Comparing films can be hard and time consuming because of developing and scanning, but you still need to see the differences and similarities. Seeing these difference and similarities is critical when you begin shooting film as it will help you to narrow down on your favorites, specific benefits of each film, and key negative aspects of certain films that you may not want in your photos.
Today, to help you out in comparing some of your favorite films, we’re going to be taking a deeper look at the Fuji Superia 800 film and the Kodak Portra 800 film to see some of the similarities and some of the differences. We’re going to be looking at two different films with the same ISO speed so we can compare two separate films that would regularly be used in similar shooting situations.
Without further adieu, let’s get started looking at these two film stocks!
Superia Film is a Japanese daylight, color film created and produced by Fujifilm. It is available in ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600 and used by lots of street photographers and photographers that use point and shoots. Although, it is becoming more popular amongst film photography enthusiasts and is known for it’s light color with a flat feel.
Kodak Portra films were first produced in 1998 by the Eastman Kodak Company and were originally made for wedding photography and portraits.
This film stock is only made in ISO 160, 400, and 800, unlike the Superia film which has a few more variables to choose from. It is also known for its extremely fine grain which is one of the key reasons why this film is such a fan favorite.
With the extremely fine grain feature, you are able to capture subjects in pure focus while the background will fade to a clean blur, not a grainy mess. Let’s take a look at what this look like and the comparisons between the two films below.
Looking at the Kodak film first, Portra provides much more of a color palette than the Fuji Superia film right off the bat. Although some may see this as a good thing, different photographers think otherwise.
They think that having colors that are too vibrant is not a bad thing, but not what they are looking for. Seeing as some photographers like that flat feel, the Superia 800 would definitely be the film for you as it performs with beautiful, flat colors across the board.
Looking at the photos above, using Kodak Portra 800, you can see the vibrant colors which bring the whole photo together to create a vivid scene. Meanwhile, below you can see the examples of the flat imagery. These photos look colorful, but not with vibrancy, rather with the colors pulled slightly back to provide a still image with clarity and depth.
Look closely at the next few photos. Can you see the differences between the grain?
After first looking at the two photos, you can’t see too much difference in grain, but one thing you should be able to see the difference in is the grain content on the subject/object in focus.
In the above photo, using Fuji Superia 800, the hand rail on the train car is in focus, but you are still able to see some thick grain. However, in the photo below, you can see that the grain doesn’t perform in the same way. You can tell that the grain fades off of the focus point (woman on the right) when you use Kodak Portra 800.
One thing the Kodak Portra films don’t lie about is their “extremely fine grain.” Even when fading into the background, the grain is there, but it is no where near as dominant as the Superia film.
In conclusion, after taking a look between these two films, I would personally choose the Fuji Superia 800 over the Kodak Portra 800 simply because I prefer a flat look in my photos, and I also enjoy the grain on the Superia film.
Another thought to remember when you are shooting these films is the ISO speed. Make sure you remember to use specific films for specific reasons. Granted, shooting ISO 800 film during the daytime wasn’t the smartest idea, but it helped to provide some good shots to help me learn the differences between the two and which one I preferred more.
All photos copyright Moloney Photography[/caption]
We hope that you were able to find some critical differences and close similarities between these two film stocks using our review to help you improve your film photography skills.
If you’d like to learn more on analog photography, check out How to Load Film into a 35mm Camera or Kodak Portra 400 vs. Kodak Portra 800. If you’re looking for some analog inspiration, check out our recap from New York Fashion Week: July 2017, all shot on Ilford Delta 100 Black and White Film.