36 Exposures of Portra 160


Last month I loaded a 36 exposure roll of Portra 160 film into my Asahi Pentax S1 SLR, and attached a Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 lens to it. I walked along a trail that borders a ranch and leads to Farmington Bay, which is a wetland near the shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah, and I snapped a bunch of pictures. I hadn’t shot Portra for a number of years, so I was excited to get the film back from the lab.

Portra is a line of films that Kodak introduced in 1998. As the name implies, it was designed for portrait photography, although it has been used for many different genres, as it’s good for more than just portraits. Kodak made Portra in three different ISOs: 160, 400 and 800. The ISO 160 and 400 versions originally had two options: Neutral Color (NC) and Vivid Color (VC). In 2011 Kodak redesigned Portra, and they did away with the Neutral and Vivid versions, making instead only one option in each ISO. Portra has been a popular film since its introduction.

My 36 exposures of Portra came back from the lab yesterday. I was excited to see the results! As I viewed the scans on my computer, I couldn’t help but recall my great appreciation for this film and film photography. Portra 160 is wonderful! It makes me want to ditch digital and go back to my analog roots, as there’s something special about film that you just can’t replicate with modern cameras. Below are some of those 36 exposures of Portra 160 that I shot last month. Enjoy!

















You might notice that the date of this article is April 1st, which is April Fools Day. I did not, in fact, shoot these pictures on Portra film. They were captured on my iPhone. Just kidding! Yesterday I shot 36 exposures of a new film simulation recipe that will be called “Portra 160” on my Fujifilm X-T30. I did, in fact, use the 28mm Super-Takumar lens. This new film simulation recipe, which is what I used for these pictures, is compatible with all X-Trans III & IV cameras. I hope to publish the recipe later this week, so stay tuned!

Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 + Fujifilm X-T30

Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

The Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 is a wide-angle prime lens that was made by Pentax in the early-1960’s through mid-1970’s for their M42-mount cameras. If you are a regular reader of the Fuji X Weekly blog, you will know that I love to pair my Fujifilm X-T30 with vintage lenses like this one. It’s incredibly fun for me, as I learned photography in the film era with manual-only cameras and lenses. Besides, many of these old lenses have tons of character that can add a little extra interest to my pictures. Super-Takumar lenses tend to be especially great, so I was excited to give this one a try.

There are actually four variations of the 28mm f/3.5 Takumar lens. The first two are very similar to each other. The main difference is that the original model has a minimum aperture of f/22 while the second model has a minimum aperture of f/16. The third and fourth models have a completely different design inside and out from the first two, and aside from sharing the same focal-length and maximum aperture, they don’t have all that much in common with the earlier models. My copy is the original version, which dates back to somewhere between 1962 and 1965.

Because of the crop factor, when mounted to my Fujifilm X-T30, the Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 lens has a focal-length equivalence of 42mm, which is barely wide-angle. It’s very close to being a “standard” prime. It’s actually a great all-around focal-length, which makes it especially appealing for many different genres of photography. The minimum focus distance is about 15″, so it’s not a macro lens and you can’t focus particularly close to your subject. The f/3.5 maximum aperture isn’t all that impressive, which means that this lens isn’t the best option for achieving a shallow depth-of-field or for low-light situations. Since it’s an M42-mount lens, you’ll need an adapter to use it on your Fujifilm X camera.

This lens has some obvious flaws. At f/3.5 there’s significant corner softness and vignetting, both of which don’t completely disappear until f/8. Center sharpness is good-but-not-great when wide open, and I noticed some chromatic aberrations, too, but both improve significantly as you stop down. This lens has noticeable barrel distortion, which is obvious if you photograph brick walls and not especially obvious otherwise. Flare isn’t controlled especially well (I’m sure the Super-Multi-Coated version is much better at controlling flare), but I like the way the lens renders flare, so at least there’s that. Bokeh is rather mediocre.

What I love about the Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 lens is that it’s super sharp (“tack as a Tak”), especially between f/5.6 and f/16. The sweet-spot for this lens is between f/8 and f/11, which means if you are an “f/8 and be there” type of photographer, this lens will suit you well! Below f/5.6 there’s noticeable corner softness and even the center isn’t quite as crisp, becoming worse as the aperture increases, although it is still sharp even when wide open. Diffraction sets in when the aperture is smaller than f/11, but really isn’t a problem until beyond f/16. This lens has great contrast and renders pictures very nice overall. It’s built solidly, and my copy functions smoothly and flawlessly, like it’s new and not over 55 years old.

The Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 lens certainly has some shortcomings, but it also has some great strengths. Whether or not those strengths outweigh the weaknesses depends on how you use it. It’s a great lens within a somewhat small envelope, and a so-so lens outside of that. I personally love it, but part of that might be because I’ve learned when to use it to best take advantage of its strengths, and when it’s better to put it on the shelf. The Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 is not a lens that I will use all of the time, but it’s definitely a great one to use when the time is right.


American Christmas – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5


Roof Curve – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5


Ice Cold City – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5


Iowa Pump – Centerville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5


House Blend – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5


Style – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5


Sisters – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5


Jo at a Museum – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5


Amanda Waiting – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5


Criddle’s Cafe – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

See also:
Downtown SLC w/Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Lenses
Asahi Super-Takumar 135mm
Asahi SMC Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4
Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4