Kodak Portra 160 Film Profile/Review
This tech page is for Kodak Portra 160 Film, or PORTRA_160, which is it’s film code. Kodak PORTRA_160 Film is a professional grade film and Kodak touts it as having a significantly finer grain structure for improved scanning and enlargement capability in today’s workflow, while retaining the exceptionally smooth and natural skin tone reproduction that the PORTRA Film family is renowned for. PORTRA 160 Film is the ideal choice for portrait, fashion and commercial photography, either in the studio, or on location. PORTRA_160 is available in 135 (35mm) format, 120 format, and large format sheet form.
If you send your film in to us here at Simple Film Lab, we develop PORTRA_160 with Kodak’s Flexicolor line of C-41 processing chemicals. The C-41 process is very standardized, and we monitor our process with Kodak control strips to ensure that the process is within specification to ensure that the film is correctly developed.
C-41 color negative films are pretty standardized, where you have roughly 4 1/3 stops of shadow detail below middle gray and several stops of detail above middle gray, and PORTRA_160 is no different. It is recommended that you incident meter for the darkest part of the image where you want to retain detail and subtract 2 stops from that, or if you don’t have an incident meter, place your exposure compensation to +1, or manually set the ISO of your camera to ISO 100 and that will result in totally usable negatives. PORTRA_160 has enough over-exposure headroom to easily handle 4-5 stops over exposure.
Dynamic Range/Exposure Latitude
PORTRA_160 has excellent dynamic range. You have to get at least 3-4 stops over exposed in a high contrast scene before things start to get dicey in the highlights.
PORTRA_160 has excellent resolution. The grain is barely visible, and very pleasant. Kodak’s tech sheet rates it’s Print Grain Index for a 4×6 print at 28, with 25 being the visual threshold, so it’s very fine grain, but not quite as grain free as Ektar 100. Kodak’s published MTF curve for this film shows the lowest resolution channel (the red channel) topping out at between 30 and 40 line pairs per mm at 50% contrast response with the green and blue channels significantly higher, so it’s got good resolution.
Here is a Flickr image album of images taken with PORTRA_160. It’s updated with new images whenever I shoot PORTRA_160.
Downloadable Sample DNG Files
As part of this tech sheet/film review I’m making a ZIP file available that contains some Adobe DNG files that are a sample of what you would receive if you sent your film into Simple Film Lab to process and scan. It’s relatively large, but if you want to see what you can get, worth a look. Click Here