Six months ago I turned my Fujifilm X100V into a monochrome-only camera, and just shot black-and-white Film Simulation Recipes with it, which was a lot of fun! I hope that someday Fujifilm makes a B&W-only model. Recently I started shooting color pictures on my X100V again, and the first three color recipes I programmed into the camera were Kodak Portra 400—three different versions of it!
My very first Kodak Portra 400 recipe is for Fujifilm X-Trans III cameras, which I published in May of 2018. It requires a hard-to-explain-and-get-right custom white balance measurement. I have had some luck in the past getting it “right” and at times not-so-much luck. I think this time I was able to get it pretty close but not exactly correct. I made three different attempts (using the three custom white balance slots), and went with the best of the three; however, I think the white balance should be slightly warmer than it is. It’s a tricky thing, and I wish it was more easily repeatable. To use this recipe on my X100V I set Grain size to Small, Color Chrome Effect to Off, Color Chrome FX Blue to Off, and Clarity to 0.
The next Kodak Portra 400 recipe is for the Fiujifilm X-T3 and X-T30, which I published in May of 2020. This one is easier to program (and probably more accurate to the film) than the X-Trans III version. To use it on my X100V I set Grain size to Small, Color Chrome FX Blue to Off, and Clarity to 0.
The third Kodak Portra 400 recipe is for the “newer” X-Trans IV cameras, including the X-Pro3, X100V, X-T4, X-S10, X-E4, and X-T30 II cameras, which I published in June of 2020. Of the three versions, this one is probably the most “accurate” to actual Portra 400 film, but it is extremely similar to the X-T3/X-T30 recipe—only very subtly different.
One film can produce a variety of looks depending on a whole host of factors, including (among other things) how it was shot, developed, and scanned—even the pH balance and temperature of the water can affect it. It’s not possible for one recipe replicate all possible aesthetics. Also, different Fujifilm cameras have different JPEG options, and different sensor generations have slight variances in rendering; even though one recipe might be more “accurate” to the film, it’s certainly not always so—the variables are pretty significant. What’s more important than accuracy is finding the recipe that works best for you and your photography.
I’ve published many other Portra recipes, including Kodak Portra 160 (X-Trans II), Kodak Portra 160 (X-T3/X-T30), Kodak Portra 400 v2 (X-T3/X-T30), Kodak Portra 400 v2 (X-Pro3 & newer), Kodak Portra 400 Warm (X-Pro3 & newer), Reggie’s Portra (X-Pro3 & newer), Portra-Style (X-Pro3 & newer), Kodak Portra 800 (X-Pro3 & newer), Kodak Portra 800 v2 (X-pro3 & newer), and Portra v2 (X-Trans II). There are others recipes that aren’t necessarily modeled specifically after Portra film, but have a Portra-like aesthetic nonetheless, such as Bright Summer, Bright Kodak, Jon’s Classic Chrome, and Classic Kodak Chrome. There are plenty to choose from!
Let’s take a look at some photographs that I captured with the three Kodak Portra 400 Film Simulation Recipes on my Fujifilm X100V.
I hope that seeing these three Kodak Portra 400 Film Simulation Recipes together helps you decide which to try. Maybe one stands out more to you than the others. Perhaps the camera you own is more of a determining factor than the recipe itself. I personally like all three of them, and have enjoyed shooting with them on my (no-longer-B&W-only) X100V.
Also, as a reminder, these three Kodak Portra 400 recipes are the current SOOC recipes-of-the-month. Fujifilm X-Photographer Nathalie Boucry and I will conclude our discussion of these recipes in the next broadcast (be sure to watch the last episode if you missed it!), which will be live on October 20th. Upload your images (click here) captured with one (or more) of these Kodak Portra 400 recipes by October 18th to be included in the next show. I hope to see you then!