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:
Fujifilm X-T1 Kodacolor Recipe
Fujifilm X-T1 Kodachrome II Recipe
Fujifilm X-T1 Kodachrome 64 Recipe
Fujifilm X-T1 Ektachrome 100SW Recipe
Fujifilm X-T1 Agfa Optima Recipe
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Great one! I always wondered if some pastel looking simulation would ever come… Finally! 🙂 This one is not to my taste really because of the Kodak look but I like it anyway. And I hope you get more pastel looking films 😉
I plan to make many more recipes for the older models. Maybe one will be similar to my Fujicolor Pro 400H overexposed, which has a pastel look.
Nice, thanks for sharing!
I used Portra a lot , especially 400 and 400NC. I used to expose it at half box speed (i.e. 200 ISO) and I loved the results. Damn, I miss it!
You can “overexpose” this recipe a little, plus +1 exposure compensation or even higher, and get interesting results.
Awesome!!! been waiting for the PORTRA400 look for FUJI as I know you’ve never been happy before with testing it.
Definitely give it a try! Let me know what you think.
Interesting post for sure. It’s a similar recipe to one I’ve been using:
X-Trans III (X100F)
Dymanic Range :100
White Balance: Auto
Noise Reduction: 0
Highlight Tone: 0
Shadow Tone: -2
Sometimes the look is really fantastic but greens tend to be a bit more subdued than I’d like so I’ll have to go in and tweak the white balance a bit. I also have been using mostly center weighted metering and that tends to underexpose things a bit more than multi segment metering meaning I can leave the highlight tone at 0 without concern of blowing highlights.
I will have an X-Trans III and IV recipe for Portra 160 very soon, so stay tuned!
Thank you (and Piotr) for this Portra 160 simulation, great stuff. Just one thing, on my X-T1 there is no Daylight so I shoot Auto WB +3 Red & -4 Blue. So far, so good 🙂
The X-T1 has Daylight, but for some reason is mistakenly marked as “Fine”. Look for the sunshine symbol.
I’m trying to use a couple of these recipes in my xt-1, but I can’t seem to change the white balance shift in the actual custom settings. Only in the global white balance settings. I’m trying to make both the Kodachrome and the portra simulations but they both use the daylight WB. Is there a way to program the red and blue shift into the custom setting or do I need to just remember the values and change them every time I switch between settings?
You cannot adjust or save WB Shift within Custom Settings unless your camera is the X-Pro3 or newer, unfortunately.
This article might be helpful:
Thank you very much for putting this together. Tremendous effort that is much appreciated. I have sent you a gift as well! Many thanks.
Thanks so much! I’m glad that you like it.
First, thank you for your all simulations and now thank you and Piotr this Kodak Portra 160 recipe. I tried to make a similar adjustment for my Fujifilm X-T1, but now i got it. 🙂 God bless you!
Hi Ritchie, any plans to release the recipe for Portra 400 on the X-Trans II sensor (x70?)
I’d like to. I played around with it briefly last week but wasn’t satisfied with the results. I’ll keep trying.
awesome content… thank you…
Weird Question: What is the closest simulation that looks like the old TECHNICOLOR film? Can it be reproduced on an xt-1/xt-10?
Thank you in advance
I appreciate the feedback. I’m not sure if it’s possible (probably not), but what era of technicolor are you thinking about?
I was trying to store a couple of these recipes (protra, kodachrome) as custom settings (C1-C7), but it seems that the details of the white balance settings (+3 red, -4 blue etc) are not stored in the custom settings. You can only store “auto”, “daylight” etc. and it will use whatever was last set in the red/blue settings for each of those. Is this correct? Do you know any way around it? I am using an X-E2.
Thanks for putting all this work in, by the way!
Unfortunately, only the newest cameras, the X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, can save white balance shifts in the custom presets. It would be nice if Fujifilm would update the “older” models to have this ability, too. I appreciate your message!
Thanks! Good to know. I plan to treat this camera like a “film replacement” camera, so having only one colour jpeg preset and one B&W preset should be fine.
Awesome! If you use different White Balance settings (Auto, Daylight, Shade, etc.) the camera will remember one WB Shift for each. So, in theory, if each of the C1-C7 custom presets used a different White Balance, you don’t have to remember to change the Shift when changing recipes.
I considered that, but I want to leave it on auto, since I found that on grey days the portra setting became very strange looking (and I don’t want to mess around with the white balance when the weather changes). This is fine though.
There’s nothing wrong with seasoning recipes to taste, finding what works for you. That’s great! I hope that Fujifilm updates their “older” cameras to allow WB Shift to be saved in the Custom Presets, that’s really something that needs to happen.
Hello! I have a fujifilm x30 … when I want to configure the camera to use the film “KODAK PORTRA 160” I can use the ISO only up to 800, but the shadows lower me to 0 (I don’t understand the technical reason for this problem) … any suggestions? Best
I encountered a similar issue when I was using an XQ1 that was loaned to me, and I never resolved it. I thought it was just an issue with that camera, but maybe it’s some limitation of the smaller X-Trans II sensor? I don’t know the answer. Sorry that I am not more helpful.
Big fan of your work since I found out your page, keep it up!
I have question, say I use this recipe, can I change the WB to cloudy or etc depending on the weather?
You can. Feel free to adjust it however you would like to make it work for you. To be “most accurate” to the film I recommend keeping it on Daylight (or “Fine” as Fujifilm calls it for some reason). But more important than being accurate is making it work for you, so absolutely feel free to “season to taste” this recipe.
I have always had great difficulty with dialling in (to my sensibility) a pleasing colour palette with my Fuji XE2s, as to be something like early 1950’s Kodachrome in low contrast lighting, slightly warm with cyan-ish skys, and this recipe is about as close as it gets. Works equally as well with Colour Neg Standard. The secret is with the White Balance Shift – very subtle. My only gripe with the XE2s (for me) is the colour is a bit too garish – not anymore. Thank you for your experimentations, you have a excellent eye for colour.
I appreciate your kindness! Thank you for the comment!
Hi Ritchie, I would like to adapt this xtrans ii recipe for my x100t to get the look of your X-trans iv Kodak Portra 400 recipe for the xt3. What would you change to get a similar look?
Thanks a lot.
Maybe try -1 Shadow (or perhaps 0 Shadow) and +2 Color. See how that looks.
Did you do this recipe without « classic chrome » profile or can you do it ?
I love your recipes, thanx for this work.
You use Classic Chrome, it calls for Classic Chrome as the film sim.