5 Frames… With Kodak Portra 400 (EI 400 / 120 format / NuBox 1 Box Camera) – by Robert Hamm

A warm day popped up in early spring after a harsh winter. My kids wanted to head down to the beach and play in the sand. I agreed, and we hopped in the car, put the top down, and headed out to the oceanfront. Upon arrival I took in the surroundings: the sky was sunny and blue, the shadows on the ground were defined and hard-edged, and the reflection off the water was blinding. It looked like a perfect Sunny 16 day.

I started off with two portraits. First of Robert by the levy. I love how the rocks look. Portra rendered beautifully cool, and the look on my boy’s face is priceless. I love his confidence. Next was an image of Ira and Robert together, except backlit by the sun. I wanted to see how the lens would handle flare, and It did a great job. I moved my kiddos down to the waterside for my next shot and photographed them against the surf. The reflections from the water helped separate them from the immediate background. Yet, my most exciting find happened after development and scanning- there was an ever subtle, but quite present, bokeh at f/22.

My next shot took place with my kids on the levy. The sun was to my back. The lens rendered a beautiful blue sky and golden tones from the sun. My last shot was a seascape of the beach across the bay. It’s cool color tones really embrace the feeling of the day. Reflecting on the images I find that I am in love with the lens and film combination. I noticed that f/22 renders some bokeh when subjects are placed amidst a very deep background and that I should be a little more careful with my close focus zone.

Using NuBox 1 to photograph my kids was fun and exciting. It surely made the moments more memorable, and in the end, there are new pints hanging on my wall instead of on my phone.

I’m okay with that.

All images are from a single roll of Kodak Portra 400 at f/22 and 1/200 sec. The lens used was the standard lens-in-cartridge positive meniscus singlet with a 95mm focal length. The film was hand developed, processed and printed.

~ Robert


…there’s more

I admit a dual intention with this particular edition/issue of 5 Frames, I hope you’ll permit it. As of a little earlier today, the official online store for the NuBox1 is live and taking orders. If you’ve been sitting on the fence about this particular new entrant into the film camera hardware space for 2018, I hope the words and pictures above will go some way to getting you off it.

Want to submit your own 5 Frames...?

Go right ahead, submissions are open! Get your 5 frames featured on by submitting your 350+ word article by either using this Google form or by sending an email via the contact link at the top of the page.

This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.

Share your knowledge, story or project

At the heart of EMULSIVE is the concept of helping promote the transfer of knowledge across the film photography community. You can support this goal by contributing your thoughts, work, experiences and ideas to inspire the hundreds of thousands of people who read these pages each month. Check out the submission guide here.

If you like what you're reading you can also help this personal passion project by heading on over to the EMULSIVE Patreon page and giving as little as a dollar a month. There's also print and apparel over at Society 6, currently showcasing over two dozen t-shirt designs and over a dozen unique photographs available for purchase.

I'm EM, founder, overlord and editor-in-chief here at EMULSIVE.org, as well as all-round benevolent gestalt entity. Contrary to popular belief, I am not an AI.

Related reading


  1. I love the way you wrote this and had no idea that there are now these new box cameras out there. I like the results too. Cheers Alan

Join the discussion