FAIL! Portra 400 at 1600

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by AlbertZeroK, Jul 27, 2011.

  1. AlbertZeroK

    AlbertZeroK Member

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    Now, I've pushed Portra 400 before, never with push processing though. So I shot a roll at 1600, no ev adjustment, just Aperture priority. Then processed for 3:45 (pushed one stop) and now the results, grainy, very horrible.

    I have another roll ready to process done on the same day. Should I try to push it more or less, kinda of at a loss as to why this is not working for me.
     

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  2. tomalophicon

    tomalophicon Member

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    The grain ain't too bad. I'd be more worried about the green skin.

    What were the results when you underexposed but didn't push-process? Maybe if they were OK go with that.
     
  3. polyglot

    polyglot Member

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    It looks like the blue layer has completely failed to expose there, or you've scanned it badly.

    I see all these "Portra at 1600 is great" posts, but frankly they all look pretty bad (no dynamic range, bad colour, washed-out, tinted shadows) to me compared to Portra at 400. Sure, there's an image, but it doesn't mean the film achieved that speed or that it looks good.
     
  4. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    Don't forget that when you "push" or process c41 for longer than recommended time that you are playing with color balance.
    The separate color layers will develop to a density that it wasn't designed for.
     
  5. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    If you want ISO 1600, why didn't you start with Porta 800?
     
  6. hpulley

    hpulley Member

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    If you're going to push it, why not push it the two full stops?

    Did you need to shoot at 1600 or did you just do so for kicks?
     
  7. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Just to be clear pushing is a development thing, not an exposure thing.

    Shooting a 400 speed film at 1600 is simply a 2-stop underexposure, nothing more. The bottom 2-stops of shadow detail that the film would normally have caught at 400 is sacrificed/given away to get 2-stops of aperture for DOF control or 2-stops of speed to avoid a blur.

    Pushing increases the separation of what is caught but can't create shadow detail out of thin air. A 1-stop push might save 1/3-stop of those 2-lost stops. A 2-stop push maybe 1/2 to 2/3 of a stop.
     
  8. AlbertZeroK

    AlbertZeroK Member

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    I kinda get this, any good references you can suggest for more info on this?
     
  9. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    How about Ansel Adams?

    The physics of silver image development haven't changed. :wink:

    Color film is essentially a three layer silver B&W film where the exposed silver developed just like with "Normal" B&W and special chemicals (CD4) are used to create/develop the different dye colors in each layer in proportion to the developed silver.

    The silver is then bleached to change it back to a form that can be fixed out of the emulsion.

    After the film is fixed all the silver is gone and only the dye image remains.
     
  10. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    When I print this type of photo or scan it, I give it a touch of color correction. This one needed a tad over what the normal scanning would give. On easel, I would have added a touch of red to eliminate the greenish cast.

    Nothing wrong with the photo at all given what you did.

    PE
     

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  11. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The other thing to remember Albert is that those two lost stops may or may not be important in a given shot.

    If from experience and/or testing you know where the limits are and can reliably meter to place those limits you can use that "latitude" to your advantage with or without a push.
     
  12. lordvader

    lordvader Member

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    I had a go at pushing to 3200, and noticed that the shots that were exposed correctly for 3200 came out none too bad, but the ones that were already underexposed at 3200 had a very green tinge.

    In that experiment, I developed the film for 1600 (2 stop push rather than 3), so seems like 2 stops off = green tinge ?
     
  13. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

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    It depends a lot on color correction introduced during printing and / or during scanning. See my repost of one of the original photos.

    PE
     
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  15. AlbertZeroK

    AlbertZeroK Member

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    I'm gunna try the next roll at 2 full stops pushed. I also forgot, I was shooting daylight film in a gym at a school, so my colors will definately be off.
     
  16. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Studio tungsten lights are 3200K, practical tungsten lights are much lower, 2800K and down.

    A 2 stop push should be 4m 15s, 3m 45s is 1 stop.



    Well according to the curves, it appears Portra 400 is faster than Portra 800.



    [​IMG]
    OCAU Melb Photowalk Week 2 #6 by athiril, on Flickr


    Portra 400 rated at 1600, correctly treated is great at N+2 development, and still very nice at N development, N+1 development wouldn't be a problem here, the OP has done something wrong to get such poor results.


