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01-06-2016, 11:21 AM   #1
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Film choice??

I am re-entering the world of 35mm and I need some recommendations for 35mm film (brand and speed). I have K1000 cameras and am taking most (if not all) of my photos outside in the less-than-sunny beautiful Northwest US. I am trying to learn how to scan and edit my own pictures. So, I guess my question is, what brand of film do you prefer for shooting? I probably will not enlarge the pictures beyond 8x10. I don't know if I have provided enough information in order to allow suggestions to be made...if not, let me know what I have left out and I will fill in the blanks...Thanks for your help!

01-06-2016, 11:28 AM   #2
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Color or B&W?

For B&W I'd recommend HP-5. Been using it since it came out in 1976.

For color I'll let the others chime in.
01-06-2016, 11:31 AM   #3
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I use Agfa Vista colour film (rebranded Fuji film) and Fomapan Creative 200 mono film. Both are 200 ISO films - we here in the UK are well north of you (about the same northness as Manitoba) and I find them to be usefully fast enough year round.
01-06-2016, 11:46 AM - 1 Like   #4
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There are precious few films that have survived the test-of-time as well as Tri-X, assuming you want to do B&W

01-06-2016, 11:51 AM - 2 Likes   #5
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You can make good photos using just about any film, provided it's still good.

Fuji 200 and 400 are good color films that can often be found fairly inexpensively.
You should still be able to find these at Walmart for about $3/roll.

Kodak Gold 200 and Colorplus 200 are also good films.

Kodak Ektar is very fine grained and vibrant, but can be difficult to scan.

Kodak Portra 400 is also very fine grained and is probably the easiest color film to scan.

Lomo 100 and 400 are pretty decent films too.

If you are getting your film developed by a lab, for B&W I highly recommend trying Ilford XP2 or Kodak BW400CN.

For slide film, I'd start with Fuji Provia 100.
01-06-2016, 12:00 PM   #6
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Good suggestions already. My go-to films are Tri-X for B/W and Fuji Provia 100F for important color stuff.

Having said that, I've been shooting a ton of $1.99 Kodak ultra max 400 film. I LOVE that stuff.

Most importantly, though, load up SOMETHING and have fun shooting it!
01-06-2016, 12:02 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lenscap Quote
Most importantly, though, load up SOMETHING and have fun shooting it!
best answer, regardless of the question.
01-06-2016, 12:05 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by dkevin Quote
I am re-entering the world of 35mm and I need some recommendations for 35mm film (brand and speed). I have K1000 cameras and am taking most (if not all) of my photos outside in the less-than-sunny beautiful Northwest US. I am trying to learn how to scan and edit my own pictures. So, I guess my question is, what brand of film do you prefer for shooting? I probably will not enlarge the pictures beyond 8x10. I don't know if I have provided enough information in order to allow suggestions to be made...if not, let me know what I have left out and I will fill in the blanks...Thanks for your help!
As Colton mentioned, any current film will give you good results. However if you are shooting outside in cloudy/overcast conditions, then you may want to try a faster film in the 200-400 ISO range. (400ISO if shooting b&w and using coloured filters)

Phil.

01-06-2016, 12:18 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Swift1 Quote
If you are getting your film developed by a lab, for B&W I highly recommend trying Ilford XP2 or Kodak BW400CN.
Kodak BW400CN was discontinued in 2014, so while some might still be findable it's probably going to be a bit of a search (I know it had disappeared from my local shops long before Kodak announced its discontinuation.)

XP2 Super is the only chromogenic B&W film still on the market, IIRC. That said, I do second its recommendation as a B&W film to try if dkevin's planning on lab development.
01-06-2016, 12:25 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Swift1 Quote
You can make good photos using just about any film, provided it's still good.
+1
I think that about says it all. Load some film up and start shooting and discover what works for you.

But some info on BW films. The Tri-X mentioned here a lot is the surviving 400TX version since the other 320TXP version was discontinued in 135 canister and 120/220 roll film not too long ago. It's still available in sheet film IIRC. And Tri-X today it is not the same Tri-X as 20 years ago. It has been re-formulated several times in its history.

There are the classical cubic grain films such as Tri-X and Ilford's HP5/FP4 films and tabular grain films such as Kodak's T-Max films (100TMX/400TMY-2 also reformulated since its introduction) and Ilford's Delta films to name a few. Tabular grain films will yield a finer grain for equivalent box speed of the cubic grain films. And tabular grain films are really flexible shooting at different Exposure Indexes than its box speed (assuming you develop the film accordingly for the new speed) in general. It is also possible to get a slightly different look with tabular grain film vs cubic grain.

