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  • Writer's pictureAndrej Spilevoj

Kodak Portra 400 vs. Ultramax: would you see any difference?

Hello fellow analog photography enthusiasts! I'm Andrew, a wedding and travel photographer who has a deep appreciation for the charm of film. Film photography has a unique ability to capture moments in a way that digital photography cannot replicate. However, with the rising prices, film has become more of a luxury for both me and my clients.

Recently, I received a special request from clients who wanted that distinctive "film look" in their photos. They desired contrasty shots, flash photography in the evening, and a nostalgic vibe reminiscent of the 90s film aesthetic. After reviewing their examples, I was excited to take on this challenge.

Drawing from my experience with various film stocks (which you can explore in this blog), I immediately thought of KODAK. I chose two films that I believed would perfectly capture the desired look: the renowned Portra and the equally impressive Ultramax. Though both films are ISO 400 and made by the same company, they have unique characteristics that shine in different situations.

Let me briefly explain the difference for those new to film photography. Portra is incredibly versatile, allowing for various techniques such as pushing, pulling, overexposing, and underexposing. It's a film that can handle it all and is considered one of the most highly regarded color films. I had confidence it would deliver the desired aesthetic.

In addition, I decided to revisit Kodak Ultramax, a film I've used extensively in the past. With its ISO 400 rating, it excels at creating striking contrasts, which was perfect for my flash photography. Armed with both Portra and Ultramax, I embarked on a wedding assignment in the beautiful setting of Lake Como, Italy.

Now, I present to you two carefully curated galleries showcasing sample images captured with these wonderful films. Take your time to browse through the collection and try to guess which film was used in each photograph. I'll reveal the answer at the end of this article. Enjoy the visual journey!


Gallery 1




Gallery 2





Gallery 1: Kodak Portra 400

Gallery 2: Kodal Ultramax

Camera settings: ISO 400, no push or pull process at development, in camera flash.


May these images enhance your appreciation for the beauty of film photography. Enjoy the experience!


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