• Andrej Špilevoj

Medium format review: Kodak Portra 400

My name is Andrew and I am a fine art wedding photographer. When I have some spare time I write the blog and test various film. This time I decided to go ahead and go professional - Kodak Portra 400 Medium format, what could be better?


For the last 2 years I shoot mainly this film but I quite often push it by one or two stops so collecting all these samples was not an easy work. I will post my pushed results in other articles and here you will find only the Portra 400 shots without any push/pull process.

It is quite important to mention that I always overexpose Portra by at least 1 stop. Usually I shoot it at ISO 200 or even ISO 160 when metering with my Mamiya camera internal meter to get that pastel look. However sometimes that does not work either and in some cases I receive quite strange results from my lab. This is why I wanted to show you the whole variety of scans so you would have a better idea of what this film is good for. Enjoy and if you wish you can support my efforts by donating 1-3 dollars for my upcoming articles about film. Enjoy!


Kodak Portra 400

Shop: eBay, local stores

Price: €8.50

Camera: Mamiya AFD 645

Lens: Mamiya Sekor 80mm F/1.9

Dev + Scan: €16+ Shipping (€4)

Total test price: €28 or €1.75 per frame.

Challenges:

I think the only challenge that I had was to manually focus the lens but thanks to Mamiya camera I had a focus aid (led light) so this was not hard at all. Another thing, but not really a challenge - the price per shot. This is quite expensive unless you do it for the client and not just for fun.

Personal opinion:

If I was asked about my favourite film - I would name Kodak Portra. I love those creamy colours, skin tones, pastel looks, just amazing. Something I was looking for.

Since I was organising a very interesting photoshoot with the model and a vintage Russian car - I had a privilege to make some tests. I shot the same shots with both - digital and film. The only difference - the digital shots are taken with Canon 50mm F1.2 @ F1.8. I could have applied Mastin or VSCO plugins to match the shots but that would be cheating. Let's compare what we get directly from scanners with what we get from our digital camera:

Kodak Portra 400 v. Canon 6D raw

Help me to keep going with more 35mm and medium format film reviews by donating from 1 to 3 Euro:




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