Ok, this is my experience so far with this film. I’ll let you know from the begining. It’s not what I expected from a “professional grade” film. I know, I’m not a pro by any means, I don’t make a living as a photographer. But as any of you, I’m in my entire right to make my own opinion about “X or y” topic. And this is are my thoughts about the so famous Portra 400. Searching in the web, I did read great things about this Kodak’s emulsion. So naturally, I wanted to give it a try. To be honest, I don’t know if is my local photolab’s fault or what! But there is a weird greenish color cast on this first picture and others from that day. Portra users out there… Is that normal?? I like the color on that second photo. I didn’t used a high ISO setting (1600), but there is noticeable grain in the black areas of the image. I know, I know!! You, “Old veteran of film”, may think: “Of course it’s gonna be grainy! It’s a daylight film and you’re pushing it to 1600, moron!” But let me tell you this: When you read great reviews of a “pro film” from people “who knows” (or at least they call themselves “pro”); you set a standar in your mind and you expect a decent performance. It’s what the logical’s thinking dictates. Right? I’m not a “Portra’s film Grinch”, I like the grain of the film, my point is that I didn’t expected so obvious at 1600 ISO.
When you load a roll of film to your everyday’s carry camera, you don’t know where or when exactly that film will be used. Ideally, you expect to use it with a nice light, at the same time, matching your film’s ISO speed (or at least, that’s the idea); but the true is, something the night catches you. In that case, low and artifical lights becomes part of the scene and you have to deal with it the best way that you can. Sometimes under those circunstances, Portra delivers pleasent colors. But in certain ocations, there is a bluish color cast that makes the photo difficult to look at. I would like to have more “consist results” with this emulsion. Do you know which film is very consist under “artificial lights”?? Fuji Superia 400 🙂 I’m curious as a cat. The first hand experiences are always the best way to learn. That’s why I bought a 5 pack of Kodak Portra (for $40) on Ebay. To be honest, I thought Portra was (somehow) a “more flexible” film. (Maybe “professional film” is a tricky asseveration) Especially on low light conditions with higher ISO’s. (Or was I expecting to much?? ) Will I ever used it once again? Hmmm, maybe if one day I start to develop my own film, I’ll consider fair to give it a second chance. But for the 5 pack of Kodak’s Portra price, you could get 10 (or even more) rolls of Fuji Superia 400, a versatile and dependable film that give you nice colors under a lot of different light conditions (at least from my experience). Certainly, I would not give up on Kodak films. Currently, I’m using ( my first time) Kodak’s Ultramax 400. And I will get my hands on Kodak’s Ektar 100 as soon as I can. But those would be stories for “future publications”.
Thanks for your time of reading this!