Review Kodak Ektar 100 – fine grain and vivid colors

Another great film to review, this time Kodak Ektar 100 for 35mm cameras. Seeing is believing, so check out the video with more details.

Ektar 100 is a standard color negative film that is aiming to have the highest resolution on the market. The acronym stands for Eastman Kodak TessAR which gives you an idea how old the original film formulation was.

ISO 100 films are best suited for sunny days, in particular if you want to keep shutter speed at least 1/500s to reduce shutter shake and actually get that maximum resolution.

Helios-44M-4
Praktica MTL5B and Helios-44M-4 lens combo

Our camera is a Praktica MTL5B and I’ve written a review about it, a sturdy East-German camera with a well functioning inbuilt light meter. We have to try to keep shutter speed at 1/500s or 1/1000s to reduce shutter shake.

Our lens is a Soviet Helios-44M-4 2/58, a nice clone of the earlier Zeiss Biotar lens with a ubiquitous double Gauss lens design. The lens has very good sharpness at F2 and unique swirly bokeh wide open.

Development was done by a professional developer with a good track record.

Kodak advertises Ektar 100 with an emphasis on ‘professional-grade’ finest-grain and vivid colors. Creating a chemical film is a trade-off so we are losing some exposure latitude and you should not underexpose the film to avoid a blue cast. However, I did find another reviewer who said that he could recover underexposed images quite well. Advertisements read as follow:

World’s finest-grain color negative film
Extraordinary enlargement capability from a 35mm negative.
Ultra-vivid color and optimized sharpness.
Distinct edges and fine detail.

Check out my Flickr set with this film for full images. So what about that high resolution and vivid colors? Take a closer look at the sample images.

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Analog swirly bokeh and popping colors at F2
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Fine details and high resolution at F4
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Details and colors with an analog feeling
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Analog bokeh and warm colors at F2

I have to say that Kodak truly accomplished their goals for a professional film with the highest resolution and vivid colors – good enough to put it in the headline. It has quickly become my favorite film. Ektar 100 comes close to challenge slightly older digital cameras in resolution in my perception.

Downsides are the higher price that is balanced by low costs of development for C41 negative film. Furthermore, remember the limited exposure latitude, so you better master the sunny 16 rule or have a functioning light meter. If you want to shoot portraits, you could consider Portra 160 as an alternative for skin tones.

Thanks for reading! You can check out more of this blog or my YouTube channel.

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