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Kodak Ektar 100

        I guess it's weird that out of all the films that are out there, I chose to shoot with the Kodak Ektar. There's a perfectly good reason why I chose this film.

        Film comes in different looks and color hues and I wanted to find a film that best matches my editing style. In the beginning of this journal entry I mentioned that it’s weird that I chose this film because when you search for what’s the best film to start with, many would say to use Kodak Portra 400 but after looking at samples and other film, I settled for the Ektar 100 because I resonated more with how it looked. Not to say that I wouldn’t shoot with the Portra 400... I would! In fact, that’s my next film I'll be shooting on. Here's a quick info on Kodak Ektar.

         Kodak Ektar is a daylight-balanced color negative film which means that it’s meant for shooting outdoors. This film is known to have very saturated colors and produce very sharp photos. What I have noticed with shooting film is that there is a film for every situation and environment. In other words, while you can shoot this film in any scenario, not all photos will look great in every situation. So now that we got the introduction and technical stuff out of the way, let’s get into this roll of film I shot earlier this year.

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        The first two photos were just test shots. I was figuring out how to use my Nikon FM2's light meter, which is surprisingly easy to read. Already I'm liking the the way this film renders colors. It's nice and warm and the graininess is actually not that bad. After taking these test shots, I decided to shoot this film whenever I could, like when I went hiking or when I'm on a shoot or shooting a wedding.

        The crazy thing about film photography is that you don't know how the photos will look like, besides what you see though the viewfinder or until you get them developed, which is a different mindset to adopt. So why do I shoot film in the first place? Well you've probably heard it before: the experience. From when you put in your roll of film, snap the shutter button and crank the lever to advance to the next blank frame to developing your film and printing or scanning your photos. It's one of those things where you have to experience for yourself in order to understand. To be honest, I'm so use to shooting off countless photos on my digital camera that I could forget to appreciate being in the moment and just take your time to compose your shot well to make it more meaningful. With film photography I feel that I can just take my time and feel more immerse in the art of photo making. 



        The first session using Ektar 100 was on this father and son photo session I took back in February. I took most of the photos in that session in digital and some photos on film. From the photos above you can see one was taken on my Nikon D810 and the other using Ektar. I'm blown away at the fact that the colors are more pleasing on film than it was on digital. Although the digital file wasn't bad looking, I really like how it came out, but film does have this very desirable look to them.

        I've noticed that a magenta tint can present itself when shooting Ektar; in particular on skin tones, depending on the weather. It doesn't always happen, but sometimes it does. When you have good light, the Ektar 100 can render pleasing skin tones (more on that later). 

        One day as the sun finally set and night time was just appearing, I looked up at the sky and wondered how a picture of the moon would look like on film. I was really pushing this film considering it's rated at ISO 100 which was a low ISO. Great for sunny conditions, bad for low light photography. I used a slow shutter speed to get a decent exposure of the moon with the dark sky and clouds in the foreground; because I had to use a slow shutter speed, the photo came out a little shaky but that's okay. On to the next photo...

         In March I had a photography meetup with some friends of mine where we took photos of each other and just hung out. I took a picture of my friend Darin and when I got this photo back from the lab... [*pause for dramatic effect*] lets just say this is one of the areas where the Ektar 100 shined. Like I mentioned before, when you have good light, this film can give you very pleasing skin tones. I love the way this photo came out. Besides the skin tones, I really love how this film rendered his denim jacket. I remember when I was composing this shot and looking through the viewfinder and thinking to myself: "This photo is gonna look awesome." 

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        I even got my picture taken haha. Even though it came out blurry, I saw that this film would have rendered my skin tone nicely. Would I use this film professionally for portraits? Maybe, but I can see myself using this film more for daily documenting and landscape photos. 

        Before we left, I wanted to take pictures of the rest of my friends. It was dark and I kind of knew that the photos wouldn't come out great but I wanted to see how portraits would look like in low light with this film.

        This next shot clearly shows that night time is not for this film. This shot of my friend Steve shows that the Ektar 100 can't really recover shadows that are too crushed. On the flipside, this film does have great latitude, in other words, it can retain/recover details in overblown highlighted areas.

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        So finally we get to some photos of when the lockdown was in place because of COVID-19. Excuse my scruffiness in the first photo haha. We would walk around our apartment complex to get some fresh air and decided to document that as well. I was able to get some very nostalgic feeling photos of my wife and daughter. The look of these photos really make the Ektar 100 a great day to day film to document life.

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        Right before the lockdown, I shot Anthony and Emily's wedding and also shot a few photos with this roll. While the photos are good, I don't think this film is great for weddings. With the variations in color rendition and skin tones, not to mention the magenta tint that can present itself depending on the weather conditions, I wouldn't use this film stock for weddings. Next time I'll use Kodak Portra 400 or Fujifilm PRO 400H for weddings. I can't wait to try those out. I'm interested to know what you all think about this film for weddings or portraits. Do you think they look good for these genre's of photography? Would you use this film? Let me know in the comments below.

Shot on Kodak Ektar 100 on a Nikon FM2 camera and a Nikon 28mm f/2.8 AIS Series E lens.

Shot on Kodak Ektar 100 on a Nikon FM2 camera and a Nikon 28mm f/2.8 AIS Series E lens.

        So remember when I said in the beginning that one of the areas that this film shine is that it gives very pleasing skin tones when you have good light? Well the MAYOR area where this film really shines hands down is landscape photography.

        The way this film renders the browns, blues, reds, orange, and greens is just tasty. Sometimes even the blue skies can look sort of pastel. Best believe I'll definitely be using this film when I do some landscape photos.

        The Kodak Ektar 100 is great for landscapes and taking everyday photos, but not so great for professional portraits or weddings. I love the colors, warmth and saturation of the photos. Well I guess that's all I have to say about my first experience shooting with the Kodak Ektar 100. Thank you so much for joining me on this film photography journey. I hope you found this interesting. The next film I'll be shooting with is the Kodak Portra 400. Once I finish with that roll, I'll post a new journal entry.

        Check out the photos in this article by clicking on the photos in the gallery below.



  • D Kuok

    on July 7, 2020

    Love ^_^ them all!! Your film shots have warmth and humanity. Proud of you and your wife’s work!! Sending my love to you, Dani, and Bex!! Looking forward to your next journal entry!!

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