Portra 800 Revisited


>> Announcer: Previously on Days of Knight

Hi everyone, Azriel Knight here, and today I'm going to give you my first impressions on Kodak Portra 800. I've got my Canon AE-1 and a 50mm f/1.4. I'm just on the north end of the Centre Street Bridge, my plan is to head over into downtown and see what I can come up with. Obviously, I'm going to be looking for colour again today.

Okay now that I've had a chance to look through the photos, I definitely have some opinions, and you may or may not agree with them. I still found that the colours didn't quite hit; I even adjusted some of these images, I tweaked the white balance a little bit. Yeah, I just found it didn't really nail the colours the way I wanted it to. I'm willing to give this film another shot if you think I didn't give it a fair enough of a chance, but yeah, as for now, I can't like them all, and this one falls, I would say, under my minimum requirements to be a permanent staple in my workflow.

Hi everyone, Azriel Knight here, and welcome to another episode of Days of Knight and, as you just saw, I have done a video on Portra 800 before, I think that that there are a couple of key differences, though. First off, I'm doing medium-format instead of 35mm, and second, I don't dislike colour anymore. I guess this is another way of saying I actually like colour now, and that changed in 2020 when I created a couple of projects for myself that absolutely required me to use colour, and my favourite colour film is Portra 160, followed up by Portra 400, but I do prefer 160, so when I bought this roll of 800, my expectations were pretty low, I assumed that because I liked 160 the most and then 400 second, then 800 would come in third, but that didn't turn out to be the case whatsoever, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results. I know I was. Let's get started.

[Intro Music]

To test out my roll of Portra 800, I, of course used my Pentax 67, and all three of my lenses. I went to a place called Schott's Lake Alberta. It's kinda funny, I took my shots at Schotts, and most of them, the shots, were taken at sunset with a few the next day. Let's take a look.


Okay folks, see what we got here.

Huh. Lookin' good. Yeah, lookin' great. As always, I cannot wait to scan these in and have a better look at them. No waiting for you though, here are today's highlights and my contact sheet.


I really hope you enjoyed those. A couple of them came out, at least in my opinion, incredibly stunning, and I couldn't tell whatsoever that it was an 800ISO film. Now maybe part of that is because it is medium-format, and I'm sort of comparing apples to bigger apples when it comes to 35mm versus medium-format, but I think my opinion is changed because of my attitude. Not only towards colour, but my creativity level. Everyone, I think everyone, anyway, goes through these ups and downs in creativity and when I did my initial first impressions on the 35mm Portra 800 a couple of years back, I was in a down point. I wasn't, I don't think I was feeling incredibly creative, and lately I've been feeling the opposite, I've been just kind of motoring on and feeling inspired and feeling like there's not enough hours in the day. Now, that's not to say that I don't occasionally feel burned out, but ever since last October, maybe even a little bit earlier, I've just been feeling like extra in love with film and photography in general, and as frustrating as colour film can be, in terms of limitations for me, versus black-and-white, and some of the extra hurdles that come with developing colour, like getting the temperature up and I personally find it harder to clean. I was really happy with this film, and it's kinda funny, because as far as Portra goes, I like 160, then 800, then 400. It's, I don't know why, I don't know why it turned out that way. Maybe I need to go back and shoot more 400 now, but that's for just right now; I prefer 800 over 400, and maybe because there's not that much difference, in my opinion, between 400 and 800, and I like that extra boost in speed, but that is just the way it turned out for me.

But that's all for now, short episode today, I hope you enjoyed it anyway. Let me know in the comments and if you like what I do around here, please consider joining me on Patreon, I have a whole range of perks including free prints, early access, I've a Discord, I've got an exclusive series where I show behind the scenes stuff, and other content that just doesn't quite make it to public YouTube, and until next time, stay classic!


Transcript By Tim Peters