Analogue Adventures – Part 10: Kodak Portra 160

Kodak portra 160 analogue leica m6 contax canon fd olympus om

Portra 160 is the “professional” grade average speed color film from Kodak. This one roll of Portra 160 cost me as much as a triple pack of Gold 200, so was it worth it?

Kodak portra 160 analogue leica m6 contax canon fd olympus om
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 24mm 2.0 Aporia | f/8.0 | Portra 160
Kodak portra 160 analogue leica m6 contax canon fd olympus om
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 35mm 1.4 Apoqualia | f/8.0 | Portra 160 | cropped
Kodak portra 160 analogue leica m6 contax canon fd olympus om
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 35mm 1.4 Apoqualia | f/4.0 | Portra 160
Kodak portra 160 analogue leica m6 contax canon fd olympus om
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 24mm 2.0 Aporia | f/8.0 | Portra 160

Compared to Gold 200 I found the colors to be a bit more saturated but at the same time more neutral and the grain a bit lower as well.

Compared to digital the blue parts of the frame have a rather strong green hue, but the other colors actually look very similar to digital (read: accurately captured):

This green hue is quite obvious though, as you will surely notice in many of the pictures here with a lot of blue sky and water:

Kodak portra 160 analogue leica m6 contax canon fd olympus om
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 24mm 2.0 Aporia | f/8.0 | Portra 160
Kodak portra 160 analogue leica m6 contax canon fd olympus om
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 24mm 2.0 Aporia | f/8.0 | Portra 160

I also like how neon lights look like with this film, especially after having seen what Cinestill 800T does to such light sources.

ms-optics ms-optical apoqualia 35mm 1.4 fast noctilux angenieux leica m10 24mp 42mp review sharpness bokeh vignetting
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 35mm 1.4 Apoqualia | f/2.0 | Portra 160

Now all else equal – meaning Portra 160 and Gold 200 would cost the same – which one would I pick? Probably Portra 160 for being a bit less grainy and with slightly better colors – at least to my eyes.

But all else isn’t equal and I don’t think Portra 160 is worth the significantly higher price compared to Gold 200.
Another issue is that Portra (not only 160 but also 400 and 800) is usually in short supply these days and therefore not always easy to get.

In 2022 no one shoots film for economical reasons anyway though, so if the results from Portra 160 appeal to you more: go for it.

Kodak portra 160 analogue leica m6 contax canon fd olympus om
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 35mm 1.4 Apoqualia | f/4.0 | Portra 160
ms-optics ms-optical apoqualia 35mm 1.4 fast noctilux angenieux leica m10 24mp 42mp review sharpness bokeh vignetting
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 35mm 1.4 Apoqualia | f/2.0 | Portra 160
Kodak portra 160 analogue leica m6 contax canon fd olympus om
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 35mm 1.4 Apoqualia | f/2.0 | Portra 160
Kodak portra 160 analogue leica m6 contax canon fd olympus om
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 35mm 1.4 Apoqualia | f/8.0 | Portra 160
Kodak portra 160 analogue leica m6 contax canon fd olympus om
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 24mm 2.0 Aporia | f/8.0 | Portra 160
Kodak portra 160 analogue leica m6 contax canon fd olympus om
Leica M6 | MS-Optics 24mm 2.0 Aporia | f/8.0 | Portra 160

Fruther Reading

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My name is Bastian and I am your expert here when it comes to ultra wide angle lenses, super fast portrait lenses (ranging from a 50mm f/0.95 to a 200mm f/1.8) and I also have reviewed way too many 35mm lenses. Don't ask me anything about macro or wildlife shooting though.

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18 thoughts on “Analogue Adventures – Part 10: Kodak Portra 160”

    1. In general I think almost all films reviewed here so far render the lighting conditions more natural than digital images. Of course modern sensors offer huge dynamic ranges, but I often feel the urge to apply sometimes heavy adjustments to highlights/depths/lighting in general to recreate a natural look in post.
      This is in contrast to my personal goal to “correct” as little as possible after shooting.

      Unfortunately I don’t own any film based camera and as versatile (due to the short flange focal distance) rangefinder cameras are not that cheap I’ll be limited to adjustments in post and usage of film profiles, I guess.

      And as always: very nice pictures, Bastian!

      Thank you for this review.

  1. “This one roll of Portra 160 cost me as much as a triple pack of Gold 200, so was it worth it?” Does this mean all pictures shown were taken on just one roll of film? If so I’m very impressed. Either way they’re really nice pictures and I always enjoy reading your reviews!

  2. doesnt portra offer especially nice skintones?
    I wonder what a comparison between the more affordable gold would result in when shooting a typical portrait style scenario.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing these impressions of film look. I try to rebuild that in RAW converter. Making styles. Especially the comparison pictures between film and digital. I love the film look a lot. And see that many pictures work even with much less dynamic range. So I reduced that also in my styles. Playing with that. Thank you and please go on like that.

  4. Also enjoying the film articles – thanks for doing these! 🙂

    Have to say though the cyan tint in the sky is mostly a result from the processing of your scans, not baked into the film. Even the jpgs shared here can be mostly corrected with a slightly cooler color temperature and a slight shift to magenta. Also makes the building colors more accurate.

    If you have the option of getting raw scans from the lab, I can recommend Negative Lab Pro for the conversions. Well worth the money 🙂

  5. I’d love to know where you get your film from then, if your 1 roll of Portra cost as much as a 3-pack of Kodak gold..

    Colour negative film has been scarcely available for months. A few months ago, the “professional” films, like Portra, were still relatively easily available, but even those are scarce right now.

    The “budget” films have been rarely available for quite some time now, and when they are it’s a “blink and you miss it” kind of deal.

    Right now, I’m looking at fotoimpex.com, and a roll of Portra 160 is €13,78, and the 3-pack of Gold is €23,80. The 3-pack however, isn’t available. A single roll of Gold is €8,59.. and is available right now! If you want one, order one asap, because they’ll be gone soon, believe me.

    In general, you might as well go with the “pro” films since they are marginally more easily available.

    1. In eastern Germany it is still possible to get a 3-pack of Gold 200 for ~13€ in drugstores.
      By my experience: all the online shops you can forget about.

  6. Hi Bastian, I find these analog film reviews really helpful. I wish I could see some of these images in a higher resolution.
    I live in Berlin, and the situation there at the moment is as Thomas describes it. In some cases, fancy prices are required.
    Your articles may have made film so attractive again for many people that you can hardly get one anymore😉.
    I was really happy to get one roll of Porta 160 and cant wait to try it out.

  7. I live in the the US and I feel like kodak gold 200 is actually lower in supply, and usually sold for 14+ bucks a roll on amazon; in comparison, I can get portra 160/400 for 13 bucks a roll at the local camera store.

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