Portra 400 Enlightenment

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by Lamar, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. Lamar

    Lamar Member

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    Don't get caught in a rut. I've been trudging along and pushing film when developed corresponding to the underexposure thinking I was doing pretty good...... Then in a related post PE enlightened me on certain qualities of Portra regarding it's ability to give a descent up to two stop underexposed image without push processing. I tried it, I liked it. I'm sure this attribute of Portra 400 is common knowledge here but for some reason I never tapped into any of that information before PE's suggestion. And now I'm kicking myself for not coming to this epiphany sooner. I can shoot ISO 200 through 1600 on the same roll of Portra 400 film and expect good results. Nice!! This makes film choice for many situations quite a bit easier.....
     
  2. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I always shoot films at the box speed unless I have a good reason to do otherwise, I get excellent results with all my cameras with Portra 400 doing this, but it's nice to know the latitude is there if I make a mistake.
     
  3. Lamar

    Lamar Member

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    I shoot a lot in lower light, sports and events, etc. At a night ball game I need at least 1/250th for the action shots typically wide open but I can use 1/30th for stationary subjects and stop down a bit. This allows me to shoot at the rated ISO until I "have" to underexpose to get the action shot right. I can get the action shots at ISO 1600 without compromising the shots that I can get at the box speed on the same roll. It's like the best of both worlds.
     
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  4. thegman

    thegman Member

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    I use Portra 400 quite a lot, it seems one barely has to meter or adjust exposure at all. I just tend to give it as much exposure as I can, and photos seem to turn out OK.
     
  5. RidingWaves

    RidingWaves Member

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    Could you please provide a link to PE's comments about Portra? He's a wealth of knowledge thanks!
     
  6. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I only shoot film at box speed. There is no reason to over expose. PE has stated that he shoots Porta 400 at 320.
     
  7. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    You get less grain (and yes I know the C41 dye clouds aren't really grains so "apparent grain") with slightly lower contrast when you overexpose C41 and it's stupid-hard to overexpose so much a good print can't be made, so I always aim for generous exposure in my metering techniques with C41 but that said I do set meters at box speed.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  8. Lamar

    Lamar Member

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    Here's the thread: PE was responding to some questions I had about using dilute Rodinal in conjunction with normal C-41 process to improve shadow grain in pushed Portra 400. His comments were basically stating why push Portra when all it does is increase contrast. I found his statements to be accurate and can obtain as good, if not better, results from Portra underexposed by 2 stops and not pushed than pushing it 2 stops. Athiril was able do some experimenting to show that a hybrid Rodinal / C41 process for 400 film underexposed 3 stops does result in finer grain and better shadow detail than a normal C41 process, 3 stop push or not. I'll try that at some point as well since Portra 400 looks bad to me at ISO 3200.

    http://www.apug.org/forums/forum40/128386-using-rodinal-push-portra-400-a.html

     
  9. Andre Noble

    Andre Noble Subscriber

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    No! Negative film should not be underexposed. Doing so is just a dead end gimmick - like those guys that take a perfectly good computer and over clock the processor or guys that put huge wheels on small cars and trucks.

    If anything, slightly overexpose color negative film, especially for portraiture.
     
  10. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    They aren't taking a 'perfectly good computer', they've built it themselves. And it isn't a dead end gimmick. There are specific chips that are fantastic for overclocking with significant performance gains.



    There are specific neg films that handle underexposure well and are consistent and reliable. It's far better than not having a shot at all.
     
  11. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Member

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    What he said.
     
  12. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    I found that under-rating color neg film(say, Portra 400VC @ 1600, so 2 stops underexposed), then push it 1 stop(so 1 stop underdeveloped), gave me "muddied" blacks that were not totally black. I was printing for the highlights remember, and everything was underexposed. The chalky blacks gave an interesting feel to some shots. Definitely something to test before committing to any major shots, but modern films in the last decade are pretty darn cool in their latitude.

    Recommendations are exactly that, recommendations. What works for one person and their tastes might not work the same for someone else's vision.

    FYI, I wasn't scanning these particular aforementioned shots, but wet printing them

    gave similar results to the photo in the link below(not mine, but just as an example):
    http://image.vsco.co/1/4f7b4abb65a241/5023f32134ee9/AndriaLindquist_KodakPortra_400_NCplusplus.jpg

    -Dan