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How-to's Accessories Reviews

FAQs - What film to use

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)


Keywords: film, non_nikon, faq

Show pages (10 Pages)
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.
 
Film

 

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.

 

COLOR SLIDE FILM

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.


BLACK & WHITE

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.


SPECIAL PURPOSE FILM

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.


PREFERENCES

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.

 


Color negative film preferences

Fu dogs? © JRP

 Fu dogs?  No, prehispanic Mexican temple guard dogs replicas, now in my garden
Konica Centuria 200, Nikon F4s, 75-300mm f/4.5-5.6 Zoom Nikkor

 

 

Specs Konica Impresa 50
Finest grain film I've found with highest level of sharpness too.
Impressive color tonal range.
Professional quality prints without special processing. Use a tripod.

© JRP

Product data

Fujicolor Superia Reala 100 (CS)
A consumer film, nevertheless ...
Just great, IMO best in this speed.
Outstanding grain, sharpness and color. For outdoors under bright light and/or flash. Good for portraits.

© JRP

Download data sheet

Fujicolor NPS 160 Professional
For portraits and weddings
For daylight or electronic flash
Good natural colors and smooth skin
Good detail with fine grain even
under mixed lighting.

© Michael Koska

See specs

Konica Centuria Super 200
Bright color reproduction even with flash. Razor sharp images with very good grain. General purpose film, for action photos under bright light. IMO, best of the new Centuria Super line (100, 200, 400, 800 & 1600).

© J. Ramón Palacios (JRP)

See specs

Agfacolor Optima Prestige 400 Pro
Rich colors but improved accurate color rendition, sharpness & grain, for enlargements. Very good shadows detail. IMO best for action photos & available light photography in this speed.

© Wolfgang Berroth

Download Data Sheet

Fujicolor NPH 400 Professional
Another portrait & wedding favorite
Moderate saturation for
Good neutral skin tones
Impressive gradation
For daylight or flash

A good complement to NPS 160.

© Schlomo Cohen

See specs

Fujicolor Portrait NPZ 800 Pro
Very fine grain. Accurate, natural color. Enhanced color contrast and saturation. For available & mixed light photography. Fresh, natural skin tones.  Very wide exposure latitude.

© JRP


. Color negative bright light film list

JRP

 

 

KONICA IMPRESA 50 Professional Accurate color. Best grain. Big hit with pros in Japan. Impressive shadows.
AGFACOLOR OPTIMA PRESTIGE 100 PRO Very good color fidelity, high saturation
Fine grain and sharpness, pro film
AGFACOLOR ULTRA 100 The most color saturated consumer
negative film. For hazy, misty landscapes
AGFACOLOR VISTA 100 Improved color rendition, grain
and sharpness, consumer film
FERRANIA SOLARIS 100 Recently improved image quality
and saturation, consumer film
FUJICOLOR SUPERIA REALA 100 (CS) Extremely accurate color even under
mixed lighting. Great grain & sharpness
FUJICOLOR SUPERIA 100 (CN) Brilliant colors
Very good reds and purples
KODAK GOLD 100 (GA) Improved colorful consumer film
Relabeled as consumer "Bright Sun Film"
KODAK PROFESSIONAL ULTRA COLOR (UC) Vivid color saturation and fine grain
Pleasing skin tones and good latitude
KONICA CENTURIA SUPER 100 Vivid color saturation
Very sharp and fine grain
AGFACOLOR PORTRAIT XPS 160 Pro Soft colors, excellent skin tones, soft 
contrast with great range - For portraits
FUJICOLOR NPC 160 PROFESSIONAL Enhanced contrast, good saturation
Natural skin tones - For portraits
FUJICOLOR NPS 160 PROFESSIONAL Great sharpness and fine grain
Realistic skin colors - For portraits
KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 160 NC Natural colors even under
mixed lighting - For portraits
KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 160 VC Vivid colors with very good 
image quality - For portraits
KONICA COLOR PROFESSIONAL 160 Faithful skin tones, greater sharpness
Finer grain - For portraits
AGFACOLOR VISTA 200 Improved color saturation,
grain and sharpness consumer film
AGFACOLOR OPTIMA PRESTIGE 200 PRO Accurate color, normal contrast
Great sharpness and pro image quality
FERRANIA SOLARIS 200 Good all purpose consumer film
Good grain, sharpness & color
FUJICOLOR SUPERIA 200 (CA) Terrific sharpness & and color
accuracy even under mixed lighting
KODAK GOLD 200 (GB) Vivid colors, for overcast days
Relabeled as "Bright Sun & Flash Film"
KODAK HIGH DEFINITION 200 (HDC) Possibly repackaging of Royal Gold 200
Very good amateur film for portraits
KONICA CENTURIA SUPER 200 Wide latitude, bright colors
Fine grain, great sharpness

