Best film: our picks of the best 35mm film, roll film, and sheet film for your camera

Here’s a collection of the top films that you can purchase with 35mm film, medium format, and large format.

Deciding which is the right film for you is difficult when there are many choices available. There are a variety of sizes, but every film comes with its own unique style it. To make things simpler, we’ve put together the top 35mm films roll film, roll film for medium-sized cameras, as well as sheet films for cameras with large formats, so that you can take a dive in (or go back to) the world of analog photography.

In the past few years, we’ve witnessed the return of film photography. There are no longer only professional film shooters purchasing analog cameras as well as film. The curious digital photographers are beginning to investigate the possibilities that film photography has to offer and are discovering that there’s a sense of excitement that you can’t find in digital photography.

The most excellent cameras that are mirrorless along with the most advanced medium-format cameras are fantastic equipment that can offer cutting-edge technology such as Animal Eye AF with Wifi photo transfer as well as the built-in HDR options, having the capability to see images immediately can take away the excitement. It’s romantic film photography and it’s a technique which requires more time than digital photography, but once you’re successful it’s a joy to be able to enjoy.

Digital photography can be more tangible than digital photography, too. It is possible to feel and hear the camera’s movements by winding the film until you hear the satisfying click from the motorized shutter. There are a myriad of film cameras available and you’ll need to make certain you select the right material for the camera. After you’ve picked the appropriate format, you’ll need consider the aesthetic that varies in contrast and color – it’s like deciding on the right Instagram filter you should choose. Certain of the most popular Fujifilm cameras have films simulation modes that are closely based on the most popular films like Velvia as well as Provia.

If you shoot with 35mm cameras (equivalent to the full frame camera in terms of digital photography) or a medium-format camera, or even a big size camera, we’ve collected the top films to purchase for each of these types. From classics of the past to modern and more experimental artisan films There’s plenty to pick from.

For a list of our favorite films, click the format you prefer below and it will guide you to the appropriate page.

Best 35mm films
Best 120 roll film to use with medium-format cameras
Sheet films that are the best for cameras with large-formats

* Also: Best VHS to DVD converters

So, what types of film are available, which cameras can be used and what do you need to look for?

What kinds of films are there?

Film can be divided into three kinds: color negative film the negative black and white film as well as the transparency (slide film).

Film that is color negative is among the most sought-after varieties of film, and is available at specialist camera shops as well as Amazon. The film is made with a process known as C-41 that is accessible in all labs . It’s particularly helpful for digitizing film since it effortlessly handles the orange mask as well as the colors that are negative in color negative.

Negative film in black and white is usually regarded as an artistic choice and is popular with film enthusiasts. Black or white films can be processed at home, which is the reason film students and anyone else who would like to grow their skills might opt to shoot using it. It is possible to develop color film at your home, however it’s a much more complex process.

Transparency film, also known as slide film was once an option of choice for professionals because there was no intermediate printing process that would reduce the quality and make it more expensive. It was also easy to deliver slides to editors or picture libraries. However, this isn’t as popular now, and the variety of transparency films is smaller than it was in the past. Slide film is created with the E-6 process , which is widely available in laboratories.

What kinds of film cameras are available?

Read our huge best film camera for 2021 guide to discover the best cameras for you, but generally they fall into three categories which are 35mm, medium format as well as large-format cameras. 35mm camera have the highest well-known and that’s the one we’ll be starting with. However, medium-format cameras are also in high demand since they have superior quality from larger negatives, and are easier to use for high-quality scanning when using flatbed scanners.

Large-format cameras are tools that are specially designed to be that are used by photographers who are particularly committed. The cameras are huge costly and difficult to install. Film is provided in sheets, and needs to be loaded into holders prior to switching plates out on the spot. Every exposure is an opportunity and that’s part the attraction (that along with the incredible quality of the images) for large-format camera enthusiasts.

Best 35mm film

The number of 35mm films available and it’s difficult to imagine how we can cover the entire range. We’ve selected a few of the most well-known ones that have been through the years as well as some unique newcomers that could totally alter the appearance of your photo. We’ve divided the list into three categories that include color negative black and white, and film with color. 35mm is frequently known as “135” so if you find that number instead be aware that we are talking about 35mm film!


