Why Did Kodak Ruin Portra 400NC?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by FilmOnly, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I got my negs and prints back the other day, and was disappointed to see the results with the new Portra 400. The colors were like those of all the other "vivid" films I avoid: overly saturated, unnatural, neon-ish. At the Kodak Web site, I saw the color scale--which shows that it is about halfway between Ektar and Portra 400NC. Do I have any natural-looking alternative in 400 speed 35mm film?
     
  2. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    I haven't shot the new Portra since I still have some of the old NC, but the impression I'm getting is that the best results might happen if scanned and desaturated!

    Is the 160 Portra equally saturated?
     
  3. vyshemirsky

    vyshemirsky Member

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    The new Portra 160 is still gorgeously neutral.
     
  4. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Wonderful news; thanks!
     
  5. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Depending on how it is you're evaluating the results (minilab scans?), I am certain you are not seeing it's true colors as it is far from overly saturated and neon-ish. It also has ultra wide latitude.
     
  6. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I use a professional lab--the same lab I have used with 400NC--and the results with 400NC were nice and natural.
     
  7. Grainy

    Grainy Member

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    I've printed a few rolls of 400 on a minilab and they've been far from vivid.
     
  8. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    A professional lab that optically printed it or did they minilab (Frontier, Noritsu, etc.) scan it then print it? If you got a CD with your print then it is most likely a minilab scan and print.
     
  9. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Then your problem was caused by an Operator Assisted Failure* during scanning at the professional lab. Go back to them and complain.








    *Operator Assisted Failure is pronounced "oaf"
     
  10. perkeleellinen

    perkeleellinen Member

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    I haven't found the new 400 to be particularly vivid. I get the negs developed at a pro lab and then print myself.
     
  11. blockend

    blockend Member

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  12. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Frankly, 400NC could produce cadaverish skin tones in contrasty, flat or less-than-perfect lighting. Pro Fuji 400 in old(NPH) or new forms is muted but not dead. I've not seen that from the new Portra and I love the latitude. I wouldn't let the lab off the hook.
     
  13. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    Try Fuji Pro 400 H
     
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  15. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    +1
     
  16. rphenning

    rphenning Member

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    Weird that I have found the opposite, that 160 is disgustingly saturated and 400 is nice and creamy like NC used to be. I think if you over expose your film you might find the color more pleasing? For color negative film portra 400 and ektar are the only two I'll use, can't say enough good things about my experiences with them and just was flat out unimpressed by portra 160.
     
  17. cjbecker

    cjbecker Member

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    What are you shooting the portra 400 at? If you are shooting it at 400 i can understand where you are coming from. I shoot mine at 200 or 160 normally and get beautiful prints all the time. Shooting at 400 gives me too much saturation.
     
  18. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I very much appreciate the replies. The prints were scanned and printed, and so I agree that a lab error could not be ruled out. They have been pretty consistent, though, thus far (for a couple of years). A number of the shots were in high contrast situations. I gather I will give the new Portra 400 another try, though I do not know if I want to spring for another five-pack (in case it does not work out). I am tempted to try Fuji 400H.
     
  19. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    Uncorrected latitude of Kodak Portra 400 shown below.
    [​IMG]
    Link to larger version -> Kodak Portra 400 A

    You can recover shadows and highlights easily.
    [​IMG]
    Link to larger version -> Kodak Portra 400 B

    Uncorrected mix light - CF bulb and window lighting
    [​IMG]
    Link to larger version -> Kodak Portra 400 C

    A couple of other samples of uncorrected longer exposure modes greater then a few seconds.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Links to larger versions -> Kodak Portra 400 D & Kodak Portra 400 E

    I also happen to like Fuji Pro400H as well as Provia 400X so definitely give those a try.
     
  20. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I have used old and new Portra 400 as well as NC400, VC400 and UC400. All shot at box speed and all came out very well under all conditions at the rate of 50+ rolls per year.
     
  21. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    I've shot one roll so far and had it scanned. The colors are natural AFAIK. You might want to check the paper yours were printed on. I've seen in the past where some Kodak film I had was printed with higher contrast, more saturated or both.
     
  22. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    Thanks for saying that. I don't shoot that quantity but I've had great success with using box speed and accurate light meters and accurate shutters. I always feel awkward when the topic of shooting color neg film at non-box speeds because box speed has always worked fine for me. A lot of what I shoot is on Gold 200... which, O by the way, I rate at 200.
     
  23. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I had to smile (ruefully) when I saw the title to this thread - Kodak gets blamed for everything!

    It is quite possible that the OP's lab is either:
    1) not using custom colour profiles suited to the new film; or
    2) using a generic colour profile for all films; or
    3) using Fuji colour profiles for Kodak film; or
    4) using the 400 NC colour profile for the new 400 film; or
    5) intentionally using settings that "enhance" the contrast and colour saturation, because lots of their customers like that; or
    6) some combination of all of the above.

    If it were me, I would ask the lab if they have and use the new colour profiles supplied by Kodak, and if they are able to provide prints with lower contrast and saturation upon request.
     
  24. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Good reasons have been stated for varying from the box speed by Ansel Adams et al for black & white film. Those reasons do not necessarily apply well to color film. As Ansel Adams pointed out many times, he preferred black & white because it gave him more latitude to vary the use of the film and the print, while color was more limited since color tolerates a much narrower range of variation before the colors are blown out.

    My experience has shown that the best results with color film, C-41 or slides, is to stick to box speed and vary the saturation by film choice pr polarizing filter.

    My experience has shown that the best results with black & white film is to shoot box speed unless one needs to change speed to cover the subject brightness range, have the subject as middle gray, or create a certain effect all based on well thought out principles rather than what one had for breakfast that day.
     
  25. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    I've printed a ton of negatives from the various Portra films in the past 4 months. I've found that the old NC is slightly more tame in the saturation department than the new plain-jane 400, but it's a difference that is pretty much negligible. I mean, inconsequential to the point where the advantages of shooting the new film are orders of magnitude more important than scrounging around for more of the old 400NC. I do have a fairly large stock of NC lying around, and I shoot it when I'm out of the new 400 and am not quite ready to order more film just yet.

    PS. the new 160 is probably exactly what you're looking for. It's my favorite Kodak color negative film.
     
  26. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

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    According to the OP, they were scanned and printed. This of course means no profiles were used as there are none for scanners according to Kodak. Oddly enough Kodak does state on their new film releases that they are optimal for scanning which begs the question of what they themselves use.