New Kodak Professional Portra 160 Film Review

When Kodak released the Portra 400 a few months ago many of us speculated that a new Portra 160 would be just around the corner… and guess what? Kodak has announced today that Kodak Professional Portra 160 will be released starting in March 2011 in: 35mm, 120/ 220, 4×5 and 8×10… fantastic!!! Click on the audio-play button to listen to a 13 minute in-depth review of this new film (I tested 120) and be sure to look at the sample images provided below while listening to the audio… What a nice way to start the week!!!

Viva la Revolution- Stephen

Please click on the images below to see larger versions of each.

Indian Hill Imageworks Interior Kodak Portra 160
Eve- Kodak Professional Portra 160- 50" x 71.65" Print!
16" x 20" Crop from a 50" x 71.65" File. WOW!!!
5" x 7" crop from a 50" x 71.65" file... amazing tonality and detail!

58 Responses

  1. mark

    Just to clarify. When you are saying that you are exposing film from 25 to 400 asa are you processing to the corresponing speed or are you processing as normal?

  2. Pete

    Looks very interesting. Have you pressed Kodak on the posibility of a Kodak Film orientated scanner and software recently? They could clean up at this stage of the game if they offered the complete package. It’s the digitising of film that is the problem.

  3. bob

    wowsa — another great film from kodak — looks fantastic… i’ve been pushing the new portra 400 to 1600 with great success — looks like this one will have similar flexibility / latitude… nice review…

  4. Dala

    Fantastic news, but there is an irony in there.

    Kodak goes through the effort of making and marketing these wonderful films and touts how great they are for scanning. However, they were quick to buy and kill Creo, the company that made their Kodak branded Eversmart and IQSmart high-end scanners.

    S****y scanners like Epson’s V700 do NOT do these films justice.

    So, Kodak, you have this high-end scanning technology. Please do something more than proposing only one half of the equation. If you believe there is a market fort new films, surely your market research shows there is a demand for very good, realistically-priced scanners…

      1. Very nice film! I hope they will sell it in Hungary as well. The market is shrinking…

        Are you saying that a certain company has got involved in making an affordable high quality multi-format scanner?
        I’m sad that Minolta left the photography business; they made very good scanners for the masses.

      2. Dala

        Kodak acquired that military grade drone vision/scanner tech (Creo, Petach Tiqva) after missing their digital bus ride. Repurposing Vision3 stock is a great idea, but Kodak is a “fatso” with too too much restructuring to do to stay afloat long term.

        If they can’t see a viable financial model in offering decent scanning technology to those they are marketing these new films to, then maybe it’s time to sell/license the scanning IP to someone in the east who will be nimble enough to make and market the goods. (PIE in Taiwan for example)

        I hope the new options you are alluding to will be on par with or better than what was available, what, 10 years ago?

  5. FilmGuy

    My previous Microtek i800 scanner was a clunker wrought with banding problems in any slide film scan, and CA with negatives. The ONLY good thing about it was that is came with Silverfast software and Kodak IT8 targets for negatives and slides.

    Selecting the corresponding negative film make, type, and ISO configured the scanner to get the best from that film.

    My new Canon Canonscan 9000f is incredible by comparison, and is ranked highly by one of the writer/testers at “Shutterbug”. It also now comes with Silverfast software. The only problem is that Silverfast needs to be prodded to get the new Portra films in their list of negative films for calibration. Ektar is already on the list.

    The Canoscan 9000f is not expensive by comparison to the V700, but is limited in size for scanning negatives to MF – 6 x 22 cm if I remember correctly.

    If you really need a great scanner now – then have a look at this model. If Kodak comes out with something special, then I would switch without reservation. It may be limited to film only, so the Canon would be needed for scanning prints and other material.

  6. FilmGuy

    I’ve WAS a Kodak user for over 40 years. I’ve changed formats to MF with Pentax 67’s, and shoot mostly slide films – by you know who.

    Kodak E200 WAS the mainstay film for us astrophotographers for many, many years. It has incredible red response, good blue, and great reciprocity. Exposures of nebulae could easily run 45 to 180 minutes with this film. Sunsets – same deal. Kodak has dropped it in 120, and now in 135 size. Trust me – this has really ticked off a lot of astrophotographers, and not helped Kodaks cause.

