December 17, 2010

KODAK Portra 400 - Miami South Beach FL - Pushed to 3200













If you are not a photographer, the following info might be a bit geeky...so get ready.

Back in Nov I traveled out to Miami to hang out with Ozzy and Gennessy to do a 1on2 workshop with them. During my time there, I shot nothing but the new Kodak Portra 400. And I pushed a couple rolls to 3200, which means I rated it as if it was 3200 iso, and pushed it 3 stops in the developing (to compensate for underexposing 3 stops).

THERE IS NO GRAIN TO THIS FILM, NONE. At 3200 that is UNHEARD of. This changes EVERYTHING about shooting color film, EVERYTHING. Another great thing about this film is that you don't need to overexpose as much like you would with other color neg films. If you overexpose too much, it goes super yellow.

This film uses Vision 3 technology (motion picture film) and you can actually underexpose this film up to 2 stops. This is UNHEARD of in any color neg film out there today. Hello low light situations!

It is also available in 220 as well, making it one of the last color neg films available in 220 format.

I have liquidated all other color neg film and this is now my film of choice. It is the answer to all your needs for color neg and the results are nothing short of outstanding.

More posts coming next week. For now, enjoy.

Want a print for your walls? You can view more images and order prints HERE.

56 comments:

Kevin Charlie said...

Jonathan, these are gorgeous! I just acquired some of the film (finally, one of the local photog shops has it in stock) and I've pushed a couple rolls to 1600. Still have yet to get it developed. Can't wait to see the results!

13 Stoploss said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you have a 400ASA film and you expose at 3200, that is overexposing, not underexposing. Developmentally, do you mean under developing 3 stops as compensation?

Anyway--great work. I've been a big fan of Portra NC and have yet to try the new Portra. Seeing these results are rather exciting!

Ronnie Ruiz said...

Good to see some results on this! Great work man! I'm gonna be ordering some tomorrow as I'm now out of 220 f400. Thanks for sharing as always!

Jonathan Canlas said...

ok, so if you have 400iso film, and rate it and shoot it as if it is 3200, you are UNDEREXPOSING your film. ie, say your exposure is f/2 @ 1/4000th backlit on 400iso film. that same exposure @ 3200 would be f/5.6. so if you shoot f/5.6 @ 1/4000th on 400iso film, you have underexposed your film 3 stops. to compensate for that, you have to develop the film longer (PUSH THE FILM 3 STOPS 400-800-1600-3200). hope that makes sense.

Randy said...

Wow, going to have to give this a try. If you really get low grain results that look this good at 3200 I think my D90 is eBay bound since all I use digital for anymore is low light color.

Mathias said...

Awesome shots, thanks a lot for sharing. Just one question, you mention that it can be underexposed two stops - is that with regular development (no push processing)?

Again, thanks a lot, I love your blog!

Rob Oresteen said...

I can't wait to shoot this at 800 and 1600...I wonder what 3200 in a dimly lit church will look like.

But in reality, 98% of what I do could be easily shot at 400 or less, so I look forward to images I am going to get in 2011.

I wonder if Alien Skin will come out with the "Portra 400 @ 3200" plugin now!!

Thank you Kodak and thank JC for being out front on all this for us.

rolopix said...

Maybe it's because I know the genesis of the film, but the combination of the push and the Zeiss glass makes these look truly cinematic (and also kinda like E6 chrome). Very cool photos; really exciting info. I just bought a Pro Pack. Can't wait to start cranking some Portra 400!

remixoverdrive said...

Great post, that's amazing! Also, great explanation. I don't see how it could be any clearer.

Jonathan Canlas said...

@mathias yes, this film can be underexposed 2 stops and developed normal. my next test will be to shoot this film @ 3200 (meter for 3200) and only push it 1 stop in the developing.

Rachel said...

this film sounds amazing can wait to try it love the kodakchrome effect you got out of it by pushing it

Hannah said...

These are awesome. I can't wait to try this film.

Matt Haines Photography said...

First the brothers Wright beat me to the punch on testing the film at -2 stops (but no push) and beyond. Now you've gone and tested it being pushed to 3200. I don't have to do any testing myself!! (But I will…)

Thanks for the great images, and also taking the initiative on the testing.

