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Thread: Ektar 100, Porta 160, Porta 400 Subject Brightness Range

  1. #1

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    Ektar 100, Porta 160, Porta 400 Subject Brightness Range

    In addition to the E6 films I regularly use, I'll be trying out those three films on a road trip next week. Does anyone have any comments on the subject brightness range (exposure latitude, dynamic range, whatever you want to call it) I can expect to capture with them? What about reciprocity characteristics? Any other metering suggestions would be appreciated too.

    Thanks.
    Never is always wrong; always is never right.

    www.LostManPhoto.com
    www.MarkStahlkePhotography.com

  2. #2
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Ektar 100, Porta 160, Porta 400 Subject Brightness Range

    Ektar will have approximately one stop more on either side than most E6 FILM, Portra 400 still more, and Portra 160 the most. How much of this latitude is actually
    usable depends on a variety of factors, including exactly how you intend to retrieve the information afterwards. The character of the shadows can be significantly
    different between these films. There are plenty of past threads on the subject. Portra 160 is basically a soft portrait film, Ektar much more saturated and contrasty,
    and Portra 400 somewhere in the middle. I would begin by metering at box speed. But since this is going to be a learning experiment, you could also try some mild
    bracketing if you keep notes. With Ektar I strongly recommend color temp correction filters for overcast lighting or deep blue shadows (81A,81C etc). Expose and
    filter with the same care you would an E6 film and you'll have no trouble. Shoot from the hip and you'll have some issues, esp with Ektar.

  3. #3

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    Re: Ektar 100, Porta 160, Porta 400 Subject Brightness Range

    Thanks for the info Drew. I probably should have mentioned that I'm mostly a landscape kind of guy and I'll be scanning the negatives. With E6 materials disappearing it's probably time to learn to shoot color negatives.
    Never is always wrong; always is never right.

    www.LostManPhoto.com
    www.MarkStahlkePhotography.com

  4. #4
    Still Developing
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    Re: Ektar 100, Porta 160, Porta 400 Subject Brightness Range

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Stahlke View Post
    In addition to the E6 films I regularly use, I'll be trying out those three films on a road trip next week. Does anyone have any comments on the subject brightness range (exposure latitude, dynamic range, whatever you want to call it) I can expect to capture with them? What about reciprocity characteristics? Any other metering suggestions would be appreciated too.

    Thanks.
    With the right scan you really can't over expose the Portra's. However they are fairly easy to block up the shadows (they're the opposite of transparency in many ways).

    So in exposure terms

    1) Portra 400 - Set the darkest shadow you want with detail at about -3 stops and let highlights do what they want.

    2) Portra 160 - Set the darkest shadow you want with detail at about -2 stops and let highlights do what they want.

    Use a grad if you intend to burn in the sky agressively - this helps with grain and colour accuracy. near clipping shadows are very neutral with 160 but can tend to magenta with 400

    3) Ektar - Set the darkest shadow you want with detail at about -1 or -1.5 and try to keep highlights within +5 of a midtone

    Ektar shadows can go very blue close to clipping and highlights can start toward lemony yellow. Keep skies within the +4 if you need good, accurate colour. Highlights over +5 will still record but colours will shift so keep the headroom for specular highlights

    In terms of a good rating, I would rate Portra 400 at 320, Portra 160 at 100 and Ektar at 50 and you won't go far wrong. Well you won't go too far wrong whatever you do as long as you watch out for the shadows.

    Tim
    Still Developing at http://www.timparkin.co.uk and scanning at http://cheapdrumscanning.com

  5. #5
    Still Developing
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    Re: Ektar 100, Porta 160, Porta 400 Subject Brightness Range

    re: reciprocity. Anything over about a minute I double the exposure. For 30 seconds I might make it 40. just rule of thumb that seems to have worked for me. Err on over exposing as mentioned previously.
    Still Developing at http://www.timparkin.co.uk and scanning at http://cheapdrumscanning.com

  6. #6
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Ektar 100, Porta 160, Porta 400 Subject Brightness Range

    I'm getting superb results with Ektar for landscape use, but I'm printing optically, so don't have to worry about how a scanner might reinterpret the information. It
    is very important to use color temp correction filters when needed. You can't always correct these kinds of errors afterwards. The color of shadows with Ektar is
    actually more accurate than Portra (shadows aren't artificially warmed for skintones), but they can drop hard at a certain point. I always refer to Ektar as a film for
    adults, but it's a piece of cake if you do chromes well. Scanning has its own set of variables. I do sometimes have pro quality scans done just to preview important
    shots before I go print them in the darkroom (a little more versatile than contact sheets). About all I can say in this regard is the same as above. Expose it correctly in the first place and you won't have any of those alleged problems with it. Nearly all the gripes I hear are due to sloppy technique.

  7. #7

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    Re: Ektar 100, Porta 160, Porta 400 Subject Brightness Range

    I won't add to the shooting techniques or technical aspects, because there are far wiser people in this thread already (and I don't test film that extensively, I just try to find what works for me), but I will add YMMV. Always try a film with your own routine. Although the Portra series has enormous latitude, you still have to get it out in your final product. What if you get the contrast right, but have a hard time with the color? I find portra amazing and it is easy to scan, but a well exposed chrome sheet I find easier still, because you already know the colors that your scanner has to produce.

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