Film Simulation Review: Abandoned RV Dealer with Kodak Portra 400

Journal – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”

I recently stumbled upon an abandoned RV dealership in North Salt Lake, Utah. It’s been vandalized. Broken glass and graffiti abound. Nature is doing its thing, too. It’s significantly dilapidated.

Hugh’s R.V. apparently hasn’t been closed for very long, I believe less than two years, but the building looks like it has been abandoned for a decade or more. One of the reviews I found for this place stated that it looked dilapidated—this was when it was still open!—so it was already in a state of disrepair prior to abandonment, and that partially explains why it looks so bad now. Perhaps more than anything, people have just trashed it since it closed.

I captured Hugh’s R.V. with my Fujifilm X100V using my Kodak Portra 400 film simulation recipe. I love how this recipe looks for many things, including structures. Really, it was an easy choice! This particular film simulation recipe could be many people’s “only” recipe. It’s good for such varied situations, and an abandoned building in afternoon light is no exception. This Portra 400 recipe on the X100V is an especially great combination, and a one camera, one lens, one recipe philosophy could be embraced. I appreciate the film-like aesthetic of my Portra 400 settings.

My challenge to you is for one week (or at least one day if that’s too much) use one camera with one lens and one film simulation recipe. If you don’t have an X100V, that’s no problem, just use what you do have. I think the restriction will empower your creativity. Limitations improve art. If you accept this challenge, let me know in the comments which camera, lens and recipe you plan to use, and also report how it goes. I look forward to your feedback!

Hugh’s R.V. – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”
Hugh’s Graffiti – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”
Closed Circuit – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”
ERNL – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”
Open Door, Broken Window – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”
Trash in the Shadow – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”
Tubes & Tablets – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”
Out of Office – North Salt Lake, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Portra 400”

See also: Film Simulation Reviews

Fujifilm X100V Film Simulation: Kodak Portra 400

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Bridge Over Stream – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Portra 400”

This is a brand-new version of my X-T30 Kodak Portra 400 film simulation recipe, designed specifically for the Fujifilm X100V, X-Pro3 and X-T4. My “old” recipe isn’t, in fact, old, as I published it only one month ago, but already I have improved on it, thanks to Fujifilm’s new tools, and also thanks to Fuji X Weekly reader Thomas Schwab, who helped tremendously refine the recipe to be more accurate to actual Portra 400 film. You see, he captured some pictures with Portra 400 film and made some identical pictures with his X-Pro3. After a few small changes, this new recipe emerged. It’s very similar to the X-T30 Portra 400 recipe, the differences aren’t huge, but it is subtly better in my opinion.

Portra 400 was introduced by Kodak in 1998, and was redesigned in 2006 and again in 2010. As the name implies, it’s intended for portrait photography, but can be used for many other types of photography. It’s similar to Portra 160, but with more contrast, saturation and grain. Believe it or not, ISO 400 was considered “high ISO” by many photographers back in the film days, and Portra 400 was one of the absolute best “high ISO” color films ever made. Like all films, results can vary greatly depending on how it’s shot, developed and printed or scanned, and even which version of the film you’re talking about.

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Backlit Forest Leaves – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Portra 400”

This new Portra 400 film simulation recipe requires the use of Clarity, which slows down the camera considerably. Fujifilm suggests shooting RAW and adding Clarity later, but I just use the pause to slow myself down. The use of Clarity also means that this recipe can’t be used on “older” cameras, only the X100V, X-Pro3 and X-T4 (as of this writing), but feel free to apply the white balance shift of this recipe to the X-T30 version and see if you like it better.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR-Auto
Highlight: -1
Shadow: -2
Color: +2
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: -2
Clarity: +2
Grain Effect: Strong, Small
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Weak
White Balance: Daylight, +3 Red & -5 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this new Kodak Portra 400 film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X100V:

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Light Green Leaves – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Sunlight In The Tree – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Forest – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Creek Through The Trees – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Light on the Water – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Creek – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Big Green Leaf – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Sunshine & Tree Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Sunlit – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Stone & Blooms – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Jo Swinging – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Brother & Sister Driving – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Protect & Serve – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Seagull on a Lamp – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Stormy Reeds – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

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My Fujifilm X-T30 Kodak Portra 400 Film Simulation Recipe

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Around The Bend – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Kodak Portra 400”

Portra 400, which is a color negative film, was introduced by Kodak in 1998. It was redesign in 2006 and again in 2010. As the name implies, it’s intended for portrait photography, but can be used for many other types of photography. It’s similar to Portra 160, but with more contrast, saturation and grain. Believe it or not, ISO 400 was considered “high ISO” by many photographers back in the film days, and Portra 400 was one of the absolute best “high ISO” color films ever made. Like all films, results can vary greatly depending on how it’s shot, developed and printed or scanned, and even which version of the film you’re talking about. Interestingly, Kodak briefly made a black-and-white version of Portra 400!

I’ve been meaning to revisit Kodak Portra 400 for some time now. As you may know, I already have a Kodak Portra 400 recipe, which I created two years ago, but it requires a difficult-to-achieve custom white balance measurement. I was never really satisfied with that recipe, even though it can produce interesting results. I have been eager to create a new Portra 400 recipe, and, In fact, I’ve tried a couple of times, but without success.

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Blue Sky Day – Syracuse, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Kodak Portra 400”

A Fuji X Weekly reader suggested to me that if I use my Kodak Portra 160 recipe, except increase Shadow, Highlight and Color by one, that should be pretty close to Portra 400. Indeed it is! I liked what I saw, but I played around with the settings more to see if I could improve on it. Turns out not much needed to be tweaked. I liked the results better with Color Chrome Effect set to Strong, but if you have an X-Trans III camera, which doesn’t have that feature, you can still use this recipe, but it will look slightly different. The only other change that I made was I set Grain to Strong.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR-Auto
Highlight: -1
Shadow: -1
Color: +2
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: -2
Grain Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
White Balance: Daylight, +4 Red & -5 Blue
ISO: Auto, up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +2/3 to +1 (typically)

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Kodak Portra 400 film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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Mountain in the Evening Light – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Reeds To The Sky – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Jensen Pond – Syracuse, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Water Beyond The Trees – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Paved Trail – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Spring Green & White – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Fries in the Sky – Syracuse, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Royal Lunch – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Evening Suburban Home – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Boy in the Striped Light – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Boy Sitting – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Sunlight Through The Pink Blooms – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Pink Tree Bloom – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

$2.00