In September, Kosmo Foto published part one of a three-part series listing all of the 35mm films still being made today.
2017 has already proven to be a good year, with new films being released by Bergger, Ferrania and Lomography.
Part two of this series looks at the films still being made by two of the undisputed giants of film photography, Fuji and Ilford, plus one from a brand new player – a blog.
(Note: Recent news from Fujifilm suggest all types of Superia print film have been withdrawn, apart from X-tra 400 in 36-exposure rolls. You may find stocks of these films for now, but their continued availability is in doubt. If you can afford to stock up on your favourite Superia films, I’d suggest you do so now)
And don’t forget to check out out part one, listing films from Adox to Foma.
One of the last black-and-white films to still be made by Fuji, following the discontinuation of most of their Neopan range over the last few years. Acros is a fine-grained contrasty film that is rightly very popular with landscape, fine art and street photographers. It’s a great film to take on summer travels because of its biting contrast – blacks really are deep and eye-catching.
Best for: Travel, street photography, fine art
With the apparent death of Fuji’s Superia 200 print film (see the story Kosmo Foto broke in May 2017), this is one of the Japanese company’s few prints films to survive. You’ll find this film cropping up in bargain basement clearances, chemists, supermarkets and discount stores. In the UK you can find rolls of it for as little as £1 – and while C200 is unremarkable, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad film. It’s a fine-grained colour print film that retains plenty of details in the shadow areas. The overall tones are cool – this isn’t a lurid, over-saturated film. Given the price, this is a perfect film for Lomographers and experimenters alike.
Best for: Travel, street photography, Lomography
Fuji’s Neopan was an incredibly good black-and-white film, on a par with Kodak’s Tri-X and Ilford’s HP5; Fuji pulled the plug on it back in 2013. But it lives on, in a sense, with Japan-market film which can be picked up in the Us and Europe two. Neopan 400CN was aimed at portrait and wedding photographers, and was designed to be developed in C-41 colour negative chemicals.
Best for: Weddings, portraits, street photography
See more: Over 1,000 pics on Flickr.
Fuji slide film isn’t just confined to the landscape photographers’ favourite, Velvia. Provia 100 is a general-purpose slide film that doesn’t quite have the full-on saturation of Velvia. Provia 100F is a great travel film which results in much less red in skin tones; that means it’s one to consider for wedding photographers. The rising, rising, rising cost of Fuji’s slide films means this lens itself to more considered shooting that firing off at six frames a second on a motordrive; edge-roll stock has been rebadged as “Agfaphoto Precisa 100” for about half the price.
Best for: Travel, landscape, fine art, weddings, portraits
Fuji once boasted a range of “pro” level films as varied as Kodak’s Portra family – but the herd has been gradually thinned to just too. This is a fine, fine-grained film, very much aimed at the portrait and wedding photography sector, though for those looking for a slightly cooler look for travel/holiday pics than the usual saturated 100-speed colour neg film, this might be the film for you. Broadly similar to Portra 160, for those wanting to try a similar film.
Best for: Portraits, landscape, travel, fine art
See more: A gallery of more than 4,500 pics to be found on Flickr.
The bigger brother of Fuji’s 160NS, this is another film designed to compete with a similar Portra product. It boasts the same kind of real-world colour palette (no lurid, Agfa Ultra saturated colours here) added with the extra speed of a 400-ISO film. Grain’s more pronounced than it’s 160-speed cousin, sure, but not enormously so. This could be pushed to 800 and 1600 without any problems.
Best for: Weddings, portraits, street photography, travel, reportage
Fuji’s answer to the Kodacolor range of consumer print films, this is the slowest film still left after Fuji pulled the wonderful 100-ISO Reala from the shelves a few years back. 200-speed films are often derided for being a halfway house – they don’t have the rich colours and fine grain of 100-speed films, but they don’t have the sensitivity in low-light that 400-ISO films have either.
Superia 200 is a useful film, however, giving you an extra stop for shooting in shade or under cover in daylight hours. It’s remarkably fine-grained too. Like Provia 100F this gets rebadged too – discount films like the Agfa Vista 200 which can be found in the UK’s Poundland is Superia 200. This makes it the perfect film for Lomography-style experiments.
Best for: Lomography, travel, street photography, parties
See more: There are nearly 80,000 pics to comb through on Flickr, proof of just how popular this film has been.