    Ektar – to me is a dead film with regards to the new Portra line, from what I see. I’m indifferent to it under various conditions.

    If Kodak cares about niche markets, or would do runs of specific films once a year so we could stock up – even two years – then please – consider this. Films like E200 – Tech Pan. Would I put down a deposit with a commitment – yes.

    Will Kodak give a flying pickle about these small groups? Maybe, if enough people talk the talk. Will I switch back to Kodak and Portra films? A definite maybe – depending if they decide to bring out a film scanner and really get back into the fray.

    Harley Davidson was able to bring itself out of the ashes. I have no doubt that Kodak can do the same. Kodak – get your thumbs out – get back to basics – tell the bean counters to shut up and put someone back in charge that can and will do what’s best for US – the film shooters.

  7. Joe

    Indeed, a better scanning option would make all of this more worthwhile. While I do like my V700 a lot, it doesn’t do justice to the pro scans at NCPS, Richard, or other places like that. I don’t think any home scanner will. But it would be nice if the margin was smaller.

    As for film, I am very much an on-again off-again photographer. I don’t shoot every day or every week. I’ll shoot for three straight days and not again for 6 weeks. Film fits my lifestyle perfectly because it’s amazing quality, and I don’t feel like I’ve shelled out $2k for a digital camera body that I really only use a handful of times before the next one comes out.

  8. Dylan Chorneau

    Steven, i don’t want to ask too much of you, but a top ten or even top five general scanning techs would be a great series of podcasts. Thanks for all the great info you’ve put out there thus far.

      1. Lars Poulsen

        Hi Steven, whatever happened to this Hybrid Handbook? Being from across the Pond, I am unable to attend your workshops, so I have been looking forward to your tips on scanning in particular and workflow in general.

  9. Steve Sloan

    I want to echo the call for documentation and support for prosumer scanners. I use a Nikon Coolscan V and Vuescan for 35mm scanning. I am a definite “prosumer amateur” who strives for quality but also shoots for the love of it, not to sell pictures.

    Workflow is everything, but we amateurs are unable to write off equipment and materials as business expenses. Those of us who love to shoot film, have hybrid worflows and have to do so economically; need help.

    I think the passionate prosumer amateur analog shooter is an important part of the equation for keeping film viable in the long run. There just are not enough pros to do it alone!

    Also, as an educator, if we want to engage young student shooters into analog, then tell them they are going to have to buy an Imacon to get quality results, they are going to rush out and buy a DSLR.


  10. Gregory Edwards

    Exquisite color rendition and amazing detail. I’m getting back into film again and will most definitely try this film in medium format.

    But I will agree with so many posters here, that the weak link these days is the scanning situation. Without an Imacon at home or in the studio, it would be hard to get the full potential out of this film. I grew up with Kodak and made a career using their films but something happened to them in the 90’s and its been sad to see them slip so far in our (photography) world.

    If we want film to continue for us, we need a high end $1000 scanner that will do what an Imacon can for those of us with out deep pockets.

    Thank so much for this review of a great looking new film, I’ll be buying some soon!

  11. For me I have a Lab that I can rent if I want to do high end scanning but I did buy a cheap epson flatbed scanner. I have found with this scanner I can get good results for proofs and sharing on the web especially with kodaks color negs. Its not a great scan by any means but I still enjoy the look of it. I am sooo si happy about kodaks commitment with film. A year ago I was a little on edge about the future of Film. Now I know it will be around for some time and I realize it really is the best time be shooting film.

  12. Alex Hosking

    Do you think 800 is likely to come next and as a point of interest do you know why all the really fast colour negative film is daylight balanced?

  13. Scott Marcellus

    Steven, thanks for the review, this film looks great. Have you tried any long exposures with it, I’m curious about it’s performance with exposures of several minutes. Thanks.

  14. Lee

    Hi Steve,

    Thank you so much for your detailed review. I just shot over 10 boxes of the new Kodak Portra 4″ x 5″. I am scanning the negatives with a Flextight x1 Imacon. Do you know if the film preset for this new film is released yet? I am new to this scanner and am trying to figure out how to download or install the new preset so I can start scanning. Do you have any advice on where to get the new film preset? Thank you!!!

  15. Greg

    Great review. I have an Epson V500 and that appears to be the weak link between film and scanned image. Are there any tips around on how to properly scan film to maximise the result?

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