. Color negative action film list

Keystone, Colorado


 

AGFACOLOR VISTA 400 Improved consumer film
Good color reproduction and grain
AGFACOLOR OPTIMA PRESTIGE 400 PRO Natural, rich, realistic colors; very
fine grain. Impressive sharpness
FERRANIA SOLARIS 400 Good consumer film
with new technology
FUJICOLOR SUPERIA X-TRA 400 (CH) Saturated but natural colors
Crisp contrast
FUJICOLOR PRESS 400 PROFESSIONAL Improved sharpness and grain
Very good colors
FUJICOLOR PROFESSIONAL 400 NPH Recommended for weddings,
for portraits and commercial
KODAK HIGH DEFINITION 400 (HDC) Saturated color with fine grain
Amateur film
KODAK MAX VERSATILITY 400 (GC) Very good P&S
consumer film
KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400 NC Natural Colors. Good for portraits,
weddings and fashion
KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400 VC Vivid colors, excellent flesh tones
Good images for outdoor portraits
KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400 UC Like the VC above but
with extra saturation
KODAK PROF. ULTRA COLOR 400 UC Vivid color saturation with fine grain
Sharp with wide latitude
KONICA CENTURIA SUPER 400 Very good image quality
Very nice colors

. Color negative low light film list

 

© Len Dixon - Fuji Portrait NPZ 800 Pro


 

AGFACOLOR VISTA 800 Good grain, color
Consumer film
FERRANIA SOLARIS 800 Good grain
P&S film
FUJICOLOR PORTRAIT NPZ 800 PRO Great for portraits and weddings
Wide latitude, natural skin colors
FUJICOLOR PRESS 800 PROFESSIONAL Improved all around film
Popular with news photographers
FUJICOLOR SUPERIA X-TRA 800 Great images
Can be pushed to ISO 1600
KODAK MAX VERSATILITY PLUS 800 Increased latitude
For P&S photography
KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 800 Exceptionally fine grain, exposure latitude, 
sharpness, color saturation and skin tones
KONICA CENTURIA SUPER 800 Natural color rendition even under 
mixed lighting, slightly unsaturated
FUJICOLOR SUPERIA 1600 Great color saturation
and image quality for its speed
FUJICOLOR PRESS 1600 PRO Well recommended for low-light &
fast action under mixed lighting
KONICA CENTURIA SUPER 1600 Suitable for sports and astral photos,
performs well under fluorescent lights

 

Agfa Fuji
Ilford Kodak Konica

 

Agfa, Ferrania, Fujifilm, Ilford, Kodak and Konica, are registered trademarks.
All product images in this article Courtesy of the corresponding manufacturer.


Color reversal or slide film preferences
Film

 

 

Read Bo\'s review

Fujichrome Velvia 50 Professional (RVP)
Ultra fine grain and sharpness

Vivid color saturation
It can be safely pushed to EI 100
For better results use a sturdy tripod
Not generally recommended for portraiture
Works best for landscapes and architecture

© Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs)

Velvia 100F


Fujichrome Velvia 100F Pro (RVP 100F)
Ultra fine grain and sharpness
Improved skin tones over those of Velvia 50
Better shadow detail
Most impressive for landscapes

© See a pro\'s comment

Fujichrome Provia 100F Pro (RDPIII)
New generation of daylight type slide film

Finest grain in color reversal emulsions today 
Ideal for a wide range of professional applications, from product photography and landscapes to portraits and fashion work

© Sharon Legger Gottula

E100VS features Kodak Professional Ektachrome E100VS
Dramatic hues 

Vivid saturation
Natural skin tones
Use this film if you really want to know what your camera-lens combination is capable of

© John McDermott

Agfachrome pro slide films Agfachrome RSX II 200 Professional
Fine grain

Natural colors
Excellent saturation
Beautiful detail
For tricky lighting situations and flash

© D. Dever (f5fstop)

See specs

Fujichrome Provia 400F Pro (RHPIII)
Finest grain in a high speed slide film 

Vivid and accurate color reproduction
Good saturation with smooth, rich tonal
scale from highlights to shadows

copyright Adriel Heisel


 

Film


 

