I’ve been using Kodak Portra for about 5 years but wanted something more. I love all Kodak films but for colour, Kodak Ektar has no competition.
It has 3 specific qualities: intense colour, low grain (I’ve printed it with an enlarger and struggled to focus) and you can overexposed it considerably. It capacity to deal with bright conditions was surprising to say the least.
Underexposure will give you a clout caste so you need to watch that. Personally, I think it is beautiful for skin tones, especially darker skin. I would not hesitate to use it for portrait photography as it ‘pulls’ features other films can’t. It is has an almost surreal Lynchian quality to the images or a scene from Nicolas Winding Refin film. It’s that surreal quality that gives it such appeal.
If you want to print large, Ektar is your film. Be careful not to use consumer scanners like the the Epson Perfection V750, they cannot pick up that level of detail as they do not focus. You will need a commercial scanner such as an Hasselblad x5 or the like. People might be surprised to hear this but printing C41 in a darkroom is not difficult (aside from the total blackout).
All the images below were taken with a Mamiya 7ii.
~ Jascha Oakes
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This series is being produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.