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5 Rolls Of Film That Should Be On Your Analog Camera’s Bucket List

By Michelle Bird on July 11th 2014

Film photography has made a huge comeback in recent years. Some photographers have even given up all their digital goods for a full investment in analog. There is a depth in analog that you will never be able to achieve with digital. There are colors and tones that Lightroom presets envy on a daily basis.

Even though it may seem that many photographers are trading-in SD cards for film rolls, film itself is suffering right now. Every couple of months more film stock is lost, and what we have left is only a small fraction; not to mention that it seems impossible to find a decent place to develop film that isn’t 25 miles away from your home.

Pop Photo compiled a list of 12 rolls of film that need to be tried out before the source runs dry, so I’ve gathered 5 of my favorite films that every analog camera should have on its bucket list.

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Kodak Portra 400
Type: Color negative film
Price: $8 per 36 exposure roll
Other speeds: 160, 800

Perfect film if you want that added little extra fine grain of texture, saturated colors and great latitude. If you accidentally over or underexpose the film by a few stops, the Kodak Portra 400 will definitely handle it and still look good. Great film for capturing portraits.

film-photography-Kodak-Portra 400

Photo: Nathan Congleton – Creative Commons

Kodak T-Max 400
Type: Black-and-white negative
Price: $4.95 per 36-exposure roll
Other speeds: 100 and 3200

The fine grain and contrast on the Kodak T-Max 400 gives your crystal clear photos. If you want a more realistic touch with your photography, this would be the go-to black and white film for your spool.


Photo: Sonja – Creative Commons

Kodak Tri-X 400
Type: Black-and-white negative
Price: $4.49 per 36-exposure roll

Kodak Tri-X 400 is a classic film with much versatility, although some might say it’s for film photography students, the Tri-X has nice tonal response, perfect sized grain, and superb contrast. If you want that old-school look, this film will meet all your needs. Now, make sure to use it before it expires, as this one doesn’t create artsy looking photographs after that date.


Photo: StormPetrel1 – Creative Commons

Kodak Ektar 100 
Type: Color negative film
Price: $5.50 per 36-exposure roll

The Kodak Ektar 100 gives out a nice vibrant color, especially in red and blue tones. Go-to film for landscape and architecture photography, your photos will definitely pop. Not a suggested film for beginners to try, as the exposure needs to be spot-on, and doesn’t handle underexposing well. Best to bring a light meter with you when using it.


Photo: Khanh Hmoong – Creative Commons

Lomography Color 100 Negative Film
Type: Color Negative Film
Price: $3 per 36-exposure roll
Other speeds: 400, and 800

Get out and enjoy the sun with the Lomography Color 100 Negative Film, smooth grain and strong contrast of colors. Great experimental film to add flash with, creating some artsy blown-out effects.


Photo: Mike Babiarz – Creative Commons

What rolls of film do you shoot with that you would recommend others to try out?

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Michelle Bird is a Southern California based freelance photographer and writer, with a strong focus on music, editorial and portrait photography. She is the founder and creative force behind the music+culture online blog Black Vinyl Magazine, and can often be found in the photo-pit shooting the latest concerts in town. She has a strong passion for art, exploring, vintage finds and most of all animals. Connect with her through Email,
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Q&A Discussions

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  1. Mark Lloyd

    Fuji Neopan Across 100 is a great film, first time I ever used it I was very happy with the results. I have a habit of overthinking and over researching to find something others recommend then becoming overwhelmed but glad I chose this one. I am a beginner with film and will continue using, this picture was shot with Canon A-1 or Ae-1 program but now have an EOS 3 to continue with my film journey.

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  2. Brian Dietrich

    I really love using Fuji Neopan Acros 100. I used to shoot TMAX 400 all the time but found I really love the look of the Neopan. I also found that when devo the TMAX sometimes had that purple sheen even with Hypo (I’ll admit, it may be my dev skills, any advice?) but never have that issue with the Neopan film. It seems much sharper to me as well. But, no hate for Kodak ,I love the Porta 160 & Ektar 100 films! And I still use TMAX occasionally.

