They say that film cameras are a thing of the past, but that’s not actually the case. This seemingly forgotten and obsolete photography technology has quite a large cult following, keeping the outdated practice alive. Film photography is, in its own right, an art form that’s not easy to perfect – especially without all the fancy bells and whistles that make digital photography a relative piece of cake.
Unlike modern photography which relies on how well a photographer knows how to use their camera, film photography outcomes rely heavily on something alien to digital cameras – film. If you’re trying to explore this old yet interesting photography practice, make sure you buy the best 35mm film with help from our comprehensive guide.
Top Ten 35mm Films Comparison Chart
How to Choose a Perfect 35mm Film
You’d be surprised how many different types of film you can find these days. The most accessible is the 35mm which is a staple you can buy at any photography store. 35mm films come in a wide variety, and there are some specifics that can make it a bit of a challenge to choose between your options.
What do you need to consider in search of the best 35mm film? We weigh down on the most important factors here.
- Types of Film. There are three main types of film, and they’re categorized based on the output they produce and the method by which they’re developed.
- Color Negative. These films are the most common and if you walk into a photography shop to ask for “film”, this is what the store clerk is likely to hand you.
When you look at color negatives, you’ll see the photos you captured in inverted colors. Developing them is relatively simple, and can be performed in a number of photography centers or at home if you understand the process.
- Slide Film. When you hold used slide films against light, you’ll see what looks like an actual photograph. That is, the colors won’t be inverted. They can be a little more expensive, but finding a place to develop them shouldn’t be difficult.
- Traditional Black and White. These films produce, as you may have guessed, black and white images. They’re probably the cheapest in the market, and they also entail a much easier development process.
- Film Speed. Some films are more sensitive to light than others. This is what is called film speed, which is indicated as the ISO on the box or packaging. With a higher film speed, you can expect to capture better images in low light settings. But the trade off is that they can have some substantial noise in the image.
Slower films produce much less grain, but they are less efficient at shooting subjects indoors or in poor lighting. Nonetheless, there isn’t a ‘right’ film speed between the two. Choosing ultimately depends on what you need and where you plan to use your film camera. Otherwise, you can have both speeds in your arsenal to get the best of both worlds.
- Exposure Count. On the packaging, you’ll find an exposure count telling you how many films are in the roll. The most common numbers you’ll see are 12, 24, and 36. While those with higher counts are often more economical, they may not be the best choice in all cases.
Consider your specific need and budget before making a choice to ensure that you’re getting the best use out of each exposure in the roll.
Top 3 Best 35mm Film Reviews
Kodak is quite possibly one of the most popular names in the film camera industry. While lots of other brands have dominated photography with digital releases, Kodak has stayed true to its roots, catering to sentimental photographers who enjoy taking the traditional route.
The Kodak UltraMax 400 Speed 35mm 36 Exposures Film has been rated the best 35mm film on the market for a lot of great reasons. This ultra fast film features an ISO of 400, making it very sensitive to light even in very poorly lit settings.
Perfect for indoor and low light settings, the Kodak UltraMax 400 Speed 35mm Film also produces much less grain, which gives crisper, clearer images that are easier to appreciate.
Affordable, efficient, and reliable, the Kodak UltraMax 400 Film is a great choice if you’re looking for a quality film that won’t set your budget too far back.
Fujifilm is another brand that has stuck with film photography, still offering some top notch film products while dabbling in the digital photography market. The Fujifilm 16326078 PRO 400H Color Negative 35mm Film is a top choice for a lot of buyers looking for decent 35mm film.
These color negative films have an ISO of 400, making it sensitive to light in dimly lit settings. The films produce very little grain, adding some character to your shots and keeping your pictures true to the film photography aesthetic.
While they’re not quite as cheap as the Kodak films, they work just as well, which makes them a great choice if you’re looking for a substitute for your usual film or a staple for your film camera.
If you want superior quality images out of a film camera, then the Kodak Ektar 100 Professional ISO 100 35mm 36 Exposures Color Negative Film should be your choice of film. This high end film offers superior sharpness and ultra-vivid color to give life to your film photographs.
The color negative films can be enlarged substantially, allowing you to print much larger versions of your shots compared to other films on the market. They also produce less grain despite having a lower ISO rating than most modern films available.
The trade off with these films is that they can manifest too much contrast in certain settings which may be against some users’ preferences.