Once again, this is one of the most common questions we see at photography forums. Both by beginners and even advanced amateurs. It is not easy to keep up with all the film offerings, even now. Yet, infrequently there is a site that offers a thorough, easy-to-follow, complete guide to select among the more than 115 possible choices we fortunately still have for 35 mm photography. This is our contribution in that direction in the hope it proves itself useful to fellow Nikonians.
-- ADVERTISEMENT --
COLOR NEGATIVE FILM
Color negative film, for prints, is the most frequently used as it allows us to easily share copies with friends and relatives; also, it is very forgiving of errors in exposure, although it makes one a hostage of the printer technicians at the lab, their inconsistent training level and varying mood. Finding a good lab is not an easy task, frequently even when you move up the costs ladder from the corner store shop into pro labs. If you find one good shop, treasure it, they are fast becoming an endangered species. Of course you can always resort to scanning your negatives and do your own printing at home.
If you really want to know what your specific combination of camera and lens can do, you should try slides, that is, color reversal film. Best way to check your meter BTW, as it has a narrower latitude than color print film; that is, it is much less forgiving of exposure mistakes.
And for the artistic side on each of us, we have to do black and white, at least from time to time. By eliminating the distraction of color, it forces us to really see a subject, compose and expose for the detail we want, whether in the highlights or in the shadows. It is challenging and fun.
If you have the time and enjoy experimentation, you should also try special purpose films like the infrared. At times even more challenging than B&W.
We all have diverse preferences, are always learning, and the manufacturers too; however, there is a certain degree of common agreement in what seems to work best under general conditions and for specific purposes. This pages include sample pictures with each film mentioned in the preferences and links to those of professional and outstanding amateur photographers that use them regularly. When this is not possible I use one of mine.
So here it is, a mix of my the most agreed upon as best films by many Nikonians, both professionals and outstanding amateurs, and my own personal choices, arranged by type and speed for 35 mm.
Note: As new film comes into the market, we try to keep up with the new entries as soon as possible. Bear in mind we do this for fun.