Based on your comments, you don't seem too worried about the fact that the film isn't out in 35mm format. Does that mean you shoot *entire* weddings on medium format only?

Thanks.

Jonathan Canlas said...

i dont' shoot 35mm. i have a contax g2 but i only run bw film through that camera. i'm not a fan of 35mm film (small, grainy, 4x6 aspect ratio).

kodak portra 400 in 35mm ships dec 23rd. mark your calendars. or go buy a mf camera :)

and yes, everything you see on this blog since my may 1st wedding is all shot on medium format.

and ps, want to be ballsy? this film is available in 4x5 and freaking 8x10. so legit.

and matt, you should most definitely do your own tests and never trust anything you read on the internet :)

Matt Haines Photography said...

Thanks Jonathan! I actually shoot more MF than I do 35mm, but I do portraits primarily (manual focus 645 and 6x7). The thought of the film bill for an all-MF wedding scares my wallet! Good to know a definitive date for 35mm, as I'd like to use it for candids and such.

kimsueellen said...

Siiiiiiick.

Tracee Breeze said...

Jon these are beautiful. I love the way your eyes see the world. Always fun to look here.

Leslie said...

That is unreal.

Rob Oresteen said...

"next test will be to shoot this film @ 3200 (meter for 3200) and only push it 1 stop in the developing."

That will be cool to see...

On another note, can anyone out there can recommend a decent lab in the midwest, preferable the Chicago area? Don't say "Gamma", those guys used to serve the pro back in the day but have gone in another direction and film is an after thought now.

Given the lack of labs who appreciate the hybrid pro, (film capture, digital scan), I am half thinking bout serving midwest clients with a new lab...

RPL appears to be a great resource, but there needs to be a Chicago based option, I think.

13 Stoploss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jonathan Canlas said...

Wow I don't know what to tell you other than you are absolutely and utterly wrong and if you think that shooting f5.6 @ 1/4000 when you are supposed to be f2 @ 1/4000 is OVEREXPOSING your film then you are dead wrong. It blows my mind that people who accept money for photography don't understand or seem to comprehend something as simple as exposure.

Tim said...

nuts, just nuts.

Jonathan Canlas said...

Here is where I think you are completely and utterly confused...

At 400 iso backlit you exposure is f2 @ 1/4000. If you rate your film at 3200 then the same exposure would be f5.6 @ 1/4000. now if you develop the film normal having shot it at f5.6 @1/40000 you've UNDEREXPOSED your film by 3 stops. F5.6 let's in less light than f2. 3 stops less to be exact. SO to compensate for Underexposimg your film you must develop it longer or PUSH it 3 stops. Being someone who accepts money for photography and does not comprehend this blows my mind and I blame 2 inch LCD screens for this degradation in knowledge.

Again I baffled that

13 Stoploss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J.R.Early said...

13 Stopless. . . Ill see if I can explain this to you.

Overexposure would be allowing more light to the hit the surface than necessary for a correct exposure. Underexposing would be not allowing adequate light to strike the film plane than is necessary for a correct exposure.

So if you exposure for a 400ISO film is f/5.6 @ 1/125, changing you aperture to f/2 would be 3 stops over exposed because MORE light is hitting the film plane. Changing your aperture to f/16 would be 3 stops under because you are letting LESS light hit the film plane. In Jons example and where you are going wrong, is thinking that altering the ISO setting of the film is a current effect on the film. You are taking into account that he is not compensating for this change while shooting which would just be wrong.

If you are pushing a film 3 stops (i.e. 400 to 3200) then you would need to effectively underexpose the film in camera and make up for that loss of light in development.

"In your example, the exposure level has not changed. your math is correct, but you misunderstand the relationship. in fact, the only thing that has changed aside from your slightly increased depth of field is that your film is MORE sensitive to light. "

Basic exposure is a reciprocating relationship where one factor gives the others must take away to come up with the baseline EV rating (exposure value), In other words it does not matter where the make up of light comes from (either aperture, shutter speed, or ISO) as long as that amount of light is made up for on some front.

"How can I prove this? Don't compensate your development. Just develop it at box speed. What will your negatives look like? They'll be OVEREXPOSED because you allowed 8x (3 stops) too much light."

