Testing the Exposure Latitude of Kodak Portra 160

Arguably the favorite characteristic of film for many film photographers is the way film responds to light when under- or over-exposed. Portra 160 is no different. Ironically, the results really surprised me. 

In this video, Kyle McDougall does another exposure test — this time for Kodak Portra 160. This is not McDougall's first experiment of this kind. Indeed, he has previously tested Kodak Portra 400 (available in 35mm and 120), Ektachrome (35mm and 120), Ektar (35mm and 120), as well as Fuji Pro 400H (35mm and 120), and Cinestill 50D (35mm and 120). And those are just the color films! These experiments that McDougall is performing are not unique (11 film stocks have been exposure tested here,) but they really add a lot of educational value.

In my personal experience, I really didn't care for Portra 160. In fact, more than any other film I've shot, I found Portra 160 to be quite polarizing. The overwhelming majority of photographs taken with it turn out terribly but for those that turned out well, they have been some of my absolute favorites. It is because of this experience that I was genuinely shocked just how tasteful the images looked even as you get away from a neutral exposure.

What are your experiences with Kodak Portra 160?

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1 Comment
Jacques Cornell's picture

"Arguably the favorite characteristic of film"
Make that "NEGATIVE film". Slide film is a bugger when it comes to over/under-exposure.