don't cross-post and the C-41 gods will be kind to you. :)
    Next, I thought I was the only one, I agree with your assestment.
  5. I've heard people call it "the 'new' chrome" and boy they aren't wrong! No latitude at all!​
    If properly exposed, Ektar will show good latitude . Not at all similar to slide film in that respect.
    The colour seems sooo off and there's a sort of harshness to it.​
    You are correct, the colors can be rather off for some applications, but mostly it can also be corrected quite well if you're scanning the film. For general landscape photography I don't think Ektar is too useful, but sometimes Ektar can also give a 'wow' effect to a photo.
  6. I have used Ektar 100 in 35mm form and loved the results. However I'm quite sure that I have read that it isn't the same formulation in 120. Has anyone used Ektar 100 in 35mm and 120 and can verify this?
  7. However I'm quite sure that I have read that it isn't the same formulation in 120. Has anyone used Ektar 100 in 35mm and 120 and can verify this?​
    Kodak's technical publication for Ektar shows no difference between the 35 and the 120. The only difference I see is that the 35mm has a .003mm thicker base.
  8. I am finding Ektar a little temperamental. Generally I like it, but sometimes it is harsh and shifts way toward red sometimes for me. I have not figured out how to predict it yet. I like saturated colors and smooth grain and have some images that I thought were good; then others that I thought should have been good that turned me off. For me it seems to be when yellows and oranges are mixed. That seems to blow Ektar out of the ballpark. I can fix it in post but I don't like to have to. Example as shot, Nikon Coolscan V with just Ice turned on. This was early AM, just after sunup. There were several shot on this roll that acted the same, different times of day, different atmospheric conditions.
  9. Very interesting - thanks for the replies everyone. Looking at my negs I think I have committed the big Ektar sin and am under exposing a little! :) Good learning nonetheless. I will give another few rolls a go and be more careful this time around. Whether it replaces or complements the 160VC... not sure. I also have a roll of 35mm which will go into the Konica S2 today.
  10. Kodak classify s Ektar as a professional film. As a rule kodak pro films offer almost no latitude and require presice exposure The trade off is that when you get it right, the pro films produce a perfect image..
  11. I can process my TIFF images as in RAW in my editor Joseph. If what you say is correct, I should be able to correct for exposure/white balance problems in it. And, correct the problem. But I have to adjust advanced color settings to correct the red/orange over saturation. Could you explain what I am doing wrong with exposure or editing?
  12. Sometimes I get excellent scans with Ektar, and sometimes not. What scanner/software are you using? I usually get very good scans of Portra because I use SilverFast, and there is a film profile for it. I'm looking forward to SilverFast providing a film profile for Ektar. In the meantime, my negative film of choice will be Portra.
  13. David, could you post a sample and share your scanning setup?
  14. Thanks Dan for clearing up the the difference between 120 and 35mm Ektar 100.
  15. Mr. Waugh.....
    Yes, if you've been using Porta, Ektar is going to look different to you. I, like several other posters, think it comes down to a combination of personal tastes and the way our own personal individual eyes see and brain interprets colors. I understand Porta was formulated for skin tones, as well as keeping blacks and whites for formal and wedding people photographs. Even someone who is more attuned to the Ektar color palette would appreciate Porta for those particular uses.
    I'm an old fart. I watched movies when Technicolor was the only color process movie film. I lived in a large city where we got the film first, before it had faded due to projection. I also grew up in the Kodachrome world, and I'm talking about the original Kodachrome. Also most quality color prints were three-color takeoffs in a carbo type process as I grew up. Those are the colorpalettes that look natural to me. Although each was a little different from one another, they all had some of the same character of the new Ektar (very different from the Ektar of the 1990s). Naturally, I like Ektar. I especially don't like films that had the strong red-orange look of the 1970s movies, when they got away from Technicolor. It's a matter of both personal taste and how my brain processes color.
    Also Ektar has been said to pick up the blues in shadow areas. One of the first public postings (Flicker) of the new Ektar 100 was of a fire engine pointing out of its station in Oceanside, CA. In the shadows under the truck, the area had a slight dark blue tint to it. Years ago, I spent a lot of time in and around Oceanside. In the afternoon, with light bouncing off a not-so-distant sea, picking up some of its color to be reflected in airborne particulant, when looking at sky-lit, rather than sun-lit, natural light areas (shadows), they are going to look a little blue if you are both aware of it and have the color accuity to see it. When being recruited for the military, I took a pilot's vision color test out of a book. There were no computer monitors or television monitors to use in those days. As one went toward the back of the book, the tone and color differences became more and more subtle. You had to get in about ten pages to pass your officer's physical, and somewhere around 20-25 for pilot or bombadier. The book was about 150 pages. Despite the heavy recruiting load, with massive amounts of young men processing through, I was the only person the tester had ever seen make it to the back of the book. I obviously see color a lot differently than the person who got to page 2. We all fall somewhere in that spectrum and see/perceive colors differently. The picture of the fire engine looked like I would expect it to, yet many, many people said the shadows were too blue. They of course were just as "right" as I was, giving their opinion through their color perspective.
