View Full Version : I've been shooting ektapan in my 5X7

7-May-2011, 08:48
Hi there;

I've been running some outdated ektapan through my 5X7 and I REALLY like this film...once I run out any suggestions for a "modern" film that will yield somewhat the same results. I am quite new to film photography...I've run TMax 100&400 and some chinese film through my 4X5...outside that I have no experience with other sheet films.


Ken Lee
7-May-2011, 09:16
What is the look of (outdated) Ektapan ? What developer ?

(It's never film alone: it's always film + developer)

Jim Noel
7-May-2011, 16:01
When I learned Ektapan would go out of production I began testing every film I could get my hands on. I have not found one that comes close in smoothness of the curve, especially in the middle tones. Skin tones were recorded in a very special manner. I miss it and have found no replacement which pleases me. I now use Acros or FP4+ in Pyrocat.

Ken Lee
7-May-2011, 16:06
Was it a re-badged version of Plus-X ?

Jay DeFehr
7-May-2011, 20:54

What do you mean by, "..smoothness of the curve, especially in the middle tones. Skin tones were recorded in a very special manner...."?

I never used Ektapan, and I wonder how it was unique/ different from other films of the same type? Was it a dual layer film, like Verichrome Pan?

Ken Lee
8-May-2011, 04:47
The only special quality I can see mentioned in the Kodak data sheet (http://www.kodak.com/global/en/professional/support/techPubs/f10/f10.pdf) is that Ektapan had a retouching surface on both the base and emulsion sides.

If it rendered skin tones nicely, then perhaps it had an unusual spectral response - but that doesn't appear on the data sheet.

I'm no expert, but Ektapan's characteristic curves (response to light) and contrast-index curves (response to development time) seem rather typical.

Mark Sampson
8-May-2011, 07:13
Published curves don't show you everything. Ektapan was designed to be a b/w version of VPS color neg film, so studio portraitists wouldn't have to change lighting or exposure. The portrait studio where I once worked c.1980 used it in 70mm long rolls, but my assignments never called for b/w film. I tested EKP around 10-12 years ago, when it was still being made, as a general-purpose outdoor film. Developed in PMK, I found it to be slow (EI 40), fine-grained, and very contrasty. Jim Noel's comments about skin tones makes sense- in a short-scale lighting environment it would record skin tones well, as it was designed to. I didn't care for it in my own work, since I prefer a longer tonal scale, but I wish it was still available.

Jay DeFehr
8-May-2011, 10:40
Thanks, Mark.

8-May-2011, 22:02
Hi there...I should have given more information...My ektapan expired in 2001...I develop it in D-76 in a unicolor drum on a motorized base....I run 3 ounces of mixed D-76 with 6 ounces of water for 10 minutes at 70 degrees (2 sheets of 5X7 or 4 sheets 4X5) then discard the D-76....as I wrote before I am very new to film and film developing...while I like the TMAX products there is just a very real visual smoothness to the ektapan that the TMAX does not have (I'm also running the TMAX through D-76)...it's like I shoot my 5X7 believing that I'm going to get a good image and with the TMAX in the 4X5 I believe that I am capable of getting a good image...if that makes sense. I'll attach a couple of scans of the Ektapan to try and express visually what I am trying to describe ... remember, I'm new at this, not expecting perfection, but I sure like what i see with Ektapan.

Ken Lee
9-May-2011, 04:57
I'll attach a couple of scans of the Ektapan to try and express visually what I am trying to describe ... remember, I'm new at this, not expecting perfection, but I sure like what i see with Ektapan.

It's much easier to judge the merits of a film/developer combination when we can compare a series of photos of the same scene: same subject, same lighting, same lens, etc. Otherwise, we end up with what some might call "andecdotal" evidence.

Most films are so good these days, that when a subject is beautiful enough, then almost any film - properly exposed, developed, scanned etc - will reward us with a beautiful image.

This is even more probable when we shoot with Large Format film: the medium itself produces images of such tremendous clarity and smoothness, that with the right subject, all we need to do is get out of the way, so to speak.

You might find this short article interesting: Testing Black and White Film (http://www.kenleegallery.com/html/tech/testing.php).

9-May-2011, 08:07
I think I got my true answer from Jim, since he shot and liked the film and in searching for a substitute found nothing quite like it....I think some things about photography are intuitive and some things are empirical, even in the lab....I was just hoping that within this forum there would be someone who had shot this film, liked it, and when Kodak discontinued went and found a film that allowed them to produce the same or similar results.

Lynn Jones
9-May-2011, 10:01
Thank you Mark, Ektapan was developed by Kodak as a b/w partner to its portrait professional color print film. It was a really great film for many purposes. It was designed for pencil retouching, was not quite as fine grained and sharp as some other films but for its purpose who cares, especiall in large format. I can think of no current film with the characteristics of that product. If its still available in LF, TXP Professional when coupled with the right developer would come prett close


9-May-2011, 14:30

What developer would you use to get that effect? I'm so new at this...I think I made the right choice to start with D-76 and use it until I started to at least WANT something other than what a given film was giving me....if for no other reason that too many variables can make an issue murky.