Kodak Portra 160 Review

By Paul McKay

Our Kodak Portra 160 review combines the community's comments, recommendations, sample images and feedback to give you an excellent overview of Portra 160 film's strengths and weaknesses!

Produced for Analogue WonderBox subscribers in March 2021 but helpful for everyone wanting to learn more about the perfect portrait film for sunny days ☀️


Portra 160 is the slowest sibling in the Kodak Portra family. We covered the 400-speed in a Kodak Portra 400 review at the end of 2020, and many of the broad comments about the emulsion are the same.

This is a film designed by Kodak to be perfect for portraiture with good rendition of skin tones, a lovely soft colour palette, and fantastic fine detail.

However you will notice that the detail is a step above the 400 and 800 films - this is down to the slow-speed chemistry that allows for tighter resolution at the expense of light sensitivity.

This means that - while you will need bright light to make the most of the film - the potential for capturing exceptional portraits is very high!

Kodak Portra 160 sample photo - close portrait of woman
Kodak Portra 160 sample photo - portrait of woman with grass

(c) Matt

The Origin of Portra

Similar to Portra 400, Kodak Portra 160 replaced a film range called ‘Vericolor’ in 1998 - and was originally produced in two different flavours. ‘Natural’ colour and ‘Vivid’ colour.

The current emulsion of Portra 160 - which combined the best technology of the two variants into one single film - landed in market in 2011, a year after Portra 400 made the same journey.

Kodak Portra 160 sample photo - child sat on grass

(c) Lyra

Kodak Portra 160 sample photo - swimming pool portrait

(c) Harry Robertshaw

Kodak Portra 160 sample photo - woman with hat

(c) Lucinda Lewis

Flexibility and the Landscape Option

The added benefit of getting the very fine detail and small grain of a slow film is that Portra 160 is probably the Portra film most-suited to shooting landscapes and still-life studies.

And when you look at the reviews on our site you'll see lots of nature photos, some outside still-lifes - and people talking about the flexibility that gives them on a walk or holiday. One film to shoot both people and landscapes and get brilliant results for both.

Quite a few of the folks on our site recommend shooting it at ISO 100 to get a slightly punchier, more vivid look than you’d typically expect. I think that sounds like it’s bordering on Ektar territory, but why not embrace the flexibility of a professional emulsion!

Kodak Portra 160 sample photo - woodland in the sun

(c) Liz Yates

Kodak Portra 160 sample photo - swan in the snow

(c) Beth @beththetart

Kodak Portra 160 sample photo - macro shot of flower

(c) Lausy @ciuffoto

In Summary

A fantastic film for the spring/summer months: Kodak Portra 160 will give you wonderful skin tones and awesome detail along with the flexibility to capture landscapes and nature photos on the same roll.

Truly stunning!

For full tech specs, more reviews, and community sample photos then head to the product pages as below:

Ilford Pan F Plus Film 35mm B&W ISO 50 - Analogue Wonderland
Ilford Pan F Plus Film 120 B&W ISO 50 - Analogue Wonderland

Kodak Portra 160 sample photo - study of light and shadow

(c) Beth @beththetart

Kodak Portra 160 sample photo - wedding dress on tree

(c) @lottieameliaphotography

Kodak Portra 160 sample photo - the sky and trees

(c) Lyra

If you enjoyed this Kodak Portra 160 review and found it informative or helpful, then check out our other WonderBox film reviews here: https://analoguewonderland.co.uk/blogs/film-review

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