    Mr. Sarile, one of Photonet's color film enthusiasts and experts, mentioned the difference in scanner results. Not only are there differences between makes and models of scanners, but also from sample to sample. As to printing, I'm sure you realize that practically all prints are no longer made through glass enlargers with color gel filter packs. The film is scanned, interpreted by computer software, and then electronically transferred to the print paper. At each step, a decision is made by a group of programmers as to how bits and bytes of electronic data should be interpreted in the color spectrum. How good were the programmers? How would they have done with their flight physical color exam? What are their color preferences due to their age and experience? How well are the various electronic devices calibrated that process the information on the film?
    Yes, I like Ektar, but then I also like the original Kodachrome ASA 8-10.
    Tom Burke
  16. Mr. Stegal....
    Right you are, sir. Determining color differences on a negative has always been a little more difficult to me than doing the same on a positive piece of film. I've shot Ektar 100 in both 135 and 120 format. Looking at the clear areas of the film, I think, but am not positive, that I perceive a slight difference in the base. Using different cameras with the same size film seems to give some difference in color, however slight. I suspect that is due to the different lens coatings. I suspect if there is a perceived difference between 120 and 135 film, the perception may be due to the different lens coatings, or even lack of coating, or even perhaps the glass itself. This last summer, within minutes of one another, using Kodachrome 64 out of the same ten-pack, in two cameras, I got a slight difference in color. I saw it in the original film, as well as the scans and prints. One camera was a Yashica T5 with a Carl Zeiss T-coated Tessar lens. The other camera was an old Kodak Signet 35 from about 1953 with an Ektar lens having their patented "Luminized" coating. I had bought the old camera, hoping it would make the modern Kodachrome look like results obtained years ago from the then-currently-formulated Kodachrome. It did somewhat, certainly enough to differentiate it from results when using modern lenses. I doubt there is as much of a difference when using different brand modern lenses, but there is probably still some. There is certainly a noticeable difference using Velvia 50 in my Rolleiflex GX vs. my Mamiya 7II with the 80mm lens.
    Referencing my above comment to Mr. Waugh about the shadow areas beneath the fire truck, I suspect the results would have looked even bluer with the old Ektar "Luminized" lens.
    Tom Burke
  17. I have read that Ektar came about as a side benefit of research for a new cinema film. If true, that would help explain why Kodak might spend money and time developing a fundamentally new and finer-grained film so late in the history of film as a medium for still photos.
    I usually reserve film for black-and-white and digital for colour, but I enjoy shooting Ektar. It does seem to go a bit blue in the shadows, and when it first came out a lot of people recommended rating it at iso 50 (to increase exposure by one stop). I tried this and preferred the results with the nominal film speed.
  18. Don't get me wrong, I love Portra too, and will continue to use it. But Ektar still has a wonder all of its own which i find utterly compelling.
    160VC: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lilserenity/4078354069/in/set-72157618590943732/
    Ektar: http://www.flickr.com/photos/lilserenity/4079331114/
    Everything from the Ektar photo above to the most recent on my Flickr pages is Ektar and I didn't warm to it right away in December but now I think I like Ektar more than anything else at this speed. It also appears you want to have it processed by a well seasoned lab, or you may get slight colour shifts.
    It's not for everyone and I can see you reasoning for liking Portra but Ektar in the right light is stunning, even in lowly 35mm format. Did some RA4s at the weekend (couple of 12x16s) and they look wonderful on the wall.
    Correct exposure is the key (ie: I can manually expose other C41 fine but with Ektar I really need the light meter)
  19. Sincere apologies to Les and others for not answering your question: I have been scanning the negs on a V700. I realize it's not a professional level scanner, but in the conditions I am living (central Australian desert at the moment) it's the best I can justify. Interestingly, I stopped using lab scans a while ago because I was getting similar weird colour results using Reala.
    Les - I have been looking at your site and the comments re: V700 are very interesting. It's just that the Portra seems so easy to scan and I seem to get predictable results. BTW I am using Epson scan, 48 bit colour @ 2400 dpi. Small bit of PS and then a convert to 8bit. Tried Silverfast - kind of liked it but found the app unstable on my Mac (the only thing that has ever crashed on me!)
    Unfortunately I don't have the scanner setup at the moment (packed up due to a 3 day dust storm!) but here is a sample here. I already did a bit of colour work on this image but I am sure you can still see the problems. Weird skin tones, awful sky... more than just a green cast I think (although my colour isn't too crash hot).
    I wish I had something similar in Portra on file - sorry. I did also shoot 3 rolls of Ektar in a rainforest a few weeks ago and the results were woeful but definatley my fault - about 1-1.5 stops under and nothing is salvageable. Shadows all blue as people have commented.
