Film is far from dead. These are some of the films I still shoot actively. They show the rich palette of colours and tones still available to the film shooter. Most are current production films. Others may be discontinued, recently expired, or domestic-market only, but are available in specialist stockists or on eBay.
Yesterday, I received three of the new film cases from Japan Camera Hunter. These are egg carton style plastic cases that hold 10 rolls of film apiece. I decided to fill them with film and see what makes the cut as my top 10 most essential films of each type.
Black and White
- Kodak Tri-X 400 - the classic
- Fujifilm Neopan 1600 Super Presto - ultimate street shooting film
- Eastman Double-X 200 - most beautiful tones
- Kodak P3200 - globulous grain like coarse ground pepper
- Bluefire Police 80 - ultrafine grained tech pan
- Lucky SHD100 - lacks anti-halation for glowing highlights
- Fujifilm Neopan 100 Acros - unbeatable all-round quality 100ASA
- Kodak T-Max 400 - a bulletproof scanner friendly film
- Kodak T-Max 100 - great 100ASA film for scanning
- Kodak BW400CN - good all-round film for when only C-41 lab chemistry is available
- Ilford Delta 3200 - like discontinued P3200, a 800ASA film for pushing up to 6400ASA. I used to use the many excellent Ilford films not pictured including HP5, Delta 400, Delta 100, FP4, HP5 and will revert to them if necessary.
- Chinese films like ERA and Shanghai - Chinese black and white films have always been excellent quality and while being the cheapest on the market. Sadly, all the brands I know of have recently gone.
- Agfa APX and other Agfa films - Agfa films, especially those with a high silver content have a wonderful classic era look
- Fujifilm Neopan SS and other black and white films - all top notch, just harder to get here and pricey, so I mostly stick to Kodak products
Colour Negative Film
- Fujicolor Superia Reala 100 - perfect skin tones and landscape colours
- Kodak Ektar 100 - super fine grain and exceptional colours, especially blues and greens and reds and well … it’s just perfect
- Provia 400H - low contrast film for harsh light
- New Portra 400 - for shooting people in the head can’t beat Portra
- Portra 800 - my favourite 800 film
- Portra 400VC - punch up your colours without making skin tones look bizarre
- Fujicolour Natura 1600- formerly Japan-only, but now the best all-round low light colour film
- Fujicolor Superia Premium 400 - same idea as Portra
- Kodak Profoto XL 100 - a premium, fine grain 100-round 100ASA colour print film, less punchy than Ektar
- Konica 100 - this is so long expired I reach for it when I want an aged photo look
- Kodak Ultramax 400 - this unpretentious film is almost the cheapest film you can buy here, but the results never cease to impress me. Universal appeal and ubiquitous availability.
- Kodak Super Gold 400 - lovely if you can get it. Colours and fine grain, good in lower light too.
- Kodak 400 Ultracolor - was a great film, but this batch is tired. 400VC was better anyway.
- Fujicolor NPZ 800 - Like NPH but 800 rated. At least it was when fresh, now it’s 100 at best
- Fujicolor Superia 800 - ‘cheap’ fast film but fresh and fast
- Fujicolor Superia 1600 - likewise, ‘cheap’ fast film but fresh and fast
- Fujicolor Superia Venus 800 - Fuji’s equivalent of Portra 800
Colour Slide Film
- Fujichrome Velvia 50 - super saturated super contrast
- Fujichrome Provia 400X - if I have to go to 400 in slides this is the film
- Fujichrome Sensia 100 - cheap and less finicky. I miss the 200ASA
- Fujichrome Provia 100F - a very versatile film for all colours from vivid to pastels
- Fujichrome Fortia 50 - aka consumer Velvia
- Kodak E100G - for true-to life colours. VS was good, but not like VELVIA
- Kodak Elite Chrome Extracolor 100
- Agfa Precista CT - cross processes with strong colour shifts
- Fujichrome T64 - long expired but cross processes with strong reds and greens
- Lomography XPRO Chrome - comparatively more subtle xpro
- Velvia 100F - not quite the punch of Velvia 50
- Fujichrome 160T - again for XPRO
- Agfa Vista - LOL, that should be in the print film photo!
- Fomapan R - it’s a clear base black and white suitable for reversal if you can get a lab to process it.
- Rollei Infrared 400S - a portrait film that has the blessed ability to reduce acne and scarring redness in skin tones.
- Ilford SFX 200 - best used with an IR filter
- efke IR820 - consider it an extreme version of SFX
- Lomography Redscale - I know redscale is just colour print film that’s spooled reversed, but the Lomo product gets better results than when I’ve done it myself.
Remember this huge selection is only a fraction of what is still out there in 135 (35mm) format. I have stocks of a variety of films in 120, 127, APS and other formats. Yes, I still shoot APS and yes, I can get it developed.
FILM - USE IT OR LOSE IT!
Japan Camera Hunter film cases can be bought here (link).
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