Kodak Portra 160 (VC or NC) - Overexposure


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Oct 31, 2007
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Cedar Hill, Texas
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I have heard that it is better to overexpose this film a little, to make the colors pop more. I've always shot it at the box speed (160), but I've seen some people saying to shoot it at ISO 100 or 125.

I have a roll and a half of the 160 VC left... I guess I'll finish off the roll that's in my camera at 125 and see how it looks - or should I try 100?

Anyone do this before? How much overexposure is too much?

Some people say to overexpose by a full stop (ISO 80)...
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I took some at 100 & some at 125 (2/3 and 1/3 over exposed, respectively). I still have about 10 frames left on that roll - I'll play around outside later.
(edit - took a few at 80 too.)
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Just got my film developed, I'm still scanning the negs - but they look pretty good. Protra 160 can easily handle 1 stop of overexposure.
Portra is excellent with overexposure. I don't think it necessarily looks better. But it is a little punchier. Think of it as having much more lattitude. So if you aren't sure, err on the side of over-exposing.
well, to be
honest I wasn't using portra, but Kodak Vericolor VPS, Expired). ... If you want
to decrease saturation I would get Portra NC insted of VC and if you ... VC 160
or 400, so i assume that i had portra 160vc loaded, i exposed at ISO 100.
I have heard that it is better to overexpose this film a little, ...some people saying to shoot it at ISO 100 or 125.

Anyone do this before? ...Some people say to overexpose by a full stop (ISO 80)...

Well, I would always set the meter for ISO 80, but I never believed I was overexposing the film. It was more about HOW I metered a scene... a particular technique of metering.

Shooting outdoor portaits, I would stand where I was about to pose my subject and take an incident reading with the meter pointed at the light source. In other words, I was exposing for the highlights. This is a break from the conventional thinking of "expose for the shadows, print for the highlights."

I did this because, over time, I was able to recognise a scene with lighting that offered approximately a 3:1 ratio between highlights and shadows. In other words, the lighting in the highlights was about twice that in the shadows. So, ISO 80 in the highlights and 160 in the shadows.

Of course, the lighting ratio would not always be exactly 3:1. It was sometimes, if not often, greater than that. I found using this approach to metering would produce negatives that yielded better results from the color lab, as they would print for the lighlights letting the shadows fall where they will.

So... was I really overexposing? I suspect not.

Many photographers worked this way. When pressed for an answer why we had to meter at ISO 80, a Kodak rep explained as the film traveld further and further from Rochester, the more ISO was lost. I'm sure he got this question a lot since he had this joke "at the ready."

– Pete
To minimize grain, I always over exposed all my color neg film by 1/3 stop. There was a theory that the manufacturers over stated their film speed anyway.
I burn my 160VS at 125 (1/3 stop overexposure) and get very nice results.

Kiron Kid

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