Shooting Kodak Ektar 100

I don’t remember buying that roll of Ektar 100. Regardless, there it was in my refrigerator. I’ve been in the mood to experiment with different films lately (see photos I shot recently on Kodak Plus-X Pan), so I loaded it into my Nikon F2AS.

If you’re an experienced film shooter, you might find it strange that I’m experimenting with Ektar, a widely used and liked color film. But my go-to film for years has been Fujicolor 200 because I can get it at the big-box store for less than two bucks a roll. Ektar costs at least $5, and since I’ve been happy enough with the Fujicolor, why should I spend the extra dough? But lately I’ve wondered what else was out there.

I am excited by the results. The colors are just outstanding. I’ve had some good results with the Fujicolor, but not as consistently delightful across the board as this roll of Ektar delivered. Here’s a just-opened peony from right outside my front door.


And here’s a yellow lily from the bed along my driveway.


And here’s some sort of daisy bathed in evening sunlight on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.


I was also impressed with the Ektar when shooting muted colors, like this scene inside the IMA’s entrance.

Inside the IMA Entrance

As I shot this statue, I thought about how I’d normally want to use a fine-grained black-and-white film like T-Max to get good contrast and shadow detail. But the Ektar handily delivered both, and sensitively rendered the statue’s color tone.

The girls

I made a few everyday la-de-da shots to finish the roll. I’ve never been unhappy with Fujicolor for such photographs, but thought the Ektar rendered colors much more naturally. This is how my mind remembers the colors from an evening I finished spreading mulch in my flower beds.

Ready to Work

I stayed away from Ektar for a long time not just because of cost, but because it’s ISO 100 film. I find anything less than ISO 200 to be too limiting, and feel most confident that I’ll get every shot when I’m shooting ISO 400 film. But I gather that Ektar has pretty wide exposure latitude. I’ve read many reports of people shooting it at ISO 400. They either push-process it or just tweak exposure in Photoshop; either way, they get images with enhanced contrast and little discernible loss of detail.

I’ll be shooting more Ektar. You can count on it.

I shot some Portra 160 in an old Brownie a couple years ago. See the photos here.

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12 responses to “Shooting Kodak Ektar 100”

  1. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    Cost of film is relative to the “satisfaction” factor. If you get satisfying images from the film you are using, cost become secondary. Nice Ektar shots!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Five years ago, cost was a real factor in everything I did. It’s not the case anymore. I keep forgetting that.

  2. pesoto74 Avatar

    I have used Ektar in medium format and the results can be stunning. It also is a film that scans well. Still I do still like the look of the cheap Fuji.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I shot some 120 Ektar in a box camera recently and it worked great. Results in an upcoming post.

  3. Mike Avatar

    Hard to argue with your results from the Ektar. That following shot of the lavender is super as well.

    The last time I looked at film at Walmart the price on Fuji 200 was about $4.50. Fortunately, I can still get it on line at B and H Photovideo for about half that. I’m also thinking it is about time to start processing my own color as it can be accomplished for about $2 per roll as opposed to $6+ at the last local film processor in Albuquerque.

    I liked the results I got from the one roll of Ektar I shot for the same reasons you ably demonstrate. I’ll probably use it again as the speed is particularly well suited to my simple p&s cameras like the Vivitar Ultra Wide and Slim.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I can still buy Fujicolor 200 for about $6 for a three-pack at Meijer, which is a slightly upscale Walmart we have here in the Midwest. So it’s still got a tremendous quality-to-cost ratio.

      But I’m so charmed by the Ektar that I just took shipment of a few more rolls from B&H. And I’m going to buy some in 120, too. You might have noticed in my Flickr stream some work I did with Ektar in an old Brownie box. That review is forthcoming. I’m thinking Ektar’s wide exposure latitude might let me really get the most out of my simple medium-format cameras as well as the medium-format cameras I have that have no onboard light meter. I can probably more readily shoot Sunny 16 because Ektar might give me a lot more margin for exposure error. I really like easy shooting, and not needing to meter would let me achieve that with great unmetered cameras like my Ansco B2 Speedex.

  4. Eric Avatar

    Don’t fear the slow films! That’s why we’ve got big ol’ apertures (and patience). If you want some fun, grab some Velvia 50 and wait for the sunniest day ever.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Ooh Velvia 50! I’ve been interested in trying it. I should order some!

  5. Carole Grey Avatar
    Carole Grey

    Great color shots with amazing detail!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The 50mm f/2 Nikon lens has a lot to do with the good detail I got. That lens is really solid.

  6. Ruben Alza Avatar

    Would you say in order to get good results with Ektar is better to push it +1 or +2 stops? like 200 or 400? and the same with Portra 400?
    p.s. great pictures!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve never pushed Ektar, so I don’t know. I can’t imagine trying: I’ve always really liked the results I’ve gotten shooting at box speed!

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