My Fujifilm X-T30 Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation Recipe

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Summer Waves Hello – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Kodak Portra 160”

This is the film simulation recipe that you’ve been waiting for! 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, which he gave me permission to share. I modified his settings very slightly, and published that Portra 160 recipe for X-Trans II cameras last week. Using those settings as a starting point, and understanding how X-Trans II is different than the newer sensors, I was able to make a Portra 160 film simulation recipe that is compatible with X-Trans III & IV cameras.

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.

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Horizontal Ladder – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 “Kodak Portra 160”

This recipe looks great when you turn the exposure compensation dial up. You don’t want to clip highlights, but if you keep the highlights just below clipping you can get excellent results. This recipe is especially good for high-contrast scenes. Really, this is a good all-around recipe that you’ll want to keep programmed in your camera’s Q Menu. I imagine that for some of you, this will be the top film simulation recipe that you use most of the time. Don’t be afraid to use Auto-White-Balance instead of Daylight, or to adjust Color up to +2 or down to 0, depending on your tastes.

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

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs using this Kodak Portra 160 film simulation recipe on my Fujifilm X-T30:

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Last Light Roofline – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Yellow House – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Rooflines – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Garages – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Blue Dumpster – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Stop – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Elevator Trucks – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Bird Over Grain Elevator – Kaysville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Autumn Leftovers – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Sky Reed – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Boy in Thought – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Blue Wall Boy – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Girl by the Fence – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Bike Seat – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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First Pear Bloom – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Goosenecks – Goosenecks SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Satellite Dish – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Grey Sky Over Roof – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Red Barn Day – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

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Sky Blooms – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

See also: Film Simulation Recipes

Fujifilm X100F Review Blog

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36 Exposures of Portra 160

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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!

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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!

[Not] My Fujifilm X-T1 (X-Trans II) Kodak Portra 160 Film Simulation Recipe

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Mitchell Mesa – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 “Kodak Portra 160”

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!

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Portra – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1 “Kodak Portra 160”

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!

Classic Chrome
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:

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Snow on the Roofs – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Roof Snow – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm  X-T1

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Faux Green – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Beside the Window – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Silver & Green – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Green Stems – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Bright Blossoms – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Future Fujifilm Photographer – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1

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Girl, Horse & Books – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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The Peg Game – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Girl & Game – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Wood Ladder – Edge of the Cedars SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Monumental Crosswalk – Monument Valley, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Four Desert Horses – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1

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Mittens Evening – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1

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Rural Grass – Farmington Bay, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

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Reeds & Mountain – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X-T1

See also:
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

Fujifilm X100F Review Blog

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My Fujifilm X100F Kodak Portra 400 Film Simulation Recipe


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Jump – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

Fuji X Weekly reader Luis Costa asked me if I could create a Kodak Portra 400 film simulation recipe for the Fujifilm X100F. I liked the idea and thought it would be a fun challenge, so I agreed. What I didn’t realize is that challenge was the keyword, as this was extremely difficult to figure out. I gave up a couple of times, but then some inspiration pushed me forward, and eventually I got it right. Or, at least, very close to right.

Portra 400 is a daylight balanced color negative film made by Kodak. There have been four different versions made since it was introduced in 1998: the original film (1998-2000), 400NC and 400VC (2000-2011), and the current version (2011 to present). I’ve used Portra 400NC (“neutral color”) and 400VC (“vivid color”) in the past, but I’ve not shot on Portra film for at least a decade, and I’ve never used the current one. There isn’t a huge difference between the different Portra 400 films, but there are small distinctions as they each have a slightly varied look.

As the name implies, this film is designed for portraits, and has a warm tint in order to enhance skin tones. Being daylight balanced means if you use it on a cloudy day, indoors, under artificial light, etc., it will look different. It’s designed for use in daylight, and using it in other circumstances will skew the white balance (which could be good or bad, depending on the image).

White balance became both the key to this film simulation recipe and the problem. I first tried auto-white-balance (with a white balance shift of +2 Red and -5 Blue), and I got good results a few times and not good results a bunch of times. Next I set it to Daylight (using the same shift) but it wasn’t quite right. Then I tried setting the Kelvin value, starting with 5600K, but couldn’t find one that was correct. Finally, I used Custom White Balance, but it took seven or eight different measurements before I got it right. I did get it right, though.

The measurement that worked was out the back door of my house midday, slightly back-lit, partly cloudy with a lot of green in the scene. Interestingly enough, once I got it right I then tried to get the same custom white balance on my X-Pro2, but it measured slightly different. My suggestion is to use auto-white-balance, and once you capture an image that looks right, use custom white balance to make a measurement of the scene and set it. I think that should work, anyway. Otherwise, just keep trying to get the custom white balance right by taking different measurements until you find one that looks good.

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Hello Summer – S. Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Edited using RNI Films app, Kodak Portra 400 preset.

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Country Red – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Edited using RNI Films app, Kodak Portra 400 preset.

Nailing down an exact Portra 400 look is tricky business because it depends on which version of Portra 400 film you are talking about, plus whether it was scanned (and which scanner) or printed (and which chemicals and paper). To verify that I was close, I put a couple of images through the RNI Films app on my phone using their Portra 400 preset, and compared it to my Portra 400 film simulation recipe. It was very close, but who knows how accurate their Portra preset is and what exactly it is supposed to be simulating (which film version and process). It was good verification that my recipe is at least in the ballpark, as I’m sure their preset is in the ballpark. I also examined images captured with actual Portra 400 film. I don’t think any film simulation is going to be an exact match because there are too many variables, but I think it’s perfectly alright to not be 100% spot on, as long as it gives the right impression, and this recipe does just that.

There are a few of the settings that I’ve debated, going back-and-forth over what’s most accurate. I think that the white balance shift gives the right color cast, but perhaps a bit too strongly. I’ve tried changing it, but, to me, this is what looks most correct. I’ve tried the shadows at +3 but think +2 is better. I’m still not completely convinced that highlights should be at -1 as sometimes 0 looks better, but more often -1 looks right to me. Sometimes I think that color should be at -2 and not -3, but -2 almost looks too saturated. There is certainly room to play around with the settings if one doesn’t completely agree with what I’ve chosen.

The most difficult part of my Kodak Portra 400 Film Simulation recipe will be getting the white balance correct. I didn’t find an easy way to achieve it. It’s going to take trial-and-error. With any luck you’ll get it on the first try. There are three custom white balance settings, and you can make three different ones and see which gives the best results. Just remember that Portra is a daylight balanced film, so measuring a daylight scene will give you a better chance of getting it right.

Here’s the recipe:

Classic Chrome
Dynamic Range: DR400
Highlight: -1
Shadow: +2
Color: -2
Noise Reduction: -3
Sharpening: +1
Grain: Strong
White Balance: Custom, +2 Red & -5 Blue
ISO: Auto up to ISO 6400
Exposure Compensation: +1 to +1-1/3 (typically)

The photographs labelled “Portra 400” (which are all of them except for the two RNI Films examples) are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs. I did slightly crop a couple of them, but no other adjustments were made, just minor cropping.

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Greens of Summer – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Summer Wildflower – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Tiny Bugs On A Rosebud – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Bloom Alone – S. Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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A Coffee Cup – S. Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Obligatory Cat Pic – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Hanging Prints – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Window Box – S. Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Bottle Vase – S. Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Ground Coffee Beans – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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May Clouds Over Wasatch – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Window Clouds – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Standing Tall – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Tonka – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

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Bike Repair – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – “Portra 400”

Click here for my complete list of Fujifilm X100F film simulation recipes!

Fujifilm X100F Review Blog

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