This is the final part of a three-part series I’ve been working on since late list year on all the 35mm films it’s still possible to buy.
This third part of the series includes the mighty Kodak, and Lomography, which has churned out several films to cater for its roster of low-fi cameras.
One thing I didn’t realise when I started this would be how often it would need to be updated – not to get rid of films that are no longer being made, but to add new films to the list.
The rundown of Kodak’s current line-up doesn’t include the new Ektachrome film, which was announced earlier this year, as it still hasn’t been released yet. It’s expected to be available later on in 2017.
The two previous posts in the series can be found here:
Not every film photographer realises that Ilford – the doyen of black-and-white films – produce films under another name too.
Kentmere 100 is the flower of the two Kentmere-branded films. It’s not rebadged Ilford film, but an entirely different emulsion.
Kentmere 100 is a sharp, medium-contrast film with a traditional grain structure, and it dries extremely flat, which is great if you’re someone who scans their negs.
There’s another thing – price. At as little as £3 a roll, this has to be one of the cheapest films available on the market.
You can also find it repackaged as Rollei APX100.
Best for: Travel, fine art, street photography
Kentmere 400 is another cheap film Ilford produces under the Kentmere brand.
This is a really affordable film, and an especially good buy for those wanting a versatile and pushable film and perhaps have to watch their budget enough that they can’t afford Ilford’s fantastic HP5.
Kentmere 400 has agreeable sharpness and a good range of tones, and a middling contrast – this is certainly not a stand-in for Tri-X. If you like grain, this film has a pleasing graininess that can help boost mood and atmosphere.
Best for: Fine art, street photography, travel, Lomography
If you liked shooting 100 speed negative film, you used to be spoiled for choice. Sadly, now that range – which used to include fantastic films as Agfa’s vivid Ultra 100, Fuji’s versatile Reala 100, Ferrania’s Solaris 100 and Konica’s Centuria 100 – has dwindled to just a handful. Which is a shame, because as good as 200-speed print films are nowadays, they often fail to match the vivid colours of a slightly slower emulsion. And if you’re using an older camera with more restricted shutter speeds and apertures, you might struggle to be able to get a correct exposure on a bright sunny day.
It’s a good thing, then, that one of the few remaining 100-speed negative films is so good. Ektar 100 has been around for some time now, and is a film seemingly built for the analogue photographer in the digital age. It has vivid but still natural colours, fine grain and lovely shadow detail. It processes nice and flat too, which makes it very easy to scan.
If you’re going somewhere sunny, make sure you have a few rolls of this in the camera bag. It’s one of the best films around today.
Best for: Travel, street photography, portraits, reportage
See more: Wendy Laurel’s film tutorial for using Ektar plus plenty to check out on Flickr – some 280,000 of them.
Kodak’s Gold range of films captured countless holidays and ‘Kodak Moments’. Now that the summer-friendly Gold 100 has been discontinued, this is the lowest-ISO film left in the range.
Kodak Gold is a budget film, aimed at consumers rather than pros – you’ll find it in discount store, supermarkets and pharmacies. It’s a robust film, as it was intended to be stored in less-than-ideal conditions. Its colours are impressively saturated for a 200-spedd film.
Gold 200 scans well, but be aware that the grain will get more pronounced as you scan at larger sizes.
Best for: Lomography, travel, parties
The 400-ISO suspect in Kodak’s consumer film line-up, this was aimed squarely at compact cameras, ones that might need extra ISO to expose correctly indoors.
Aimed fair-and-square at the amateur end of the market, this is a broadly similar film to Fuji’s Superia X-tra 400, though it lacks the red-biased colours of Fuji’s product.
Be aware that making large prints from this film (especially from scanning) will boost its pronounced grain.
Best for: Lomography, travel, parties
Ultra Max 800
One for those who like grain, a more faded colour palette and less contrast. This film is aimed more for those shooting indoors without flash – it’s definitely not something most of us will take away for a summer holiday.
This film has earned plenty of poor reviews online, but possibly from some casual photographers who aren’t quite aware how specialised high-ISO colour negative films are.
If you’re used shooting at higher ISO – or a fan of Lomography-style film experiments – shoot away. Those wanting something more refined might want to stump up for the more expensive Cinestill 800.
Best for: Lomography, parties, low-light shooting
The name Portra tells you something here – this is a film designed for portraits.
The slowest of Kodak’s three Portra films, the 160 version has fine grain, a cool colour palette that still yields attractive colours, and glorious sharpness.
There’s a been a small renaissance in wedding photographers coming back to film to add a different feel, and Portra seems to be the film they’re shooting with. Skin tones are natural and neutral – none of the over-red skin tones from some print films here.
Portra is more expensive than most print films – the films are kept to much stricter production variations, so that means roll after roll should maintain a similar look and feel.
Best for: Portraits, fashion, weddings, street photography, travel
See more: A very technical review on Shutterfinger, while there are more than 180,000 images on Flickr.
Described recently in one review as perhaps the perfect all-round colour print film, Portra 400 is the next step up from Portra 160.
Kodak have a done a great job in keeping the grain in control – this really is fine-grained for a 400-speed film, especially with enlargements and shadow details. Again, this is a film very popular with wedding photographers – and newlyweds are a discerning bunch.
You’ll see many street photographers using this film too, given its very natural rendition of skin tones.
Best for: Portraits, weddings, street photography, reportage, fine art
The highest ISO version of Kodak’s Portra range of film, this is a film that’s been enthusiastically received by wedding photographers and those wanting to shoot natural portraits in natural light indoors.
The colour palette is restrained, as you would expect, but the grain is atmospheric rather than golfball-sized – bearing in mind this is aimed at portraits and weddings.
An exceptional film.
Best for: Weddings, portraits, street photography, low-light photography, fine art
See more: Jake Horn Photography’s review, plus there are more than 50,000 pics on Flickr.
Kodak’s range of black-and-white negative films may have thinned lately, but they still feature some top quality emulsions.
TMax is the slowest of their three remaining films, a very fine film with a superb range of tones and excellent sharpness.
This is a great travel and street photography film, given its biting contrast.
Best for: Travel, portraits, street photography, fine art
For those who don’t quite want the chalk-and-charcoal contrast of Kodak’s legendary Tri-X, TMax 400 is an alternative emulsion from the American giant.
Using the same formulation as it’s slower cousin, TMax 100, TMax 400 is a surprisingly fine-grained film given its ISO.
This is an excellent film – perhaps not as classic in its feel as Tri-X, But then few films are.
Best for: Street photography, travel, portraits, reportage
Arguably the most well-regarded black-and-white film ever made. Kodak’s Tri-X came out in 1957 and has soldiered on – with a slight rejig of its formulation notwithstanding – pretty much unchanged ever since.
Tri-X’s box speed is 400, but that is only the doorway; it’s unlikely any other film takes as kindly to push processing.
Tri-X’s grain is atmospheric but not over the top, while its range is exceptional – blacks on Tri-X have incredible depth.
Along with Ilford’s HP5, this is the best all-purpose black-and-white film around today.
Best for: Street photography, travel, reportage, documentary, music, portraits
See more: This is a much-loved film, and there’s a tonne of great examples online. Read this brilliant piece by Bryan Appleyard in the Economist’s 1843 magazine. Plus, there’s more than 570,000 pics on Flickr.
The cheapest 100-speed colour negative film on the market, this film is really good vale when bought as a three-pack; it can be had through Lomography’s store for around £10 in the UK – that’s a little over £3 a roll.
A brighter and more saturated film than Kodak’s Ektar 100, CN100 resembles Agfa’s fondly remembered Ultra 100. It’s fine-grained and has eye-popping colours. Just which emulsion it is is a mystery – it might be the recently discontinued Kodak ProFoto 100.
This is the best camera to use in Lomo LC-As and similar compacts – at least until the new Kodak Ektachrome is released.
Best for: Travel, street photography, Lomography
See more: Many thousands of photos to sift through on Lomography.
Another negative film from the toy camera empire, this is a staple for much of the 35mm Lomography toy camera stable.
This 400-speed film is probably a Kodak film (Lomography keeps coy about its rebadged film) and has relatively rich colour and pronounced grain. It’s a good option for toy and vintage cameras.
Like CN100 it’s very good value for money – packs of three cost little more than £10.
Best for: Lomography, travel, street
See more: The Lomography site has an archive of images taken on this film.
Like CN400, it’s thought this low-light staple is a Kodak film.
This is s great option for working with toy cameras or compacts in low light, but be warned – the grain can be intense, especially if the film is pushed. It scans well however.
Available at a little more than £6 a roll in three-film packs, however, this is very good value. Just don’t expect Portrait 800 results.
Best for: Lomography, music, parties, low-light photography
See more: Explore many images from the Lomography community.
Earl Grey 100
The lower-speed version of Lomography’s black-and-white films, the received wisdom is that this film is a rebadged version of Kodak’s TMax 100, at least in the 35mm version.
Best for: Travel, street photography, fine art, portraits
See more: Earl Grey 100 pics from the members of Lomography.com.
Lady Grey 400
Another rebadged version of another company’s product, Lady Grey looks and feels like Fomapan 400. Available in three packs rather than individual rolls, like most of Lomography’s films.
Best for: Portraits, travel, street photography, reportage
See more: Lomography community’s pictures taken on the Lady Grey 400 film.
LomoChrome Purple 100-400
A film photographers will either love or loathe. This film has an over-riding purple cast that colours everything with shades of violet. Think cross-processed Velvia but way more intense. Definitely a film for sunny-day experiments, as the film benefits from strong light to add saturation to the purple.
Best for: Lomography, toy cameras, travel
See more: The pick of the purple on Lomography.com.
Redscale XR 50-200
Another curious experimental film from Lomography, this ‘redscale’ negative film changes properties depending on the ISO you shoot it at. Shoot it at ISO 50 and it looks more like the muted palette of an early colour film, with a slight red overtone. Bump the ISO up to 200, and the film’s characteristics change completely – it gets a rich redscale tone that can look fantastic in strong light. It’s not a film to be used for every occasion, but at the right time, right place this effect can be really compelling.
Best for: Travel, Lomography, toy cameras
See more: The Lomography archive has plenty of examples
Xpro Chrome 200
The best new-stock film currently available for cross-processing, this film gives the closest approximation to the saturated colours, rich contrast and atmospheric grain that could be gained from souping Kodak slide films and the wonderful original Agfa CT100 Precisa in negative chemicals.
When shot as a slide (this is the old Agfa RSX 200 film) this film gets a yellow/green cast – shoot it xpro for the best results. I’ve been really impressed with the film in strong sunlight.
This film is the same emulsion as Rollei CR200 (see below).
Best for: Travel, Lomography
See more: Lomography’s ever-gorwing archive is the best place to find pics.
A film hat came about from Kodak’s investment in the burgeoning 35mm film market in the 1990s, SHD100 is an old-fashioned looking black-and-white film that might be just the ticket for photographers wanting a film with lower contrast and a more ethereal look.
The film lacks an anti-halation coating in the film base – which means strong light sources can have a fogging effect on the film. SHD100 also isn’t a very contrasty film – this is not a film to use if you’re looking for something with biting blacks like Fuji Acros 100.
This film was unavailable for some time but production seems to have started up again – the effect of 2017’s resurgence in film interest, perhaps?
Best for: Lomography, travel, toy cameras
See more: A wealth of pics, nearly 9,000, on Flickr.
Oriental Seagull 100
This film caused something of a stir when it was announced – for the Japanese market only – last year. But it’s not a Japanese-made film – rather it’s made for the Japanese company Cyber Graphics by Harman Technology, the home of Ilford films.
Oriental Seagull 100 is thought to be a reworked version of Harman’s Kentmere 100, possibly with some minor changes to the formula. Those who have shot it report it’s virtually identical.
Best for: Travel, Lomography, street photography, fine art
Oriental Seagull 400
Another film made for the Japanese market for Cyber Graphics, and – surprise surprise – actually a film from the UK. Like it’s 100-speed cousin, Orinetal Seagull 100, this film is made by Ilford-makers Harman Technologies, and is thought to be a slightly revamped version of their budget emulsion Kentmere 400.
This film is hard to find outside Japan, so you might be better stumping up for Kentmere 400, which is, after all, virtually identical.
Best for: Travel, street photography, Lomography
Orwo stands for Original Wolfen – a photography company from the very chilliest days of the Cold War.
Orwo was the Agfa of East Germany, producing a range of films for the Warsaw Pact market – and further afield too. In the 1970s and 80s, budget-minded Western photographers often chose Orwo Chrome slide films instead of the pricier Agfa and Kodak varieties.
Orwo’s old film formulas are currently being distributed by Orwo US, in ‘bespoke’ style hand-rolled cassettes. The films are still made in Germany, but only as 35mm motion picture film, so needs to be reformatted for stills cameras.
N74+ is a 400-ISO version, with really fine grain and fantastic contrast.
Best for: Street photography, travel, portraits, documentary
See more: Nearly 4,000 pictures to be found on Flickr.
Another of the hand-rolled ORWO films back on the market for still cameras, this is a 100-speed emulsion. Like N74+, this film has also been rolled in canisters for still photographers, and isn’t exactly easy to find in shops – you’re better off going via their website.
This film has glowing testimonials from some photographers, thanks to its fine grain, sharpness and contrast. Bear in mind that specks and slight emulsion damage may be more prominent in these films, because motion picture stock doesn’t go through the same quality control as dedicated stills film.
Best for: Travel, street photography, fine art
See more: More than 3,500 images so far on Flickr.
Revelog is a manufacturer of special effect films, colour films that are overlaid with shapes and effects that reward experimental shooting. The 200_ISo negative films – probably Fuji Superia 200 – feature different designs. The range is as follows:
460nm: Pictures have either a green/yellow or a violet/blue cast on them.
600nm: Pictures have wither a reddish or blueish cast depending on how it’s developed and scanned.
Kolor: This film has a rainbow of colour gradients from red to violet, with the effects more dramatic if the film is underexposed.
Lazer: This film shows green and blue lines – like laser bolts from sci-fi movies
Plexus: An overlaid pattern – much like a mosaic across the film.
Rasp: Row of coloured lines that run across the picture.
Streak: Streaks that make it look like the picture is being viewed through a scratched window.
Tesla I: Blue-white flashes of lightning across the picture.
Tesla II: Red lightning-like flashes across the picture.
Texture: A bubble-like structure across the image.
Volvox: Bright green dots of differing sizes across the frame.
Exactly the same as Lomography’s Xpro 200, and believed to be Agfa’s old RSX 200 emulsion.
Unless you’re a big fan of greens and yellow casts on your slide films, cross process it.
Best for: Travel, Lomography
See more: See the Lomography Xpro 200 entry
One of the finest-grained films still available today, Ortho 25 is a low ISO film designed for technical photography such as copying and reproduction.
This film will either need bags of light or a tripod; that said the grain is almost infinitesimal, making it a perfect choice for fine art and still life photographers.
Best for: fine art, still life, portraits
This medium speed black-and-white film is touted as having much more silver in its formulation, giving it strong contrast.
It’s a reworked version of Agfa’s Aviphot Pan 80, and has slight IR qualities. The panchromatic coating means it’s good for cutting through haze in landscapes.
Grain is restrained and this film has a great tonal rendition.
Best for: Travel, portraits, street photography, landscapes
See more: A decent review with plenty of examples from Mr Leica.com, plus over 1,000 pics on Flickr.
Another film that used to available under another name – in this case, Agfa Aviphot 200, apparently.
This is anything other than just another black-and-white film. It’s a low-contrast, semi-infrared film optimised for scanning. Aviation films usually had IR properties in order to cut through he green of foliage.
This isn’t as quite as contrasty as the Retro 80, but still has an impressive range of tones and a definite contrast look. It’s believed that this film is also the same emulsion as Rollei’s Infrared IR400. Shoot green foliage with this film with a red filter and you’ll be treated to bright, bright white instead of green.
Best for: Travel, landscape, street photography
A surprise when it was announced in June, Vario Chrome is thought to be a treated version of CR200, and one able to be shot at different ISOs – 200, 320 and 400.
Maco Direct, which packages the film, says that if you’re planning on projecting it shoot it at 200, and if you’re scanning it shoot it at 400.
There’s not many sample photos available yet, as the film has only been out a few months, but the film looks interesting – desaturated, with a greenish cast. It will be interesting to see what it looks like cross-processed, especially with the differing speeds.
Best for: Travel, street photography, Lomography
See more: A little more than a hundred pics on Flickr at the moment, but that is likely to change.
This list is subject to change – espeically thanks to feedback from fellow film users. Let me know others that have fallen off the list. Thanks for reading.
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