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  1. #11

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    Thanks for all the suggestions. Looks like I'll open the box of 160 first, shot a few rolls and see how everything goes. I'll save the 400 for outdoors in the morning or evening. I 'll have to order a roll of the 800 still. I've heard it looked worse than the 400 pushed a stop. Guess I have some testing to do.

  2. #12
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    Would you call this "worse"? I'd say that looks pretty darned good. Portra 800, Rolleiflex 2.8E, hand-held, roughly 1/15th @ f5.6.

  3. #13

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    Portra 160 in 35mm using two SB-600 strobes through sheets of paper for diffusion. You can see I could have done with a bit more flash power to get a deeper DOF but if you have the flash power I like the grain better for the 160 if you can use it.

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  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post
    I have shot a LOT of Portra 160 in a wide range of lighting conditions - mostly night photography. It's a terrific film and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it in medium format. I don't use the 400 much just because the 160 is so versatile, and when I need more light, I need a lot more light and I either throw that bad boy up on a tripod or I go to Portra 800, which is surprisingly low in grain for as fast a film as it is. Personally, I don't think you'll find the grain objectionable on any of the three emulsions (160, 400 or 800). And I have made 16x20 prints from negs shot with all three films, so I can say it does enlarge nicely.
    It's funny, because I hear that Portra 400 has a lot more latitude than the 160 counterpart. I've heard people shooting Portra 400 from 100/200-1600+ in a single roll without any processing changes.

  5. #15
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    I still remember when these new Portras were introduced, Kodak claimed the following: "With Portra 160, focus was not so much on smaller grain, but on a more pleasing grain pattern". Whether they were right or not, at least we should not limit the comparison to sheer grain size.
    Trying to be the best of whatever I am, even if what I am is no good.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mweintraub View Post
    It's funny, because I hear that Portra 400 has a lot more latitude than the 160 counterpart. I've heard people shooting Portra 400 from 100/200-1600+ in a single roll without any processing changes.
    The O.P wants to use the film in a controlled studio environment with strobes, extreme latitude is unnecessary because the light is measurable with a flash meter and under control, indeed 160 I.S.O. can be a problem in small rooms if you cant turn the strobe power down enough. I've used Portra 160 extensively for studio portraiture both in 135 and 120 and the fineness of grain, latitude, and natural skin tone rendition are perfect for the purpose, and I have no problem getting from my local pro lab. 20"X16" prints even from 35mm negatives.
    I was always taught you should use the slowest film practicable to do the job and not many years ago I.S.O. 160 was considered a fast film, indeed Kodak High Speed Ektachrome was only 160 I.S.O. I do have a stock of Portra 400 in 135 and 120 in my freezer, but I save it for marginal lighting conditions when I really need it.
    Last edited by benjiboy; 04-07-2014 at 09:26 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Ben

  7. #17
    mweintraub's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    The O.P wants to use the film in a controlled studio environment with strobes, extreme latitude is unnecessary because the light is measurable with a flash meter and under control. I've used Portra 160 extensively for studio portraiture both in 135 and 120 and the fineness of grain and latitude are perfect for the purpose, and I have no problem getting from my local pro lab. 20"X16" prints even from 35mm negatives.
    I was always taught you should use the slowest film practicable to do the job and not many years ago I.S.O. 160 was considered a fast film, indeed Kodak High Speed Ektachrome was only 160 I.S.O. I do have a stock of Portra 400 in 135 and 120 in my freezer but I save it for marginal lighting conditions.
    I agree, the OP was asking about studio photography, I was replying to the post I quoted to. So, I guess my answer was O.T.

    Yes, I agree that the slowest film should be used, but Portra 400 is no slouch when it comes to medium format in terms of grain.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera View Post


    Would you call this "worse"? I'd say that looks pretty darned good. Portra 800, Rolleiflex 2.8E, hand-held, roughly 1/15th @ f5.6.
    I'm very impressed Scott, this is amazing, and bears out my hypothesis that the greatest advances in film photography in the last 25 years have been in the films, more than the hardware.
    Ben

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by benjiboy View Post
    I'm very impressed Scott, this is amazing, and bears out my hypothesis that the greatest advances in film photography in the last 25 years have been in the films, more than the hardware.
    Yes. Portra 800 is a truly remarkable emulsion. It isn't quite as contrasty, saturated or fine-grained as 400, which isn't quite as contrasty, saturated or fine-grained as 160, but that's not saying much. I remember back a decade ago shooting some Fuji 800z and really feeling the grain, which is to me far more objectionable in color than it is in black-and-white. With this, I don't think I'd feel the grain until I got into some sizeable enlargements.

  10. #20
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    Another example, and this one with moderate cropping to boot-


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