EI for Portra 400

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by shutterboy, May 29, 2014.

  1. shutterboy

    shutterboy Subscriber

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    Newbie here, so please don't bite. What is the most used EI for Portra 400? I have so far shot at box speed and results have been good. However I was wondering if I could draw a bit more latitude from the film.

    Thanks
     
  2. Nuff

    Nuff Member

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    It's personal choice. I like the results I get @200, I do 99% incident metering. It will depend how you meter scenes.
     
  3. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    Hummm

    I guess I don't quite understand your question. Do you mean you want more latitude so you can over- or under-expose more and still get okay results? It seems to me the latitude is there in the film no matter what film speed you choose to shoot it at. Or are you asking about something else? Good luck. Film rocks.
     
  4. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    400. Incident meter towards the light of your main subject @ 400.

    I've accidentally heavily overexposed it before and it was useable. I've pushed it and shot at higher speeds and it was useable.
     
  5. shutterboy

    shutterboy Subscriber

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    I am trying to find out what EI-s are popularly used with this film while keeping the grain low. Also, if this film is exposed at 160, does it produce similar results to Portra 160?

    I am primarily looking to under-expose without loss of detail.
     
  6. alienmeatsack

    alienmeatsack Member

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    I've shot it at 250-320 without any problems. But I mostly shoot it at 400 unless it's really bright out and I want to keep it within a plus/minus range of exposure.

    Why not take a roll out and start it at 400 and shoot the same scene, going back in 1/3-1/2-whole stops until you've got 160 or so and then see what you get? That is what I'd do.

    Also, I shoot quite a lot of P160 in various forms and I don't know if the 400 could look like the 160 if exposed as such. My underexposed 400 typically just gets muddy and loses detail in the shadows. I usually actually go a tiny bit over exposed with it depending on the situation. it really pops when the light is strong.
     
  7. Pioneer

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    It seems to have pretty good lattitude. I have pushed Portra 400 all the way to ISO 3200 and pulled it down to ISO 200. But I normally shoot at ISO 400 and I like it.

    You should expect to lose shadow details by the time you get to ISO 1600 so if you need detail to show up in the shadows I would not go over ISO 800.

    I don't see a huge difference when I over-expose at ISO 200 but contrast seems lower.

    Usually I don't bother changing my developing time until I get to ISO 1600 so this may have something to do with my results.

    Great film btw. This post has reminded me to start picking up some more so I can build up my reserves.
     
  8. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    200-400. I typically just set the meter at 400 and meter the shadows then use that, which means I'm "really" using 200 if I meter a zone IV type shadow, in B&W Zone system terms. But anything from 100-800 will actually work pretty well. C41 has that much latitude. It does tend to show less grain with more exposure. If I had to set one and forget it and use matrix metering or the like I'd set 250 or 320.
     
  9. StoneNYC

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    I'm confused by this post, if you are primarily planning to slightly under expose the film, then why would use use an EI of 160 on a 400 speed film, that would OVER expose it. So I'm confused.

    Also, 160 film by it's nature will have less grain than 400 speed film no matter what, the 400 will have more grain, even if you shoot it at 160 and pull it...
     
  10. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Stone pretty much said it all.

    In general, color films are pretty tolerant, you could easily shoot it at 800 and not loose much shadow detail, and you could go higher with some push processing.

    But shooting your Portra 400 at 160, 200, 800 or whatever is not the same as working with a film which has those box speeds.

    If you want the best overall results, shoot it at 400, if you want more detail at the low or high ends, over expose or under expose accordingly. But keep in mind that when you do that you're sacrificing some at the other end.
     
  11. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    Colour film usually responds less well to over- or under-exposure.

    If you under-expose, you could lose satuation which results in a drab look. You may also get colour shifts if you need to develop it for longer.

    A small amount of over-exposure may increase saturation but if you go too far it won't look good either.

    Generally, I shoot most films at box speed, especially colour. It is best for predictability and consistency of the results.

    Do experiment, by all means, but bear in mind that C41 development is prone to slight variations, even if you use a pro lab. If you develop it yourself, you may get very varying results between the batches.

    If you are going to shoot under varying light, it's best to bring slow, normal and fast film, and to use a good lens with a large aperture span.
     
  12. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    I routinely shoot my Portra 400 as I said above, which is really shooting at more like 200. For Portra 160 I usually set the meter or camera at 125.

