Dear 35MMC readers, I am a dreamer. I keep hoping I will be able to buy some Kodak Ektar 25 (or Royal Gold 25 – the same emulsion) which has been frozen all these years and will respond perfectly, as if it was fresh. In my previous post, I showed some examples of 120 Ektar 25 and concluded that it was too late and was time to move on. Ha, I can’t keep my own advice. A seller on eBay claimed that three rolls of 135 Ektar 25 had been stored frozen in an old photography studio. The price was reasonable, so I bought them.
Much of west central Mississippi is still inundated by Mississippi River floodwaters and local runoff, so there is plenty of interesting subject matter this spring and summer (2019). Here are some examples that I took with my wife’s 1971-vintage Pentax Spotmatic (which she bought new in Boston, Massachusetts).
This first roll of expired 135 Ektar 25 surprised me:
The good: some of the frames are superb, like the poster of Trump and the pumps.
The bad: On many frames, the colors are definitely off. Blue was not recording correctly and many scenes were too green. However, that is not completely unexpected because here in summer, there is so much forest and wetland, the green light bounces back down from the humid summer sky. I noted this many years ago when I started a roll of Kodachrome in Greece and finished it in Mississippi. The Greek scenes were quintessential blue and glowing with light; the Mississippi scenes were green and muted – same roll of film, same Leica and lenses.
Scanner issue: I scanned this Ektar 25 with a Plustek 7600i scanner controlled by Silverfast Ai software. The Ai does not have an Ektar 25 profile. The closest appears to be the Ektar 100 profile (the modern emulsion), so this may account for some of the color issues. But I am sure the Ektar 25 is just too old now. I corrected the color on many frames by using the neutral grey dropper on pavement, concrete, or metal roofing.
Camera motion: I also experienced some camera movement, so I am not being quite stable enough when hand-holding. And I slightly mis-focussed the 35mm Super-Takumar several times. The old Spotmatic has a rather grainy finder screen. I have had excellent results from the 35 before, so my copy is not damaged.
Grain: This Ektar 25 seemed to be coarser grain than I remember. Possibly something happens to the emulsion when it is old, but I do not know for sure. Maybe I am romantically remembering how fine-grain it was in the old days.
Thank you all for reading. Keep supporting 35MMC and keep photographing! You can follow my wanderings and experiments at: https://worldofdecay.blogspot.com