Review: Kodak Ektar 100

To see Kodak Ektar exposure tested along side 10 other film stocks, follow this link. To see my first (substantial) attempt at shooting Ektar while in Banff, follow this link.

In the fall of 2018 I headed to Arizona for the second time and intended to see the Grand Canyon for the first time (btw, it was as grand as the name implies. Lots and lots of grand.) and when deciding what film to take, Ektar never crossed my mind. I thought to myself – I’ve shot a couple rolls of Ektar before and hated it. A lot. Then I found the work of Pete and David and decided I didn’t give Ektar a fair shake in my previous attempts. Albeit, I believe now that what I didn’t like was in fact the scans from the lab I was using moreso than the film itself.


Ektar has bold colors that, coupled with the high sharpness, make it an incredible film for landscapes. Compared with Portra 400, I find this film to have a bit less blue in the shadows and bit more yellow in the highlights. Granted, I’m basing this exact assessment on the exposure testing experiment but so far my personal experience has not turned up any conflicting evidence.

So far, the colors that have really jumped out at me and made me fall in love with this film are light turquoise and deep blues. The turquoise values are truly unlike anything else I’ve ever seen. When I see good examples of this (heavily based in Banff) I wonder if the film actually rendered a significantly different color than reality. I mean… Was it ever actually that beautiful? As for the deep blues, I’m just a sucker for that color range and I think this film does a tremendous job at it.

The only colors I haven’t fully grown to like from this film are greens that don’t have a blue tint. I felt like the closer the green got to blue, the more I liked it. Conversely, the less blue it got, the less I liked it. The light greens were a bit too quick to have a yellow-ish tint and the darker greens didn’t have the same “pop” as everything else. Still though- this is all relative and I recognize my experience may just be limited. As such, I’ve kept a roll of Ektar in at least one camera at all times and I’m experimenting to see if this opinion persists or limited to only my first couple pro packs.


Given how pronounced the colors are, I fully expected this film to bomb at portraits. Who wants a photo or themselves with the saturation turned way up? That said, I don’t dislike this film for portraits so long as its an environmental portrait. I felt like the more the photo felt like a proper portrait, the more I couldn’t get over how strong the colors were. While the more of the scene I got in the photo, the more I appreciated the coloring – it’s always a trade-off.

Dynamic Range

I can honestly say that I am beyond surprised with the dynamic range of Ektar. In the exposure testing experiment, I genuinely felt this film performed better than every other color negative we included. In the experiment, I thought it handled underexposure really well. My personal experience has been a bit less successful. I’ve found all of the photos that I knew to be underexposed a bit muddy with very strong saturation in the darker values, leading to an experience a bit less than I hoped for.

As for overexposing, I don’t much care for what happens to the coloring but given that I can rectify that in post, I am beyond surprised with this film. It’s such that if I meter for the midtones to shadows, I’m hard pressed to overexpose the highlights to a point beyond return. I think it is this very quality that makes it such a solid choice for landscapes.


I can count on one hand how many times I’ve ever pulled film and with this film being 100ASA, I don’t see it ever happening here. That said, I did once put through a roll at 400ASA in one of my F2s and didn’t much care for the results. So much so that I’ll not be providing examples. I really felt like the saturation was over the top (even on my scans) and the loss of the dynamic range was beyond my taste. I did it purely as an experiment and I suspect I’ll try it again at 200ASA and update.


In conclusion, I’ve really grown to love this film and have kept a constant stock of it since I bought my first pro pack. So much so that I’ve kept a roll in at least one camera since. While I don’t know that I’ll be going through much of it once the weather in Ohio starts going back to grey all the time, I’ll be enjoying it as much as I can while the sun is out.

Banff (In Color): New City, New Film – Ektar & Portra 160

This article shows off some of the color negative film I tried out on my vacation to Banff, CA in April2019. To see some of the black and white negative work, please follow this link.  Several of this films in this article have exposure tested and compared to other color negative films – this article is located here.  

The Canadian Rockies were calling and we answered. In a moment of spontaneity and luck finding round-trip tickets for only 18k points, we got our tickets and booked a hotel within a couple hours and I immediately started thinking about what film I was going to take. For ease (and out of pure laziness) I needed to make sure everything was ASA 400 or slower so I didn’t have to have the film hand-checked.

For color negative film, I ended up taking a pro pack of Portra 400 (per usual), Ektar, and Portra 160. I also ended up taking a few rolls of Fuji Provia and Ektachrome.

Portra 160

I gave this film a shot after Matt Seal suggested it a few times. I had shot through two rolls previously and didn’t much care for either. I found it to not be very flexible for my shooting style and didn’t much care for the way it rendered colors.

That said… This film took some of my favorite photos AND my least favorite photos of the trip. The ones that worked out really killed it. The ones that didn’t work out reminded me a lot of my first attempts in that the colors weren’t really on point and the shadows were pretty muddied.

Below are my two favorite photos from my trip. Both were taken with Portra 160.


Prior to this trip, I had actually shot through a couple rolls of Ektar and hated them both. Admittedly, I think my distaste for them came from the scans from the lab- the lab I was using had a knack for boosting up the saturation to a point beyond my tolerance for it. Since then I’ve seen the work of Pete Gotz and David Chan and decided to give it another shot. I doubt I would have made that first attempt on a vacation I’ve looked forward to so much but in all honesty, it was their pictures of Banff with this film that really turned me on to their work pushed me to try this film again.

Anyhow- I shot through a pro pack of it on this trip and I couldn’t have been happier with the results. It was a lot more versatile than I expected and the colors were really intense.

Below is my favorite photo I took with Ektar.

All in all, I was pretty blown away by the results of this film. Nothing was too bold and the colors were gorgeous. I’ve already picked up a few more rolls of this film and loaded it into my F100 when I went to Montreal.

