When you’re just getting started in photography, it can be hard to know what film to choose or where to start. Here’s what makes Kodak Portra 400 the best film for both beginner and professional photographers.
Kodak PORTRA 400 is easily the world’s best selling and finest grain high-speed color negative film. It delivers magnificent skin tones and truly exceptional color saturation in variety of lighting conditions.
It’s by far the most searched analog film on Google and is used by many professional photographers for it’s qualities.
Kodak Portra 400 – How it all started
Kodak Portra 400 was developed in 1998 and was made back then mainly for portrait and wedding applications.
There were changes that were made in 2010 when Kodak introduced a new version of the Portra 400 film which replaced the NC and VC versions.
The new Portra had finer grain, improved sharpness over 400 NC and naturally rendered skin tones as some of the improvements over the existing NC and VC line.
Today’s new, first-time film users will not have experienced the golden years of Kodak Portra.
The Portras produced today are stellar, probably the best Portra ever made in terms of quality, and equally stellar at any speed (there are 160, 400, and 800 ISO versions).
When editing films digitally became more of a norm, Kodak decided it was not worth producing the two slightly different stocks anymore. And indeed, it was much easier to just do those changes in Photoshop.
So in 2010, Kodak Portra 400 NC and Kodak Portra VC 400 both ceased to exist as they merged together and became the simple, singular Kodak Portra 400 we have today.
Image Quality of Kodak Portra 400
The name Portra was actually made from the word portrait, which was essentially the main focus when using this film when Kodak came out with it. Kodak Portra 400 keeps skin tones looking natural and have very fine grain – which adds a nice touch to portraits. They do say themselves that they are ‘The world’s finest grain at 400 speed‘.
This specific quality made Portra 400 number-one favourite among wedding photographers when photographing digital was not an option yet.
But not surprisingly, new film shooters of today are turning to Portra 400 in analogue photography.
Warmness is one of the best qualities Kodak tends to give to the photographs and Portra 400 is no different. What really makes it so special is the combination of the warmth and the muted colors – truly a magical outcome to have in your pictures.
And it is fairly obvious that when photographing with film, photographers are looking to have a vintage feel to the images – which is easily achievable with the sunny feel of this film.
Unlike attributes like high contrast monochrome that other films have, Portra 400 images are never overdone, without the final results being mundane either.
And when there’s detail in the shadows too, there won’t be any hard highlights to make the image too contrasted.
Incredibly smooth grain, especially for a 400 speed film. Great under mixed lighting and exceptional skin tones film.
· 35mm color film
· process C-41
· ISO 400/27°
· 36 exposures
· 5 film pack
Kodak Portra 400 Specs
Kodak Portra 400 is an ISO 400, daylight-balanced colour negative film that’s available in 35mm, 120, and large formats too. The 35mm cartridges are DX–coded with the number 115334.
Before you shoot your rolls, Kodak recommend you store them at 21°C (70°F) or below, or 13°C (55°F) if you’re saving them for an extended period of time.
Once you’re shooting Portra 400, know that it’s one of the most forgiving film there is – it will deliver usable results whether you’re at two steps over or under.
And as an analog photographer – I don’t mind being sure my images come out right since I can’t ever be sure of it when shooting film.
Where To get Kodak Portra 400
Camera or photography stores will most likely have it, and if they don’t they will order it. And they should have it if they call themselves a professional store.
But mostly the store might be sold out, so buying film online in bulk is one option many professionals do – and for the fraction of the price.
5-roll box can cost from $85-$100. The prices have increased in the past years since it became overtly popular among photographers.
You can check current prices and availability through the link below
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