    Mr Burke - your take on colour I find informative and completely understand. Perhaps it is just something I am not used to. The only thing that bothers me is that I can't seem to correct the Ektar scans easily. Now I am just an enthusiast with little real photographic technical experience, but I am a graphic designer who holds Adobe accreditation in most apps. I know PS pretty well and have worked as a high-end retoucher but I am still fighting these scans. I'm not making out that I am a guru (I'm certainly NOT one) - it's just that I should be finding these colour corrections easier :)
  20. BTW Les - I wish my rainforest shots looked like your samples! :) Here's one of mine... aaaggghhh.
    Vicky - stunning sample pic and yes... that Ektar one is particularly good. It's those kind of pics that got me excited about Ektar in the first place!
    Chrise - just looked at your folio too. Very, very nice and certainly more like what I have been trying to achieve. Out of interest, could you share your scanning method please?
  21. I have scanned the same frames of Kodak Ektar with my Coolscan 5000 and a colleague's 9000 and they are exactly the same results
    But these are different scanners with different optics. I find the 9000 to be noticeably less sharp across the frame (the DOF does not appear to be as good) than the 5000 when scanning 35mm film. Slower, too. At A4 size prints it doesn't make a difference but A3, the sharpness difference is noticeable.
  22. I can see, with the harsh contrasty lighting conditions you have down under, why Portra works for you & Ektar doesn't. I think Ektar would do for low contrast, low saturation scenes but is overkill for the conditions you work under.​
    I love Ektar but I think the statement above is true. I have had good results with it on slightly overcast days with diffused light. I haven't had a chance to use it in bright sunlight yet. About 1/3 or 2/3 stop over exposure works well too.
  23. I too have shot ektar and scanned with an Epson v700. Those cyan skies of the kids in the tree (gorgeous shot by the way) look familiar, but are easily remedied in PS.
    Image >adjustments>selective colour>
    -choose cyan in top box, then adjust sliders
    Cyan 0
    magenta +20
    yellow -10
    black +20
    Try a little shadow and highlight too!
    Once the colour cast is fixed , Ektars ability to hold highlights, and its small grain make it a very interesting film.
  24. Hearing the raves about Ektar 100, I shot a side-by-side comparison with a plain-vanilla consumer film, FujiColor 200. I was expecting great things from Ektar. I did not get the resolution advantage I expected: I see a little better resolution of detail with the Fuji consumer film. This was a surprise to me.
    This isn't to promote Fuji... It's just a handy benchmark. The Ektar produces nice images, but not a resolution advantage that I can see. Both films produced good clean images in 8x12 prints without a lot of fuss.
    Test details: I'm a science-guy; I like direct comparisons. Same shot, minutes apart, Same Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 lens at f/8, tripod. Nikon Coolscan V, Nikon Scan default settings at 4000ppi and ICE=OFF, Noise Ninja default settings self-profiled, then capture sharpening with Smart Sharpen 60% 0.5px, and minor curves adjustments to match colors. Display images at 100% in Photoshop, screen grab, saved as .jpg at highest (11) quality.
    To my eye, the edges of the white lettering, the clarity of the chalk writing, and the texture of the granite is better with the Fuji. Can I see the finer grain of Ektar? Well, maybe the white lettering and the blue background are smoother with Ektar. In the grazing late afternoon light, there is texture in the granite that neither film picks up very well at all.
    Here are 100% crops.
  25. Richard, your scan looks out of focus- the grain isn't visible. I'd try scanning it again and set the focus point on an edge with some contrast.
    David, you're losing data in the scanning process. It looks like highlight clipping is set to .1% or so which is pushing the moss on top of the rock too close to blowing out. I'd be more conservative with these software clipping settings- you can always adjust the white point in Photoshop. Here's a quick edit- used the gray dropper to set overall color balance and then added contrast in the shadows with curves.
  26. Les, good questions... It's a new capture, this time on a tripod. New shots, Ektar and Fuji side by side. I wanted to see how much better the Ektar would be.
    And, for reference, here is the whole image... I got excellent 8x12 prints from both the Fuji and the Ektar.
  27. Roger and Les, good questions. Here are the original scans, without any post-scan processing. I did refocus the scanner each time in an area near, but not right on, this test spot. It's possible there was a focus difference in the two cameras or vibration on the tripod.
    In this comparison, I can see Ektar's finer grain. But also Fuji's advantage in resolution. The border of the blue sign is a double white line, just visible in the Fuji, not in the Ektar. Why would finer grain not produce better resolution?
  28. Hmm... Is that a bit of moiré in the granite block, above the blue sign, on the Fuji? Film grain against the scan pixels? And, not in the Ektar.
  29. In the Ektar v. Fujicolor comparison, the grain in the Fuji seems to be increasing sharpness. The Ektar looks blurry.
    I haven't tried nearly enough of Ektar but from the few rolls I HAVE shot, I would say it looks much better in overcast conditions and indoors (with natural light) than it does in sunny conditions. Sunny, my results are beyond ugly.

    (shade) http://www.flickr.com/photos/naugastyle/3651834687/in/set-72157620424788623/
    (overcast) http://www.flickr.com/photos/naugastyle/3652633160/in/set-72157620424788623/
    (indoors) http://www.flickr.com/photos/naugastyle/3634841232/in/set-72157620424788623/
  30. I just got my first rolls of Ektar 100 developed and I'm quite happy with density and contrast. Images shot with teh sun in the frame backlighting things come out very nicely, while it still retains some punch in low contrast situations. In all fairness, the sun isn't so strong this time of the year here in the north, but I still think this film holds its own.
