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August 24, 2006

Portra 160NC

Kodak's Portra 160NC was recommended to me as a good color film that scans beautifully.

While I haven't had a chance to scan it yet, I'm not a big fan of its color reproduction.

The "NC" is Kodak's nomenclature for "Natural Color"—the idea being that it doesn't come out unnaturally lush and saturated like, say, Fuji Velvia. It's also a lower-contrast film (which is apparently supposed to help with both scanning and one of its largest uses, portraiture).

I can live with the lower contrast. Easier to scan that way, and plenty easy to bump up in Photoshop. The color, though, is killing me: They might as well have made the NC signify "No Color," as my roll turned out pretty much limp. It seems to be particularly insensitive to yellow. Anything that was yellow in the real world is basically white on my prints. Same goes for greens (and certainly in part due to the lack of yellow); anything that was lush and verdant is now a really bizarre, unnatural-looking pale bright green.

At $6.21 a roll, I can't say it's a film I'd plan on trying again for anything but strict studio portraiture. Foliage being what it is, I wouldn't even consider it if someone wanted outdoors shots. The 160VC—for vibrant color—is a maybe on the list of films to try for more broad use.

Posted by Colin at August 24, 2006 7:54 AM

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