Im confused at where he let in MORE light. If he does not push the film in development then they will be effectively 3 stops underexposed due to the compensation in camera while shooting. I think you are thinking film woks like digital or something where you can shoot all willy nilly and change ISO settings on a whim. You are confused when it comes to the relationship or the camera and film, your math is right just backwards.

Mitch Issel said...

Jon maybe your photos would turn out if you'd get your exposure down;)

Lainey said...

Love seeing my Miami from your perspective.

josh@jmalahy.com said...

"rating" your film at 3200 is not the same thing as setting your sensor's sensitivity to "3200". While your camera is in P mode, try setting your ISO to 400 and note the exposure settings...now set it to 3200 and watch how the camera changes the settings to compensate...then do the math.

Learn the basics of exposure and the reciprocal relationship of aperture, shutter speed, and ISO (film sensitivity) before you start spouting off on blogs (particularly THIS guy's blog!)...and please do it before accepting money from a client.

This is an incredibly eye-opening teachable moment, and God bless you Jon, you are far more patient than I am.

brandonmsweet said...

Its a really easy concept. A stop is a double or half.. 400, 800, 1200, 1600, etc is NOT A DOUBLE OR HALF...

400, 800, 1600, 3200... That IS! See how that is also 4 clicks... Super easy concept...

Seriously, they teach this in any beginning photo class.

Mariana said...

Dear 13 Stoploss,

to honor your request of "correct me if I'm wrong", I'll briefly add an explanation here, hoping that you'll understand.

It's very logical and simple:

When film is MORE sensitive, it needs LESS light to achieve the SAME results than a LESS sensitive film on a given situation. That's all.

Bradley Spitzer said...

13 Stoploss,

Here is where your math is wrong...

ISO 3200 is not 8x more sensitive than ISO 400. It is 3x more sensitive.

400 to 800 (1 stop) +
800 to 1600 (1 stop) +
1600 to 3200 (1 stop)
= 3 stops of light

You can't divide the ISO's (3200 divided by 400) for the amount of light difference/sensitivity.

Alexandre said...

Great pictures !

I'd like to try this, but my local shop is selling two kind of portra, "400 NC" and "400 BC". Do you know which one is right one ?

Matt Haines Photography said...

Oof, this has gotten a bit ugly. And since I happen to know '13 stoploss' I feel compelled to jump in (probably a mistake)…

When you rate a film at a different speed than what's written on the box, you're pretending the film is rated at that new speed. Like Josh said above, pretending your film is more sensitive is not the same thing as boosting its sensitivity. If you pretend ISO 400 film is really as sensitive as ISO 3200 film, then you're pretending it can pick up more light than it really can. So that means you'd give it less light than it really needs for proper exposure.

To compensate, you have to make up for this pretending by pushing the film.

Alenxandre: the answer is "neither". The new Portra 400 has no VC or NC designation. Your local shop does not yet have the new film apparently.

Matt Haines Photography said...

Oh and Bradley, you're both right. Each stop increase is a doubling of the amount of sensitivity (or the amount of light, in the case of aperture or shutter speed).

Moving from 1/500 to 1/250 is one stop, and the length of time the shutter is open is doubled. Going from 1/1000 to 1/250 means the shutter is open four times the amount (1/1000 x 4 = 1/250), and represents two stops.

ISO 3200 is 8 times more sensitive to light than ISO 400, and it is ALSO three stops more sensitive. It's the same thing.

laned said...

Just stumbled on to this and use the film already and love it, but did not know you could push it like this awesome! And STOPLOSS! you are absolutely WRONG!Push processing is underexposing and over developing and should have learned this first year of photo school! Later

vicky said...

Thanks for this...I'll definitely give it a try...and available in 220 is brilliant.

Chris Hoppe said...

Hey Jonathan!

Have you tried this with 135 format film? I intend to try it myself, but wondered if you have comments on it. I suppose it will have more grain due to the smaller negative, but do you think it will still be smooth?

To my eye, your results look better than a digital camera at 3200.

Velu said...

Woooooow .... this is so nice !!!

I am impressed by the (lack of) noise and the colours.

I only develop B&W myselve, can you ask the lab to "push" it when developing ?

Thanks for sharing !!!

Jacob said...

do you know if kodak has a version of this film for black and white as well? i would love to have film that comes out this clear for night photography, it'd be an impossible dream come true : )

Stavros said...

