This is part 2 of my review of the new Kodak Ektar 100 film- click HERE to read part one. In this test I decided to compare the same scene photographed side by side, one shot with the new Kodak Ektar 100 and one with Kodak 100UC.
Camera: 2 Olympus XA cameras both just calibrated and shot at F8, focused at infinity.
Film: Kodak Ektar 100 rated at box speed (100) and Kodak 100UC also rated at box speed (100).
Scanned on an Imacon scanner (dry) at 3000 PPI so around a 68MB 16 Bit RGB file.
Color Space: sRGB
No sharpening applied in the scan or in Photoshop. All scanner settings were set for Standard RGB Negative with full auto applied.
In Photoshop only AUTO settings were used (levels, contrast and color)- no additional image manipulation was applied. Test files were then down sampled to 8 Bit and reduced to 10″ x 6.5″ for faster download- saved as a JPEG, Level 10.
Please only download the sample files if you have a high speed internet connection as they are around 3MB each compressed.
The Kodak 100 UC has a better exposure latitude, especially at box speed than Ektar 100 does but the grain is a bit more pronounced and the color is somewhat muted whereas the new Kodak Ektar 100 at box speed is a bit thin but has nice saturated colors and somewhat finer grain. Exposing the new Kodak Ektar at an EI of 50/ 64 will make this film very hard to beat.
Overall both films are quite nice but I tend to like the look of the Ektar best, especially when exposed at an EI of 50/ 64. I find scanning the new Kodak Ektar film quite easy and possible enlargements from a good sharp capture lens and a good quality scanner with a bit of work in Photoshop can produce some amazing quality prints even at sizes up to say 20″ x 30″… remember this is 35mm!
Note: If you want to try this film be sure to rate it at an EI of 50/ 64 otherwise your shadows will be thin and you will not be seeing all that is possible from this new offering. Yes, I like this film!
Please note that the sample files are for personal use only and are Copyright Stephen Schaub, 2009.
Please watch this video first for a discussion on the pros and cons of the Olympus XA vs the LOMO LCA and LCA+. Please note that the video is of high quality and may take a few seconds to load depending on your connection speed.
General Info: All test images were shot at F 2.8 on Kodak TX, processed in Diafine Developer, scanned on an Imacon with no sharpening applied, natural light. Please be sure to click on the images to see them larger.
LCA: Notice the general soft focus/ appearance…I shot this image 10 times and this was the sharpest. I changed my lens to subject distance and I changed my zone focus setting but in the end this was the best. It is not real sharp but does have a nice soft visual quality with some subtle vignetting.
XA: Very sharp at the point of focus (glasses)… and this sharpness is at F 2.8! The XA achieves its best sharpness around F 5.6 – F 8. The OOF (out of focus) quality is nice in the background and general illumination is pretty good edge to edge.
XA+: This is the same negative as the XA sample image above with the addition of a bit of a vignette and a bit of a general surface blur applied in Photoshop…I feel this hits the mark perfectly for my visual needs.
Olympus XA Info
LOMO LCA Info
Olympus XA Repair/ Service
A New Eden – Artworks by yours truly made on the LCA and XA (the new XA artworks can be found on the home page). This overlapping negative technique is possible with both the XA and the LCA and it the subject of a future post here on the Figital Revolution…stay tuned!
Notes: The Olympus XA came in other later versions such as the XA 1, XA 2, XA 3 and the XA 4 all of which are Zone Focus cameras. My favorite and the most collected and used is the original XA followed by the XA 4.
Final Thoughts: I will be posting additional articles regarding the XA with info on fill flash, long bulb exposures and additional tips and techniques in the coming weeks so again stay tuned!
Viva la Revolution- Stephen
UPDATE: I was wrong on the current price of the Lomo LCA+…it is not $199 US as I state in the video but rather $250 US…the XA is now a real bargain!