Although film photography is seen as a dying field, it is quite the opposite and there are still tons of film stocks available for the photographers and hobbyists still looking for the best 35mm film out there.
As a photographer and film enthusiast myself, I’m always trying to find new film stocks, old film stocks, expired film, and anything else analog that I can get my hands on. Whether I’m looking online or in small camera stores while traveling, I’m always searching for a new type of film that may suit my style of shooting better than my favorites, but for now… here is my favorite 35mm film.
Color Negative Film: Kodak Ektar 100
The reason this is my favorite 35mm film stock is because of the consistency with color.
Many photographers usually go with Kodak Portra 400 and don’t get me wrong, I ‘m a big fan of this film stock, but only for certain types of photography. For me – Portra 400 is for shooting portraits or detail shots.
However, Ektar 100 is very different than Portra for me – I can use it whenever and I know that the when i develop the film, it’s going to truly show what the colors and the mood looked like at the time I took the shot.
Another reason to shoot with Ektar 100 is because of it’s low grain. It’s a very high quality film from Kodak and is able to capture a crisp, clean image with sharp focus and very low blur.
Whether you’re shooting for a project, subjects, or just your everyday life, Ektar 100 is one of the best films to shoot with.
If you’re satisfied with Kodak Ektar 100, you can also try Kodak Ektar 400, which is a bit harder to get your hands on, but if you’re a fan of Ektar 100 then you’ll only be happier trying out the 400 stock.
Black & White Negative Film: Ilford HP5 Plus
For black & white, this has always been my go-to. No matter what I was shooting I would always go to grab the HP5 Plus over the Kodak 400 TMAX or the Kodak Tri-x400 in a heart beat. For me, with black & white film, I need a balance of (A) good grain exposure + (B) high quality grayscale.
When I compare black & white films, I find that the Ilford HP5 Plus always has the best balance of these two, especially the grayscale.
When I’m shooting black & white I’m always cautious of where the sun is and what effect the lighting is showing in the scene I’m capturing. If the lighting is right, I’m hoping for nice, clean gradients of blacks-grays-whites, which is something I always find after developing and scanning Ilford HP5 Plus (especially 400 ISO).
If you’re satisfied with Ilford HP5 Plus, but you’re still looking for another high quality black & white film stock, you can also check out Ilford Delta Professional. This is another one of my favorite black & white film stocks; however, it is a bit more high end and quite expensive due to its professional grade. With that being said, it may not be used for everyday shooting, but the results are incredible. See some examples from NYFWM July 2017 below.
Let us know in the comments if you try out any of these film stocks and what you thought of them! We always love to hear what your thoughts are as well. :)
For more film and analog on the blog, check out some of these articles below:
- Ilford HP5 Plus Film Stock Review
- Film Stock Review: Fuji Superia 800 vs. Kodak Portra 800
- Super 8 Film Test Footage – Boston – Fall 2017
- Using Light to Create Emotion in Your Photography