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  3. Ian Moss

    Still love XP2!

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  4. George Corral

    Ilford HP5

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  5. Ralph Hightower

    Kodak Portra 400: Done. Portra 400 is my general purpose film for when I want to shoot color.
    Kodak T-Max 400: Done. I love to shoot B&W. I don’t use it that often since there’s no labs in my local area that develop traditional B&W film. I’ve also shot 100 and 3200. I have a few rolls of 3200 in the freezer, gamma rays be damned!
    Kodak Tri-X 400: Done. A great classic B&W film.
    Ektar 100: Done. I used this film for the final Space Shuttle launch. I love the “pop” of this film. It is a great film for daylight. I also got great photos in predawn hours under parking lot lights, fluorescent lighting, and bus lighting burning frames prior to the final Space Shuttle landing so I could put in higher speed C-41 B&W film.

    My general purpose B&W film is Kodak BW400CN. It’s a B&W film that can be developed at the local drugstore minilab using C-41 chemistry, the same as Portra and Ektar.

    Films I wish Kodak brought back:
    Plus-X: A classic B&W film of ISO 125
    T-Max 3200: Sure this is a niche film. Grain explodes when pushed two stops to 12,800, but if that’s what you need, you need to accept it. I’ve used it at 3200 for a nighttime baseball game and used it at 12800 for a rock concert.
    Kodachrome: This is a classic slide film. A song was written about Kodachrome. A state park was named for Kodachrome.

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    • Stan Rogers

      Well, Tmax P3200 was already being pushed two stops at 3200 (it was an 800-speed film designed for pushing, thus the “P”), so pushing two more stops was, well, pushing things. If you wanted that double-nought spy look, though, you couldn’t beat its predecessor, Royal-X Pan.

      Kodachrome 25 and fall foliage. Made for each other. (However, the greens of summer were Velvia’s to take.)

      Ektar 25. Oh, my $_DEITY_OF_CHOICE_HERE. No latitude to speak of, but no grain to speak of either, and it would probably out-resolve every lens you own/owned. With the right enlarger lens (like the Fujinon 90) you could make a genuinely good 20x print. From 35mm film.

      Kodak Technical Pan. See above, make it B&W, and double everything else. You couldn’t use a grain focuser on your enlarger; you needed to use image detail. No, you didn’t own a lens that could fully exploit the film’s resolution. Nobody did. Okay, you had to shoot it at around 16-20 to get reasonable contrast (it was essentially black OR white at high speeds like 100, great for reproducing documents and such), but it was an easy price to pay. And the extended red sensitivity was a dream for women’s portraiture; porcelain complexions under tungsten light (with no extra filtration) were pretty much guaranteed. The only real drawback was that any spotting you did was obvious, so if your darkroom was *only* clean enough for major surgery or semiconductor fabrication, it needed vacuuming and a wet wash.

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  6. Herm Tjioe

    Time to take my Kodachrome and Ektachrome out of mothball. I just love the blues from an Ekta with outdoor shots. With Tri-X I always like to push the ASA to 800 or higher for the grains

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  7. Anthony McFarlane

    Thanks. I just started using film again!

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    • James VanderWeide

      Same here! I’d really want to do b+w but it’s getting harder to find places that will develop b+w film.

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    • Ralph Hightower

      If you want to do B&W, try one of the C-41 B&W films, Kodak BW400CN and Ilford XP2. Both are developed in color-negative chemistry which is more wide spread. Pharmacy chains typically have a minilab for C-41 film.

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    • Michelle Bird

      You’re welcome Anthony, glad you can find some info to incorporate in your venture!

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    • Michelle Bird

      Thanks for sharing great input folks!

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  8. Jacob DelaRosa

    Fujifilm Neopan 400/100. Ultrafine Xtreme 400. Fujifilm Superia 200/400…basically the only 35mm film I can buy locally since my local pro shop shut down.

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  9. Tyler Friesen

    Illford Delta 3200, Fuji 400H and Kodak Portra 800. All film is unique and fun!

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  10. Steven Pellegrino

    I love Ilford HP5 Plus.

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