Shoot Kodak VC160 at 100? Can someone clarify?

Discussion in 'Kodak' started by batcave, Sep 2, 2005.

  1. batcave

    batcave Guest

    Hi folks --

    I have some outdoor portraits to shoot later this weekend, which is new
    to me. I was at my local store (the venerable Adorama) and asked for a
    recommendation on film. They recommended Kodak VC160, which certainly
    seemed like a good choice.

    A pro who was hanging out there then suggested that I "shoot it at
    100." Unfortunately we both got distracted before I could clarify. Do
    you think she meant to shoot it at 100 and then actually pull process
    it (is pull the right term)? If so, that seems a little weird, yes?

    More likely I thought she might have meant that I should shoot it as
    though it were 100 and then develop it normally -- that VC160 has a
    wide enough exposure latitude that I'd get good results from a little
    over-exposure. Does that seem right? Any opinions on the wisdom of

    Sorry, my inexperience is showing, but I haven't been doing this too
    long and I'd like to learn all the cool stuff I can as fast as I can.


    -- Dave
    batcave, Sep 2, 2005
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  2. Personally, I would go for 160NC or Fuji Superia Reala. 160VC seems to
    have more grain and doesn't offer anything in return (at least when
    I scan it).
    You don't want to underexpose 160VC. Shadows are likely to become grainy.
    160VC can easily handle one stop overexposure, so exposing it at 100
    and developing normally can't hurt.
    Depending on how much time you have, bracket some shots. Or shoot part at
    160 and part at 100. If shadows are clearly visible, you may even try 80.

    Or take some 160NC or Superia Reala along with the 160VC.
    Philip Homburg, Sep 2, 2005
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  3. When I've heard photographers talk about "shooting film x at ISO y"
    close to the rated speed, they always meant your second meaning --
    develop normally, but shoot at a non-standard ISO setting. (Nearly
    the same phrasing is used when we talk about severe push processing --
    "shooting tri-x at 4000", just to confuse matters.)

    Negative film is more tolerant of overexposure than underexposure. By
    deliberately overexposing, you're perhaps increasing the number of
    printable pictures -- if your exposure errors are evenly distributed
    about the center point. If you tend (as I do) towards underexposure,
    then you're increasing the odds of usable pictures even more.

    Some photographers disagree with the ISO standards for how to rate
    film speed, for that matter. They think film that meets that spec
    doesn't produce the best prints.

    The "Zone system" approach requires running your own tests and
    establishing your own working ISO for each film you use. This can't
    be wrong; it's at worst wasted effort.

    I wouldn't start with a new film using a non-standard procedure,
    myself. Or use a new film for an important shoot.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Sep 2, 2005
  4. VC160 Portra film is relatively low contrast, portrait film. I've seen
    this stuff almost transparent and still produce an amazing print.

    When you shoot at a lower ISO (like 100) you increase the colour
    saturation and contrast by over exposing it. Now why would you buy a
    portrait film and then try to make it work like an illustrative film?

    The whole concept of traditional portraiture is control of contrast
    without over saturated colours. The film most used for this is VC160
    Portra. If you over expose it, there is no big deal in processing except
    it begins to look like NC160 but at a lower overall contrast.

    My own personal preference for outdoor portrait film is Agfa's Portrait
    film. It produces truer green (foliage) and more natural skin tones (a
    red component - the opposite of green) in the outdoors.

    All three of these films have wide exposure latitude but the catch is
    that they exhibit altered characteristics when you do this. It really
    does take time to understand how to manipulate these films with
    exposure. Perhaps a better choice for the inexperienced would be one of
    the consumer films?
    Douglas MacDonald, Sep 2, 2005
  5. The ISO speeds of film provide little safety factor against
    under-exposure. Since even a little underexposure is worse than
    over-exposure, many photographers prefer to give a bit more expsoure
    than the absolute minimum. So do I. Negatives given 1/2 stop more
    exposure than the minimum actually print better, in my opinion.
    uraniumcommittee, Sep 2, 2005
  6. It only costs you two rolls of film to try both.......
    William Graham, Sep 2, 2005
  7. batcave

