Five more great film stocks
This week we're back with five more film stock recommendations for you! Shooting on analogue opens up so many different routes and techniques to try, and one of the easiest ways to experiment with your photography is through trying different film stock. If you missed the previous post running you through five other alternatives, you can find it here.
Photo by Mohamed Hassan
Kodak Portra 160
- Portra 160 is a versatile film, perfect for both portraits and landscapes.
- As with all Portra films, you're going to get that clean and professional look, with little grain.
- Colours are beautiful and soft with this and it promises delicate and natural tones, whilst still packing a punch. However, 160 does lack the dynamic range of Porta 400 and 800 film, so bear in mind that you wont be getting the same flexibility with this stock.
- Portra 160 also has slightly softer contrast.
- It shoots best at box speed, in very bright sunlight - when underexposed you get more red and brown tones, whilst overexposure causes much stronger colours, and unflattering rendition of skin tones.
- If you like the superior image quality of the Portra line, but want something a bit softer and less saturated than the other films, 160 is definitely worth a try.
Photo by @r_h_y_ss
Kodak Ektar 100
- Kodak Ektar is a mid-priced, 100 ISO film.
- Described by Kodak as having “the World’s Finest Grain,” it lives up to the hype, with ultra fine detail and a neutral to warm tone.
- Remarkably sharp, saturated and vibrant.
- With a large dynamic range, on the most part colour rendition is very true to life, with it picking up greens, reds and blues particularly well. It does seem to have a habit of blue shadows.
- The one thing you do need to keep in mind with Ektar is how it captures people - some avoid it for portrait work because of its saturation and tendency to add a red or orange cast to skin tones.
- This is a great professional standard film, with bright, vivid colours and lots of detail. It's affordable, and definitely one to try if you want to capture some beautiful landscapes.
Photo by @mateuszych
Kodak Gold 200
- Gold 200 is another one of Kodak’s consumer range films, sitting between Colorplus and Portra/Ektar.
- Kodak Gold has really warm, nostalgic tones, and particularly brings out reds and yellows - one reviewer described its vintage quality as reminiscent of childhood holidays.
- Lots of photographers love it for an old school, natural grain that give your photos that sharp, vintage look.
- Colours are bright and skin tones natural - this was created for everyday situations so you're going to get a well-rounded film for photos with nice contrast.
- Another feature of Gold is its clarity - lots of people pick it up for its sharpness at a relatively low price.
Black & White
Photo by @hawnfawn
- This is a bit of a different black and white film option, and is particularly great if you develop your film at a lab, as it is processed using the C-41 method (which is usually just for colour).
- It has incredible range, and you can actually shoot XP2 at anything between ISO 50 and ISO 800 on the same roll, and still get great images, which is perfect for changing light conditions.
- Provides detailed shadows and highlights - it's very difficult to blow the highlights or lose the shadows with this, so you can create amazing and dramatic high contrast images.
- Sharp, with incredible mid-tones, it also has a fine, even grain.
- It's affordable (especially considering it can be developed using C-41 method, which tends to be cheaper), produces smooth images and is incredible flexible and versatile, a great black and white film to get started with.
- For a really contrasty look, shoot at 800 ISO, for more smooth contrast and tones, XP2 is best shot at 200 ISO.
Photo by @d_tsalmidis-2
- A less well-known brand, Foma has a bit of a cult following amongst photographers.
- Fomapan 400 is excellent value for money, almost half the price of Ilford stocks.
- This film has strong, punchy contrast, giving a slightly gritty look.
- The grain is definitely apparent, but it's not overbearing, and adds to the organic feel of the film.
- Fomapan is the film stock to go for if you want some character. It's not going to capture every fine detail, but it does give you that grungy, old school pattern.
- Fomapan does have a tendency to create halation. This is when you get a glowing highlight around light sources and the brightest areas of your photo. You may like this effect, but if not, go for the 35mm film, as halation seems to be more common with the 120 film.
- Some people claim Fomapan 400 is the same film as Lomography's Lady Grey, another popular black and white stock. They are both produced by the Foma Bohemia plant and share the same developing times so if you can't get hold of one, it might be worth seeing if the other is available for you to try!
Background photo by @sti_in and architecture photo by @olgasecerov
Cover photo by @linds_cantrell
Author : Becca Knight