FILM IS ALIVE!
Film photography recently has gotten a lot of traction from different industries such as fashion, music and even a large number of celebrities are picking up film cameras. (Thanks Kylie Jenner for bumping up the Contax T2 before i could buy one -_-) So i completely understand if you’re just getting into film photography or maybe even if you’re a vet and just wanna see what other films to shoot.
I personally LOVE consistency. I love getting the same look over and over again, it makes my editing and overall workflow easier so a lot of the film you see here won’t be too expensive or crazy. But there are a couple of films I will add at the very end as “Honorable Mentions” because they are definitely films worth trying! Especially because one of them will be extinct soon :P
But without further due, here is my list for my Top 5 Favorite 35mm films!
1.) Ilford HP5 400 - $5-6/per roll
Price: $ Type: Black & White Grain: Fine Grain (More Grain when pushed) ISO: 400 (Can be pushed to 800/1600)
Ilford HP5 is EASILY my favorite film of all time, it’s a black and white film which makes it perfect for street photography. It is a 400 speed film which is probably the most versatile film speed but one thing HP5 does really well is handle pushing.
Because Ilford Hp5 can be pushed with great results it makes it very good for people who need higher ISO’s for extra light. You can shoot it box speed and achieve really nice grey tones but you can also push it 1 stop to 800 and get nice contrasty shadows or you can push it to 1600 to get more contrast as well be able to shoot it in low light conditions! Overall HP5 is my go to black and white film and its fairly inexpensive. You can buy a bulk roll of 100 ft or you can purchase individual rolls. The choice is yours! Do yourself a favor and get yourself some HP5 goodness!
Ilford Hp5 (3 rolls) - https://amzn.to/2xrtq1y
10 Pack Ilford Hp5 - https://amzn.to/2zmuKEd
2.) Kodak Portra 400 $5-7/per roll
Price: $$ Type: Color Grain: Fine Grain ISO: 400
Kodak Portra 400 is a staple amongst all film shooters. Ask any film shooter what your first film purchase should be and 90% of the time you’ll here “Portra 400 man”.
Portra is known for its pastel like colors enhancing the blues and greens nicely but also keeping the reds and oranges nicely saturated. This film has been the answer to many portrait photographers as well as wedding photographers for the one of a kind look it can give! It also has a really nice grain structure (Fine Grain)
I would absolutely suggest you try out this film if you like shooting portraits, the skin tones will blow your mind! Also if you shoot street photography or like doing work that requires rich pastel like colors!
PRO TIP: Portra 400 looks great shot at box speed BUT I would suggest experimenting shooting it at 200 ISO. This will give your images a dreamy look, something portrait photographers crave. If you’ve never shot it before…. WHAT ARE YOU DOING? GO GET SOME!
Portra 400 (5 Roll Pro Pack , Best Value) - https://amzn.to/2xHH6F6
3.) Fuji Superia 400 $3-5/per roll
Price: $ Type: Color Grain: Fine Grain ISO: 200 or 400
Fuji Superia, my cheap love! I absolutely love this film for two reasons; It’s cheap and it also yields amazing results! The one caveat I have with Fuji superia is that when underexposed it can look very muddy but that really just about it. Otherwise you have a film that is great for portraits, landscape and even street photography!
Because this is a FujiFIlm you will get rich blues and greens. Great for foliage or cooler tones. One thing I love using this film for is shooting Portraits. I always shoot fuji superia during family gathering, holidays or just around the house general photography. You can buy a lot of it for very cheap which makes it ideal for family gatherings because event’s like that can have you burning through rolls quickly!
PRO TIP: I always buy Superia in the 400 speed because it gives me a little more flexibility with light but if you want to try out the 200 go for it! The 200 iso version is great for bright sunny days!
Also, this film may or may not be discontinuing so, get on it while you can!
Fuji Superia 400 - https://amzn.to/2DisKky
Fuji Superia 200 - https://amzn.to/2zn9puA
4.) Kodak Tmax P3200 $10-14/per roll
Price: $$$ Type: Black & White Grain: Grainy ISO: 800/1600/3200
Kodak Tmax P3200 is one film I feel like EVERY black and white lover should try! If you’re a fan of grain, high contrast with decent grey tones this ones for you! Kodak P3200 was released mid 2018 after the film stock went dormant. Kodak pulled it off the line when it became less and less popular.
Street Photographers pay close attention to his film! That grit and grain you see can be just the look you’re looking for. This is great for classic photo journalism, as well as any low light situations such as concerts etc!
The great thing about this film is that it is actually an 800 speed film unlike the title suggest. But you can choose to shoot it box speed or push it to 1600 or 3200 depending on the type of shooting you’ll be doing.
I’ve had great results with this film and is my runner up to HP5. Both films make a great combo for any street photographer out there looking to obtain the right firepower for ay given lighting situation.
TIP: I wouldn’t use this for shooting portraits as the grain may be a little over the top. Instead if you want to shoot black and white portraits I would definitely shoot HP5 and 400 iso.
Kodak Tmax P3200 - https://amzn.to/2Do07lV
5.) Cinestill 800T $10-20/per roll
Price: $$$ Type: Color (Tungsten) Grain: Moderate grain ISO: 800 (Can be shot at 400 or even 1600)
If you’re like me you enjoy neon lights and if you’re looking to capture portraits or even Urban photography scenes you NEED to try out Cinestill 800T. Unlike any of the other films on the list this film has a tungsten base so any tungsten lights, neon etc will be exaggerated! Have you ever seen those portraits where a well dressed person stands next to a neon light? If it was shot on film it was probably done with this film!
One cool thing about this film is you can shoot it during the daytime by rating it at box speed to overexposing 1 stop at 400 ISO. This will give you a unique look other color film stocks can’t give you.
But where this film truly shines is at night near tungsten lights! This is an ideal film for portraiture but you can also use it for street photography. The possibilities are endless with this film and once you shoot it once or twice, you might be hooked!
TIP: If you hear from other photographers that this film is is the same as Kodak Vision 3 500T, THEY’RE RIGHT! BUT please only shoot that film if you’re developing at home. That film has a layer of remjet which needs to be removed manually, sending any Vision 3 500T to a photo lab for developing will only ruin their machines. If you wanna shoot this film and you send it to a lab PLEASE shoot Cinestill 800T!
Cinestill 800T - https://amzn.to/2DiAmDE
The Legendary Fujifilm Natura 1600, Known to give results similar to Cinestill 800T. This film is being discontinued so grab yourself a couple rolls before its all gone! Fuji Natura 1600 - https://amzn.to/2BuXQBg
Fuji Acros 100, To some this black and white film was the best out on the market. It’s a shame its being discontinued. Fuji Acros 100 - https://amzn.to/2UWU1xL
So there you have it folks! My top 5 favorite film stocks! Everything on this list I highly recommend! Maybe pick up a roll of each and trying them out to see which ones you like the most? Don’t forget to snag some of those honorable mentions before its too late! Thank you for making it to the end, I greatly appreciate you and wish you guys the best of luck through your film journey! #MinoltaGang
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