Kodak’s Professional Portra 160 & 400 VC And NC; Four New Films For The Working Pro Page 2

Of the four emulsions the 160NC exhibited the most neutral color. However, the differences, as noted earlier, are very slight. All four emulsions can be made to print almost identically, and indeed were designed to. For that reason I would tend to use the VC emulsion for most subjects and the NC when accurate color matching is required.

Grain & Sharpness
For me, the most difficult tests are for grain and sharpness. Films in general, both black and white and color, have become so fine-grained that it is almost impossible to see the grain under a loupe, much less in an enlargement. It is made more difficult because what is there to compare them to and how do we measure the size of grain you can barely see?

Sharpness is another matter. Enlarge a negative to 8x10" and see if it holds up. Again, as with grain, there are no surprises here. The new Portra films hold their own in visual sharpness--that is, what we can see with the eye.

(Above): Baloney the Clown, 400VC. (Below): Close-up of Baloney the Clown's eyes, 400VC.

Skin Tone
The final test is for skin tone. Professionally, color negative film is used most often by wedding photographers. Natural skin tones and neutral whites are important for this application. In all, Portra recorded every test I made with people accurately.
There are two things we can always expect from a new emulsion. First is that it will be an improvement over the old emulsion. The second is that the manufacturer will claim it is better than it is. For me, this is not a spectacular advancement in film technology. That said, I honestly believe these are fine additions to the Kodak line and films you can use with confidence. In any case, this may be as good as it gets.

All four of the new emulsions will be available in 35mm, 120, and 220. Three, 160NC, 160VC, and 400VC will also be available in 4x5 and 8x10, with the 160VC available in Readyload.

Baloney the Clown and child, 160NC.
Baloney the Clown and children, 400NC.
Baloney the Clown and child, 400VC.

For more information, contact Eastman Kodak Company, 343 State St., Rochester, NY 14650; (800) 242-2424; www.kodak.com.