View Full Version : Portra NC160 for landscape

Tim Hyde
3-Nov-2005, 11:28
What are the pluses and minues of using Portra NC160 for landscape photography? Thanks.

Struan Gray
3-Nov-2005, 11:42
Reds can be weak. It goes cyan with heavy overexposure, which can end up looking odd in really high contrast scenes. Conventional labs tend to print it on a portrait paper by default, which can make wild flowers and fall foliage look peculiarly dull. Conversely, it can look strangely over-saturated when scanned.

That said, if you print yourself, or if you have a lab that will make the best of what is on the negative, the results can be lovely. I use it all the time - it's my standard film in 35 mm and 4x5 - and I love the look it gives. Long exposures at twilight have a wonderfull feel to them.

3-Nov-2005, 11:44
Pluses- lattitude, great color

No minuses that I have found

Wilbur Wong
3-Nov-2005, 11:51
I don't use NC 160, I do shoot exclusively VC 160 for landscape, I am very happy with the results. I generally have my film processed C-41 at a commercial lab. Occasionally if I have a hundred plus negs to process, I might do it myself with a JOBO. The economics are my deciding factor, 2 to 3 dollars a neg at a lab, or $40 plus chemistry which won't last till the next time I shoot.

I'm not sure of the NC spec's. The VC is available in quick loads which is convenient for me, and I avoid most dust problems. Additionally, Portra VC 160 has little reciprocity failure within the range that I generally shoot (1/60 maybe down to 2 or 3 seconds - Fuji's neg goes reciprocity failure early).

Perhaps I am assuming you are talking about 4 x 5. . .

I don't personally perceive VC as overly VIVID color versus NORMAL color, whatever that means. I have had generally equal success printing in my darkroom with a Universal Beseler 4 x 5 color head as well as scans via epson 4870 and printing to epson.

Lastly, I find that my photography improved tremendously in control when I switched from shooting color transparencies 8 years ago or so. The extra stop plus of latitude in neg vs pos is worth it all.

Tim Hyde
3-Nov-2005, 11:59
No, I'm talking about 5x7, which is why there are very limited choices.

Frank Petronio
3-Nov-2005, 12:24
Portra NC 160 was/is my favorite film for evryday use. The former Kodak R&D head who is my neighbor says it is the best film Kodak ever made and I agree with him.

Ted Harris
3-Nov-2005, 13:51
"No, I'm talking about 5x7, which is why there are very limited choices."

The solution is to get some 13cm x 18cm holders which are the same outside dimension as 5x7 holders, even come out of the same factory in CA. The order film from Nord Foto or one of the other large Europen suppliers. You have a far wider selection of film sin 1318 (e.g. Provia, Velvia, E100G, E100VS, EPP ..... ).

Stephen Willard
3-Nov-2005, 23:19
I use Portra VC 160 and love it. It has a dynamic range of about 9 to 10 stops as opposed to slide film which has a dynamic range of about 3.5 to 4 stops. I expose it at ISO 100 to get the densities I need in the shadows for the red layer. This film is extremely fine grain. I have a 10x grain focuser, and I am unable to see grain on a 5x7 until I enlarger to about a 16x20. I print on Fuji Crystal Archive paper and the colors are outstanding.

I shoot 4x5, 5x7, and 4x10. I cut my own film sizes for 5x7 and 4x10 from 8x10 film.

I process all my film and paper in my own darkroom.

I do have a prototype website with about 30 images at www.stephenwillard.com.

Hope this helps.

Leonard Evens
4-Nov-2005, 09:20
I've used both NC and VC 160. I don't see any significant difference between them, but I scan, and that could easily eliminate any relatively small differences. I've been happy with both.

Don Wallace
9-Nov-2005, 07:08
I highly recommend everyone take the time to go Stephen Willard's website (see above). Wow.

Eric Rose
7-May-2008, 21:10
Does anyone have any reciprocity tables for NC160??

David Luttmann
8-May-2008, 08:02
Much like the old Fuji NPS 160 and Pro 160S, the Portra 160 line has "way huge" latitude and extremely fine grain. I'd give the edge to Fuji , but not by much. As mentioned, reds can tend to be a bit on the weak side….almost more of a very dark orange. This is reminiscent of how Kodak Endura papers rendered the reds. Overexposure does indeed render the sky more cyan than blue, but I’ve found this is easily compensated for with a polarizer and/or cyan/blue hue adjustments in Photoshop.

I’ve just recently started using Fuji Pro 160S in quickloads and it is becoming my current color favourite….even over Astia.

Struan Gray
8-May-2008, 11:12
Eric, 'Lazybones' posted his measured reciprocity for the new version of 160 NC in this thread:


I'm still using up a stock of the older emulsions, so I can't comment from experience with the new ones.

Eric Rose
8-May-2008, 19:33
Thanks guys.

Garry Madlung
9-May-2008, 16:40
Thanks or the link. I have been looking at some landscape work done with Portra NC and am impressed enough to try it. I have shot Velvia for several years and love it, but ultimately, I have to scan and print digitally, which takes a bit away from that physicality of film. It's easy enough to sit on the computer and tweak an image until you are satisfied, but I want to see it come to life in the darkroom.

If I don't get the results I want in the Toronto Image Works darkroom, then I'll scan.