AGFACHROME RSX II 50 Professional Good saturation
Great sharpness and detail
FUJICHROME VELVIA 50 Professional (RVP) Excellent vivid color scenics
Very popular with pros
KODAK EKTACHROME 64 Professional (EPR) Bright colors. For landscapes
& daylight portraits
KODACHROME 64 (KR) Excellent quality image
Wide latitude, sharp
KODACHROME 64 Professional (PKR) Great color balance
when processed immediately
AGFACHROME CT PRECISA 100 Sharp, intense color brilliance
Very good grain consumer film
AGFACHROME RSX II 100 Professional Very sharp, fine grain
Good color saturation and tones
FERRANIA SOLARIS CHROME 100 Good color saturation and grain
Sharp consumer film
FUJICHROME ASTIA 100F Professional (RAP 100F) Natural delicate hues, true skin tones and saturated colors
FUJICHROME PROVIA 100F Professional (RDPIII) The finest grainedpictorial film today
FUJICHROME SENSIA 100 (RA) Nice skin tones & fine detail
Replaced the Sensia II
FUJICHROME VELVIA 100F Professional Very good for landscapes, better shadow detail than the 50 classic
KODAK ELITE CHROME 100 (EB) Vibrant colors, pleasing skin tones
Excellent amateur film
KODAK ELITE CHROME EXTRA 100 (EBX) As the one above but w/higher
sharpness. Crisp contrast
KODAK EKTACHROME 100 Professional (EPN) Cool neutral
color balance
KODAK EKTACHROME 100 Plus Professional (EPP) Enhanced color saturation
over the above
KODAK EKTACHROME E100G Professional Very fine grain
Extended tonal range
KODAK EKTACHROME E100GX Professional Same as above
except warmer
KODAK EKTACHROME E100VS Professional Dramatic, vivid yet natural colors.
Very sharp
KONICA CHROME R-100 Good color, grain, detail,
contrast and stability
AGFACHROME CT PRECISA 200 Accurate colors, fine grain,
although a bit less sharp
AGFACHROME RSX II 200 Professional Excellent general purpose film
of the RSX II family. Pushable.
FUJICHROME SENSIA 200 (RM) Very good for slide projection,
natural colors
KODAK ELITE CHROME 200 (ED) Enhanced colors, sharpness
Pleasing tones
KODAK EKTACHROME E200 Professional Rich colors, great sharpness
Very fine grain, pushable to 800
KODACHROME 200 (PKL) Professional Very sharp, good colors
No latitude at all
FUJICHROME PROVIA  400F Pro (RHPIII) For indoors and mixed lighting
or twilight
FUJICHROME SENSIA 400 (RH) Similar to the Provia,
for the mass markets
KODAK ELITE CHROME 400 (EL) A fine film
for low daylight
KODAK EKTACHROME 400X Professional (EPL) Exceptional sharpness, warm
For low light action
KODAK EKTACHROME P1600 Professional (EPH) Pushable, from ISO 400 to 3200
with reported good results
 
"T" slide film, for 3200°K Tungsten light:  
FUJICHROME 64T II Professional (RTP II) Ideal for copy and portrait work
under tungsten lighting
KODAK EKTACHROME 64T Professional (EPY) Fine studio film
For long exposures
KODAK EKTACHROME 160T Professional (EPT) Excellent image quality
and color rendition
KODAK ELITE CHROME 160T (ET) Very good image quality
Amateur version of EPT
KODAK EKTACHROME 320T Professional (EPJ) For shooting in TV & movie sets
Grainer

Black & white film preferences

 

Premio Nacional de Fotografía 1957

 The Cuitzeo lake in the state of Michoacan, Mexico

 

 

Agfa Pan APX 100 Professional
All purpose film 
Wide exposure latitude 
Very good for flash/strobes
Very fine grain 
High sharpness

She

To Ilford\'s B&W page Ilford Delta 100
Medium speed
Extremely fine grain
Outstanding sharpness
For pictorial and fine art photography
Great for architecture

© Anthony Suau

Kodax Tri-X 400 Pan (TX)
Excellent gradation & brilliant highlights
Medium contrast
For moderate degree of enlargement
Wide exposure latitude
For action, considered a classic film
Best results when shot at ISO 320

Russo - the last of my Siberian Huskies

To Ilford\'s B&W page Ilford XP2 Super 400 (C-41 process)
Enhanced negative contrast, sharp and fine grain, with very wide exposure latitude
For action and landscapes; printed in color paper renders a sepia tone 
Usually not recommended for portraits

The San Pedro valley

FUJI NEOPAN 1600 Professional
For those needing the speed 
Works very well in terms of grain,
gradation and speed
Best when shot from ISO 400 to 1600
Can be pushed to 3200

© Michele Celentano

KODAK T-MAX P3200 Professional
Film speed is EI 800 to 50,000 pushed
Best results at ISO 3200
Wide exposure latitude
Excellent sharpness, shadow detail
and fine grain
Develop in total darkness

Back


Black & white film list
 

History Museum - Queretaro, Mexico

History Museum at Queretaro, Mexico.

