Monday, April 4, 2011

Tipping Hats - New Kodak Portra160, Portra400, Ektar100, etc.

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

New Kodak Portra 160

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!New Kodak Portra 160

New Kodak Portra 160

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.

New Kodak Portra 160
New Kodak Portra 160

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.

New Kodak Portra 160
New Kodak Portra 160

It is both crisp and creamy, with the most amazing latitude and forgiveness of any film.

New Kodak Portra 160We can go right from shooting in the shade to direct sunlight (or vice versa) with no in camera compensation and be fine.

New Kodak Portra 400

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.

New Kodak Portra 400
New Kodak Portra 400

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.


New Kodak Portra 400


Fuji PRO400H 220 (RIP)

Fuji-PRO400H Kodak-Portra400Kodak Portra400 vs. Fuji PRO400H

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. ;-)

Kodak Ektar 100


Elle said...

I am glad to see that there are still some purist out there utilizing the incredible advances in film.

Michael Ash said...

Thanks for the heads up. I'm excited to get my hands on the new Portra.

What is your go to scanner?

Riccis Valladares said...

Great job and fantastic images as always. You are making me give the new Portra line a new shot even though I still prefer the Fuji Pro :)

Brandon said...

@Michael We love the Fuji Frontier!

Brandon said...

@Riccis I will never get over my 800Z in 120

Paul Gero said...

great job review guys and lovely frames...

Alisha Stamper said...

very nice review. I'm just getting getting into color neg-- i've been strictly slide and b&w (I'm a 4x5 shooter). This makes me want to take the beast out with color. Thanks, guys.

Steve France said...

Hi guys,

Brilliant! I've not been on your site for at least over 1 year. Coming back, seeing your work, and your continued evangelical ethos with film is still a great joy!

With regards to exposing these films.. when you say you over exposed by 2 stops.. you shoot at box, no ev compensations, and aim the camera at the shadows, or you rated the films around 200 (both 400h and the new 400) and then either compensated for what you were shooting?

You shot the new film on 35mm? How's the grain on the smaller format?

God bless

Brandon said...


Overexposed by 2 stops means that if we were metering off a gray card in front of their faces we would open up 2 more stops than what the meter said. It doesn't matter how you meter, if you overexpose 2 stops it means the same thing. We metered most of these incident where the least light was hitting their faces (we always expose for faces) and used all manual settings so all of them were overexposed between 1 and 2 stops.

The box says, "World's Finest Grain at 400 Speed" and that's no lie.

Calgary Photographer said...

These are incredible shots. The fact that they come from film stock is a bonus. The models, poses and fashion (plus accessories) are all beautifully selected and captured.

Big Kudos to Kodak for keeping film advancing. I only hope more digicam shooters will see this and experiment with such a rewarding medium as film.

Flavia said...

I just discovered your blog. It's the first time I visit and I really like it. I didn't know about the new Portra. I shoot b&w almost exclusively, but your post made me wanting to try this one.

Beautiful photos!

Ivan said...

This is a really useful comparison post! I've tried scanning Portra400 negatives previously but I had some trouble getting accurate colors from it. Do you have any idea why it might be the case? I'm using an Epson v700 series if that helps. Thanks in advance!

Brandon said...

Scanning is an art... Practice! Practice! Practice!

NYConMonday said...

How this Film scanned and what is the brand of the scanner

Brian said...

Scanne on a fuji frontier sp-25000 in house! ;)

Martien said...

gorgeous images. this is what i want to achieve. i just got myself a contax G2 and loaded it with this new portra 400. now the problem is I dont live in the US, so developing at RPL is not an option for me. Will I still be able to get this pastel tone?

I set my camera to shoot at iso 200 for the portra 400. Havent got the chance to develop it yet though.

David said...

These images are absolutely stunning. I shoot weddings in the UK (lots of dull days unfortuntaley) on Canon 5D Mk ii's but for some time have been considering possibly trying out film, maybe just for some couple shots. These images are tempting me even more!

Anonymous said...

I don't think I've ever seen scans with this much contrast and such vibrant greens look this good. Though I prefer a more natural look...I may try this look as well.

twiggs said...

oh my goodness, these are absolutely stunning and so magical! i now want so many other film cameras!