(Image credit: Kodak)

1. Kodak Portra 400 135 36

The vibrant colors and high contrast make this film a choice for film buffs.

Portra 400 is a film that has garnered an ardent following in the film industry due to its ability to shoot under different lighting conditions, and its gorgeously produced grain and shades. The only issue for Kodak Portra 400 is that it’s only available by packs that contain three and five rolls, meaning you’re not able to buy one roll to experiment with (although it is possible to buy single rolls on eBaybut be aware that they be removed from their packaging). It’s high-quality film that we’re almost able to ensure that you will not be disappointed.

2. Kodak Ektar 100 135 36

Modern, sharp, fine-grained and contemporary all-purpose color neg film

Kodak boasts the world’s best grain of the color negative film because of its T-Grain technology. This film also has sharpness and high saturation as well as Kodak declares it is ideal for scanning and expanding. The image quality is ideal for landscape and commercial photography. It’s also less expensive than using transparency film.

3. Kodak Portra 160 Professional 135 36 (pack of 5)

Kodak states that Portra 160 is designed with the finest grain to allow for scanning and enlargement when used in an electronic workflow. It’s the third film within the Portra family (there are Portra 800 and 400 versions as well) and is designed to provide natural and soft skintones and is suitable for all kinds of photography styles, from portraits to fashion photography to commercial photography.


4. Ilford XP2S 135 36

It’s the film that’s black and white that can be developed at the local print shop

Ilford’s XP1 “chromogenic” film created quite an uproar when it first debuted with the intention of giving black and white photographers flexibility of exposure and the easy lab processing of colour negative film with finer, smoother grains than ISO 400 mono films. The new XP2S remains an appealing alternative for 35mm black and white enthusiasts who appreciate latitude but not grain!

5. Kodak TRI-X 400 135mm 36

What are your thoughts on Kodak Tri-X? It was a hit with a generation of war and documentary photographers, it’s quite flexible with regards to variations in exposure and push/pull processing. It creates strong photos with great quality and detail. It might be a little rough and ready for modern tastes however, it has “the look”.(Image credit: Ilford)

6. Ilford HP5 Plus 135 36exp

A classic black-and white choice

Ilford’s latest version of their classic fast filmthat can be developed using traditional black-and-white chemicals. It’s a fantastic all-around film that is ideal for people who are looking to test monochrome, or who are seeking an option that responds very well to processing push in low-light usage.(Image credit: Lomography)

7. The Lomography Lady Grey (3 pack)

A classic black and white option

Lomography is among the primary driving forces behind the revival of film photography. Alongside its own line of exquisitely-designed Lomo camera, the company offers a variety of films. The film is black and white, but has been enhanced with a creative branding, and is available in packs of three rolls.


8. Fujifilm Velvia 50 135 36

The availability is getting less and less however, it’s an excellent drink every person should at least try

Velvia has earned itself a reputation as the most luxurious sharpest, super-saturated, and most stunning transparency in color ever. Kodachrome was once the bearer of this title, but Velvia is a stunningly restrained film by contrast. Many people aren’t a fan of Velvia 50’s vibrant contrasts and colors, but it’s now a cult favorite in Fujifilm’s digital film Simulation modes.

9. Fujifilm Velvia 100 135 36

Similar to Velvia 50 but one stop slower and more user-friendly

Velvia 100 was introduced to be Velvia 50’s more sensible, more useful sister. It’s one f-stop more efficient that makes it an ounce less difficult to use in the event that the lighting isn’t great and the color is maybe a little more natural than Velvia 50’s, however there’s nothing particularly special about the way of a significant improvement. Both films utilize widely-available E-6 processing, in contrast to the other popular film, Kodachrome.

10. Kodak Ektachrome E100 135-36

Supersaturated colors Kodak-style. Now that Kodachrome has gone

The film has recently been renewed by Kodak (the brand new Kodak film-making spin-off that was created following the dissolution of the former company). It has similar ISO classification similar to Velvia 100, but you may notice it has less exaggerated shades. It uses the same generic E-6 transparency processing chemistry, though, so getting your films developed shouldn’t be a problem.Advertisement

More Buyer’s guides for film photography:
* The most excellent 120-roll film
* The top sheet film
The best camera for film for 2021
The top filmscanners in 2021.
* The best darkroom tools: picture enlargers film tanks and trays 

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