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Thread: Portra 160 or 400 for portraits ? Opinions and experiences

  1. #1

    Portra 160 or 400 for portraits ? Opinions and experiences

    With Summer here I have been shooting Provia in my 8x10 . But I have seen some pics by Dan Winter and Greenfield Sanders. They used Portra and the skin tones were superb. have you had experience with 8x10 Portra. I know its expensive but I am thinking of only twenty exposures this summer and then having them scanned for 30x40 enlargements Help me decide. Thank You .

  2. #2
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    14,756

    Re: Portra 160 or 400 for portraits ? Opinions and experiences

    Both are going to have way less contrast and saturation that a chrome film like Provia, and have a warmer balance, wider latitude, and a softer more muted rendition geared to skintones. But the 160 version is softer than 400 speed. It might help to think of what kind of lenses, f/stops, and exposure times you are anticipating, since one is a significantly higher ASA than the other.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Posts
    357

    Portra 160 or 400 for portraits ? Opinions and experiences

    I would recommend portra 160 for this purpose. Works great with skin tones, generally.

    However you should do some test runs to see what matches your taste. Maybe try with 4x5 (or even 35mm!) where itís cheaper and then you decide. You shouldnít jump into committing $150 boxes (thatís just 10 sheets of portra 160) without having tried, particularly if youíre also wanting to do enlargements etc.

    Portra 400 is also more expensive.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    now in Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    3,015

    Re: Portra 160 or 400 for portraits ? Opinions and experiences

    I'll say use the 400. The color balance of the two films is similar (by design), and if shooting 8x10 you want all the speed you can get. At a 4x enlargement, grain will not be an issue.

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