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Friday, July 28, 2017

Portra Adventures

We are having afternoon clouds and some thunder, lightning and rain at night as the monsoon season sets in.  I shot a roll of 127 Kodak Portra 160 in my Foth Derby today at 1/50 and f-9.0.  I'm happy with the results, but they don't look much like the low contrast, rather pastel images I see other people making with Portra.  My bulk roll of Portra shows no expiration date; I've had it in the refrigerator for about five years, so it is at least that far along.  I used some freshly brewed Unicolor C-41 today for processing, so the expired film and the uncoated Foth Anastigmat lens seem to account for the unique color signature.





I'll likely use up most of my 127 Portra in the Foth Derby.  The camera's compactness and consistently good performance makes it a pleasure to shoot.  I did try one roll of Portra in my Brownie Reflex, and I will probably shoot a roll soon in my Brownie 44A which also makes square images.   I'm hoping too to make some full-frame vest pocket size images in a Bilora Bella which is on the way to me now. 

7 comments:

JR Smith said...

You've definitely painted Portra in a different way here. Interesting look for sure! I think I've settled on Portra 400 as my preferred color print film. I like its look, mostly for the qualities you mentioned in this post. I think if I spend some time working with this film, I can get it right where I want it.

Mike said...

Shooting good film in good cameras does seem like a strategy worth trying. I did get some 35mm Acros for the first time recently, so maybe I'll give it a try.

James Harr said...

I like these photos Mike. That little Derby has a nice quality to it. I think the vividness of the color compared to the softness you often see online could be due to a couple of things. How is the shutter speed on the Derby? It could be that you are overexposing a bit and that will deepen the colors on Portra. Also, I find that people online often don't do a very good job of color correction and their photos with this film have a bit of a greenish cast. That can give the impression of softness. Couple that with lower contrast and you have a 'Portra' look. I like the way your colors came out. Not quite Ektar, but better corrected than a straight scan would give.

JR Smith said...

I will be anxious to see some of your 35mm Acros work. I go back and forth between Acros and Tmax 100.

Jim Grey said...

The slightly dusky color you got is lovely. I wouldn't have guessed Portra if you hadn't told me.

Mike said...

My expired Portra seems to have pretty good exposure latitude. I do have to watch out for reflected highlights which seem to wash out. The closest I've gotten to what I would normally expect from Portra in terms of color is the pictures from the little Brownie Reflex box camera which I imagine is shooting around 1/30 at f11, which would be about four stops wide in sunlight.
My scanning and photoshopping are also likely to be playing a part in the results I'm getting. My xp machine is about 15 years old and has some memory and video problems. I do the final edit on a newer HP laptop, but by then the die is cast.

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