In this technology dependent age where all the talk is about the latest and greatest, it would seem that all things analog are falling underfoot of the advances of digital hype. But surprisingly enough, in the photographic world, the technologies that are currently advancing are in film. As we saw last fall (our complaint, our prediction, our reflections), Kodak released the finest grain 400 speed negative film ever developed, and called it simply "Portra400". Many of us suspected that Kodak would release another ISO 160 film, with the same Vision technology to replace it's NC and VC stocks. It didn't take kodak long at all, due to the superiority of its new Portra 400 eating into the 160 market. This new film falls in line with the New Portra standards; even color renditioning, super fine resolution, and amazing flexibility! We have shot both the 400 and 160 in 35mm and med format, and are elated by the results. We even got it in 4x5, and apparently both are available in 8x10!On a recent shoot we utilized pretty much every stock that we love, so we decided to use our results to showcase our review of these new films. (Thank you Kodak for generously supplying the film stocks!)
The New Kodak-Portra160
The skin tones on this new film are like butter. This film is a breeze to scan and comes out ready for print. We had no retouching on any of these shots!
The color gradation in the new Portra 160 is the closest any image capture technology has come to what the human eye sees, even in mixed sunlight/shade/incandescent.
Like the Portra 400, the new 160 has the perfect blend of vibrant color separation (but not garish by any means) and natural soft tonality.
It is both crisp and creamy, with the most amazing latitude and forgiveness of any film.
We can go right from shooting in the shade to direct sunlight (or vice versa) with no in camera compensation and be fine. Kodak-Portra400
We couldn't be happier with the Portra400! It is our go to color film in any lighting situation. It is the most versatile film ever made, which gives us the confidence that EVERY frame we shoot will be beautiful, and of the highest quality. No need to waste film or bracket, missing that decisive moment. Every exposure is a good exposure (within at least 5 stops). When we click the shutter, we KNOW that we have the shot.
We also decided to slip a little of our old Fuji PRO400H 220 into this shoot. For anyone wondering the differences in look between the tried and true Fuji and the new Portra, you can see that it is subtle and completely subjective. The 400h was overexposed 2 stops and still couldn't hold the shadow detail of Portra400 at box speed.
Kodak Ektar100 is our go to film for limitless latitude, color and resolution. And depending on how you shoot, scan, or print it, you can get any look you want. From soft to contrasty, from rich silloettes to high-key vivid images all in one exposure! I believe that Ektar was developed by Kodak to take photos of the surface of the sun. ;-)