Do you think that 35mm version of this film would give similar results?

Steve said...

I've read this film has enormous latitude, and can be shot at ISO 200 or less with great success, just as it can be pushed to 800 or higher. Have you tried it at 200 or slower? If so, how were the results?

marcelo versiani said...

Hi Jonathan,
I quoted your post in a Brazilian blog, and there was a discussion about the lack of grain in this case (Portra 400 pushed to 3200). If possible, we'd like to see a hi res crop to check the details. Thanks a lot!

Will said...

oops! oh what the digital revolution has done to our collective understanding of things as simple as exposure!

I'm interested to know how the email exchange with 13 stoploss went.

DDW - Calgary Web Design said...

Nothing geeky at all about that info. And the photos are spectacular!

Aven Danger said...

I really apericiate your posts, is there somewhere you have posted tests of over exposing it? Like rating you film at 200? and are you still metering for the shadows? You stated somewhere that you meter strait up? What does that mean? I am trying to get the Magenta out of the skin tonse, and have the least amount of contrast- so that after I scan- i give the clients the images, and Boom! Done.. haha, any help in this?? I used to be able to pull it off with 800z, and pro H, by our firend Fuji.. but its only in 120.. no bueno..
thanks, and I think your work is great!!

ericdaigle said...

Hi Jonathan,
We are talking about all pushing the 400! Can we exposed/pull the same film at 200 or 100 and develop at 400?
Looking forward to you reply,
Eric Daigle

h said...

A question about something entirely practical:

Pushing film is awesome, and with the new Portra 400 super-double-awesome, but what does it cost to push?

I really, really wish labs (with Kodak help) would stop charging for this process more than I have seen ($8/roll) as this would really help boost sales and make film far more versatile.

Thanks for the terrific photos and commentary.

Daryl said...

Let's say I am at F/5.6, setting the iso it to 1600, and dial in -2 for the Exposure compensation, i should push it by 2 stops during developing?

Petevideos said...

Are these scanned from 35 mm film or 120?

Connor Mazzola said...

I am definitely trying this

Jon Kohn said...

When I shoot P400, i rate at 200, meter for shadows and develop normally. Does this equate to say... +1 would be rated at 400 and pushed to 800 in dev and +2 would be at 800 and pushed twice in dev?

Did you shoot at the iso you pushed to?

Jon

RicD said...

13 Stoploss,
Here is where the issue is confusing, you are thinking digital, the subject is film. Digital when you increase/decrease ISO you are increasing/decreasing the sensor sensitivity. Why, because with digital there is not a set ISO as with film. Each film has a set unchanging ISO such as Kodak Portra 400 is ISO 400, that ISO cannot be changed.

As one underexposes film, in the example, they are rating a 400 speed film at a higher speed than the film is designed to handle thus underexposing by X f/stops. To compensate for extreme underexposure one must increase development time. Notice the film ISO remains the same. If you never shot film nor developed your own film the above film example would be quite confusing. Again, digital performs much different than film.

Not at all is the film ISO response changed as can be accomplished with digital. Why, because as you increase the digital ISO you increase the gain in the sensor. Not so with film where rating film at a higher ISO the film ISO does not change.

So again, you are thinking digital where you can increase/decrease sensor gain, change the sensor ISO response. Whereas with film the ISO is set thus we adjust exposure, and development times, around that set ISO.

If you think film is too confusing remember your grandmother and great grandmother shot film so how difficult can it be.

Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Jonathan...

I know I'm a little late on the thread here but I accidentally rated Portra 160 at 3200. What am I to expect? What should I have the lab do in developing?

Frendy Tan said...

I'm little bit curious, please explain,,
Do you underexposed it for 3 stop in outdoor and atill have bokeh background? What speed did you use? Was it very fast??

Frendy Tan said...

Did you underexpose it for 3stop in outdoor and still have a bokeh background? What ss did you use? It should be very very fast,,

Blackandwhite - Photography said...

Hi there,

great results. Really like the photos. Did you do you own development or did the lab pushed it 3 stops. I am asking because some labs are not pushing the C41 process because they say that the portra 400 has enough exposure latitude to compensate up two 3 stop under-exposure. Is that true?
Thanks
Ronny