Lately I have been looking at several examples of film photography using Portra 400, many of them shot with the ever growing popular Leica M6, but also Olympus om4, Pentax 67, Mamiyas and the likes. Film has been back in favour from some years now and it is all the rage right now. Many photographers use it as a means of distinguishing themselves from the masses as a result of cultivating their own style. It is certainly enjoyable to see those classic retro coloured pictures. Even though the film look is old, the images themselves have a very distinctive contemporary look. That is because the modern lenses are so much technically capable than they where and as a result, the images are crispier than ever. It’s only when you deliberately use old glass that you get the true old look. But in my humble opinion sharpness, as overrated as it might be (a “bourgeois concept in the words of H. Cartier Bresson), is a goddess that is hard not to worship nowadays.
Creating the “retro” look
As we already discussed here Fuji cameras offer a wonderful variety of film simulations that let you build your own recipes on top of it, thus giving you access to the wonderful word of retro film effects in jpeg straight out of camera without any further post-processing. This wonderful system lets you even set the intensity and size of the old school grain that you want to apply to your image. The possibilities are almost endless but you have to keep in mind that, as good as they might be, these re-creations of the old classic film are only approximations and won’t replace the original. That said it is pretty exiting to play with the settings trying to find the right combination and ”touch”.
The Portra 400 look for the X-Pro2
To build this recipe I have taken as a base the excellent one from Ritchie Roesch site with some variations that I found fit better to the look. As a guide I have tried to stick to the examples from the very well known Portra Original Pack for Capture one from Mastin Labs. This is a setting tested on a X-Trans III sensor as is the case for my X-Pro2 camera.
In camera settings
- Film Simuation: Classic Chrome
- Exposure compensation : + 1/3
- Grain effect: Weak
- Dynamic Range: DR400
- Iso settings: from iso 800 up
- Highlight: +1
- Shadow: +2
- Colour: +2
- Noise reduction: -3
- Sharpness: 0
- White balance: Custom, +1 red & -4 blue (or +2 red & -3 blue depending on the light conditions)
Here are some examples for you to judge
I hope you find it useful, let me know if it works for you !