Kodak Portra 400 VS Kodak Colorplus: What’s The Difference?

I’ve been shooting film for over 7 years and over that time I’ve shot these two film stocks the most.  

There are quite a few differences between these two film stocks, mainly the dynamic range, colour and saturation, price and quality. But I’m going to show you in-depth what sets these apart and whether it’s worth shelling out for Portra when you can just shoot nice and cheap Colorplus!

A Brief History Of Both

Kodak Colorplus – Emerging onto the scene in 2001, Kodak Colorplus has etched its place in the annals of analogue photography history. Positioned as an accessible and budget-friendly film, Colorplus embodies the joy of uncomplicated storytelling.

Its inception marked a commitment to democratizing film photography, making it an inviting realm for enthusiasts and beginners alike. Through the years, Colorplus has become a symbol of the inclusive spirit within the analogue community, allowing photographers to weave narratives of life’s vibrant moments without the constraints of complexity.

Kodak Portra 400 – In 1998, Kodak introduced the iconic Portra 400, reshaping the landscape of color negative films. Revered for its versatility and fine colour reproduction, Portra 400 swiftly became a modern classic. Tailored for portraiture but embraced across genres, its history is one of evolution and refinement.

Portra 400’s ability to capture nuanced skin tones and deliver a timeless aesthetic has made it a preferred choice for photographers, both amateur and professional. Through technological advancements, Portra 400 stands as a testament to the enduring pursuit of perfection in analogue photography, capturing life’s moments with elegance and grace.


There’s quite a big difference in colour between these two because they’re made for quite different users. 

Colorplus is a Consumer-grade film stock that was mainly made for special occasions, holidays and day-to-day life so it’s fairly colourful and moderately saturated. It’s almost got a vintage feeling to it.

Kodak Portra 400 on the other hand, is a bit more muted because it’s a professional film stock that’s made to be edited. Portra 400 is a bit more neutral than Colorplus, some would say pastel but generally, that’s because it’s a professional film stock that’s made for editing and making it your own. 

Technically, portra 400 is better because it’s a professional film stock but if you like Colorplus then that’s totally your choice! 


Grain and ISO is quite a subjective part of film photography, some people like more grain and texture and some people want a higher ISO film stock so they can shoot in a variety of light situations. 

Colorplus is only 200 ISO so it’s best shot in daylight, which is why it makes sense as travel/day-to-day film stock. Being 200 ISO, it doesn’t have too much grain to worry about. 

Portra 400 is a 400 ISO film stock so you have a bit more leeway to shoot in a variety of times in the day. This makes it a much more versatile film stock than Colorplus but it also means it has more grain. Fortunately, Portra 400 is known for having very fine grain so it produces nice, sharp images despite the higher ISO. 

Neither of these are especially grainy but Portra 400 is more versatile in a variety of different light situations! 

Dynamic Range

Another quite big difference between these two is dynamic range. If you’re not sure what dynamic range is, it’s how much information is retained in the highlights and shadows of an image.

So for instance, if you have a film stock with a bad dynamic range, I’d you take a picture that has bright highlights and dark shadows then it’s likely to have blown out highlights and muddy shadows. Whereas, a film stock with good dynamic range would provide a more evenly exposed image which tends to be much more preferable. 

Colorplus is known for not having a great dynamic range, so it won’t be very forgiving when you have very bright highlights and dark shadows.  

Portra 400 on the other hand is a professional film stock that has a brilliant dynamic range. It’s ideal for shooting in a variety of different light situations and it’s super forgiving.

Skin Tones

Skin tones are super important when you’re shooting any photo with someone in it! Not every film stock produces natural skin tones so it’s worth figuring out what suits you best.

Kodak Colorplus produces pretty good skin tones in all fairness. It’s not the best, perhaps a little bit more saturated than Portra 400 but I’ve got to admit after years of shooting with both, Colorplus isn’t that bad.

Portra 400 is kind of the natural skin tones don. It produces authentic, nice skin tones for all skin colours and it does a great job of it. Once again, Portra 400 is meant to be editable so it’s ideal for this kind of work.


Perhaps one of the biggest differences between these two film stocks is the price which is something that’s ruled the film world in the last few years. 

Colorplus is cheap, at £10 a roll here in the UK and Portra 400 is £22 a roll which is quite a dramatic difference.  

When it comes to this difference in price, it’s worth considering what you’re shooting and why it’s important that you use a high-quality film stock. If it’s not that important then you could consider something cheaper like Colorplus or Gold! 

What Are They Best For?

What film you use for what job is completely subjective but if you want to make sure that you’ve got the best film stock for the job then it’s worth taking note.

Kodak Colorplus is best for travel and day-to-day life but as I’ve mentioned before, I shot a lot of street photography and even portrait work with it. As long as you get it exposed well, it can be a great option.

Kodak Portra 400 is best for all kinds of work including portrait, landscape, street photography, documentary photography and all sorts. It’s a professional stock that’s super versatile and forgiving.

What’s My Opinion?

Personally, I’ve loved shooting both of these stocks for different reasons. Colorplus used to be £3 a roll and I’d shoot it all the time. It allowed me to shoot more often and learn photography because it was cheap.

I genuinely really like a lot of shots I’ve taken with Colorplus over the years and I don’t really think they’d be much better if they were shot with anything different. A great shot is a great shot no matter what.

I love Portra 400 because of its dynamic range and editable nature. The price is what lets it down, it’s so damn expensive but if I could, I’d probably shoot it over Colorplus any day.

More Examples

The pictures above were all taken on Colorplus using an Olympus MJU I.

The photos above were taken on Portra 400 using an Olympus MJU I.

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