A 400-speed film that definitely isn’t built for portraits, X-tra 400 has a much more pronounced reddish overtone that puts it more into the travel film territory than wedding (unless you want your bride to have pronounced blushing red cheeks). It also tends to exaggerate greens aswell. While this can make it problematic for portraits it does help produce some eye-poppingly rich colours.
If you want to accentuate texture and colour in certain lighting conditions – such as the red-biased light of early evening, for instance – then this is definitely a good film to try. The saturated colours and pronounced grain also works well with toy cameras and Lomo-style shooting.
Best for: Travel, street photography, Lomography
See more: More than 70,000 pics of this fantastic film on Flickr.
If you are looking for more grain – and trying to freeze fast action in less than ideal light – then Superia 800 is recommended, especially as Superia 400 isn’t an ideal film to push. This is a great film for shooting when you can’t use flash – such as in concerts – or when you’re wanting to capture something candid in low light.
Obviously, being an 800-speed film, the colour palette is much more subdued that low-ISO print films, but this is a good film for shooting under non-halogen artificial lights (Superia 800 was popular with photojournalists for precisely this reason).
Best for: Sports, street photography, concerts, reportage
Probably the most expensive colour negative film you can buy now, but definitely a specialist product, so that’s somewhat understandable. This is a film that really adds bags of atmosphere thanks to its grain – the effect adds plenty of character, and the grain is refined rather than over-the-top. This is a great film for bringing some of the characteristics of high-ISO black-and-white films into colour photographs. It works really well under artificial lighting, taking some of the green cast out of neon and strip lighting. Save up and try it.
Best for: Street, reportage, travel, documentary
The king of landscape films, for good reason. Velvia captures rich and saturated tones, boosting reds and blues and greens Velvia 100 to gorgeously rich levels. Velvia 50 warms colours, whether they be in bright sunlight or shade, and the results are fantastic.
Given its slow speed – ISO 50 – this is a slide film often used for painstaking landscape pictures taken with the aid of a tripod. If you’re going to shoot it handheld, don’t load your camera unless you’ve got really good light to work with. Overcast day? Don’t waste a roll of Velvia 50 on it. And bear of taking portraits with this film – its tendency to exaggerate reds can make your subject look flushed.
Velvia 50 needs careful exposure but rears it – its dMax is the highest of any film on the market today. And it is incredibly fine-grained.
Best for: Landscape, travel, fine art
See more: A great review on Ken Rockwell’s site explains why this film is held in such high regard with landscape photographers. Plus, some 100,000 shots taken on this landscape snapper’s favourite to be found on Flickr.
Introduced 15 years after the original Velvia. 50, this film is more than just Velvia with an extra stop’s sensitivity. This daylight-balanced slide film has a different colour palette to its 50-ISO cousin, with a less intense reproduction of yellow tones. It’s also much less likely to exaggerate reds in skin tones, making it much better for people shots.
Those used to the intense brightness of Velvia 50, especially when it comes to reds and yellows in strong light, might want to stick to that. But Velvia 100 is a much more versatile film for travel – the extra stop of speed comes in handy. And people pictures will be more pleasing.
Best for: Landscape, travel, portraits
Described by Ilford as “the world’s sharpest ISO 100 speed black-and-white camera film”, Delta 100 is one of Ilford’s slower-ISO films, optimised for landscapes, architecture and street photography.
Unless you’re using a tripod, you’ll need to be using good light with this film – if you’re heading indoors it’s best to use higher ISO films like Ilford’s own HP5. What’s more, in really bright sunlight, Delta can be downrated to ISO 50 without any problems (bear this in mind when it comes to processing however). Delta 100 is very fine-grained, with fantastic contrast.
Best for: Landscapes, fine art, travel, street photography, architecture
More fine-grained than Ilford’s classic HP5, Delta 400 is a contrasty, rich black-and-white film. It has a good reputation for sharpness and crisp contrast even in low light. It’s a more modern grain structure than HP5, but the consensus is that it’s not any where near as forgiving as HP5, so you’ll need to be a bit more exacting on the exposure.
Pick this if you’re looking for a touch less grain, and a touch more Tri-X-esque contrast than you might expect with HP5.
