push Portra 800 two stops

Discussion in 'Film and Processing' started by benny_spinoza, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. I exposed Portra 800 at 3200. I was about to send it in to Holland Photo for
    processing, but I see from their Web site that they do not recommend pushing C-
    41 more than one stop. Anyone have experience with this issue regarding Portra
    800? Should I ask for two-stop pushing? Or, should I ask for only one-stop
    pushing, and hope that underexposure by one stop doesn't hurt?
  2. If you exposed Portra 800 at EI 32000 it is going to need all the help it can get. I often push Portra 800 two stops, and never bother with a one stop push. I usually set my meter to 2000 for a two stop push.

    Best, Helen
  3. I've never been a fan of pushing color negative films. A so-called once stop push yields about 1/3 stop in true speed. The increased contrast will produce mid scale densities that are close to normally exposed and processed neg. A so-called two stop push yields about a half stop in true speed.

    My biases aside, I have to admit that I've met some highly respected photographers (with cover shots on national magazines) who routinely pushed color neg films (back in the days when photojournalists used film).

    Since photojournalists quit using film, there is not much of a driving force to provide good pushing characteristics in color neg films. There is no assurance from the manufacturer that pushing will be acceptable. From Kodak's view, you proceed at your own risk.

    Since you have already exposed the film at 3200, I would suggest pushing one stop and using the latitude of the film to make up the difference.
  4. If this roll is important. I'd suggest shooting a 2nd roll at the same speed, of a similar subject, and have "it" pushed to see what you'll get.

    Chances are that if you didn't expose for the shadows, your images will be lost anway. Exposure effects shadows, development effects highlights. So if the shadows are 2 stops underexposed, sitting in developer an hour or two, won't help.
  5. I like all of the advice so far. As the film builder for this product when I was still at Kodak, I should know something about this film. But when it comes to pushing, the only results I ever saw were sensitometric and granularity curves. Helen has live experience with pushing this film. That counts for more than looking at charts and graphs. I think steven's advice is the safest.
  6. Helen,

    After you do what you describe in your last post, do you then tell the lab to push 2 stops?
  7. I would imagine that due to the latitude of the color negative films that 800 could yield usable results at 3200, but I believe that the best underexposure would be 1600. I have exposed 400 at 800 and 1600 with usable results.

    I do not push any color films and agree with Ron Andrews on that.

    I have posted examples of Portra VC here exposed from 50 to 400.

    Ron Mowrey
  8. Thanks for all of your responses. This film isn't all that important. Just a fun day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. So, I decided to just push it one stop, as Ron A. suggested, and hopefully the latitude of the film will take care of the underexposure.
  9. "After you do what you describe in your last post, do you then tell the lab to push 2 stops?"


    Yes. The 'Push 2' refers to the C-41 developing time more than the actual increase in useable speed. As Ron Andrews says, you don't get much of a true speed increase (ie the toe of the curve doesn't move much). By setting the meter to a higher speed such as 2000 you lose shadow detail, then you allow the extra processing time to increase the density of the midtones and highlights. For NPZ/Pro 800Z I set my meter to 1250 or 1600 for a two-stop push process. What you set your meter to has a lot to do with what you like and how you meter, of course. In some cases I am happier setting my meter to 1600 for Porta 800 with Push 2 processing. It has plenty of overexposure latitude for most practical subject brightness ranges, even when pushed. It gets quite punchy.

    Because of the limited true speed increase, I don't bother with a one-stop push (ie the C-41 developing time that is a nominal one stop push) for colour negative and just go straight to a two-stop push if I want some help from the chemistry. Portra 800 responds very well to pushing (thanks Ron, even if that isn't the ideal way to use it!). I do one-stop, two-stop and three-stop processing (and sometimes approximations - borderline fantasies - of even finer differences) with E-6, but that is a different matter.

  10. I've heard good things about Fuji Natura 1600. If it's great at 1600, it must be good at 3200. Sometimes you can find it on eBay.
  11. I've seen comparisons of Fuji 1600 against other films. Although I'm not a fan of pushing, I would prefer to shoot 800 speed film (Kodak or Fuji) and push rather than choose this film. You give up a lot of grain to get that last stop of speed.
  12. Helen's right. Here are my results with bracketing Portra and developing push2. Portra is the best pushable C-41 film I have tried. (Have not tested Natura 1600 because with DSLR nowadays, who cares.)

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