Since I've decided to start using film for more street photography, I've been going through several different types to try to pin down which emulsion I'm going to stick with. In the last few weeks, I have been slowly working my way through a roll of Kodak Portra 400, a rather expensive film to get locally ($15 per roll at my local outlet after discount! Ouch!) I get 36 exposures, which when film development is added in comes to about $0.80 a frame. Is it worth it?
I tried to shoot a wide variety of colours and subjects to see how the film behaved in the real world. One thing I can safely say about this film so far is that it is slightly muted compared to the Ektar film I shot previously. If all you're interested in is seeing the images, click the first one to bring up a slide show! All these images were shot with a Canon Elan 7e and 50mm f/1.8 II lens. For the most part, all shots were overexposed by a stop or more.
Of course, this isn't necessarily a bad thing! What I'm liking so far with the Portra film is that it's got dimension; the textures pop, and the bokeh fades off to nothingness. It's simultaneously detailed and soft.
Of course, the absolute best thing you can do with this film is find a window and start shooting some portraits. This photo was taken during this shoot after Ellen and I decided the rain was getting annoying. I opened up the shadows by overexposing by a full stop, and I could have pushed it even further without losing detail outside! Digital still can't touch this kind of dynamic range!
After a few photo walks and a couple portrait sessions I finished off the roll. I'm pretty happy with the film, just not the price. I certainly enjoy the slightly desaturated colours and beautiful grain that make this a great portrait emulsion, so I think I'll put another few rolls through the camera yet!
Thanks for reading! Cheers!