CineStill 50D vs Kodak Portra 160
Matthew Osborne Photography (“Mr Leica”)
Here is a non-scientific comparison of 35mm CineSill 50D film vs. 35mm Kodak Portra 160 film. CineStill 50D is a relatively new film whereas Kodak Portra has been around for years (in various forms). CineStill 50D is a daylight balanced ISO 50 colour film. Kodak Portra is a daylight balanced ISO 160 film famous for capturing natural skin tones. Kodak Portra can be bought in the UK for £5 a roll for 36 exposures (£25 for a 5 pack of Kodak Portra 160). CineStill 50D is bought as single rolls and costs from £8 a roll of 36 exposures here in England. I have shot Portra for several years but this was my first experience to shoot with CineStill 50D. I have shot with CineStill 800T tungsten balanced film and was impressed with the results so had high hopes for CineStill 50D.
During my Zurich Model Photography Workshop I decided to shoot CineStill 50D side by side with Kodak Portra 160.
The details of the shoot were as follows:
- Model: Nadja (Option Model Agency)
- Camera 1: Leica M3 + Leica Summicron 50 f2 DR + 35mm Kodak Portra 160
- Camera 2: Leica M2 + Leica Summilux ASPH 50 f1.4 + 35mm CineStill 50D
- Lighting: Daylight only + Reflector
- Processing: C41 lab developed + Scan, Lightroom + Photoshop
Kodak Portra 160 Model Photography
CineStill 50D Model Photography
Results and Conclusion
From my personal experience only I feel these two films produce reasonably similar photos with neither being bad. For my taste and eye I prefer the look of the Kodak Portra 160 film as I feel the skin tones are more natural vs the CineStill 50D. CineStill 50D has a slight orange cast maybe vs. Portra. In different light the CineStill 50D may win hands down over the Portra but that is my conclusion to date.
Will I use CineStill 50D again? Yes I have another roll to use so I will try to use it in different light next time. Would I buy CineStill 50D instead of Kodak Portra film to use for paying clients such as wedding film photography? No. I prefer the look of Portra for skin tones. Portra film also requires less available light (especially Portra 400 which has a very similar look to Kodak Portra 160)(or Kodak Portra 800). ISO 50 vs ISO 400 = CineStll 50D requires 300% more light that Kodak Portra 400 to obtain the ‘correct’ film exposure. Weddings venues often don’t have as much light as I would like so films like Kodak Portra 400 are a must have film. Lastly Kodak Portra 160 is cheaper than CineStill 50D so that is another factor to consider when deciding a regular film to use.
Medium Format Kodak Portra 160
Here are a few extra photos from the same photoshoot with Nadja using a medium format film Mamiya 645 Super + Mamiya Sekor 80mm f2.8N lens + 120 Kodak Portra 160