Kodak introduced Portra film in 1998. As the name implies, this film was designed for portrait photography, as it produces pleasing skin tones. It came in three ISO options: 160, 400 and 800. The ISO 160 and 400 versions came in two varieties: Neutral Color (NC), which was less saturated, and Vivid Color (VC), which was more saturated. In 2011 Kodak did away with the Neutral Color and Vivid Color options, making a new version that was more-or-less in-between the two.
One of the top films that I’ve been asked to create a film simulation recipe for is Portra 160. I’ve tried many times, and I felt that I got close a couple of times, but I was never able to get it quite right. Fuji X Weekly reader Piotr Skrzypek recently created a Portra 160 film simulation recipe for his Fujifilm X-E2, and he gave me permission to share his settings with you! When I first looked at his pictures, I immediately thought that they resembled Portra, and I continued to think so as I used his recipe on my X-T1. Piotr has a lot of experience shooting film, and the main film that he uses is Portra 160. I’ve shot Portra before, but it’s been many years. How the film is shot, developed, and printed or scanned effects the way that it looks, so results can vary, but this recipe is overall an excellent facsimile of actual Portra 160 film. Great job, Piotr Skrzypek!
I did alter Piotr’s recipe a little. I have Color set to +1, but he has Color set to +2, which I think more mimics Portra 160VC. Whether you set Color to +1 or +2, you are still getting a Portra look, and you can try it both ways and decide which you like better for your photographs. You can even try setting color to 0 to get a Portra 160NC look. The other change I made is to white balance, which I set to Daylight, while Piotr uses auto-white-balance. In many outdoor circumstances Daylight and AWB will produce identical results, so for the most part it doesn’t matter which you choose. I like Daylight a little more than AWB, but you can decide which you prefer for yourself. This recipe is intended for X-Trans II cameras, but there will be a Portra 160 recipe for X-Trans III and IV cameras coming soon!
Dynamic Range: DR-Auto
Highlight: -2 (Low)
Shadow: -2 (Low)
Color: +1 (Medium-High)
Sharpness: -2 (Low)
Noise Reduction: -2 (Low)
White Balance: Daylight, +3 Red & -4 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 3200
Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Kodak Portra 160 recipe on my Fujifilm X-T1:
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