Best Film for the Canon AT-1

´╗┐The best film to use in the Canon AT-1 is going to be based on the lens, lighting conditions, and type of film you want to shoot.

To eliminate having to haul around a tripod and/or flash, purchase a 35mm film that has an ISO of 400 or higher.

Make sure you have a fast lens if you want to shoot pictures in low light, conditions that are commonly encountered indoors. Check out my article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Canon AT-1 for recommendations.

Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film
Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film handles a plethora of lighting conditions well and is a terrific choice for a color film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should be able to handhold the AT-1 in lots of circumstances.

Expect pictures to appear a bit warm with outstanding skin tones.

Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400
Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Based on where you are in the world, this film might be more widely available. It’s an excellent alternative to Kodak film.

In comparison to to Kodak, Fuji tends to be a little cooler with stronger greens and blues.

Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO
Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - If you want a color film with an ISO of 800, there are not many choices. For film stocks geared towards consumers, this is the only choice.

Lomography 800 can also be purchased in the 120 film format, to be used in a medium format camera.

Kodak Gold 200
Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - An outstanding means to achieve that mid-80s through 90s rendering. For the authentic experience use an on-camera flash.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to reveal the most popular look the film can achieve. This will provide you with the fantastic colors people love Gold 200 for.

Box of Kodak Portra 400 ISO 35mm film
Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400 - By far the most popular color negative film among film enthusiasts online. Overexpose the film by 1 or 2-stops to get the look the film is known for.

Kodak Portra is also available for purchase in ISO 160 and 800 emulsions. As well as in rolls of 120 film, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.

With reasonable costs and very good favorable to use in the Canon AT-1.

The primary attraction for budget minded photographers and photography students is the affordable price. Even if you would not put yourself in those groups, it is nice to have economical rolls of film on hand for testing newly purchased camera gear.

Kentmere ISO 400 Film
Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - It’s manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is good because that makes this the most commonly sold B&W film of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action
Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Can be less difficult to acquire in Europe as the film is made by Foma Bohemia out of the Czech Republic.

A very good film emulsion to employ for your first couple of attempts at film photography or home developing. Also a good selection if you are trying out a camera to check that it is operating properly.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400
Ultrafine eXtreme 400

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The cheapest place to buy this film is online directly from Ultrafine.

If you process color film yourself, you might have done that with chemicals produced by them to process your film.

The 2 most commonly used black and white 35mm film stocks are Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400. They do have many qualities that are equivalent that make them so popular, while keeping different rendering.

Both film stocks can be pushed 1 or 2 stops and while still generating good photographs. A roll of film can be used at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them quite flexible.

Ilford HP5 Plus 400
Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two film stocks, HP5 Plus is less expensive and has lower levels of contrast. Minimal contrast can be a benefit because contrast can be changed when making a print or through digital processing.

The film emulsion has subdued grain and still appears outstanding when pushed 2-stops.

Kodak Tri-X 400
Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock provides a more distinctive style to it. To bring out the old-school grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be developed in Kodak D-76.

You’ll certainly notice a higher level of contrast with this film stock. That’s excellent if that is the look you would like because it involves less work when printmaking or editing digitially.

Transparency film, also known as reversal film or slide film, generates a positive image. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to show the slides.

This is unique from the more prevalent negative film stocks that result in images that require inverting the colors for the image to be viewed.

Slide films have substantially less dynamic range and latitude than negative films and so they are considered more difficult to work with.

Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Slide Film
Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. There is no hypersaturation of colors. The film has been balanced for daylight.

Fujichrome Velvia 50
Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a remarkably sharp color balanced for daylight transparency film with high levels of saturation and contrast, giving photos a distinctive look. Compared to all the slide films you can get, it has the best resolving power.

There is also another version that is ISO 100.

Fujichrome Provia 100F
Fujichrome Provia 100F

Fujichrome Provia 100F - Offers vivid and natural colors with moderate color saturation and contrast. It has ultrafine grain with a daylight color balance.

Foma Fomapan R100
Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white transparency film, claimed by Fomapan as having elevated contrast, high resolving power, and very fine grain. It’s also billed as a substitute for the long discontinued Agfa Scala film emulsion.

Pro films cost more due to the fact they can more easily be pushed, have better dynamic range, and latitude.

There is a significant difference in business that sell 35mm rolls of film. Consumer film stocks can generally be bought from pharmacies and big-box stores in meager quantities. Pro film stocks should really be bought from a online retailer or photography store.

A film’s sensitivity to light is displayed by the ISO.

The less light available to properly expose an image, the higher the ISO will be required. Furthermore, be prepared to see noticeably increased film grain.

It may be tricky to handhold the AT-1 with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). The will probably be longer will likely take longer than what you are able to handhold without causing motion blur unless you’re out in full sun.

To get around this you’ll need to use a fast lens, tripod, and/or flash. Using a high speed ISO 800 or ISO 400 film probably will make the additional equipment unnecessary.

The dial to select film speed is marked as ASA on the Canon AT-1. The change to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film latitude is the range of stops film can be overexposed while still keeping adequate results. Professional films have a larger latitude to go along with a somewhat increased cost.

Negative film has a larger amount of latitude compared to slide film. That is a reason it is viewed as more challenging to shoot.

The difference between the shadows and highlights details of a photo is known as dynamic range. Areas of a picture that are not in this range will be seen as completely white overexposed highlights or solid black underexposed shadows.

A larger dynamic range is better given that it can make shooting in a wide variety of lighting conditions easier.

  • Digital cameras 14+ stops
  • Negative film up to 13 stops
  • Slide film 6-8 stops

The limited dynamic range of transparency film is a second reason why it’s considered to be difficult to shoot. Golden hour is the prime time to use transparency.

The Canon AT-1 uses 35mm film that is in canisters. It is also the best-selling type of film and occasionally called 135 film.

The only other type of film you are likely to come across is 120 or 220 film that is used by medium format cameras}.

One of the best properties of film is that you can change the film stock you use and get a totally different look to your pictures.

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister
DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

All available 35mm film manufactured these days has DX encoding. This allows electronically controlled cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO when the film is put in the camera.

DX-coding doesn’t matter for the Canon AT-1 because ISO is required to be manually selected.

You will find several possibilities for where to develop 35mm film. For a more extensive discussion of the choices you can check out my guide on Where to Develop Film.

WARNING: Film does not get developed on location at big box stores and pharmacies. They ship film off-site to be developed by a third party. As a result, you won’t get your negatives back.

  1. Develop Film at Home
  2. Use a Local Photography Lab
  3. Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
  4. Pharmacy or Big Box Store

The simplest method and what I would suggest using if you are just getting started shooting film is to mail your film to a lab to be developed and scanned. If you regularly shoot film, this can be a downside due to the fact that it can get very expensive.

There are two things that you can do to cut back on the costs involved in shooting film, assuming that you’re shooting a medium to high volume of film.

Purchasing a bulk roll of 100 feet of film and manually loading in into canisters yourself is among the most widely used options to lower expenses.

All said and done, you will have approximately 18 canisters of 36 exposures. Based on the film stock you will probably save 20%-30%.

Bear in mind that you’re only going to be able to get bulk rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black & white film is less difficult and more affordable to develop yourself.

Any film can be developed at home. In fact it is a smart way to lower your costs so you can use more film with your Canon AT-1.

Black & white film is significantly less complicated to process. Chemical temperature and development times are both not as vital to do correctly with black & white films as temperatures and time are for transparency or color negative.

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