Below are a few more of my other favorites from Ektar.

Portra 400, Provia, & Ektachrome

As you may know, I’ve shot through plenty of Provia and more than my fair share of Portra 400. And since it came back out again, I’ve been working my way through several rolls of Ektachrome. I know they aren’t new films for me but I thought I’d share a few of my shots from these great stocks. I’m posting the Provia first, then Portra 400, and concluding with Ektachrome.

Interview: Peter Gotz

“I realized how important portraiture is in the grand scheme of things and how important it is to photograph the people you love

When I first came across Peter’s IG account, I felt really compelled by his photos – they all feel so genuine. I hope that as I grow as a photographer, I can capture as many moments in such spectacular beauty as Peter has been doing.

JM: Hey Pete! Thanks for agreeing to do this.  As far as film photographers that I only know through social media go, I’d say I feel most akin to your style.  I really look forward to getting to know more about you. 

JM: Why do you shoot film?

PG: There’s a comfort and confidence that comes along with shooting film. You have a certain set of skills and you have to trust in yourself when you pit yourself against a scene. You gotta trust your instincts and get into a flow where you are sure of your composition and exposure choices. Once you commit and capture your image then there is a moment of pride and relief where you can take a breath knowing (or hoping) that you nailed it. Then you move on. When I’m shooting film I am not tempted like in digital to take many pictures of the same subject at slightly different angles with slightly different settings. My digital shooting experience is filled with chaos and double-guessing instead of peace and serenity. Shooting film is definitely a more enjoyable process for me. 

JM: What is your favorite film? Camera?

PG: My favourite B&W film is Tri-X. My favourite Slide Film is Velvia 50. My favourite C41 film is a toss-up between Ektar 100 and Portra 160. Those choices are highly influenced by what my favourite photographs have been shot on.

PG: My favourite film camera is the Nikon F3. I actually thought it was a pretty ugly camera initially but it has definitely grown on me. My collection of Nikkor primes are an absolute joy to use with that machine. Qualms I have about it though: – you can’t see the shutter speed LEDs in the dark through the viewfinder. It also is annoying to operate both the exposure compensation dial and also the mirror-lockup mechanism. There is no single perfect camera out there, only what works for you!

JM: What proportion of your shots turn out as you hoped (or better)?

PG: I don’t think I have ever developed a roll where there wasn’t at least 1 image that I was really happy with.. (That is except for the “Zeiss Crisis of 2017” when my roll came out completely blank from a Zeiss Contaflex that I picked up for $20 from a trunk of an antique shop in Toronto’s distillery district). The reason I stuck with shooting film is that the first roll of film that I ever shot (Ilford XP2 at the Calgary Stampede) was the best SERIES of 36 images that I had ever captured in a row. I flip through those 36 prints and am so proud of the variety, the story, and the quality, whereas if I scroll through 36 digital images in my Lightroom photostream then I just can’t wait to blast past them to get to the film stuff. There’s a certain magic that’s involved in the process of shooting film. I think there’s always going to be a proportion of images that turn out better than imagined, worse than imagined, and exactly how you envisioned. I try not to get too bogged down in it and try to stay humble. As long as I end up with one photograph that I am very proud of as a result of hours of shooting, developing, scanning, and editing, then I think it’s all worth it. The anticipation and delayed gratification is an amazing feeling. It forces you to sit with the images in your mind where they can live with you and the memories of the moment solidify before you ever even see the final developed photograph. Pretty awesome to slow things down a beat and practice some patience and contemplative photography in this Internet age where everybody else needs results yesterday.

JM: It’s really difficult for me to choose a favorite photo of yours.  If I had to pick one, I’d say it’s the one of your wife before you proposed (IG – 06Jan2019).  The mood of it reminds me so much of dozens of shots I’ve taken of Brittany.  Where does that shot rank for you?  

“Essentially the same light that touched your subject touched your film… I think that is so powerful and special.”

PG: Haha thanks! I actually brought my digital kit on that trip to Banff, Alberta, Canada, but made a last minute decision to swing for the fences and to try to shoot my engagement with the Hassy! It was a beautiful moment for us and I’m really glad I made the decision to capture it on a tangible medium which I value so much. I’m sure you’ve heard the analogy before but I really think it’s an important point to mention – when you shoot a portrait of a person on film then that emulsion is actually capturing photons of light that bounced off that person and which are then harnessed through chemical reactions on film.. Essentially the same light that touched your subject touched your film. I think that is so powerful and special. Years can pass by and you can lose loved ones but having a negative of that person to cherish is pretty awesome and special.

JM: What is your favorite shot you’ve ever taken?  What’s the story behind it?

PG: My favourite shot I’ve ever taken is a portrait of my dad. My then girlfriend at the time (now wife) and I were visiting my parents in Vancouver and it was a beautiful sunny day on Granville Island when Sirena, my dad, and I popped into the Granville Island Brewing Company to cool down with some refreshments. It is such a happy memory for me just chatting and sharing stories. I had just picked up a Yashica D TLR (60 year old camera) and had it loaded with some Tri-X that I had decided to push to 1600. I rested it on the table and placed a little booklet under the front legs to angle it upwards a bit. I set my aperture to f4 and my shutter speed around 1/125th and as we were talking and having fun I lightly pressed the shutter release and heard the quiet little leaf shutter click. It was just a genuine experience with my dad rather than a formal portrait shoot. The guy is my hero and I’m really proud of that image. Shooting portraits can be really hard and daunting but it doesn’t always have to be. I think it was that moment that I realized how important portraiture is in the grand scheme of things and how important it is to photograph the people you love. 

More of Peter’s photos can be seen below: