Five of the best film stocks
One of the great things about shooting film is the flexibility and multitude of options available to you through different films stocks. One camera can produce a series of photos that look completely different just by switching out to a different roll of film. We’ve put together a review of five of the most popular options, including examples of how people have shot them.
Remember that the same brand of film won’t produce exactly the same results for all photographers - there are many factors that come into play to affect how the final photo comes out. Have fun experimenting to find out what works best for your camera, subject and preferred style.
Photo by @jonnoclifford
- A community favourite, Portra 400 is loved by many for its sharp, professional quality.
- Muted colours and warm tones give that vintage film feel.
- Designed for portraits so keeps skin tones looking natural.
- The film is also outstanding with landscapes, is a great in between, can handle different settings and light situations really well, both in and outside.
- Quite a forgiving film and remarkably consistent.
- Lovely mix of resolution and grain.
- Does great with overexposure.
Photo by @analogview
- A perfect option for beginners, Colorplus is cheap and really easy to get hold of. You get a lot for what you're paying for, which is why it's such a great film to start practicing on.
- Works best when on a sunny day with lots of available light, otherwise you can start to lose some detail in the shadows.
- Slightly soft, muted colours, not the best option if you like lots of saturation.
- Produces a very classic, nostalgic look, not as flexible as other more professional film stocks but much cheaper and boasts those lovely desaturated tones.
- Renders blue tones particularly well, a perfect option if you want to capture soft blue skies and seas.
- Greens are fairly muted, whilst yellows and reds are vibrant without being too loud.
- Skin tones also come up nice.
- Can get pretty grainy.
Photo by Analogue Wonderland
- Superia produces a much rougher grain, with strong contrast.
- The main difference can be found in how it handles colour, with much more punchy, saturated tones.
- Fujifilm is known for blues and greens - when shooting Superia greens are highly saturated, which is great for natural landscapes, and shadows adopt a more greenish tone.
- Blues are pretty true to colour and balanced, particularly in warm light.
- Reds really pop, hence why it's not often the best for portrait work - adds pinkish, ruddy tones to skin colours, which can look slightly unflattering.
- Covers all the bases, is functional, easy to find and is a relatively cheap, yet quality option.
Black and White
Photo by @juno10682
- One of the best selling films in the UK market, Ilford HP5 is a favourite for many, and a go-to for black and white film.
- Produces really great results - black and white is more forgiving anyway, but this reliable film is perfect for beginners.
- Handles rough treatment and being pushed and pulled to suit the needs of the photographer really well.
- Strong contrast and character.
- Ideal choice if you want to add intensity, picks up lots of detail and has a fine grain.
- Some shots can come out a little flat but in the right environments can still get that lovely contrast.
Photo by Parallax Photographic Coop
- Tri-X is much grittier and granier than HP5, been described as 'utilitarian' and 'otherworldly'.
- Despite the rough grain it still holds on to lots of detail and boasts really sharp contrast.
- Super versatile, used by lots of photojournalists and renowned for street photography - was the reporter's film of choice when film photography was still being used in mainstream press.
- Tri-X is flexible and easily manipulated during shooting and/or processing to produce the results you're after.
Author : Becca Knight