The Unofficial Film of the ‘Film Look’: A Long-Term Review of Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400 was the very first film I shot when I get back into film, and it remains my go-to for color negative film. Sure, there are others. None of them come close, however, to the popularity of Portra 400.What’s not to love about Kodak Portra 400? It has an amazing way of rendering colors in such a way that digital photographs just cannot compare. It has an exposure latitude that just does not seem to end (as can be seen here). It is by and large the most popular film out there and, as such, is widely available and relatively inexpensive. I would go so far as to argue that for color negative film, Portra 400 (also known simply as “Portra”) is the film people think of when they think of “the film look.” I know, I know, there are many films out there, each with their own look, and they are just as much film as Portra 400. So, why can’t their look be the “film look”? To answer this, I would first like to say that I have a fair amount of disdain for that phrase. That, much like I just pointed out, there are many different types of film, so to try and pin down one specific look as “the” “film look” (much like how it’s “the” Ohio State, not just Ohio State) is a bit ridiculous. Nevertheless, it happens.

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