Kodak Ektar 25 - What was it designed for?

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by daniel_dufour, May 18, 2005.

  1. I've just printed photos from my first roll of Ektar 25 120 film
    that my father had in his freezer for the past 6 years(notice of
    discontinuance in the box). I was amazed at the lack of grain(what
    grain?) in the 11x14's I made, but I was also disappointed by the
    saturation level of the film(I was shooting landscapes). The
    question that came to mind was; what was it designed for? I can't
    imagine that it was for landscapes....Would age of the the film be a
    big factor? I've got 19 more to go, so any insight would be
    appreciated.
     
  2. Ektar 25 in 135 format was designed to be an image structure equivalent to color neg that had been available in 120 format, i.e., the combination of graininess and sharpness was similar to what would have been found in similar image size from 120 film. Saturation level was higher than typical 120 films of the time, but so was contrast.
    120 format Ektar 25 was just icing on the cake. In fact, some 4X5 Ektar 25 was available to a few people. Prints from that size are quite remarkable.
     
  3. Is that 25ISO?
     
  4. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

  5. Daniel... There's a chance that processing could be at least partly at fault. I was initially let down with my E25 results but when I tried a different lab, the results were stunning. There's a good chance whoever did these prints for you had never seen the film before as it was never a big seller and it's been quite a few years now.
     
  6. A polariser may help with the saturation but printing is probably at fault also.
     
  7. I do miss Ektar 1000 it was so easy to correct for color in the darkroom no mater what light it was exposed under. I took some rolls of it in Egypt back in 93 and in the Cairo Museum total mixed lighting it was the tops even in tombs it turned out great.... Grain even at 1000 was as good or better than 400 1SO films of that time I think that it was so far ahead of it's time that the time passed. it was made in 25/ 125 and 1000 ISO the 125 was a bitch to work with though.
     
  8. I'm off to Ireland in a few days and my original intention was to bring Reala along. Should I stick to that , or try Ektar with a polarizer? I know I could bring both, but having only one back(!), I just don't want to miss the shot. What are the main differences of the two, in your opinion?
     
  9. It was designed to be discontinued... But seriously folks...


    I used to love this film and still have some of the Ektar 25 Pro (120) in cold storage. The Ektar line was later refined and became the Royal Gold line. If the package says Ektar I am guessing that it may have some age on it and maybe some color bias or increased base density. Combine that with the fact that your printer may not know how to handle it and the results may be less than optimal. Does the base density look darker when compared to your other negative films? The Ektar films were Kodak's first run at using T-Grain. The films were known for their tight grain and color saturation at the time. I hope that helps. Have fun!

    Michael D. D'Avignon
     
  10. Daniel, you say you "made" the 11x14s so I assume you printed them
    yourself. On what kind of paper? Switching papers might help.

    Larry, if you miss Ektar 1000, what do you think of Portra 800-2?
    It seems to be faster than ISO 800, maybe faster than 1000, so it's
    the first ultra high speed print film Kodak has produced since
    Ektapress 1600 and PMZ/RZ. I found Ektar 1000 quite muddy, but
    didn't print it myself. No way did results come anything close to
    Portra 800-2 pushed. Ted Marcus has produced some stunning scans
    from Ektar 125; he rated it at EI 100.
     
  11. I used to use Ektar 25 for photographing old stamps. The film was quite contrasty and I did not always get the best results from a standard lab. I used the 4X6 photos as proofs and then made 11X14 enlargements on a Kodak Create-A-Print machine on their glossy Royal something paper. The results were great. Eventually the Create-A-Print machines disappeared and so did Ektar 25. It had some definite advantages for 35mm use and that's the size I used for shooting the stamps. It worked for me because I could use regular household bulbs in my copy stand and an 80A or 80B filter to correct the color. It would have been much more difficult to get the color exactly right with slide film.

    The reason so many slow speed films have disappeared is that only an advanced amateur would be interested in using them or would know how to use them to good advantage. A professional would just use a larger format, even with faster film, to get a final result that had less grain. I see a time when even 100 speed color print films could be discontinued because enough professionals and advanced amateurs either used a larger format or went digital. Now that medium format equipment has fallen so much in price I have started to put together a Bronica ETR system. If you make an 11X14 print from a properly exposed and developed 6X4.5 negative on a film like Fuji ACROS (nominally rated at 100, if that's your speed) you will not see any grain. Even a slow film like Ilford Pan-F Plus, in 35mm format, will not give you an 11X14 of equal quality. Technical Pan film in 35mm size will give the MF print a run for the money in the grain department but will not be sharper. Technical Pan film is also more difficult to use and is not suitable for every subject.
     
