Back when I was still very new to Lomography, I only had a Holga 120 CFN to shoot with; hence, I took mostly medium format photos. One of my very first films was the very versatile Kodak Portra 400 NC!
When my film photography buddy plasticsatellite and I were still complete lomo-novices two years ago, we researched thoroughly for some 120 mm films we can feed our Holga cameras. I was itching for some vibrant slides, and she wanted some vintage-y color negatives. She found Fuji Provia 100F for me, and Kodak Portra 400 NC for her. It seemed like a perfect balance to have both in our starter stashes, so we went ahead and bought some of both.
We found it easy to shoot the sunny outdoors with the slides. But when we got invited for dinner, we knew that it was a big no to use ISO 100 slides indoors. But, knowing that indoor or night photos require higher ISO, Kodak Portra 400NC came to our rescue!
The “NC” in this Kodak film stands for “Natural Color,” making it perfect for portraits, nature photos, or anything which needs a more “natural” color reproduction. Since it’s a high-speed film that leans towards neutral tones, I thought it was a good choice for our dinner in Little Tokyo, a compound of Japanese restaurants. I wanted to see how it would yield the neutral shades and tinges of red commonly seen in Japanese-themed venues. To make some photos interesting, I used bursts of color from the colored flash of the Holga.
To compare, I also took photos using the same film in the same venue during daytime. The results are just as good!
I also took some photos in the countryside to see how it performs in the daytime and with surrounding greenery.
Overall, I found it a very reliable film, being a fine-grained, high-speed film that performs nicely whether outdoors or indoors—even without flash, as long as lighting is adequate! As promised, it also renders skin tones faithfully. I think the only problems I had in some photos would be some light leaks and my shaky, unsteady hands!
Also, since the Holga is in essence a crude medium format toy camera, it would be worthwhile to try the Portra 400NC in better 120 mm cameras and most likely get better results!
Have you tried Kodak Portra 400NC 120mm? Why not share your views with a comment below, or better yet, a review submission!