    I just did some quick scans using my Epson 3200 and Epson Scan, so I don't want to draw too many conclusions about color other than nothing really seemed blocked up. At least for me, Epson Scan is hopelessly imprecise for neg color correction and the scanner seems to introduce some casts of its own.
  31. Ektar can do fine in bright light, as long as you are not looking for subtle colours. It has good dynamic range and holds highlights well.
  32. You are all incredible! Thanks for the advice and insights - great learning experience for me. For the time being I will resign myself to more corrections when using Ektar. There are so many questions I'd love to ask but I will save them for future posts as I think I have probably overstayed my welcome on this one :) If I were to see these films as positives then, I wonder would these differences in colour be visible? Many years ago (late 80's early 90's) I worked as a scan operator, and of course it was all chrome. The differences between Velvia and Ektrachrome never seemed as stark as what I am getting now between Portra and Ektar but then I am probably not seeing true 'raw' scans am I? Never understood that with neg films... I assume a lot is how a scanner reads the orange mask... is there even such a thing as a raw scan from neg? Mmmm... I still have a lot to learn :)
    Thanks Herb and Roger for the colour work - better than what I ended up doing. Roger - I think the neg may be bad also. This is defiantly for another post but I am constantly unhappy with any long exposure shots and I don't know if it's camera shake or poor tripod/head choice. I (kind of) understand the difference between depth of field and depth of focus but nonetheless at f16 with focus at 3 meters away, it should all be pretty sharp!
    One thing is for certain - the V700 is a great scanner for the price, but I cannot get scans as sharp as systems I have used before (but then they cost many times more also). Have got the betterscanning holder which is nice but no difference in sharpness despite height adjustment.
  33. just looked at your folio too. Very, very nice and certainly more like what I have been trying to achieve. Out of interest, could you share your scanning method please?​
    Thank you David! I appreciate your comment very much. I looked at your website too. Great work! Your photos of Indigenous Australians and Mongolians are great! I have really wanted to go to Mongolia and Nei Mongol for quite some time. How did you find Mongolia?
    Not long ago I scanned my negative film as negatives but nowI scan all my film as positive. I merely let the scanner do its thing. My scanner software is rather old and clunky and the negative film 'profiles' are ok but I find I gain more control and consistently get appropriate shadow detail if there is any, when I scan negatives as positives. What you get is a low contrast 'raw' scan. Next step is to invert the file in ps and after that I open the levels dialog and adjust red, green and blue levels separately. Move the black and white sliders until they rest against the histogram or somewhere near if that will give you a more satisfactory result. Now you're in the ballpark. Next thing would be to fine adjust. Pretty much the basic problem with Ektar I experience is the color of the sky often has a sickly cyan tint, especially when shot in harsh daylight. As already suggested by Herb, you can try selective color. You may also try to alter the hues of blue and cyan. You can do this in PS and I can recommend you to try it also in ACR, since the result can be quite different. In ACR you can also play with the white balance slider. There is a problem of altering the selective color and hues of blues or cyans - it will not only alter the color of the sky but also the shadows throughout the whole image. Sometimes it works out all right, sometimes it doesn't. If you are patient enough to mask out certain areas, which I am generally not, you may alter only the sky with these techniques.
    I have two more shots taken with Ektar. They both required a lot of trial and error editing before I could manage to get somewhat pleasing color.
    Kodak Ektar 100
    - There is some selective color involved where I decreased the amount of black in the color white since the original scan was very low in contrast giving the flowers a muddy off-white color whereas they were really shining white in reality. Then I use the technique of enhancing local contrast by using a very high radius unsharp mask. This doesn't sharpen at all but it creates fine local contrast and gives life and punch to the colors, albeit at the cost of some latitude. The result of the high radius unsharp mask on the sky was very good in that it darkened the color and in fact removed most of the cyan tint.
    Another Ektar photo
    - This one I could probably improve. First I scanned it as a negative and the shadows were completely blocked. I could only get a decent scan if I let the scanner software produce an overwhelming cyan cast all over the image which I could not manage to remove in any way in post-processing. I then scanned as a positive and it turned out fine, but I find the sky color is not very pleasing.
    I am pretty new to film so momentarily I am trying out a lot of different films. My conclusions with color negative films is that the Pro160s and the Pro400H as well as the Kodak Portras are genearlly much more convenient and satisfactory to work with than Ektar. The colors are just there after scanning and very little if any fine adjustment will be needed.
    A few examples:
    Kodak Portra 160VC
    Kodak Portra 160VC
    Fuji Pro 400H
    Fuji Pro400H
    Fuji Pro160S
    Fuji Pro 160S
    Another film to try out is Fuji Superia, both in 100 and 400. It's a low-cost film with very good quality, especially in 120. Scans very well with good latitude and the 100 iso is very sharp.