  12. If I was doing something important that would be difficult to do again -- e.g. a trip to Ireland -- I would want to bring fresh film, and I would want it to be something that I'm familiar with and that my lab is familiar with.

    With that in mind, I think you should stick with Reala for the Ireland trip.
     
  13. With the technology available back when Ektar 25 was introduced, it was a difficult film to manufacture. It was discontinued when technology made it possible to produce the same speed/grain or better with modern emulsions and couplers.

    I think that you will find even with the complaints you may have, todays films are quite remarkable for speed, grain and sharpness.

    Ron Mowrey
     
  14. Thanks for all your input and memories. FYI, I printed them on Fuji CA matte paper. I think I'll get to know the film THIS side of the ocean, I use Reala which I know very well.
     
  15. The slowest Supra (ex-Royal, ex-Ektar) available here in Europe at the moment is the 200ASA. Despite all the progress in technology, a modern 200ASA film is still no match for a 20 years old 25ASA in terms of grain and (especially) sharpness. But I agree that the colours are better in the modern film, and it is easier to print.

    Kodak may just have found out, that it is cheaper to produce a 200ASA and a (likely very closely related) 400ASA than to make a line with quite different 25, 100 and 1000 ASA films. Also, they lost no consumers with the dicontinuing of Ektar 25, because there is no competing produkt in the market.

    A modern 25 or 50 ASA film could be real amazing stuff, but we will never see one.

    Regards
    Georg
     
  16. Fuji CA matte is generally considered less colorful than CA glossy.
    Although I'd defer to Scott Eaton on the matter, I also find that,
    with optical printing, Fuji paper lumps all those lovely gradated
    Kodak greens (yellow-green, olive, bright green) into monotone spruce
    green. Also, some film saturation was probably lost over the years.
    Supra paper, maybe? Joe Manthey might have a better suggestion.
     
  17. Georg, maybe you should try to get some of the EXR-50D that Kodak has available for 35mm motion picture. You'd have to find a movie lab to process it for you (and not all will do it because of the short lengths you'll be using), and it is late '80s technology itself, but from what I've heard you can't beat the frame. 35mm MP is only 3 or 4 perfs per frame, and the results are still stunning after 3 or 4 generations of separation on the big screen in movies.

    Regards.
    ~Karl Borowski
     
  18. Can you try another roll, or another print before you go on your trip? Ektar 25 and RG 25 are far superior to any print film made today. Thankfully I have about 50 rolls in my freezer dated from 2003 back to the early 1990's. All have printed perfectly. The saturation, contrast, and resolution of prints made with this film can only be beaten by Ilfochrome prints, or scanned Lightjet prints, made from Kodachrome 25 and Velvia 50. That is how good it is. Even it's recently discontinued, lower quality cousin, RG 100 was superior to todays films. Savour those last 19 rolls and have a great trip!
     
  19. I'm starting to wish I never sold off my last rolls of RG 25 and 100. I could have used them for a trip coming soon. Luckily I still have some 120 left. Someone on here complained about the color pallete of RG 25 and prefered Fuji Reala instead. I do find Royal Gold films have higher contrast. I even noticed how it treats skin tones on caucasian people. The movie film idea is interesting, but an expensive way to shoot as it would most likely have to go to a motion picture type lab like Seattle Film Works- meaning expensive. I wonder how EXR 50 treats skin tones- it must be better since its used for movies. I'd debate if its as fine grained as RG 25.
     
  20. I haven't printed any Ektar 25 for awhile, but although I was part of its design team, I found the contrast a bit high for my use as a landscape film. For that reason I might be tempted to try something like Portra paper, although I don't recall doing the experiment. I've got a few rolls left, so maybe I'll try the comparison.
    I doubt that saturation has diminished with time if the raw film was refrigerated or frozen.

    I'm not familiar with the use of EXR as a still capture film, but in general, motion picture films have significantly lower saturation at any given speed than a (non-portrait) consumer film. Its graininess may be quite good, but I doubt the overall performance will be comparable to Ektar 25.