    Color neg is almost always better with a bit more exposure. ISO is a carefully defined speed point, but that does NOT mean it is the optimum exposure index for best quality. For that matter I expose most black and white films at lower EIs than the box ISO speed too.

    "Best overall results" will honestly be obtained with Portra 400 at something less than box speed. Same with almost any C41 film. That doesn't mean box speed isn't good. It is.
     
  13. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    True for slide film, not true at all for color neg. Most color neg films benefit from more exposure than using box speed will give. The intent of overexposing has nothing to do with saturation. It reduces effective "grain" (all the silver is actually bleached out in processing so "grain" is really just a convenient and familiar term from B&W) slightly lower contrast, and gobs of shadow detail which you can choose to print or not.

    It's almost impossible to overexpose color neg film so much that you won't get good results and 1/2 to 1 stop more than box speed usually yields slightly better-for-most-purposes results.
     
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  15. Xmas

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    400 is best compromise
    200 if you need big enlargement and meter good
    800 if you don't mind 'digital' noise in shadows

    100 will be ok if your scenes are not contrasty

    You can try outside these values but not on non repeatable shots unless you don't mind...
     
  16. Jaf-Photo

    Jaf-Photo Member

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    I did read a test recently where someone had shot Porta 400 at different ISOs. It concluded that 400 and 320 gave the best results, but if you go higher or lower you start getting undesirable effects. It was backed up with negative samples that seemed to support this conclusion.

    I'll see if I can find the link.
     
  17. benjiboy

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    If your'e happy with the film at I.S.O. 400, why try to be clever ? Kodak know what the optimum speed of their products are to get the best results, I would only consider adjusting the film speed rating if I was unhappy with the results.
     
  18. shutterboy

    shutterboy Subscriber

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    Sorry about the confusion, the overexposure and look of 400 at 160 were independent statements. :smile:

    The problem is, I shoot medium format and mostly in not so great light. So I HAVE to stop down a bit to get high enough shutter speeds to hand hold. Also, not a huge fan of 800 speed films due to the grain (for colour). Therefore was trying to find out what my options are.
     
  19. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    There is some confusion here. Shooting at 160 and overexposure are the same (perhaps you mean underexposure and 160 were ind. statements) ; and you have to OPEN up not stop down to get higher shutter speeds to hand hold.
     
  20. shutterboy

    shutterboy Subscriber

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    I am just having a bad day explaining what I intend to convey. What I meant was, since I shoot 120, the DoF is much thinner compared to 135. Therefore, I have to stop down to get a DoF that makes sense, which in turn slows down the shutter. So, now, to get hand held speeds, I have to up the film speed. Does that make sense?

    Yeah, I did mean 160 and underexposure are independent statements. Silly me :sad:
     
  21. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Under exposing and bad lighting conditions are not a good combination.
    You may want to consider a camera support, or else learn to brace the camera against solid objects, or, try Portra 800.
    If you've not used it, you may be surprised at the quality.
     
  22. Jaf-Photo

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    Portra 800 is a great option. If you have detachable film backs you could always load a couple with different film speeds and change as needed.
     
  23. StoneNYC

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    Portra800 shot at 800 will most likely be less grainy and give a better image than shooting 400 at 800 and pushing. But I have not done that so I can't be certain, just my suspicion.
     
  24. Pioneer

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    I shoot Portra 800 as well, and it is a very nice film (all of the Kodak Portra films are very nice.) But in my opinion Portra 400 has more lattitude. When I push 800 to 1600 it gets grainy really fast, much faster than Portra 400 does.

    It is certainly better technique to use support and lower shutter speeds when shooting in low light...except for when you can't! Try shooting kids on Christmas Eve at ISO 400. I really hate to be the bearer of bad tidings but slow shutter speeds just don't cut it. Halloween is another one. Sometimes your only answer is to push the ISO. Especially if you are shooting medium format with the slower lenses and much reduced DOF. :smile:

    I wish that Fuji still made their 1600 color film, but they don't. Fortunately Portra 400 seems to work well enough to fill in the gap.

    Of course, I guess we could all go digital and shoot at ISO 12800, or higher. :whistling:
     
  25. markbarendt

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  26. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    The thing is, they don't slap on the box the speed that they know gives optimal results and call it ISO. ISO is a rigidly defined lab determined standard and isn't necessarily the pictorially optimum rating. It seldom is on black and white for example. Color is closer because if the standardized processing but you still may find another rating works best.

    This is really splitting hairs though. Anything 100-800 will give good easily printed results. C41 just has huge range (latitude.)


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