Why 160 speed?

Discussion in 'Color: Film, Paper, and Chemistry' started by JJC, Oct 7, 2005.

  1. JJC

    JJC Member

    Messages:
    67
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2005
    Location:
    Moorestown,
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    After two decades of stagnation, three years ago my interest in photography was revived by the purchase and use of a TLR. My favorite film has become
    Kodak Portra 160 VC, but my nagging curiosity is ... Why didn't Kodak (and others) make this a nice round number like 200 so it would fit in a normal film speed lineup of 100, 200, 400, etc.? Is there some special circumstance in which the 160 speed offers an advantage?
    I'm not complaining, just wondering. :confused:

    John
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

    Messages:
    4,049
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Plain and simple, because it works!

    160 has always been one of my favorites as far as print film shooting goes.

    It is still fine grained, gives you that little bit of bump you may need and prints out really nice..

    Dave
     
  3. Bighead

    Bighead Member

    Messages:
    471
    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2005
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    In my over simplistic mind, I would think that a fine grain film was made and tested and rated at 160 because thats where it fit.......
     
  4. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,168
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The 160 speed for Portra might reflect the evolution from its predecessor, Vericolour, which if I recall correctly was 125. I think it would have been unlikely to have gone down, to 100, because so much of this film is (was?) shot with either flash or reflectors, and a loss of speed would not have been appreciated by the wedding/portrait photographers who use (used?) a lot of it.
     
  5. Photo Engineer

    Photo Engineer Subscriber

    Messages:
    25,908
    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2005
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Actually, I have used it at both 100 and 200 and the results are quite good. Surprise yourself. Try both and get matched prints. You might find that you are satisfied with either. I actually prefer the 100 just a bit.

    PE
     
  6. mgb74

    mgb74 Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,012
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    Minneapolis,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    What's interesting is that Kodak, Fuji, and Agfa all have "portait" film rated at 160. I assume Kodak came first and established the norm, then others followed.
     
  7. Keith Tapscott.

    Keith Tapscott. Member

    Messages:
    1,426
    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2005
    Location:
    Plymouth. UK
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    160 ISO/ASA does seem to be an odd rating for a films sensitivity but I like these films very much. Kodak Portra 160NC/VC & Fuji NPS 160 are colour negative films that are designed for optimum rendering of skin tones in portraiture and are very popular with Wedding and Portrait photographers.
    It is a pity that there isn`t a T-MAX or NEOPAN 160 B&W portrait film to compliment the colour emulsions.
     
  8. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

    Messages:
    2,364
    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Location:
    East Kent, U
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The 160 speed is academic anyway - in my experience, as with almost all color negative films, the results are better if you increase exposure by 2/3 to 1 stop.
     
  9. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,687
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You'r Right

    You're right Matt, unfortunately I am old enough to have shot lots of weddings and mugshots on Vericolour it was indeed 125 ASA .
     
  10. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

    Messages:
    2,222
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2005
    Location:
    Regina, SK,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It wasn't that long ago that so-called odd ISOs were common. Kodachrome and Ektachrome 64, for example. Agfa's standard C41 print film was ISO 80 for the longest time.

    ISO is an arbitrary rating scheme; there are no natural film speeds. So use your 160 film and don't worry so much. :smile:
     
  11. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2003
    Location:
    Milan
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    With all but two exceptions I have found this to be true. The two exceptions being Agfa Ultra 50 an ektar 25. Ultra 50 might have even been slightly better at iso 64 than iso50.