Film Friday: Kodak Portra 160 in 120

For today’s Film Friday I selected Kodak Portra 160 in 120, which expired in August 2019.

I bought this film from eBay last year, while it was still in date and hasn’t been opened or used since purchase. I used Portra 160 before a few times over the years, most recently of last September on my Holga.

I have plans on using the film for mainly portraits and head shots on the Yashica 635, as there are options with camera functions such as changing the aperture or shutter speed. In comparison, the Holga doesn’t have that as it is quite limited with settings.

There has been some trial and error with using this film, when I started shooting with it a couple years back for the street styles during London Fashion Week. I shot Portra on the Holga, however the camera was set on bulb or ‘B’ mode hence why the results came out blurry and shaky after processing. Also I taped my Holga to prevent light leaks, something I do most of the time. They weren’t exactly the best shots overall, but I was still testing the Holga despite having it for a couple years around this point.

I decided to give Portra 160 another go on the Holga when I went to Portugal last September. Lesson learnt here is not to use the film for evening shots; I went around the streets early evening hoping to capture the sunset, however after processing I was met with almost blank negatives which were impossible to scan. Thankfully there was some success with the film later on my trip.

Would I use it again? Yes, only if the light is good and possibly risk it by leaving the Holga untaped.

My focus is to use the film on various manual medium format cameras, mainly portraits of people once this lockdown eases. The Portra 160 has been recommended in the film community for portrait photography due its low ISO, fine detail, contrast and tones.

I’m also considering using this film for other genres, such as nature or street photography in the near future.

Take care and stay safe

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