    Ektar 25 disappeared largely because sales were not large enough to make it profitable. It had several unique components in it that weren't shared with any other films, so it needed respectable sales numbers to survive. The internal joke among my colleagues was that I was the largest customer (and mine was free). :)
     
  21. In Ektar 25 and Ektar 1000; there were 12 exposure 35mm "starter" rolls once. In Ektar 125; there was a 3 pack I liked; that had 3 packs of 24exp rolls; all of the same emulsion number. I once used Ektar 1000 in astro photos; and the alot grainy Gold 1600 too. The 35mm codes for Ektar 25/125/1000 are CK/CW/CJ. I miss the Ektar 125; which I liked alot; plus the micro fine Ektar 25. I am down to a few rolls of Ektar 25 now; frozen. I usually shoot it today about asa 20 or less.
     
  22. Ektar 25 came out; then Royal Gold 25. Some say it was the same emulsion; some beg to differ. The film coded and emulsion numbers were different. There is a different FTN ( Film Term Numbers ) on a Kodak Photo CD for these two different blends. The astro photography groups liked these emulsions; often gas hyping them. Kodak at the photo trade shows gave away the 12 exposure rolls to pros. Kodak had these giant posters with monster enlargments done with ektar 25 in 35mm. The film code was RZ I believe with Royal Gold 25 in 35mm.<BR><BR>To spill the beans abit more; there was an Ektar 100 too; besides the Ektar 125. <BR><BR>The header info on a Kodak Photo CD file has a different PC-GC-FTN code for: EKTAR 25; EKTAR 125 Gen 1; EKTAR 1000 Gen 1;EKTAR 25 Professional PHR;EKTAR 100 Gen 1;EKTAR 100 Gen 2;EKTAR 1000 Gen 2; EKTAR 100 Gen 3 SY;EKTAR 100 Gen 3 CX;<BR><BR>ROYAL GOLD 25 RZ; ROYAL GOLD 1000;ROYAL GOLD 100;ROYAL GOLD 400;ROYAL GOLD 200<BR><BR>There are alot of Ektar and Royal color negative variants made behind the walls of the silver curtain.<BR><BR>The Kodak pro scanners use the PC-GC-FTN codes for a better scan on a Kodak photo CD.
     
  23. I tried Ektar 25 only once, and was very disappointed in the colours. Surely it was the lab. I get significantly better colour (subjective of course) out of 100UC and 200UC than Royal Gold 100, especially in skin tones. The grain is fine enough for me.

    The main problem with Ektar 25 is that its speed makes it difficult to use for many things. Even in landscapes, if there is a bit of wind, the speed becomes a problem.
     
  24. Here I have shot many dozens of roll of old Ektar 25. A drum scan or a 4000dpi scan will show a huge amount of info. It is the same speed as old Kodachrome II from 1962; so I never really had any problems; just the usualy 1/125 at F8; or 1/250 at F5.6 like 4 decades ago. With my 35mm F2 Nikkor; I usually use 1/250 at F5.6 and get great quality even with handheld shots.
     
  25. "I'm starting to wish I never sold off my last rolls of...[RG]100." -- Scott Pickering

    He he he he....
     
  26. So how are those rolls Chris? :p
     
  27. Oh well. We still have Reala with us. I can't say Kodak's 100UC is as fine grained as RG 100 or Reala.
     
  28. <p>
    I have about 10 rolls of frozen Ektar 25. No boxes, but they are in the plastic canisters...dont remember exactly, but I think expiration was around 1991... if you are interested, please email me dcolucci AT aol.com
     
  29. Consider it sold.

    Scott
     
  30. Scott, I've only shot one of the rolls. It turned out perfectly. Now, I've just got to parcel out the other nine to important projects. I'm beginning to know what a real miser feels like.
     
  31. I agree. I've decided to gain back some stock of the RG 25 film and will be freezing it for however long I'll need to before I use it up. I must have been off my nut selling the 5 rolls of RG25 I did have. Luckily I kept the 120 stuff. The RG100 scans real nice. The RG25 seemed a little grainy for its speed in the scans I did have.
     
  32. Here is one sample of RG 25 I had shot last December and scanned at 3000x2000. The inserts are 100% crops. It seems the out of focus areas show grain more then infocus. The white car seems to hide grain as well.
     
  33. Shoot the Ektar 25 at EI 18 or EI 12 and you'll get better saturation. the problem is that the shadows are prone to having inadequate density from underexposure even when the midtones and highlights are well exposed. It appears that this might be the issue with the iamge of the mustang.
    <p>
    Shoot Ektar 25 on an overcast day and rate it at EI 12 and you'll be quite pleased.
     
