My favorite film — Kodak Ektar. A Kodak Ektar 100 film tutorial is easy to write because this film is easy to shoot.
And like many of my favorite things, it has a bad reputation. I have seen where well known photographers say things like don’t use it for portraits and its only for landscapes or details.
But I disagree. Every image in this blog post was shot with Kodak Ektar 100. It is a super fine grain color film that loves loves loves light. And shot right and well and developed and scanned at the right lab, its just about perfect.
Why Shoot Ektar?
I mean there are other amazing color films — I love Kodak Portra 800 and Kodak Portra 160 as well and shoot them at every wedding. However, Kodak Ektar 100 film is my favorite because:
1. Ektar shows the colors of the ocean and sky the way I actually see them here in Hawaii;
2. Ektar adds a wow factor to my images and a pop to the color;
3. Ektar in 35mm is the least grain of any color 35mm film and no grain in 120 format;
4. Kodak Ektar 100 handles the sun so well — I can shoot backlit with it and still have a blue sky and blue ocean behind the subject
5. Ektar is the best choice for cameras with older lenses or toy cameras. Older film lenses and toy camera lenses can be duller and not have coating or have it worn off. Shooting Ektar gets better results — in fact its the only color film I shoot in my Norita 66 or my Rollei. Its also the film I shoot underwater and in my lomography lc-a+ camera. I hope this Kodak Ektar 100 Film Tutorial makes it clear why.
There are some easy dos and don’ts with Kodak Ektar and you can take it from there.
1. Shoot it on a Blue Sky Day
Kodak Ektar loves light. The more light the better. Its in bright light, that this film shines. Its probably not a good choice for Portland in the winter. But a sunshiney day? Oh yes, Ive shot it in Tahoe skiing, California, and almost every day in Hawaii.
2. Meter it at Box Speed (or thereabouts)
We all hear that color films love to be overexposed. yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, Kodak Ektar 100 film not so much. I shoot it at box speed – meaning that its a 100 speed film, so I rate it at 100 on my light meter and meter normally. I hold the meter straight up and down. I might give it a 1/4 or 1/2 stop of over exposure, but no more. Otherwise, yes, your peoples’ skins will go red and orangey.
And if you are using an automatic setting on your camera, (I have been known to do that on my Canon 1V) then I use the AV (aperture priority mode) and set it at normal if the sun is behind me. If I am shooting into the sun (my subject is backlight) then I use the exposure compensation dial to plus 2 or plus 3 stops to compensate for the sun shining into my lens and expose for the shadows.
3. Go Ahead and Use it for Portraits
It is a gorgeous film and sometimes works well for skin tones. However, Ektar can show up red or orange if there is underlying red tint in the skin tones. A portrait film like Portra 160 or 800 can handle a wider range of skintones.
4. Choose your lab wisely
Be sure the lab you are using is well versed in scanning Ektar. I have had amazing luck with Indie Lab, Goodman Film Lab, and the Find Lab. Its all in communicating with the lab about what you are looking for and giving them feedback after you get your scans.
Buy some Kodak ektar and go experiment today! Have a great day. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below and Ill answer the best I can. You can also buy my more intensive PDF on how I shoot Kodak Etkar here.
If you want to learn about more creative techniques with film, check out my pdf series here. I have pdfs on shooting Double Exposures, Light Leaks, Color Techniques, Sun Flare and a more detailed PDF on Shooting Kodak Ektar 100 Film Tutorial.
If you would like to book me for a photoshoot in Hawaii, please just contact me here. And if you want more one on one attention, sign up for an online or in person mentorship here.
Love this post, Wendy. I LOVE Ektar and am so happy to hear another advocating for it!! :)
Your tutorials are awesome Wendy!! LOVE Ektar!!
Thanks for posting this Wendy, Ektar 100 is one of my favourite color films of all time and have shot portraits with it as well in 120 format. Your observation that this film craves light is spot on.
I’m headed to Oahu in April and deciding on film stocks to bring. This post is so timely for me. Thank you for sharing your talents and knowledge! I’m quite new to film, so it’s always a blessing when experienced shooters share their experiences. :)
Love your post! You rock at Ektar!!
wendy, you are amazing!! these are seriously gorgeous. you’ve inspired me to purchase some ektar for my island wedding/anniversary trip this summer! <3
Like, like, like!!
I totally agree with you! I definitely love Ektar
What about pushing Ektar? For example at 200? Thanks and regards.
Im not a fan of pushing ektar because I think it shines best in lots of light. So if its too dark for 100 speed film, Id rather shoot portra 800 which also have lovely and true colors.
