Comparing 6 Kodak Portra Film Simulation Recipes

Sunset Photography – Laguna Beach, CA – Fujifilm X100V – Kodak Portra 400 v2

Some of the absolute most popular Film Simulation Recipes for Fujifilm cameras are those that mimic Kodak Portra film. I have a number of Recipes that are modeled after Portra, and with so many choices it can be difficult to know which ones to program into your camera. I thought I’d take this opportunity to compare six of them, with the hopes that it will help you decide. There are actually several more Portra-inspired Recipes than the six here, but I chose to compare these because they’re all X-Trans IV Recipes compatible with my Fujifilm X100V, the camera I used to capture them on a recent trip to the California coast.

Kodak introduced the Portra line in 1998, with two ISO 160 versions, two ISO 400 versions, and an ISO 800 emulsion (plus a short-lived ISO 100 Tungsten film, for those keeping score). Portra saw a couple of updates by Kodak, and in 2010 the two ISO 160 versions were merged into one, as well as the two ISO 400 versions. The film has become iconic, with its warm yet natural colors. As the name implies, it was meant for portrait photography, but is popular for many genres.

Laguna Coast – Laguna Beach, CA – Fujifilm X100V – Kodak Portra 400 v2

One film can produce all sorts of various looks, depending on a host of factors, including how it was shot, developed, printed and/or scanned. The Kodak Portra 400 and the Kodak Portra 400 v2 Recipes are very similar, but they were modeled after two different photographer’s Portra film pictures, and so their rendering varies just a little. Kodak Portra 400 leans a little more towards red-orange, while Kodak Portra 400 v2 leans a little more towards yellow-green. Kodak Portra 400 Warm, which is a modification of both Kodak Portra 400 Recipes, is intended to better replicate the results of Alex MacDougall’s Portra-Style presets. To create Reggie’s Portra, Reggie Ballesteros modified my Kodak Portra 400 Recipe to better suit his style. Because it uses Auto White Balance and a slightly more neutral WB Shift, it is much better than the others in artificial light situations; also, because it has Clarity set to 0, it is the best option for fast photography (Clarity set to anything other than 0 causes a short “storing” pause). Kodak Portra 800 is the grainiest of these Recipes. To create Kodak Portra 800 v2, which is the least vivid of these six, Thomas Schwab captured side-by-side images with a Fujifilm X-Pro3 and an analog camera loaded with Portra 800 film.

While each of these Portra-inspired Film Simulations Recipes are different—some only slightly so, others more significantly so—they all produce a distinct Portra-like aesthetic. Looking at the results, it’s easy to understand why these are popular options! Because they are a little different from each other, you can find the one that most closely matches your style. Or you can choose different ones for various scenarios. Perhaps you prefer something like Kodak Portra 400 for sunsets, Kodak Portra 400 Warm for midday light, Kodak Portra 800 v2 for soft portraits, and Reggie’s Portra for indoor pictures. If you’ve never tried any of these Recipes, be sure to pick at least one to program into your camera today!

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Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400
Kodak Portra 400
Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400 v2

Kodak Portra 400 v2
Kodak Portra 400 v2
Kodak Portra 400 v2

Kodak Portra 400 Warm

Kodak Portra 400 Warm
Kodak Portra 400 Warm
Kodak Portra 400 Warm

Reggie’s Portra

Reggie’s Portra
Reggie’s Portra
Reggie’s Portra

Kodak Portra 800

Kodak Portra 800
Kodak Portra 800
Kodak Portra 800

Kodak Portra 800 v2

Kodak Portra 800 v2
Kodak Portra 800 v2
Kodak Portra 800 v2

Fujifilm X100V Film Simulation Recipe: Kodak Portra 800

November Cherries – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Portra 800”

Kodak introduced Portra 800 in 1998. The Portra line has seen a number of revisions and updates over the years, but I couldn’t find any information if the current Portra 800 film is the exact same emulsion from 1998, or if it’s gone through some changes over the years like the ISO 400 and 160 versions. Portra 800 is one of the best options for high-ISO color photography, but I’ve never shot it myself.

There are some good online resources that are helpful when creating film simulation recipes for films that I’ve never used, which I did consult, but that’s not how these settings came about. You see, there’s a new version of my Portra 400 recipe (which I know you’ll love) that’s coming soon, and this recipe is a variant of that. Thomas Schwab, who I’ve collaborated with on a number of different recipes (including Portra 400), and who has actually shot Portra 800, helped me out with this one. Thanks, Thomas!

Cabela’s Boy – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – “Kodak Portra 800”

I know that many of will love this Kodak Portra 800 film simulation recipe! It’s really nice, and has a good film-like aesthetic. Does it faithfully resemble real Portra 800? I think it does, but film can look different depending on how it’s shot, developed, scanned or printed, and this recipe won’t mimic every aspect of the film. Even so, I think this one will be quite popular, and many of you will use it regularly. It’s only compatible (as of this writing) with the Fujifilm X100V, X-Pro3, X-T4 and X-S10 cameras.

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: +1
Shadow: 0
Color: +3
Noise Reduction: -4
Sharpening: -2
Clarity: -4
Grain Effect: Strong, Large
Color Chrome Effect: Strong
Color Chrome Effect Blue: Weak
White Balance: 5200K, +1 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 800 film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X100V:

Brown Tree Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Small Shrub – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Backyard Tree Leaves – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Yellow House – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Suburban Mailboxes – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Red Fire Hydrant – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Suburban Peek – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Evening Commute – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Smith’s – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Drug – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Suburban Dusk – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Parked Car in the Dark – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Tunnel Bench – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Night Mall Architecture – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Empty Sidewalk at Night – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Christmas Decor Display – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Succulent & Globe – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Jon Wearing Cabela’s Hat – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Potted Plant on End Table – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Accidental Exposure – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V
Sunlight Through a Tree – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V

See also: Fujifilm X-Trans IV Recipes

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