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.
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.
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.
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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