A favorite emulsion: Kodak Portra 160VC

Last Sunday, I was on a daily photo trip with friends. A heavy overcast day which didn’t present any serious chances for photos but despite that I loaded two rolls of Kodak Portra 160VC on my Plaubel Makina 67 and Fuji GSW690iii cameras. I also had the Fuji X100 with me for the occasional friends snapshots photos.

(Plaubel Makina 67, Kodak Portra 160VC)

When I got my films from the lab I was really very happy with the way this film rendered the overcast scenes. A great look combined with the medium format you look you expect from a 6×7 or 6×9 camera. There’s something really special about Portra 160VC which over the years made it my favorite color negative film. Even in today’s world where you can process a scanned file with various ways, the look and color I get straight out of the scan with this film always impresses me.

(Plaubel Makina 67, Kodak Portra 160VC)

(Plaubel Makina 67, Kodak Portra 160VC)

Unfortunately, Portra 160VC is a discontinued film. I have a few rolls left (dated 01/2013 so they are already expired) and then I will have to switch to the very good (but with a different look) new Portra. Digital photography has prevailed (as expected!) and the film choices are getting fewer and fewer every year. I don’t expect b&w film to disappear for a long long time, but I don’t really know the future of color film and I suspect its lifespan will be much shorter. I am frequently updating my stock of color films but I wouldn’t like to shoot expired film for serious work. Anyway, for a few more years I don’t see all color film discontinued but the choices will sure be very limited.

(Plaubel Makina 67, Kodak Portra 160VC)


(Plaubel Makina 67, Kodak Portra 160VC)

On these weather conditions, a slide film like Fuji Velvia would produce great images, but Portra has the advantage of the wide dynamic range which competes with the bet high end digital DSLR today.

The images below were taken with the Fuji GSW690iii and Portra 160VC.






(c)2013 Konstantinos Besios. All Rights Reserved.

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2 Responses to A favorite emulsion: Kodak Portra 160VC

  1. Karren Dale says:

    Hi there

    Beautiful images! I was just wondering what exposures these were taken at? Did you overexpose the portra film or run at correct ISO?


    • kbesios says:

      I shoot the Portra160VC at ISO 100. I also use ISO 100 for the newer Portra 160 Professional, but it also gives me very good results at its native ISO.

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