Film Challenge: Porta 400 Film With the Canon EOS-1N RS

It’s been a minute since I shot color film. I’ve been shooting digital on a Canon 5D Mark IV for years. How does The Canon EOS-1N RS with Portra 400 compare?

I used to shoot color film regularly on everything from 35mm to large format cameras, but ever since I became a full-time photographer, I’ve only shot digitally using my Canon 5D Mark IV. With client work, digital is so much more of a guarantee and so much faster. I do love the look and feel of film, though. 

To reconnect with my film photography roots, I decided to take on a challenge and shoot with the Canon EOS-1N RS and Portra 400 film. This Canon camera has some pretty impressive features. It is a professional grade SLR camera made in Japan between 1995 and 2001. The Canon EOS-1N RS is a special version of the more commonly encountered EOS-1N. The RS model features a fixed mirror and a permanently attached battery grip, allowing the camera to achieve an impressive 10 frames per second shooting rate. Additionally, due to its semi-transparent mirror, there is no blackout during exposure. The Canon EOS 1N RS has autofocus and a built-in light meter. It uses an EF lens mount, so I was able to use my Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L lens, the same lens I usually shoot portraits with on my 5D Mark IV. 

Image courtesy of Jada and David Parrish |

Since I was shooting color film, I wanted color to be a big part of the shoot, so I headed to a colorful location along the Canal Walk in downtown Richmond, Virginia, adorned with vibrant graffiti-style murals. My model, Ceili, was dressed in a playful and brightly colored outfit to complement the artistic surroundings. Despite the colorful setting, I aimed to create a contrast by capturing dark and moody poses.

Right from the start, the Canon EOS-1N RS felt like home, thanks to its autofocus and similar interface to my 5D Mark IV. Canon did an excellent job transitioning the user experience from film to digital. Unlike other camera challenges I’ve done, where I really had to focus on my settings and adjusting to a new camera, shooting with the Canon EOS-1N RS felt intuitive. This allowed me the opportunity to focus on my posing and composition. The sound of the shutter on this camera is beautiful. I photographed this entire shoot using Portra 400 at box speed.

Image courtesy of Jada and David Parrish |

It had rained a lot the night before, so there were huge puddles of water in front of the murals. I used this to my advantage and played with the reflections in the water. I always tend to have a preference towards darker and more somber expressions and posing, but I thought this juxtaposed nicely with the model's playful outfit and the color backdrop.

Upon receiving the developed film, I was pleasantly surprised by the Portra 400's rich colors and sharpness. The images had a beautiful film quality while aligning well with the digital work I had been producing.

Personally, I fell in love with the Canon EOS-1N RS, finding it intuitive and a perfect film camera for those who shoot Canon digitally.

Jada Parrish's picture

Jada is a photographer and director specializing in conceptual portraits. Her work is known for its bold, colorful, and surreal style. Her creative style of portraiture lends itself nicely to work in both fashion and the music industry. She is one half of the creative duo Jada + David.

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