Kodak color negative film comparisons

Portra 400 proper exposure

Quite some time ago, I ordered a Macbeth Color Checker, a Kodak Color Separation and Gray Scale set, and some Kodak 120 film. I took it all with me on a nice sunny day and shot a bunch of frames with varying exposures, then had them all developed and scanned by NCPS.

While it was all minilab scanning, it was relatively consistent and gives you a sense of the differences between the films. Unfortunately, only two of them are made anymore. The results of each test can be found below:

Not too long after, Kodak came out with Portra 400 and Portra 160, discontinuing the old NC/VC films. I used that as an opportunity to order some of the new and old 400 films and shoot a similar comparison, in 35mm this time, in sunlight, in tungsten light, and in tungsten light with a partial correction filter (KB 6). This time the film developing and scanning was done by Precision Camera. The results of each test can be found below:

Anyway, some of it’s moot now, since most of the films tested no longer exist, but maybe the Ektar, Portra 400, or Portra 800 shots are useful. I certainly convinced myself that all of these films can handle quite a bit of overexposure, and Ektar isn’t as nasty in the shadows as some claim (though it might take a little bit of PS work to get what you want).

All of the tests can be found collected together here.