Portra 800 is now my favourite film

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by Karim Ghantous, Apr 1, 2022.

  1. All I have to do now is find a use for it!

    I mean, it's just the nicest looking film I've ever seen. I dare say it is even nicer than Fuji 400H. For some reason I just never paid serious attention to it. I think because Portra 400 has better tech and can be pushed to 800, Portra 800 appears to be redundant. But no, it is anything but.

    Have a look at these examples:


    In my Dojo


    This one is overexposed by three stops:

    Kodak Portra 800
  2. Shot lots of much missed Fuji NPZ. ISO 800 Fuji was great in mixed/natural light, especially in 120. The 35mm version with fast lenses was a real pleasure.
  3. Most people I know shoot Portra 400 because it has the least amount of grain of the three. I shoot Portra 800 in 120 and I usually shoot it at 800 or 1600 and push it two or three stops so I can get more grain. In 4x5 I shoot 160 because they don't make 800 in that size. Love Portra, I've tried Fuji and Ektar and they're not for me.
  4. I saw a 5 pack on ebay. .
  5. Everyone raves about lomography 800 and some like it better than Portra 800. I just shot some for the first time last year.outdooors. I see what they are talking about.
    Karim Ghantous likes this.
  6. Just to point out that Portra is negative film. And therefore its colour character is open to wide interpretation in the conversion to a positive colour image. Plus everything seen on the Web has been digitised (well durrh!).

    So are we looking at flatbed scans from prints (using Kodak or Fuji paper?), scans digitally reversed direct from the film, DIY scans where the photographer had input to the final colour, or mass-produced scans from a lab? Because I bet no two of the above would be identical, or even very similar in 'look'.
    Bettendorf likes this.
  7. Yes, there is always the question about color and correction.

    In the early days of color negative film, people used clear flashbulbs, and corrected in printing.
    But then it was found that you get better results with blue flashbulbs, and all boxes say "Use blue bulbs for flash."

    You can matrix out linear color changes, but it is harder for non-linear ones.

    One that I was wondering about in a discussion about Kodachrome is the unusual color of Kodachrome.

    The way Kodachrome processing works, is that the red sensitive layer is developed,
    creating a cyan image, then the blue sensitive and yellow dye. The final step puts
    magenta dye for all the not yet developed halide, in all layers. Since the first two aren't
    perfect, some magenta dye is generated in those layers. I suspect that isn't linear,
    and so can't be matrixed out, but maybe if you try hard enough.
    Karim Ghantous likes this.
  8. A common misconception that hangs around still.
    But you quickly find out the hard way that 'daylight' balanced negative film cannot handle just any old lighting.

    What happens with exposure to light of a low CT is that the blue-sensitive layer is grossly underexposed, usually to the point of having no recoverable shadow detail. Thus making colour correction impossible.

    So, either add a CC filter to the camera lens, or overexpose by a couple of stops (lower the ISO, same thing). The overexposure method isn't ideal, but it gives you half a chance of correcting the colour in post or during darkroom printing.

    Either way you lose effective film speed.
  9. Especially as Kodacolor was often used in simpler cameras, likely with flash close to the maximum distance.
    (Or, way too often, past the distance.)

    But then blue bulbs mean you underexpose all layers. Equally.

    It is amazing sometimes what you get from a color negative when you can't see it in the negative.
  10. Eh?
    Exposure happens in the camera, not in the light source.

    I guess you're meaning that some light is lost in the blue filter coating of the bulb. But so what? No light source is 100% efficient, with much energy being dissipated as invisible or inactinic IR, UV and conducted heat.
    It's only the light that the film or sensor can 'see' that counts, and that's what an exposure needs to be based on. Not the energy expended in order to get that light.

    Otherwise electronic-flash makers' Guide Numbers might actually be accurate! :cool::D
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2022
  11. I was, at least sort of, trying to agree with you.

    If you underexpose all layers equally, then the non-linearites of color balance are
    not so much of a problem.

    Reminds me of visiting Washington D.C, and my dad explaining how to tell if the
    Washington monument is open. Look for flashes coming out the windows.

    Other than that, it is usual for beginners and pros to stretch the distance from
    the guidenumber tables, at least a little bit.
  12. Not advisable, since the manufacturers have already stretched those numbers to the limit before publishing them. Nearly all GNs - at least for electronic flash - will give at least one stop under exposure if blindly followed. As tested against several flashmeters and verified by practical exposures with literally dozens of different makes and models of flash.

    Pros stretching flash GNs? I don't think so. Not if they want to keep their jobs or customers. Just the opposite. Most pros know that published flash GNs are a pack of lies, and will test their kit or add that missing stop of extra exposure.
    AJG likes this.

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