Try, Try, And Try Again – More Musings On Kodak Portra 160

As noted here in earlier articles, I expressed have somewhat of a love/hate relationship with Kodak Portra 160. Amazingly, I have overexposed it quite a bit, despite working with accurate metering. Overexpose a 160 speed color film? Happens to this photographer a lot. While Portra 400 continues to amaze with its wide latitude and crisp images. Yes, 160 is insanely sharp. But I have not been able to squash the tendency to overexpose it. And, not by choice.

Until now? The film seems to like lots of light, but not direct light. When I shoot a bright, high contrast scene, I can almost count on overexposure. However, don’t include a sky or a horizon, and the colors just pop.

For these scenes, taken on a brief midday photowalk downtown, I shot with the F3, yes, my “bread and butter” go-to film camera, and new 35mm Nikkor f/2.8 AiS. The gorgeous coating on this lens almost seems made for Portra 160. Finally, the emulsion I’ve been wanting to like all along, well, now, I love. No color adjustments here, a linear scanning curve, and slight levels and sharpness adjustments. That’s it, nothing more.

Eyewear Window Display

Eyewear Window Display

Wall Mural Near Union Station

Wall Mural Near Union Station. You can even see some of the paint peeling and chipping.

Not Much Light Here- Underpass, Shot At Box Speed.

Not Much Light Here- Underpass, Shot At Box Speed.

Wall Mural Outside Hanover Theatre- Maybe My Favorite Use Of Color On Film In A Long Time.

Wall Mural Outside Hanover Theatre- Maybe My Favorite Use Of Color On Film In A Long Time.

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