Last edited by tuco; 01-06-2016 at 12:55 PM. Reason: add more info
01-06-2016, 01:10 PM   #11
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Kodak ektar for landscape, Kodak portra 160 for portraits (or the 400 or 800 versions for bad light). For B&W, I really like rollei 200S (it just seems to be very easy to scan at home if you're developing yourself).

I tend to err towards ektar more than slide film. Besides being a little cheaper to develop, it seems to give me better scanning results than slide film (YMMV, others will disagree no doubt).

I'd also recommend Fuji pro films as well (160/400). Very similar in quality to portra.
01-06-2016, 02:31 PM   #12
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The higher the ISO, the better the exposure latitude (how forgiving the film is to over and under exposure). Thus 400 ISO is the best compromise with mediocre lighting, exposure latitude, price and availability. Once you get the knack of your light meter and the effect of shutter speeds and aperture on the image, you'll want to try lower ISO films for increased sharpness and tonal range, less apparent grain, etc.

B&W: Developing it yourself? Then Ilford HP5+ 400 ISO or Kentmere 400. Kodak Tri-X is classic, but it's a pain to break open the metal cassette and remove the tape from the film and spool. (My personal favorite is Ilford Delta 100 with 120 format).
B&W: Not developing it yourself? The Ilford XP-2 Super 400 ISO. This monochromatic chromogenic film must be developed by a color lab with C-41 processing...very common. You can either have the lab scan the negs for you, or you can do it yourself or do it in the darkroom.

Color: Print film (negatives): Both Kodak GC/UltraMax 400 and Fujifilm Fujicolor Superia XTRA 400 are excellent. If you know what lab you're taking it to, ask them what chemistry they use. If they use Fuji, go with the Fujifilm. If they use Kodak, then go with the Kodak. I'm splitting hairs here, so no problem if you mix. If you're in Europe, then you'll probably want to shoot either Rollei or Agfa 400 ISO as their labs typically use Agfa chemistry. (My personal favorite is Kodak Ektar 100 in 120 format...but again, starting with 400 until you get the hang of things will give you better results).

Slides (positives): Presently, I'm not aware of any 400 ISO slide films. Transparencies/slides are much more difficult to shoot well and you'll need to bracket exposures (normal, over, and under expose). The best on the planet (IMO) is Fujifilm Fujichrome Velvia 50 ISO, but for practical purposes, I compromise and shoot with the almost as good Fujifilm Fujichrome Velvia 100 ISO.

There are a lot of good suggestions posted before this, and much of my opinion and theirs is subjective. But generally Kodak Portra was designed for improved skin tones. Kodak Ektar is fantastic to scan, but is 100 ISO. Pro films are more expensive because theoretically, they've been cold shipped and stored and their emulsion batches match so a pro shooting 20 rolls (or a half brick of 10, or a pro-pack of 5) got matching colors.
01-06-2016, 02:33 PM   #13
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Great suggestions all! I used to use Fuji 200 color (C-41?) and was happy with the results. I understand the sentiment of loading up and just shooting...but I wondered if there were better options available. I am planning on sending the film out for developing at a quality lab (open to suggestions here too!) and having the negatives returned without lab scans/CD etc. I guess I got used to the cheap Costco developing/printing and when it went away, I parked my 35mm stuff. However, there seems to be more options than I first thought (self-scanning and fine-tuning) and I am re-entering the pool...one toe at a time. I bought an Epson V500 scanner for a real good price and am gonna start with the negatives I currently have. Eventually I will scan my own developed negatives ( if I like my own work) and have them printed by a decent lab.
01-06-2016, 02:43 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Slides (positives): Presently, I'm not aware of any 400 ISO slide films.
There's still a bit of Provia 400X kicking around online sellers, but the price has shot up into the ludicrous range since Fuji Japan's announcement that they were stopping production of it. I believe that with its cancellation the fastest slide film that's still being produced is now Rollei CR 200.

(I've got a roll but I've yet to use it, so I can't comment on it.)
01-06-2016, 02:46 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
The higher the ISO, the better the exposure latitude (how forgiving the film is to over and under exposure).
I have plenty of example of 100ACR film that have just as much "exposure latitude" as 400 film. Exposure latitude is more a function of tabular gain film vs cubic grain and/or film brand dependent.
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