Time to wrap up this little series, and talk about the last of the four films – Kodak Professional Ektar 100. Now, the Ektar name is not new to me; back in around 1990 I recall using a couple of rolls of Ektar 125, and also, for some astrophotography, the what then seemed magically fast Ektar 1000. I may dig around and see if I can find anything shot on them as a comparison with this new film. Kodak binned the previous incarnation in the mid 1990s, and I didn’t really mind as I was busy shooting Kodachrome 25 anyway. But obviously the market has changed somewhat in the intervening 15 years and Kodak are trying again. This time, with the addition of the word “professional” it’s more obviously marketed at the higher end user, except it’s still cheaper than all the Portra variants.
A flickr contact had put up a few photos shot with this new film so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Those expectations were exceeded, comfortably. Kodak market this film with the statement “World’s finest grain” and, from what I can tell, that is no exaggeration. Frankly the grain is amazing – high resolution scans of this film are staggeringly detailed. A close examination of the full-sized scan of the car shown here show the collected dust on the roof in fine detail.
It seems to scan well, with little fiddling about required to get the colours right and no obvious cast to the results. Lifting more from the marketing material it claims to be high saturation and ultra-vivid colour, and I think the shot of the tulips demonstrates that well. They are very red tulips, and the Ektar really nails that here, but I can see that I maybe need to be careful when using the film, to make sure things don’t get out of hand. This one I think is a touch overexposed, because I’m still learning with the bellows, and I suspect that I overcompensated there in the direct sunlight. However it handles it well – the colours are vivid and saturated, but essentially true to life.
Obviously I had to take it out to the forest, and I wasn’t disappointed there either. The fine grain picks out all the details and it had no problems with the hazy spring morning light. The reddish-brown waters of Ober Water and the still leafless trees are captured beautifully.
So far it seems to have handled anything I’ve thrown at it. I’ve only had the one roll processed, but I have two more sitting in the fridge waiting for the next time I have a chance to drop them off. I’m looking forward to it, as on the basis of the first roll, this is fast becoming my favourite film.