Portra 160vs or Ektar 100

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by doug_foster, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. I searched the archives but not sure my specific issues addressed. In two weeks, will be taking my Hass. 501cm to Minnesota's north shore along Lake Superior. Usually shoot transparencies but this time I want to try some color print film. Thought I'd try either Portra 160vc or Ektar 100. Where I buy film, these two only come in 5 pack boxes. Don't care to bring a box of each with me. I will be shooting scenes of dramatic cloud formations over the lake, the shore line, deep woods, rivers, flowers, cabin (interior & exterior), etc. My wife will be in some of the scenes. Most scenes will be done with natural light - but some cabin interiors will be shot with flash. I understand that Portra 160vc is better for skin color - and that Ektar has a lot of saturation. (Years ago, I shot some Ektar 25.) I would appreciate opinions from those who have used both of these films in similar situations mentioned here. Many Thanks.
  2. Yes the portra line is best for portraits, not bought any lately but they made portra VC for a higher contrast if that is what you are after. Vivid color is what they call it....
  3. Doug, For a once in a lifetime or even just a rare trip I'd opt for a bulletproof solution such as Portra 160NC, a very forgiving film. Portra 160VC is a higher saturation film as is Ektar 100 though I've no experience with the latter. I've always been disappointed when I used 160VC, wishing I had used 160NC instead though, to be fair, I may have been the victim of some poor processing when I used 160VC. I find I get more satisfactory results when I use 160NC and then increase the saturation or contrast in PS if and when needed than when I try to desaturate or lower the contrast from other films. I'd suggest taking along a roll or two of 400NC for those times when hand held is the only option. Whatever your decision please come back & enlighten us with your results. I'm sure I'm not the only interested party here. Best, LM.
  4. I use Portra 160vc for almost all of my film needs, 4x5 or MF. I stopped shooting chrome when I got a scanner! Since I scan and don't print from the negative, I have found that I am most interested in getting the information on the film and so pretty much interpret it digitally. I have found that 160vc really works for me. If you visit my website, linked on my home page here, the second section, Amtrak, was all shot on Portra films, mostly 160vc except for the aerials which were mostly 400vc. The landscapes are all 4x5 while the aerials and half of the shots with trains from the ground are MF. The non train photos were digital.
    I may try the ektar in the future, in a test for comparison, but i know the Portra is good!
  5. I shot scenics with Portra 160NC and although it's excellent for portraits, it's too low contrast for scenics...in my opinion. NC is more the wedding photographer's choice. Portra 160VC is much better for scenics, and very acceptable if a person is in the pic also.
    I'm just starting to use Ektar 100 myself....2 rolls, in a Mamiya 7, so far....so I'm still getting use to it. And mainly because I scan my negs....and no one has a canned Ektar 100 profile for their scanner software yet. So, if there is no white in the pic, I have a heck of a time balancing the color. Still gotta try Silverfast's negfix option to make my own profile. It is very saturated.....more like Portra UC (Ultra Color....which I don't think is actually made anymore). However, I did use to use the Portra UC when I was shooting in very low contrast scenic scenes....like overcast days, etc. However it looked rather odd for people shots in bright sunlight....made skin almost look like a mannequin's skin color. The one pic I did take using Ektar 100 of a person was shot indoors with sunlight thru white see-thru curtains...so it was a little low contrast....and that came out great.
    Personally, I'd bring both films.....five extra rolls of 120 film really don't take up that much space.
  6. It's hard to split hairs on this. . . 160VC is fine for all-around use and portraiture. NC would give you a fine & accurate palette for scanning. Ektar will give more color and contrast. With all the blues, whites & greens that you are planning to shoot, I would lean toward the Ektachromes or Astia/Provia and maybe a couple Portras. 1 holder with Portra for the people shot(s) and load the other with what you like best for scenics. Add lens shade & haze filter . . .
  7. Doug,
    I would hope you have a second film mag. Set up a few shots for comparison results. Shoot the scene on both films, then as suggested above, come back here to enlighten us with your discoveries.
    Enjoy the trip.
  8. One thing I might mention here is that if you are scanning, it is more important that you get the information in the scene on the film whether it is a bit more or less saturated, or the skin tones are better on one film or the other. With scanning you can neutralize most all of this, and you can cut back or add all of these things in the process. I have scanned cross processed Ektachrome Plus and made it look like it was a Portra film. There might be some differences, but you are not limited to extracting only the film characteristics in these regards when you scan as you are when you are doing darkroom prints.
    What I have liked about the Portra film is that it reminds me of my favorite TXP for black and white. It gets me great detail in the darks and yet has a long, smooth run in the light areas(skies) which can be brought back into scale for a print, something that you can't get with chrome films.
  9. What I have liked about the Portra film is that it reminds me of my favorite TXP for black and white. It gets me great detail in the darks and yet has a long, smooth run in the light areas(skies) which can be brought back into scale for a print, something that you can't get with chrome films. Quote
    Yes much better than the older VPS pro films, also kodak developed the portra films to allow easer scans if that was what you planned. I do no scanning, total film and paper. (dont know anything about stinking digital) I never go out with just one film type, you never know how the light will change. When I shot weddings I carried 120 and 220 Portra 160,400, and 800 asa as well as sometimes some VC film for the Hasselblads.
    And sometimes a 35mm camera(canon F1, 85mmf1.8) with some 3200 asa B&W loaded for some fun shots.....
  10. Doug, Before you make a final decision check out Michael Seewald's portfolio http://www.photo.net/photodb/user?user_id=1001799 here on PN. He seems to have some success with 160\400 NC. Don't forget to come back to this thread with your results, whatever you decide. Best, LM.
  11. I've had disappointing results using Kodak Portra 160 or 400 VC or NC for landscapes. The VC can appear oversaturated, and the NC rather flat. I tried Kodak Ektar 100 last month on a sunny landscape featuring clear blue sky and dark evergreens, and was very pleased.
  12. Doug, I, like you, usually shoot transparency film.
    I know that you named 2 Kodak emulsions but I really enjoy shooting Fuji Reala when using print material. This is a fine grain negative film, good saturation for landscapes and readily available in both 120 and 220 stock. I have a number of rolls in my freezer as we speak . Yes, you probably will have to buy a Pro Pack(5 rolls) .(definitely in the 220).
  13. I've been using Ektar 100 lately, scanned on a Nikon CS9000, and I love it!
    Rich color, fine grain, and much more latitude than I'd have expected.
    Here's an example:
  14. Some portrait examples of Ektar 100
  15. whole frame

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