KODAK PORTRA 160 NC 120

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by glenn_matchett, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. I am sure you guys get fed up with newbie questions but I am based in London and am new to Medium format ( hassy) I am interesed to know if this film is a good one to use in natural light ( available light) I have been reading a lot about how you can over expose film and underxpose mostly on Flickr but I am hoping that some of youw ill be able to give me a beginners guide to the basics for ISO and what I can do to get more out of the film, I guess the last thing I want to do is take a picture and be that it will be hand held it coming out blured I aim to try and shoot at 125 I am guessing that is the slowest I would want to be looking at using it handheld.
    Any pointers or tips will be most welcome on all fronts
    regards glenn
     
  2. Avaible daylight 5500 Kelvin. Indor light myst be filtered or taken very good care of in post processing.
     
  3. Thank you Erik - may I ask what you mean by taken good care of in post processing?
    what sort of filter would I be looking at - I am more into the idea of portrature but all very natural so want somthing with good skin tones
     
  4. Color correction can be done during optical printing by somebody who's good, or with white balance in software when scanning (and most labs now do digital printing from film and include a white balance step).
    Now I wouldn't call an ASA 160 film "available light" but usually that's a code word for "it's pretty dark and I'm not using flash". 160NC is a great film for portraits, and you can overexpose it a bit but you don't have to. If you need more speed, 400NC's color is almost as good and the added grain isn't going to make a difference unless you're doing very large enlargements.
     
  5. I would generally avoid underexposing film, it makes it grainy and the colours are very muted. I generally prefer Portra 400 for normal daylight outdoor use and on a typical rainy UK day I will generally use Portra 800.
    Just think of the exposure a bit: a bright sunny day is f/16 and 1/125 on 160NC. It is f/16 and 1/1000 on Portra 800. A heavy overcast day is 4 stops down. On 160 film that would be f/16 and 1/8 or f/4 and 1/125. Which is becoming a bit marginal if it gets any darker (back alleys etc). If you want to overexpose the film for stylistic reasons then you lose another stop, which puts you very near or inside the camera shake shutter speeds.
    On 800 film you can still get f/8 and 1/125 if you want to for these conditions. Or f/4 and 1/500.
    Don't be afraid to use faster film. Portra 800 in 6x6 (I assume that's what you have) shows pretty much no grain, the size of the film just takes care of that.
     
  6. What you want in any image capture is the most amount of tonal info on film. So i suggest to over expose (set handheld meter to 100 ISO and tell the lab to develop at -1/2). That gives you definition in the highlights and brings out detail in the shadows.
    As for the blurred part the main rule of thumb is to take the focal length as a fraction and set the camera at or above that exposure time (80mm lens 1/80, next time above is 1/125). That only considers a tolerable shake relative to the focal length. But if you add the weight of the camera you might want to shorten the exposure time, if you're an oustanding marksman you might get away with a longer time...
    All in all i would also explore the 400NC and VC for more handheld shooting in available light and the VC range for a different color rendition (with still very pleasing skin tones).
    I can really only emphasize some testing and note taking in the beginning (and if you can rent a darkroom, start printing asap, that brings it all together).
    have fun, M
     
  7. Every one this is great knowledge thank you all and yes I am using a 503cx hasselblad with 80mm
    I will have a bit more of a read of these answers to get my head around things. maybe the future is to invest in a tripod
     
  8. How you end up creating images from the developed film will have a little bit of an impact on how you use it. I always found a bit better results over exposing a bit for darkroom prints. It gave a bit more body to the shadows-contrast- and the highs worked well (of course, you need to be sure you expose for the important parts of the image). With scanning, I found that shooting at the stated iso or even a little underexposed works very well and will give me the body I got from over exposing for darkroom work. Overexposed is a bit more difficult to handle in scanning than underexposure based on my experience and equipment.
    Shooting at 1/125 will give you different results depending on your lens and your own ability to hold the camera still. The Hasselblad is heavy enough that it helps, but your own tests will let you know how YOU do at that speed with your different lenses. It is not that say a 40mm lens will be held more steady than a 150mm, but it will be hidden better in the smaller detail. At certain enlargements, the 40mm will look sharp while the 150 wont.
    You might also consider the 160vc and other vc films. Just a bit more kick than the NC, but both do a good job--if you scan and post process, you wont necessarily care what the differences actually are on the front end, but darkroom work will be different.
     
  9. This is a daylight film. So natural sun light or flash having about 5500 K is what this film is designed for. It will not do very well with other types of artificial light that do not have about 5500 K characteristic.
    With a 85 mm normal lens on the Hassy I would recommend at least 1/125th second shutter speed or faster for this film/lens combination. Use Sunny 16 rule to get close estimate of exposure, and open up aperture to keep shutter at this level or faster as light decreases using your metere. It is fairly simple.
     
  10. Portra 160NC is the most forgiving color negative film. You can overexpose by 2 stops, and barely notice a difference. You can also underexpose by 1 stop, but you start to lose a little contrast and color saturation. So when in doubt, better to overexpose than underexpose, as is true for all color negative film. As others have said, it is a daylight film. But it handles mixed lighting quite well. Nowadays, almost all processing is done digitally. When I scan with SilverFast, it does a great job in white balancing, so I don't worry too much about the lighting. Of course, best results will be obtained if you filter the light to balance it to daylight.
     
  11. Thanks everyone for all your knowledge time for emto go and buy some film
     

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