Film Simulation Review: Walk in the Park, Part 2: Kodak Portra 160

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Pathway Through the Trees – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

Part 1: Kodak Ektar 100

In Part 1, I hiked a path in a local park using my Ektar recipe. Part 2, which is what you are reading now, are the pictures from my stroll back down the trail using my Kodak Portra 160 film simulation recipe. As before, the gear I used was a Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it. The only thing that I did differently was select my Portra 160 recipe instead of Ektar. I mentioned in the previous article that my Ektar film simulation has high contrast and perhaps is not ideal because of that. Since my Portra 160 recipe has very low contrast, would it be a better option?

Actual Portra 160 is a low contrast, low saturation film intended for portrait photography. It wasn’t made for landscape photography, but sometimes a low contrast, low saturation film is what’s needed. The same is true for this film simulation recipe. It might be too dull for landscape photography, but sometimes it might fit the scene well. In this case, it balances the high contrast landscapes quite well. If what you are photographing has bright highlights and deep shadows, Portra 160 might be a good option to combat that. However, if it’s low contrast, a film simulation recipe like Ektar could be a better choice.

The day of the hike was a beautiful blue-sky spring day with lots of sunshine. There are an abundance of those type of days in Utah during this time of year. It’s perfect for a walk in the park with a camera in hand. Choosing a film simulation for such an outing can be a difficult choice because you have so many options. It’s important to judge the light and subject to determine what might serve it best. The photographs in this article are all straight-out-of-camera JPEGs using my Kodak Portra 160 film simulation recipe.

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Finally Spring – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Mountain Behind The Trees – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Sunlight Through The Branches – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Lake Peek – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Can’t See the Lake for the Trees – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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White Trees & Fingernail Moon – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Oh, Deer – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Rock & Log – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Trees & Creek – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Forest Creek – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

See also: Film Simulation Reviews

Film Simulation Review: Walk in the Park, Part 1: Kodak Ektar 100

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April Forest – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

Last week I went for a walk in a local park here in Utah. This park has trails that pass through forests. There’s a stream and a small lake. The snow-capped peaks are visible to the east. It’s a beautiful place, especially in the spring when the green is fresh and the flowers are blossomed. On this hike I brought along my Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it, which is one of my absolute favorite lenses. It’s sharp, small, and plenty fast, plus it’s a versatile focal length. On the way up the trail I used my Kodak Ektar 100 film simulation recipe, which are the pictures that you see here in Part 1, and on the way back down I used my Portra 160 recipe, which you’ll find in Part 2.

Ektar is a color negative film made by Kodak. It’s known for vibrant colors, high contrast and fine grain. It’s the closest negative film to reversal film. In fact, when Kodak discontinued Ektachrome 100VS, they recommended Ektar 100 as the best alternative. It’s a great film for landscape photography, which is why I chose it for this walk in the park.

Ektar film, and especially this Ektar film simulation, can be difficult to use because of the contrast. With the film, there are things that can be done in development and/or printing to reduce the contrast if it’s too much. With these settings, one could use +2 Shadow instead of +3, which is what the recipe calls for, if they wanted less contrast. These pictures are straight-out-of-camera (with the exception of some minor cropping) with the  settings exactly as the recipe states.

My opinion is that my Ektar recipe is best suited for low-contrast landscapes, where a boost in contrast and vibrancy is needed. But it can do well in other situations, as well. I thought it served this photographic outing well, although it was borderline too contrasty for the scene. Ektar was a good choice for a walk in the park, but was it the best choice? How does it compare to Portra 160? We’ll take a look at that in Part 2.

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Sunlight Through The Leaves – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Old Log – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Forest Stream – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Stream & Yellow Flower – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Single Tree Blossom – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Green Tree, White Tree – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Blossoming Branches – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

Walk in the Park, Part 2: Portra 160
See also: Film Simulation Reviews