Hi. This is a great read an your sample photos are spot on. What’s your opinion on pushing Ektar? I hear some say push it two stops in development. Thanks for your advice.
Great read, I love Ektar 100 and your photos are nice!
I also shot it at night time, I got interesting results.
Might need more exploration.
I’ve shot ektar but the pictures streight out of the scanner do not produce this look. Indie film lab corrects a great deal in post. Not enhence but correct. If you would to develop the negs the old fashioned way and project the neg light onto photo paper. That would be your ACTUAL REAL result. But if you scan. A lot of tweaking and post correcting needs to be done by a human eye to get these results as close to real as possible. Simply because film information on the negative is stored logarithmicly. Most of the detail is crushed in the highlight. And most of the colors are crushed in the blue. So you over compensate by scanning darker and then de contrasting the blacks. You create a anti log curve that way. Same you do with the color. You create a yellow ish grade that is done in two ways. Highlight grade, and shadow grade. Not just with the temperature slider. It’s all about de-logging film. Both in color and in contrast. That’s what those boys in indie fil. Lab do.
Can you tell us a bit more about how you meter with it. You mentioned that you hold it straight up and down, pointing where? Also, how do you meter for your amazing underwater shots???
Underwater I shoot with the sun behind me — I don’t use a light meter underwater for obvious reasons :). The camera I usually shoot the lca wide has an internal meter I rely on and it works well in that situation. You just have to know your camera and the light to get good results.
Beautiful imagery! Does Ektar 120 behave in a similar fashion or is 100 just magical?
ektar in both 35mm and 120 behave the same way.
Ok… I thought they made it at 120 ISO but don’t see that so you can probably ignore my question. Haha. Apologies.
they make ektar in 120 for medium format cameras.. its still a speed of 100.
How does Ektar 100 fare when you Do overexpose it? (3 stops more or less).
Could you email me some images so that I might see? ^^ – 35mm preffered :D
Nice pist btw, means a lot. Shooting mine, Overexposed it a bit and I am anxious to see the results :D
I don’t do that. I shoot ektar at box speed.
I absolutely loved my results with this film. I resurrected an old hobby of mine, with shooting on film, and my wife surprised me with a roll of Ektar 100 for xmas! The colors it picks up are just mouth watering and, yes, you’re right- sunshine and blue skies it loves. But now that you mention it, it never dawned on me to be selective of my lab. Do you really need to consult your lab about this film? How is it processed differently than any other C-41 film? Guess I’m showing my novice here .
Thanks for the tip on Ektar! One question though, when metering is the bulb out or in and is meter facing the camera? Thanks in advance for your help!!
Just got a roll of Ektar 100 and I’m going to try it out in my vintage Olympus Pen EES 1/2 frame.
Like your article. Thank you very much!
I just bought a Petri 7S off of eBay in like new condition with an f1.8 lens. It came with film in it . Well this morning I took it out the case and found a Kodak sticker on the bottom the camera , “Ektar 125” 36 exposure roll. After reading your blog here, I’m going to run a couple rolls of 100 speed Ektak through it. Should work this time of year with snow on the ground, blue skies, bare trees. Thanks
sounds perfect! have fun
I almost stopped reading at the mention of Taylor Swift, but I pressed on. Thanks for the writeup. I’m starting a jewelry business, and am looking for a film to capture my creations in their best light. This looks like the ticket.
I am just begining my film journey and 10 years with digitial. I just purchased my first roll of Ektar100 yesterday and can’t wait to experiment. Thank you for your post with great tips! It should be very helpful.
Hi Wendy, I Googled how TO SHOOT eKTAR AND FOUND YOUR POST ON THE SUBJECT. i’VE BEEN SHOOTING dIGITAL SINCE 2009 AND AS OF TODAY, i AM SLIPPING IN MY VERY FIRST ROLL OF FILM AND I CHOSE eKTAR 100. YOUR POST HAS GIVEN ME WONDERFUL TIPS TO RUN WITH AND FOR THAT I AM VERY GREATFUL. HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY…MAHALO!!
that’s a bit rude
“sunburned people or middle aged men”
yet another film that is designed for white skin tones, and whiteness is similarly naturalized by the author. Some middle aged men may not have red skin because they are not white. In fact the majority of the world is not white. Wake the f up.
Point taken. I appreciate your comments and will revise the article. Thank you.
This film was recc’d to me to shoot for fall. I know you said this film works best in bright sunlight, but does it work in partial sunlight? I ask because I take pictures when hiking and I hike in a lot of woods where the lighting is more shadowed than it is bright.