Exposure Test Portra

October 7, 2015

Yesterday we shared with you Brushfire Photography‘s wonderful Fuji 400 Exposure Test to show off how Fuji handles over exposure.  Well today we want to bring you the exact same thing, except with Portra 400.  In case you missed yesterdays post, that covered all the details about the shoot, Mike took an external spot metering with a Sekonic 508 spot meter.  Rated at ISO 200 it showed 1/8000 f/2.0 for the sky and 1/60 f/2.0 for the shadow behind the girls ear in her hair.  The ambient meter reading was 1/125 f/2.0 where he took a reading bulb in 45 degrees to the ground facing her.

Mike likes to rate his Fuji 400 at 200, which is how he metered.  He rates his Portra 400 at 320.  So these reading would likely be the same or possibly a one bump up in shutter speed or drop down in aperture.

It was an overcast day so the test really shows the affects mainly of overexposure.  It would be good to do another exposure test that emphasizes the affects of underexposure.  Make sure you to check out the Fuji scans so you can compare.  Scans by Photovision.

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  1. Dani says:

    Wornderfull post, amazing way to learn to shoot film.
    Please, more posts like this testing other film, inlcuding BW

  2. Love how this illustrates how film performs with both under and overexposure. Thanks so much for posting this!

  3. Coty Henry says:

    Thanks for posting. I have been curious what the effects would be of over exposing portra and how much you could do it. This really helped!

  4. I love these two back-to-back posts. It’s really helpful to see not only the different ratings, but also the comparison of portra and fuji. I always go back and forth between the two stocks and never know which one I prefer. This is great!

  5. Jay says:

    Why does the photographer shoot under what the film is rated as? I thought Portra and Fuji looked even better sometimes when pushed a stop or two higher than it’s rated box speed?

    • Mike Hansen says:

      Hi Jay,

      I was the photographer doing the testing. Color negative film is commonly rated at an ISO lower than box speed. This is simply just to overexpose a bit. Film becomes less sensitive to the deep shadow areas and adding a bit of exposure to pull in detail in the shadows is usually the case for the lower film rating. Fuji 400H rated at 200 will give a 1 stop over exposure and rating it at 100 will give 2 stops of overexposure.

      Pushing is a completely different thing. This involves your lab changing the development time to compensate for underexposed film. Film that has been underexposed can be pushed to compensate but can come with undesirable effects in color and contrast.

      Hope this helps!

  6. thank you so much for this post. I was amazed when I saw such incredible effects when overexposed that much. I usually overexpose myself, but just 2 or 3 stops max. Your post showed me I could try to play with films even more for some interesting effects 🙂

  7. You rule! Such a great article and awesome to see film over-exposed so much. No one ever seems to go past +4

  8. That is the best exposure test i have seen examining the full overepose range! Thank’s for that!

    It would be also awesome to make an underexpose test and let us view it, with portra 400 and fuji 400 🙂

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