 

 

 

KODAK TECHNICAL PAN 25

Sharpest and virtually no grain
Low latitude. Use tripod
ILFORD PAN F PLUS 50 Ultrafine grain and excellent sharpness
Use a tripod
AGFAPAN APX 100 Excellent image quality
and tonal range
FORTEPAN 100 Wide exposure latitude
For mixed lighting
FUJI NEOPAN ACROS 100 Very good graduation, very sharp
Very fine grain
ILFORD DELTA 100 PROFESSIONAL Exceptional fine grain
Tremendous sharpness
ILFORD PAN 100 Outstanding tonal rendition
Fine grain and high contrast & sharpness
KODAK T-MAX 100 Very good grain and resolution
Also for B&W slides
ILFORD FP4 PLUS 125 Widest latitude. Fine grain & sharpness
for conventional technology
KODAK PLUS-X 125 A veteran mid range
With wide latitude
AGFAPAN APX 200 S PROFESSIONAL Heightened sensitivity to the red
For dramatic clouds
FORTEPAN 200 More grainy and less sharp
than the slower Fortepan 100
ILFORD SFX 200 Almost infrared
Better results with a red filter
AGFAPAN APX 400 Another veteran
Sharper than Kodak's Tri-X
AGFAPAN APX 400 S PROFESSIONAL Very sensitive to the red
A popular film for surveilance
FORTEPAN 400 Good for high contrast
Wide latitude
FUJI NEOPAN 400 PROFESSIONAL Can be pushed up to ISO 3200
General purpose
ILFORD HP5 400 PLUS Like the film above
Minor differences
ILFORD DELTA 400 PROFESSIONAL Splendid detail, great shadows.
Looks like an ISO 100 film
ILFORD PAN 400 Fine grain for its speed, great tonal rendition high contrast and sharpness
ILFORD XP2 SUPER 400 B&W in color (C-41) processing
Great (sepia) image quality
KODAK BLACK & WHITE + 400 Another C-41 processing film
To be printed on B&W paper
KODAK PROFESSIONAL PORTRA 400BW One more C-41 processing film
Can be printed on color papers
KODAK TRI-X 400 A classsic. Splendid tonality.
IMHO, best results at ISO 320
KODAK T-MAX 400 Good latitude
General purpose film
KODAK T-MAX T400 CN Another C-41 processing film
For printing on B&W paper
KONICA MONOCHROME VX400 Like the film above
High quality
FUJI NEOPAN 1600 PROFESSIONAL Excellent grain and sharpness
for its speed
ILFORD 3200 DELTA PROFESSIONAL A good ISO 1250 film
Pushable to 3200
KODAK T-MAX P3200 Pushable up to ISO 50,000
Works best from 3200 to 6400

 

Film

 

 

 

KODAK HIGH SPEED INFRARED Fairly grainy
Moderate high contrast at ISO 25
KODAK EKTACHROME INFRARED EIR Requires filter & special processing
ISO 100 with red filter, 40 with green filter
KODAK EKTACHROME EDUPE Produces duplicates for Kodachrome and
Ektachrome, very fine grain and sharpness
KONICA INFRARED 750nm Fine grained, great for landscapes
at ISO 100 and red filter No 25
AGFA SCALA 200X For B&W slides ISO 200
Needs special processing
KODAK INTERNEGATIVE SO-320 For negatives for prints from 
Kodachrome and Ektachrome
KODAK VERICOLOR SLIDE SO-279 For reverse text slides
from color negatives

To further explore these or any other film that I could have missed, search fro these brand names:

Agfa
Fuji
Ilford
Kodak
Konica

Agfa, Ferrania, Fujifilm, Ilford, Kodak and Konica, are registered trademarks.
All product pictures in this article Courtesy of the corresponding manufacturer.

 

(2 Votes )
Show pages (10 Pages)

Originally written on October 29, 2005

Last updated on December 19, 2017

J. Ramon Palacios J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

San Pedro Garza García, Mexico
Admin, 46140 posts

2 comments

Andrew Robinson (asrobbie) on July 6, 2014

Really interesting lists. I'm getting back into film and this will save a lot of trial and error, and cost. Thank you!

Emory Hall (ehall) on January 24, 2013

Will be in this fine article again and again, what a labor of love. thank you Ramon.

G