    OP; how did you develop? Stable temp? Re-used tetenal where 3:45 doesn't become a push? The image looks heavily abused, and judging by the histogram that's full of spikes and gaps and exaggerated noise and grain looks like you had a thin ranged image with over-sharpening that's also looks like it's been improperly developed.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2011
  17. AlbertZeroK

    AlbertZeroK Member

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    Nice. I just remember seeing someone post that they set their camera for ISO 1600 AND adjusted the eV of the camera... never understood that, both do the same thing effectively, or worst, could cancel either other out.

    Anyways, I'd like to figure this out, I've been asked by a friend to shoot a candle lit wedding and she'd like it in film.
     
  18. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    I'd like to clarify I was reading the Kodak charts wrong, as there is a typo on the Porta 800 curve, it reads 0, -1, -3, -2. :/

    I never noticed that before.

    edit: if the curves are to be believed, Portra 800 is 2 and 1/3 stops faster than Portra 400 (in my intepretation of the curves)





    Exposure becomes more critical. Exposure technique should be spot on for pushing Portra to make the most of it, otherwise it's a hit and miss affair and you're wasting your time.

    See if you scrounge up an incident meter, otherwise in the same light you can use bleached printer paper (the type for offices etc) to fill the frame in the camera, and increase exposure another 2 and 2/3rds of a stop to get close enough to incident metering.

    I personally don't like the metering skin idea and adding a stop, I don't find it consistent, nor do I find +1 stop agreeing with an incident meter or metering off a grey card, great amount of variation over the skin of one person depending where you take it from.

    IE; set your camera meter to ISO 250, and take readings from said paper, and it should be around incident metering for the same light at ISO 1600. Although I may increase exposure another 2/3rds of a stop to compensate for tungsten light.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 29, 2011
  19. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Athiril, thank you for taking time to clarify your posts. I was having trouble seeing what you saw in post #15, but post #17 cleared that up. I use Portra 800 if I think that the lighting will be poor, but I think it is grainer than Porta 400.
     
  20. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    As for candle light... are you friends with NASA or Stanley Kubrick? If so you're in luck. If not then your tripod is your friend.

    Otherwise I'd also 'cheat' with some weak ceiling bounce flash fill. Definitely an incident flash meter.

    Also I dont suppose you can get your hands on Vision3 500T 5219 since you're shooting 35mm? For tungsten balanced things, and candle light it may do much nicer.
     
  21. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    I've had great luck pushing Portra 400. This was Portra 400 shot at 1600, and push-processed to 800:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Scanned off a Fuji Frontier.
     
  22. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    While light temperature has been mentioned here, I think the implications of tungsten or even candle light haven't seen enough emphasis. An 80A filter, which corrects for 3200K tungsten light, takes away two stops of light, and the reason it does this is because the blue spectrum is so weak in this sort of lighting. If you shoot in such light without filter, you think you shoot at ISO1600 according to what your light meter tells you, but as far as the blue sensitive layer is concerned you really shoot at ISO6400 or more.

    I did shoot some indoor scenes with Portra 400 @ISO3200 last year, the first roll just straight with no flash and no filter, for the second roll I used very weak flash which only about balanced the ambient light. The difference in result was quite remarkable, the first roll was basically useless, whereas the second roll turned out quite nicely.
     
  23. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    Color neg is not made to push or underexpose. When the 2x3" web display looks grainy, you have failed not withstanding the green skin.

    B&W film that is pushed just gets more contrast so it is easier to print. There is little to no more shadow detail.

    Get more light or a tripod or a faster lens.
     
  24. Rudeofus

    Rudeofus Subscriber

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    Nobody here advertised pushing as a magic bullet to up the sensitivity of film to arbitrary levels. More light is what every photographer cries for but few lucky ones sometimes get. Tripods are always a good idea but don't hold the moving subject in place for a long exposure. Faster lenses are nice but - again - not always available, especially in larger formats, plus correct DOF should be at least as much a concern as shadow detail.

    There are situations where simply not taking a shot is the correct solution: why waste film if the results are going to be inferior anyway? In other situations bringing the shot home is what it's about, and pushing may well be the way to go.
     
  25. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Kodak disagrees with you. See page 3-5.

    http://www.kodak.com:80/global/plugins/acrobat/en/service/Zmanuals/z131_03.pdf
     
  26. stavrosk

    stavrosk Member

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    What was that scanned with?