    Fuji Superia 100
    Fuji Superia 100 as B&W
  34. I too was not happy with how my first batch of Ektar came out, I think it was because I used a drugstore 1hr processing. The green is almost non-existent. I going to shoot some more and send it to a real processor and see how it comes out. BTW my last batch of Kodachrome came out real bad. Man I miss the old ASA 25 Kodachrome. Never have liked the blue tint to that other stuff.
  35. I have really wanted to go to Mongolia and Nei Mongol for quite some time. How did you find Mongolia?​
    Mongolia was wonderful - went cycle touring for 3 months for our honeymoon in 2003. As soon as your off the beaten track the people were amazing. Despite the language barrier, it was so easy to communicate. Extremely intelligent and resourceful people... hoping to take our son (who's 3 now) sometime in the next few years. I wasn't 'into' photography then, and our camera was a bit 'crappy' but there are some pics here if you are interested: http://gallery.me.com/davidwaugh#100101&bgcolor=black&view=grid
    Joe - interesting about the processing. I will try a different lab next time.
  36. The problem with Ektar is that it is difficult to scan with most home scanners, without getting weird color casts. Much more tempramental this way than any other negative film I have shot. However, the $25,000 Noritsu scanners and their software at Costco and Target seem to be able to scan it right. Sadly though, the $1,000-$3,000 range film scanners cant match this. Too bad Kodak didnt consider this before releasing Ektar, given that home scanning is something most film users still do.
  37. I believe that most 35mm lenses start to loose sharpness after f8. It is of course a compromise vs DOF.​
    Les - it was the Zeiss Planar 80mm (Blad). I'm sure you're right still about the best f-stop but I'd reckon f16 should still be pretty sharp. I am pre-releasing the mirror on the 500cm but I suspect I am getting too much vibration through the tripod. It's an old Manfrotto 055 which should be OK but the head is quite small. I am thinking of going for a more substantial head to see if there is a difference.
  38. I shoot Ektar 100 in 120 about 75% of the time. I will shoot Portra with certain subjects, however, because the skin tones are a little more subdued.
  39. Pardon my rant here but I am utterly baffled at what I am reading here. Everyone is talking about SCANNING COLOR NEGATIVE FILM AND GETTING PRINTS MADE FROM THE SCANS. HELL-OOOO? Why not just get the COLOR FILM PRINTED on color photographic paper? Or do it yourself like I used to do before Beseler and Unicolor discontinued their kits.
    No scan/inkjet or whatever print is going to ever be in the in the same league as a high quality photographic print made from a negative. Good grief, folks!
  40. I think much of what people are blaming Ektar for are really issues with scanning and post-processing (which I don't want to belittle as it is a real problem.)
    A few solutions- improve your workflow by using a program like colorneg which is really intended to post-process negatives, use a technique like that described by chrise above to manually color correct, or take a look at the guide I put together here: http://jingai.com/scanningguide/sec%203%20balancing%20color%20film.html and use a reference target under daylight to set color balance.
  41. Les,
    This thread moved quickly! If you still want to know :) I used a Scan Dual IV for my scans. I find the white balance through VueScan and that's it. Perhaps it's my fault for not trying to do more with it, but I've rarely had to do more than that with any other color film. And to be honest, even the scans here that people are using as the best color-balanced examples of Ektar are still not that pleasing to my eye. I like cool tones, I don't mind color casts, but something about Ektar isn't working for me. I have about 8 more rolls though so I will still give it a try.
    @ Scott Murphy: frankly, I've only gotten correct results from color negatives about 60% of the time. And of course, I have to PAY for the bad results too! Sometimes the color is just plain wrong, sometimes the contrast is pumped up too high. And of course these days it's harder to find labs that are optically printing anyway! As much as I enjoy printing my own black and white, for color I am personally thrilled when I submit a scan that looks exactly the way I want it to look and lo and behold, get a print exactly the way I want it to look. No more guessing and hoping :).
  42. I have to say I have learned more in the last 24 hours than the previous 6 months - thanks everyone! Didn't expect so much response but that can only be a good thing right!
  43. Les, sure. However, if you're implying my scans are bad I'd disagree...just because I didn't spend 45 minutes post-processing each photo doesn't mean I don't know how to scan. No other film gives this difficulty. I am looking at the ones people worked on and are posting as the best examples of Ektar scanned "correctly" (not just here but on flickr as well), and don't see a huge difference between those and those of my own that I don't like. In the last several months I've only liked a handful of Ektar shots and they were generally shot in the conditions I described--low light, indoors, overcast, etc. Conditions that can work with any color film, really.
  44. Nancy, I'm not sure what's "bad" about your Captain Bob image. Generally harsh sunlight isn't flattering with any film and the lower contrast the film the better.
  45. Mr. Sarile.....
    Yes, there are a handful of places that still make real "through-the-glass" prints. Unfortunately there are so few that they can and would be listed in Shutterbug. One of the three camera stores that used to be in my small town was the lowest volume of the three. Volume did not allow it to upgrade to digital machines at the same time as the larger two. To stay competitive, the owner bought an add-on to his printer that replaced the normal negative holder that would project light from a computer hookup. This way, he could print from customers' camera memory cards. I of course always used his glass hookup with my negatives so I could have REAL prints. But, alas, that store is gone and I would now have to mail-order.
