Best Film for the Canon AT-1
The best film to use in your Canon AT-1 is going to depend on the available light, your lens, and type of film you want to use.
To prevent having to carry around a flash and/or tripod, purchase a 35mm film that has an ISO of 400 or higher.
If you want to shoot photos in low light, such as inside, make sure that you are using a fast lens. For lens lens suggestions check out my brief article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Canon AT-1.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - A good option for a wide range of conditions. The film is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the AT-1 in the vast majority of circumstances.
The photographs will have terrific skin tones and tend to be on the warm side.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Another option that might have far better availability based on what country you are in.
In comparison to to Kodak, Fuji appears to be a little cooler with notable blues and greens.
Lomography 800 - If you want an ISO 800 color film, there aren’t many options. For 35mm film targeted towards consumers, Lomography 800 is the single option.
Additionally, if you have a medium format camera, it’s also for sale in 120 film format.
Kodak Gold 200 - An excellent way to obtain that mid-1980s through 90s feeling. For the genuine photography experience take advantage of an on-camera flash.
To bring the best out of the film, over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will provide you with the fantastic colors everyone loves the film for.
Kodak Portra 400 - Among film shooting enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is without a doubt the most popular color 35mm film emulsion. Overexpose Portra 400 by 1 or 2-stops to get the appearance the film is well known for.
Portra is also offered in ISO 800 and ISO 160 versions. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also easily found.
Black and White Film
With reasonable costs and good very popular to try in the Canon AT-1.
The main draw for budget minded photographers and photography students is the affordable price. Even if you wouldn’t put yourself in that group, it is nice to have comparatively cheap rolls of film readily available for trying out recently delivered used gear.
Kentmere 400 - It is produced by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable since that allows this to be the most broadly available 35mm film out of the three.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It will probably much easier to obtain in Europe as the film is made out of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.
A very good film stock to employ for your initial couple of attempts at analog photography or home developing. Also a good choice if you happen to be trying out a camera to guarantee that it is functioning correctly.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the lowest price on this film by buying it from Ultrafine.
They make developer kits for 35mm film, so if you process film at home you might have already done business with them.
The two most frequently used black & white 35mm film stocks are Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400. They have a number of attributes that are comparable that help make them a favourite, while maintaining distinctive appearances.
Both emulsions can be pushed 1 or 2 stops and result in professional photos. This makes the film versatile as a roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two film emulsions, HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is less expensive. Low amounts of contrast can be advantageous due to the fact contrast can be changed when making a darkroom print or during digital post processing.
The film emulsion has subdued grain and still looks good when pushed 2-stops.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion possesses a stronger style to it. To reveal the classic grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it should be developed in D-76.
Tri-X certainly has greater contrast. That is perfect if that is the look and feel you would you like because it involves much less work when making a print or during digital post processing.
Slide film, also known as reversal or transparency film, results in a positive image. That means a projector or lightbox can be used to display the photographs.
This is distinct from the more widespread negative films that result in images that need inverting the colors in order to be viewable.
Slide films are thought to be very difficult to work with due to the fact slide film has a smaller amount of latitude and dynamic range when compared with negative film.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for excellent skin tones and fine grain. The colors don’t look oversaturated. Ektachrome is daylight balanced.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Provides special looking images that have significantly increased levels of saturation and contrast. It is razor-sharp and color balanced for daylight. Velvia has the top resolving power of any elevated increased.
There’s also another emulsion that is ISO 100.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Produces vibrant and realistic colors with moderate contrast and color saturation. It’s a ultrafine grain film with a daylight color balance.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white transparency film, claimed by Fomapan as having elevated levels of contrast, very fine grain, and excellent resolving power. It is also regarded as a replacement for the long discontinued Agfa Scala transparency film.
Consumer vs Professional Film
Pro films cost more due to the fact they have better latitude, are easier to push, and increased dynamic range.
There will be a difference in supply. Consumer film stocks can generally be bought from big-box stores and pharmacies in limited amounts. Pro film emulsions should be purchased from a specialized photography store or online retailer.
A film’s light sensitivity is represented by the ISO.
The bigger the ISO, the less light will be required to properly expose a photo. This comes at the cost of bigger film grain.
ISO 100 and slower films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc) may be frustrating to shoot handheld with the AT-1. The will most likely take more time might be longer than what you can handhold without resulting in motion blur unless you are shooting in full sun.
A tripod, flash, and/or fast lens are going to help you with longer exposure times. The additional gear may not be needed if you choose to use a faster ISO 400 or ISO 800 film.
As a quick note, the ISO knob is listed as ASA on the Canon AT-1. The switch to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Film latitude is the amount of stops film can be overexposed while retaining satisfactory results. Pro film stocks have a larger latitude to go along with a somewhat increased price.
Reversal film has less latitude when compared to negative film. That is a reason why it is perceived as more challenging to shoot.
The range between the brightest and darkest parts of a photograph is known as dynamic range. Sections of an image that do not fit within this range will be rendered as completely white overexposed highlights or completely black underexposed shadows.
When working in a wide variety or quickly shifting lighting conditions, films with a bigger dynamic range are a superior choice.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
The constrained dynamic range of slide film is another reason why it is thought to be difficult to shoot. Golden hour is the prime time to use reversal.
The Canon AT-1 takes 35mm film that is sold in metal canisters. It can also be referred to as 135 film, and it is the most widely used film format.
120 or 220 film, used with medium format cameras, is the only other film format you are likely to encounter}.
One of the fantastic properties of film is that you can change the film stock you use and get a different look to your images.
DX Coded Film
Virtually all available 35mm film for sale today has DX encoding. This lets cameras to detect and set the ISO of the film canister put in the camera.
DX-coding won’t make a difference for the Canon AT-1 because ISO has to be dialed in manually with the ASA knob.
Canon AT-1 Resources
Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?
There are only a few possibilities for where to have 35mm film developed. For a more complete discussion of the possibilities check my guide on Where to Get Film Developed.
WARNING: Big box stores and pharmacies do not process film on site. They mail film away to be developed by a 3rd party. Because of that, you will not receive your developed negatives back.
- Develop Film at Home
- Use a Local Photography Lab
- Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
- Pharmacy or Big Box Store
Shipping your film to a mail-order photo lab to be processed and scanned is the most straightforward option if you’re new to using film. A downside to this is that it will get really expensive if you frequently shoot film.
There are a couple of activities that can be done to reduce the expenses required to use film, provided that you’re shooting a medium to high volume of film.
Bulk Loading Film
Certainly one of the most widely used ways to save money on film is to buy a bulk roll of 100 feet of film and load it into canisters by hand.
Once you are done, you will get around 18 rolls of 36 exposures. You should expect to save 20-30% depending on the film you opt for.
Keep in mind that you’re limited to 100 foot rolls of black and white film. This is due to black and white film is easier and more affordable to develop yourself.
Home Developing and Scanning
It’s easy to develop and digitize film yourself. In fact it is a very good method to save money so you can use more film with your Canon AT-1.
Black & white film is by far the simplest to process yourself. Developer temperature and time are both not as critical to do correctly with black & white films as time and temperatures are for color negative or slide film.