    Robert C. Guest

    I shoot VC160 at ISO100 in the studio, and I have tried it outdoors as well.
    The reason for slightly overexposing the film (ISO100 Vs. ISO160) is it
    increases colour saturation. PORTRA160 (VC160) works very well in the studio
    under flash photography, and outdoors too. BTW, the "VC" in the name stands
    for "Vivid Colour"; at ISO100, I find that they are slightly "sharper" and
    more defined. The other PORTRA160 is the "NC" for "Natural Colour".
    Robert C., Sep 2, 2005
  8. batcave

    Ken Hart Guest

    Get some 160VC and some 160NC. If it's cloudy, use the VC (think "Very
    Contrasty"), if it's sunny, use the NC (think "Not so Contrasty")
    C-41 process doesn't really push or pull, and depending on the lab, they may
    not be able to do it. Pushing or Pulling requires lengthening or shortening
    the process time (or adjustig the temp up or down). Some processing machines
    just can't do it. The Kodak Portra films have a latitude of +/-2 stops. I've
    screwed up and gotten usable images at both ends of this latitude;
    fortunately, not very often!
    You should shoot some test prints at various exposures. Let your lab know
    that this is what you've done, and ask them to give you some guidance as to
    what prints well on their equipment.
    Ken Hart, Sep 3, 2005
  9. batcave

    Robert C. Guest

    Development is done normally: Simply give it to the lab and have them
    develop it without any compensation (Push/Pull).
    Robert C., Sep 3, 2005
  10. batcave

    Alan Browne Guest

    Very common to shoot 160NC at 100.

    In fact any negative film can be shot at 1 stop over (normal processing)
    with great results.

    Alan Browne, Sep 3, 2005
  11. batcave

    Alan Browne Guest

    Sure it does. Adjust time (or temp).

    For the OP's purpose, however, there is no need to pull.

    For that matter, most any color negative film can be overexposed by a
    stop with fine results.

    Alan Browne, Sep 3, 2005
  12. batcave

    McLeod Guest

    Changing temperature is not a recommended method for C-41 processing.
    Changing time is, but most roller-transport film processors (minilabs)
    have no adjustment for changing the speed. If you were processing
    yourself in a Jobo, or your lab was using a rotary tube or batch
    processor it would be simple enough. Getting harder and harder to
    find, though.
    McLeod, Sep 3, 2005
  13. batcave

    batcave Guest

    Wow, thanks everybody, that was a great set of responses.

    The film is already bought for this round, although I'll definitely try
    some of the others mentioned for my next outings And fortunately this
    isn't a critical shoot, it's just for friends and we can all try again
    next weekend, so I'll have a chance to try a few of the suggestions
    made here and see how they work out.

    Again, thanks to everybody for the feedback -- I really appreciate it.

    -- Dave
    batcave, Sep 3, 2005
  14. batcave

    Alan Browne Guest

    One lab where I do pushes (C-41, albeit not of late) do it with the time
    method; their processor was designed with push/pull in mind. Another
    offered to do it by temp, but only at the end of the day (so that the
    chems would cool to nominal by the next morning). I never did do it by

    I've been toying with the idea of getting a small auto/seni-auto
    processor for E-6 ... but as long as I can get it done nearby I'll hold off.
    Alan Browne, Sep 4, 2005
  15. batcave

    neutron Guest

    i agree with rating the portra 160 as 100 asa. outdoor portraits. be
    carefull in the shade. use a warm up filter for half the shots and
    don't forget the fill flash. happy shooting. neutronand fill flash
    neutron, Sep 30, 2005
  16. batcave

    neutron Guest

    i agree with rating the portra 160 as 100 asa. outdoor portraits. be
    carefull in the shade. use a warm up filter for half the shots and
    don't forget the fill flash. happy shooting. neutronand fill flash
    neutron, Sep 30, 2005
  17. batcave

    Alan Browne Guest
    Alan Browne, Oct 2, 2005
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