    I don't mean to sound the fool debating a point with a known expert, such as yourself, but I do own Nikon Coolscans 9000, 5000 and IV. I also have a Minolta 5400II and several flatbeds. They all seem to have different color and color tone/differentiation scanned results.
    The results from the three Nikons differ as to color, at least as it shows up on my monitor. I have also compared results from my 9000 with another person's 9000 and my 5000 with another person's 5000 and have seen differences both times. To my old eyes, the color palette produced from the same slide put through the Minolta and the 5000 are more alike than the 9000 and the 5000. But still, they are not the same. You may have had very different results yourself. But my results were the reason for my comment.
    I may debate a point with you from time to time, but would never argue. I am always most respectful of your learned opinions, conclusions and the many posts you have made to provide information for us all.
    Ms. Chuang....
    Looking at the same two panels on my LG Flatron monitor, I see a difference in both grain and definition. I do know what you mean about the grain, as I remember the first time I saw high definition television side by side with a good standard set. The high def looked a little softer to me at first, until I realized there was in fact more information on the high def screen and my eyes had been fooled by the larger pitch (grain) definition of the standard TV. However, whether it's the film, focus or lens, I do believe the Ektar results shown in the two panels you referenced is actually softer, with less definition. If you will look on the blue logo at the words "take pride," the "a" is recognizable in the Fuji, but blends with the "k" in the Ektar. I think Kodak did a great job with grain size in its new Ektar, but it is less sharp than the old Ektar 100 or Ektar 125 of the 1990s, and far less sharp than that era's Ektar 25. That of course is just an opinion because unfortunately, although I have samples of all the films, I don't have samples of the exact same thing in the same light through the same lens.
    As to your not liking either Ektar 100 or its scanned results, there are certainly some who would agree with you. I think in general the likes and dislikes of Ektar 100 and its scans are a combination of personal tastes and perceptions, what a person is used to, as well as the equipment used to scan, arrange and view the film. The hippies of the 1970s used to say "different strokes for different folks." It would certainly apply to film.
    In any event, I'm glad to see you participating and weighing in on the discussions. When you do that, you help Photonet be the place that many of us choose to spend part of our day with.
    Tom Burke
  46. Les, definitely no standards unfortunately! Since it was on my mind I tried again last night on the "Captain Bob" neg. The original scan that I linked was basic white balance in Vuescan, maybe a little futzing w/ curves in Photoshop but not much because I remember no amount of adjustment seemed to help. I tried once scanning as positive and inverting, and one with locking exposure & film base color in Vuescan. All three results very different, with the inverted one the most poppy & candylike, and the locked exposure one most similar in color to the original white balance scan, but I could reduce contrast on that one in a more natural way. At this point, 6 months later, it's quite hard to remember which was closest to "real" (realish + kicked-up color of course), but I basically didn't like any of them that much :).
    Roger, just one of the many difficulties of shooting color, I suppose. B/W is so much easier at times! Even so, it was around 2:30 - 3pm, which I think would've worked fine with Reala or even 160VC, even if not ideal. Those Ektar shots I posted looked like high noon or something.
    Meanwhile, yesterday I saw an Ektar scan-from-print on Flickr, and it was one of the most pleasing results I've seen thus far...although, again, it was taken indoors (with lots of natural light).
  47. Nancy,
    I dont think your Captain Bob shot looks bad. Its a well composed and exposed shot. I think the colors would just need some more pop. I am just learning to correct colors in LAB mode. Have you tried that? It is a very powerful tool and the results can be quite astonishing compared to RGB. I re-edited my ektar shot in LAB and it came out much better, although the colors are really garish.
  48. No scan/inkjet or whatever print is going to ever be in the in the same league as a high quality photographic print made from a negative. Good grief, folks!​
    I guess it depends a lot on who is making the "high quality" prints and with what printers, enlargers, etc. This statement might have been correct in the last century anyhow, but it's pretty questionable these days.
  49. Maybe this is a dumb and obvious comment, but here goes anyway. I've been shooting Ektar 100 in 35mm and 120 for the summer, all outdoors. At one point I started using a CPL filter whenever the sky/clouds were in the shot, or any side lit shot. It made a big difference (to me anyway) in the blues I get after developing. I have seen a lot of variation of color casts regardless. I started using the same mail-order shop for developing just to make sure, but I still get funked up shots now and again.
    Nancy- the second I saw the captain bob shot, I thought "CPL filter, stat".
  50. I shot a roll of 400vc right after my post above. Same type of shots under similar conditions. Every frame was consistent to what I shot, maybe a little saturated, but that's OK with me. I'll probably stay with the Portra family. I'm just liking it better.
  51. Mr. von Weinberg...
    True. As Mr. Sarile points out, there are still a few through-the-glass printers left. If those few who are left do not use thought, skill and talent to make sure the costlier results are high quality...then there will be none. Choosing the right filter pack for traditional darkroom printing and even with the older mass printing machines takes some effort. Too often carriage trade/boutique suppliers try to get the higher prices while at the same time cut labor and material costs to the point of not producing superior results justifying those higher charges. They go out of business and people say "See, that proves there was not enough market for high quality products." when there was actually just no market for overpriced crap.