Best for: Travel, landscape, street photography, reportage
Since the demise of Kodak’s TMax 3200, Ilford’s Delta 3200 is the fastest black-and-white film still available. This is a film to go for when the light is really low – and you really want to amp up the atmosphere. The grain here isn’t subtle, but it adds fantastic texture and mood.
This isn’t a film to crack out at noon on a summer holiday – the contrast is restrained, but that’s only to be expected with a film rated this high.
Delta 3200 is in fact only a 1000-ISO film, in fact, but the emulsion is so forgiving that 3200 is usually no problem at all.
If you’re not looking for quite the huge grain of this film, Kodak’s Tri-X, pushed three stops or more has a more strained look – it’s sharper, the grain is reduced and the blacks are punchier. Ilford, however, should be congratulated and supported for keeping a film like this on the shelves.
Best for: Street photography, reportage, documentary
Ilfird’s FP4 is a fine-grained medium ISO film that’s been around in various formulations since the FP films released in the 1930s. This monochromatic film is great for travel and street photography, boasting fine grain and fantastic sharpness. It’s a bit more sensitive to light that Delta 100, which might give you a little more latitude if needed. FP4 doesn’t overdo it on the contrast, so Delta 100 might be a better bet if you’re looking
Best for: Fine art, travel, street photography, portraits.
There used to be a holy trinity of high-ISO black-and-white films – Fuji Neopan, Kodak Tri-X and Ilford HP5. When Fuji pulled the plug on Neopan in 2013, this left only two. But both are exceptional films.
Ilford HP5 is rated at 400, but is a very pushable film. Contrast is rich without being intense; shadow tones are detailed and graduated. The grain is fantastic, enough to add atmosphere and mood in spades, but not enough to destroy detail.
HP5 is s joy to push – this really is a versatile film, and one of the jewels in Ilford’s crown. If you’re looking for a film that adds that classic documentary feel to a project, this is definitely a film to consider.
Best for: Travel, portraits, weddings, documentary, reportage
This is Ilford’s lowest-ISO film available, rated at a speed of 50. This is a film intended to be used when sharpness and fine grain are paramount – which makes it a natural for portraiture and fine art work. It will also come into its own for bright, bright sunshine at the height of summer, especially if you’re using older cameras with a limited fastest speed (1/500 or less). Pan F has biting contrast, but it is the almost infinitesimal grain and incredible sharpness that’s likely to bring you to this film. If you’re using it indoors, make sure you match it with a tripod and cable/remote release though – it needs plenty of light or stillness.
Best for: Fine art, still life, portraiture, travel, landscapes
This is one of Ilford’s most specialised emulsions. This infra-red film has an extended range in the red spectrum, which has some dramatic effects. Pair this with a red filter – still commonly available – the film renders vegetation as bright and light and blue skies as dramatically dark. (take a look at this Holga shot to see just how dramatic it can look).
It’s not a film to use day-in, day-out, unless you’re working on a very defined look for a project. It will work best in bright light (though there have some some dazzling portraits on Flickr) and the effects will be heightened with the use of filters.
Best for: Experimental photography, fine art, Lomography, landscapes
Feel like taking black and white pics but don’t have a dark room or a traditional lab nearby – but you do have a minilab around the corner? XP2 is a chromogenic black-and-white film that can be developed in the C-41 chemicals used for colour negative films. If you’re unlucky enough to lack black-and-white processing, this film could be a lifesaver.
This film s capable of excellent results – with plenty of biting contrast – though it’s not the best film to push much beyond the box speed. It is a film built for convenient processing, and doesn’t have the flexibility of HP5 or Delta 400.
Best for: Travel, street photography, Lomography
This is a first – a camera launched by a blog. Japan Camera Hunter is the brainchild of Bellamy Hunt, an expat Brit who lives in Tokyo and sources rare or mint cameras for buyers around the world.
JCH 400 is a panchromatic 400-speed black-and-white negative film aimed at street photographers. Its ISO is high enough to be able to grab good exposures in murky lighting – lighting that might be too dim for 100.
Made by Agfa-Gevaert in Belgium, this is s traffic surveillance film that, Hunt says, had never been available in stills formats before. This is a fine-grained film, especially given its 400 ISO-rating, and captures a fantastic amount of detail – good news for street photographers, which this film is aimed at.
Best for: Street photography, travel, portraiture, documentary
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