Quote Originally Posted by psychoanalyst_god View Post
Hmm...thats interesting. So what you are saying is I can underexpose Portra 400 1 stop and develop without pushing. My initial foray into Portra 400 was for exactly those reasons. I saw results: http://filmphotographyproject.com/co...g-kodak-portra where Portra had been severely underexposed with either no push or a 1 stop push. I was astounded by the results.

I tried the same (sent in my film to E-Six Atlanta) but was super disappointed. I underexposed 3 stops and pushed 1 stop and 3 stops respectively on 2 rolls.....I was disappointed with both results. But based on what I saw from my 1 stop experiment, I can believe that the film will handle 800 well without a push. But I probably will overexpose slightly (maybe 1/3 stop) just to be sure.

But the results were a bit confusing from the 1 stop push experiment. Scenes shot in sufficient light came out fine, but those shot under low light came out with very thin negs. This could be a metering issue (I use the Pentax 645 meter without an external confirmation).

I think I might get a couple of rolls of Portra 800 along as well. Unfortunately 10 days is not sufficient to run my tests, since I have to mail my film in for development and that would take time.

Thanks a lot! This definitely helps.

In a number of cases Kodak does not recommend that you adjust the development when your film is one stop under-exposed.

As I understand it, this is due to what actually happens when you "push" your development.

In reality, pushing does almost nothing to increase the detail in the shadows. What it does is increase the contrast across the board. As a result, the appearance of the deep shadows doesn't change but the lighter areas (from fully detailed near shadows, through the mid-tones and up to the near highlights) becomes more contrasty, and therefore either more or as appealing. The brighter highlights, however, lose detail due to the increased contrast, so they suffer.

Kodak doesn't recommend the one stop push because their results indicate that the loss of quality in the highlights outweighs the benefits obtained in the near shadows.

If you have a scene with a narrow subject brightness range, a push is much more likely to work well - but that is probably true even if you don't under-expose the shot.

So essentially I'm saying that if you have a scene with a narrow subject brightness range, go ahead and meter your scene at EI 800 when using ISO 400 film and request a one stop push. If, however, you have a scene with an extremely wide subject brightness range, you need to decide where you are willing to sacrifice detail - in the shadows, or the highlights.

If your scene has a moderate subject brightness range, you can rely on Portra's excellent ability to capture it.