    Ms. Gava...
    I had not thought to use a CPL filter with Ektar. I would have thought it would make shadows bluer rather than the reverse. I'll try it both on the sky and in the shadows. BTW, I see you are fairly new to the board. Nice to see some new blood wading in on the discussions. There are few dumb and obvious comments, only a few clowns who sometimes try to make others feel that way. Comments like yours that bring up something new to think about are most welcome and the type of thing that keeps Photonet worth coming back to.
    Mr. Norris...
    I haven't used Porta much. I usually do not do the type of shots where Porta is at its best. The few times I have used Porta for its intended/developed purpose it has certainly done the job right.
    I was raised in the Carbo, Kodachrome and Technicolor era for the little color I saw. Back then it was the black and white age. Any color was a treat. Today, with more choices it is just a matter of personal taste and what looks normal to each of us. I have the last generation of Sony TVs that had real cathode ray tubes. For color choice I use the "Old Movies" option to watch everything. I guess that is because I'm an old guy. Most of my photofriends are a generation or two younger. They usually shoot studio portraits and outdoor/indoor weddings. They LOVE Porta and use it for most everything. They can't understand why I liked the old ASA 10 and ISO 25 Kodachrome and buy Ektar 100. Different strokes for different folks. I would not shoot a wedding with Ektar either. But, then I would not shoot a wedding if I could gracefully get out of it! So far, so good.
    Tom Burke
  52. First, I strongly disagree with Scott Murphy, who said "No scan/ink-jet or whatever print is going to ever be in the in the same league as a high quality photographic print made from a negative." I've made well over 1000 large color prints from negatives, using what was then (1970's) state-of-the-art equipment (color densitometer, etc.) and I'll testify that the degree of control one has in the darkroom (i.e. dodge and burn) is very crude compared to what we now have in the digital domain. And a professional twelve ink printer can produce prints with richer color and which last much longer than any chemical prints.
    Second, as soon as you scan a negative, all matters of color saturation and contrast are in your hands and have little to do with the inherent characteristics of the film.
    I use Ektar 100 (120) because it has excellent resolution and very fine grain. I scan with a Nikon CS9000 and don't fuss much with the scan settings unless I'm doing some HDR stuff. After scanning I decide what the final image will look like. Me. Not the chemistry nor the guy running the printer.
    As an example, I messed with one of the pictures that David posted for about three minutes in Photoshop. I used the Hue/Saturation settings: Blue -50, Green +12, Yellow +10. I added a bit of sharpening (Smart Sharpen) and saved it. (See attached)
    It could be argued that some other interpretation of the scene would be more interesting, and I might agree. My point is simply to show that you can make even a mediocre scan into a very presentable image. It's up to you.
  53. Interesting argument. I like.
  54. Sonja,
    Assuming that you're referring to my argument, thanks.
    I support my thesis that film stock is important only for grain structure, resolution and dynamic range with the attached set of images. I put this together as a demonstration for some students.
    It only took me a few minutes to adjust the original Ektar 100 image to emulate other films.
  55. Greg P, Yes, I was and sorry about the lack posting etiquette.
  56. Greg: great colour correction on my image - better than the result I ended up with. I think the point for a lot of people however, is that photos even slightly under or over with Ektar seem to take more work than other films (at the moment). It is EXTREMELY difficult to know exactly how a neg should be scanned (compared to positive of course) but I think people will eventually 'learn' how to scan Ektar - I know I am improving daily. I agree (partially) with your points and do find it extremely interesting... BUT, although I consider myself quite advanced in PS (having taught it for nearly 15 years) - it's something I think most people here don't want to resort to at such extreme levels. Can any film look like any other? Possibly these days, but hardly very fun ;-)
  57. Just one more thought... I think I almost contradicted myself in my last post... I assume the argument is that the work has to be done on Ektar because some of us simply AREN'T scanning Ektar well at all. I might be having a DUH moment, but is it really down to scanners (and their software) just not understanding the orange mask of Ektar? Is that why correction seem to be more extreme? Will new profiles say in SilverFast make any of these arguments obsolete? That's the thing I can't get my head around... gee Ektachrome was easier in that regard ;-)
  58. David,
    Ektar may have a bit less latitude than some other color negative films, but I'm sure that it's better than most, if not all, transparency films. You can over expose Ektar by a stop or two and still recover highlight detail, but it's less forgiving on the bottom (under exposure) end of the scale. (The comments that you've made make me think that your Ektar is being over developed, which would explain excessive contrast.)
    Scanners and scanning software vary widely. I have an Epson V750, but I've only used it with 4X5 Ektachrome, where it's OK, but I always end up getting a drum scan after my client makes a selection from the V750 scans. With the Nikon CS9000 I just select "color negative" and use the resulting 16 bit TIFF file much like a sculptor uses a blob of clay. My work flow involves setting up the basic color using the gray eye-dropper in "curves" on my gray card frame, then adjusting the contrast using "levels" for subjects that aren't too contrasty, or "shadows / highlights" for those that are. (For extreme situations I use various HDR techniques.)