  34. Joe;

    I too used a lot of Ektar, and of course, mine was free as well. But I didn't have the opportunity to work on such a fine film as the Ektar series.

    I think I enjoyed Ektar as much as you did.

    BTW, a couple of old friends asked me to say HI to you from them.

    Regards.

    Ron Mowrey
     
  35. I'd be interested in hearing from Joe or someone else who knows, whether any film
    manufacturers would find it viable to bring a product like Ektar 25 or even 100 back to the
    market at a substantially higher price for those of us still interested in using film. There is
    essentially no color negative film worth using now, and it seems to me that there will
    continue to be a market for the high end photographers who want to use products like
    this, rather than the higher speed films. I can't see there being a market there for much
    longer. In this regard, I was in contact with someone from Zeiss regarding their new Ikon
    camera, and the person expressed concern regarding the lack of films available to
    demonstrate the resolution of their lenses. I contacted Kodak, but someone wrote back
    and essentially said, "sorry, but here is a brochure on our new color film - we don't even
    look at resolving power any more."

    Incidentally, if anyone wants to open up a bit of freezer space, I am interested in any Ektar
    25 or 100 either in 35 or 120 you have left. Its by far the best color negative film I have
    ever used. You can reach me at bond007 at teleport.com

    Thanks,
    Aaron
     
  36. just some new point: I think Kodak Ektar 25 had an archival stability of only 14 years at wilhelm research...
     
  37. The mess of Ektar 25 I shot in New Zealand in 1990 thru 1992 still scans well. Some rolls were processed in Gisborne; some in New Plymouth; some in Wellington; some in Auckland; some in Los Angeles. Some at Ralphs and "Alpha Beta; tell a friend; you can't loose". I wonder where the 14 year life came up? There seems to be no loss in the grocery store processed stuff either. :) <BR><BR>Ektar 25 was a hard film to build; thus I doubt it will ever be reborn; maybe when Detroit brings back the straight eight engine. <BR><BR>It was premium priced when it was available in production.
     
  38. Guys;

    An important point here.

    Wilhelm's tests are accelerated tests using high intensity light and/or a hot humid environment to project the lifetime of the film using an estimation algorithm.

    As such, it is only an educated guess.

    The actual life may be longer or shorter by quite a bit based on the real environment.

    Ron Mowrey
     
  39. found a summary: http://www.fotoinfo.com/info/technicalinfo/stability.html
    Ektar 25 was classified into Group II. Group II goes like this.

    There is a .2 decrease in yellow dye density between 18 and 28 years. Magenta and cyan don't even exhibit a .1 decrease at 100 years. This means the negative appears more blue and the resulting print will be yellow.

    This was as of 1992
     
  40. I gave Ektar 25 quite a workout back in the late eighties and early nineties. At first I struggled, especially with landscapes, until the expert printer at Photocommunications in New Haven said, "Treat it exactly like a chrome film..." He meant, meter as carefully, see the contrast as you would when shooting a film like Ektachrome 64.

    That did it for me. The film was unique. And yes, the speed of 25 was accurate. The stuff was grainless, with an edge that held up no matter how much it was enlarged. It was the only negative film around at the time that could show the difference my Micro-Nikkors showed so plainly on Velvia and Kodachrome. I either used it on a tripod or with fill flash, and like a chrome film, it wasn't much use under a cloudless blue sky. But in open shade or "cloudy bright" it was wonderful. I generally did need to use fill flash -- only a little bit -- to keep flesh tones nice in the shadowed areas, in almost all lights. Ektar 25 definitely did not have the kind of greens that Fujicolor delivered in the same era, and that really tells with flesh, of course.

    Early advertising showed set-up people shots, more or less in an annual report style: a football team on the field with the stadium behind, a group of dancers in rehearsal (in a well-lit hall), models with cars. In those years Kodak was still trying, it seemed, to get pro photographers to let go of their transparency-to-dye-transfer habits and embrace color negative for annual reports and high-end illustration. That was my impression. The literature was too spare for me to say, this is what Kodak was trying to do.

    I wish I had some today, in either 35 or 120.

    At some point Konica came out with a rival film, whether 25 or 50 I don't now recall, and it was also excellent; they called it Konica Impresa. I did not do enough with it to get really familiar.

    But -- a big but -- you did need to have a printer who knew how to handle Ektar 25. I definitely got awful prints from the folks who were doing 4x6's in the minilabs, stuff so bad no one could believe the prints were from the same negatives as the 16x20's done at the custom lab.
     

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