If you're into film then you must have heard of Kodak Portra. There's a reason why they are the standard when it comes to color negative film. Excellent exposure latitude, great detail, Exceptional skin tone renditions, fine grain, overall color rendition, just to name a few, Kodak's Portra line consists of 160, 400, and 800 ISO stocks. All share the same characters mentioned but still have characteristics that are specific to the stock.

Portra 400 rated at 100 ISO in 120MM and shot with a black pro mist filter.

Portra 160

Portra 160 is the slowest film of the line, making it ideal for bright sunny conditions and studio sessions with flash. It looks great when shot at box speed (160) but usually yields the best results when rated at ISO 100. Yo may notice that the film tends to have slight pink/magenta and mint green undertones. This makes, along with its soft color palette and sharpness makes it great for portraits.

Portra 400 shot at box speed on 120 MM and no filter.

Portra 400

Portra 400 is Kodak's bread and butter. It has the largest exposure latitude out of the three and is constantly being developed and enhance by Kodak even today. It is a great choice for both new and seasoned film photographers.

Portra 400 is the lowest grain 400 ISO film on the market and has amazing color rendition. At box speed it provides great vibrance and accurate colors while providing warm skin tones. However, you can achieve a softer, less contrasty look by over exposing it by 2 or 3 stops. Just be careful because grain starts to become more noticeable and colors start to shift in the shadows when underexposed. Overall it is a very versatile film stock and an industry standard.

Portra 800 shot at 400 ISO on 120MM and no filter.

Portra 800

Portra 800 is the fast speed film of the bunch. Although, it is 800 ISO, it actually does not like low light. It Is ideal for indoor that has plenty of light or if you want to shoot at a higher aperture during the day while still being able to shoot hand held. Naturally the film is the most saturated out of all of them and will have the most visual grain but still much finer grain and sharpness compared to other high speed films. It tends to shift to warmer tones, especially in tungsten lighting but is less prominent when overexposed. 


You can not go wrong with any of these options. They will all preform well and will excel in their respective conditions. Grab a roll and enjoy the versatility and look of pro level film!


Mitchell Jackson