    You do shoot a gray card with each scene or lighting set up don't you? If not, you're waisting a lot of time and effort. This goes for color negs and transparencies as well as digital cameras. As to extreme contrast situations, bracket. With color negative you can generally find a frame that you can wrestle into submission with the "shadows / highlight" sliders (an often overlooked control) or you can use Photoshop or any of a number of other programs to blend different exposures into an excellent HDR type image.
    My main point is about color saturation. If you're getting prints made at the local camera shop, then you're more to be pitied than censured, and I guess that you have to choose a combination of film stock and processing facility that gives you what you want, at least most of the time. But if you have a decent scanner, editing program and ink-jet printer, there's absolutely no reason that the color saturation and balance should ever be anything but what you intend it to be, with very little concern about the particular film stock used. The "four-up" of the building that I attached to the posting above was all done with only the "hue / saturation" slider on the "master" setting. It took a few seconds for each variation, and I could have done much more (and better) using "curves" if I'd wanted to spend a few minutes on it.
    So don't let film processing / scanning / post processing put you off of Ektar 100. I use it because it has very fine grain structure, extraordinary resolution, and, if properly processed and scanned, very good latitude. (The 70mm film stock used for IMAX motion pictures is nearly identical to Ektar 100.)
    For the picture below, Ektar 100 actually had too much latitude. I had to limit it using "levels."
  59. Thanks Greg - great information. Much appreciated.
  60. Mr. Peterson...
    I am typing here to comment on your various renditions of the building where you changed the colors with the computer. Before I commented, I went to your web page. I too have shaken hands with Elvis, nobody admires my wardrobe either, but I am not as accomplished a photographer.
    I have however been at it longer, and was more involved in the early Kodachrome era. I know different monitors hooked up to different computers are going to give the same electronic picture some very, very different appearances. That having been said, I have never seen a Kodachrome, either projected, printed or on the computer, that looked like your rendition of Kodachrome did on my monitor.
    Coincidentally perhaps, I have seen some Ektar 100 postings on Flickr that, for whatever reason, be it poor processing, printing, scanning or whatever, look like they could have come off the same roll of film that would produce your Kodachrome effort. I've seen a lot more Kodachrome that looks more like your color negative rendition, and of course, a lot that didn't.
    Kodachrome has gone through many changes and iterations. After 1954, it was processed by many places other than Kodak. Also at one time, Kodachrome was coated with a lacquer to help preserve it. Lacquer colors and cracks. Also the Kodak company, in their processing, used at least two different types of lacquer. Who knows what other processors used for a coating in the days that Kodachrome was coated?
    I've looked through hundreds of my old slides and my scans of them with various scanners, and have not been able to find anything that looked like your re-colored Kodachrome example. Yes, there sure was a lot of variation in what appeared to be the color palette on my Kodachromes taken from 1939 to the present. I added a few to my "Days Gone by on Kodachrome Gone By" folder. I wanted to have a reasonably wide range of the different Kodachrome looks when I wrote this to you, so you would see the reason why I question your other film changed to Kodachrome look. The folder is here on Photonet at:
    Tom Burke
    P.S. I asked my wife to type most of this for me which put your "Walnut - ECU" photograph at the top of the page where she was typing. She made the comment, "What a good picture."
    As part of comment I put on one of the later pictures showing three dressed-up women, in the above-referenced folder, I mentioned their classmate John Dominis. Having been a news photographer, you may have heard the name and have probably seen his iconic "Life" photo where a leopard is about to tangle with a baboon (which can be a formidable foe and leaves those tangles victorious about 25% of the time). I last spoke with him on the phone a few years ago and we discussed how hard it is to take pictures of food, and have the viewer still want to eat it. It is probably the most difficult of all photographic tasks.
    I was reminded of his conversation when I noted how well your walnut was done. May I repeat here, Sir, that I am obviously as not an accomplished photographer as you are?
  61. Mr. Burke,
    Thanks for the kind words about my walnut picture.
    And I didn't mean for the "Kodachrome" label to be taken too seriously. I was emulating the reputation of Kodachrome rather than the reality. I've shot about 10,000 Kodachromes, none of which have the exaggerated color shown in my demo - I just wanted to emphasize the fact that, in the digital domain, you aren't stuck with what the film chemistry gives you.
    I know the work of John Dominis well. All of the great Life magazine photographers were heroes of mine. Sadly, we'll never again see photography celebrated as it was in Life.
    Thanks again - Greg
  62. I bought a five pack of Ektar 120 for a fashion shoot at a beach on a sunny day. I had the images processed and scanned at a local professional lab. I was very disapointed with the results in terms of colour hue and shadow detail, it was extremely variant in terms of colour hue for shots in the same roll in the same scene. I had to post process the colours considerably to get something decent for my models portfolio. I get the feeling it's best used in scenes with an even contrast and colour palet. I don't think i'll be buying this again.

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