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Best Film for the Canon EOS-1

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Best Canon EOS-1 35mm Film

´╗┐The best film to use in your Canon EOS-1 will have to be based on the lens, lighting, and type of film you want to shoot.

Using an ISO 400 film or higher speed will help you eliminate needing to haul around a tripod or flash.

If you have a need to shoot images inside or anytime there is low light, make sure that you are using a fast lens. Check out my brief article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Canon EOS-1 for lens ideas.

Color Film

Consumer

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Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - A terrific choice for a diverse range of lighting conditions. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should be able to handhold the EOS-1 in lots of scenarios.

The images will have excellent colors and is on the warm side.

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Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Another option that may have greater availability depending on where you are in the world.

When compared to Kodak, Fuji tends to be a bit cooler with an emphasis on greens and blues.

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Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - If you want an ISO 800 color 35mm film, there are not very many options. This is literally the only 35mm film stock geared towards consumers.

The film is also available in the 120 film format, to be used in a medium format camera.

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Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - A guaranteed way to achieve that mid-80s through 90s rendering. For the authentic experience take advantage of a flash.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to reveal the most popular look the film can achieve. This will ensure that you get the gorgeous colors people love the film for.

Professional

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Kodak Portra 400

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

Portra is also available in ISO 800 and 160 versions. Portra is also offered in rolls of 120, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.

Black and White Film

Consumer

With affordable costs and very good very popular to try in the Canon EOS-1.

The primary draw for budget minded photographers and photography students is the reasonable cost. Even if you don’t put yourself in those groups, it’s great to have comparatively cheap rolls of 35 film available for trying out newly obtained camera gear.

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Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - It’s produced by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is good because that makes this the most widely sold film of the three.

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Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Is likely to be much easier to find in Europe as the film is manufactured out of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A fine 35mm film to employ for your first couple of attempts at film photography or developing film at home. Also a good choice if you are testing out a camera to make sure that it is working properly.

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Ultrafine eXtreme 400

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The best store to buy this film is directly from Ultrafine.

They manufacture chemical developer kits for color 35mm film, so if you process film at home you may have already interacted with them.

Professional

The two most popular black & white film emulsions are Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5+ 400. They possess numerous qualities in common that make them so well liked, while preserving unique styles.

Both emulsions can be pushed 2 stops and still provide quality images. This makes the film versatile as a roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600.

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Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two film emulsions, HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is cheaper. Minimal contrast can be advantageous because contrast can be changed when making a print in the darkroom or during digital post processing.

The film still looks outstanding when pushed 2-stops. It is also known for having subtle grain.

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Kodak Tri-X 400

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

You’ll certainly see considerably more contrast with this film. That is perfect if that is the overall look you want to have because it means significantly less work when editing digitially or printmaking.

Reversal Film

Transparency film, also known as slide or reversal film, provides a positive picture. That means a projector or lightbox can be used to show the pictures.

Colors are not required to be inverted to be seen, contrary to the more common negative films.

Slide films are regarded as difficult to shoot due to the fact slide film has a smaller amount of latitude and dynamic range when compared to negative film.

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Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for picturesque skin tones and fine grain. The colors will not seem oversaturated. The film has been balanced for daylight.

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Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Produces special looking images that have high levels of saturation and contrast. It is remarkably sharp and color balanced for daylight. Matched against all the transparency films available for purchase, it has the best resolving power.

There’s also another version with an ISO of 100.

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Fujichrome Provia 100F

Fujichrome Provia 100F - Creates vibrant and realistic colors with medium color saturation and contrast. It is a ultra fine grain film balanced for daylight.

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Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white reversal film, marketed by Fomapan as having increased levels of contrast, fine grain, and very good resolving power. It is also regarded as a replacement for the long discontinued Agfa Scala reversal film.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

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

There will also be a big difference in business that sell film. Consumer films can usually be purchased from big-box stores and pharmacies in small quantities. Professional level film stocks will need to be ordered from a online or specialized camera store.

ISO

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

The less light available to expose an image, the higher the ISO needs to be. This comes at the expense of larger sized film grain.

ISO 100 and slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc) can be quite challenging to shoot handheld with the EOS-1. The will probably take more time can be longer than what you could handhold without leading to motion blur unless you are out in full sun.

A fast lens, flash, and/or tripod can help you with longer exposure times. Using a fast ISO 400 or ISO 800 film can make the extra accessories not needed.

As a quick note, the dial to select film speed is marked as ASA on the Canon EOS-1. The transition to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Latitude

Latitude is the number of stops film can be overexposed while maintaining adequate photographs. Professional film emulsions have a greater latitude paired with a somewhat higher cost.

Negative film has more latitude than transparency film. That is one of the reasons why it is viewed as more challenging to work with.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range represents the range between the darkest and brightest parts of a picture that can be captured. Sections of an image that fall out of this range will be rendered as totally black underexposed shadows or totally white overexposed highlights.

A bigger dynamic range is advantageous given that a larger range tends to 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 reversal film is one more reason it is viewed as challenging to shoot. Golden hour is the prime time to shoot transparency.

Film Type

35mm film that comes in canisters is used by the Canon EOS-1. In addition, it is the most popular film format and sometimes called 135 film.

120 or 220 film, used with medium format cameras, is the only other type of film you are going to encounter}.

One of the fantastic properties of film is that you can switch the film you use and get a fresh look to your photos.

DX Coded Film

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DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Almost all new 35mm film made currently has DX encoding on the canister. This will allow cameras to auto detect and set the ISO when the canister is put in the camera.

ISO (ASA) on the Canon EOS-1 needs to be set manually. As a result DX-coding isn’t going to make a difference.

Canon EOS-1 Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

There are only a few possibilities for where to have 35mm film developed. For a more extensive explanation of the choices take a look at my article on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Big box stores and pharmacies have stopped processing film locally. They ship the film off-site to be processed by a separate company. Because of this, you will not receive 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 least complicated choice and what I suggest using if you’re just beginning to shoot film is to mail your film to a lab to be processed and scanned. If you regularly use film, this may be a disadvantage because it can get really expensive.

Assuming that you’re shooting a moderate to high volume of film, there are a couple of actions that can be done to decrease your costs.

Bulk Loading Film

Getting a roll of 100’ of film and loading in into canisters yourself is considered one of the most widely used options to save money.

After you’ve finished, you’ll find yourself with about 18 canisters of 36 frames each. Based on the film stock you are likely to save 20%-30%.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you are only going to be able to get 100 foot rolls of black and white film. This is because black & white film is quite a bit easier and less expensive to process at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

It is simple to develop and scan any film at home. It is an excellent way to cut costs so you can use more film with your Canon EOS-1.

Black & white film is by far the easiest to process. Chemical temperature and time are both not as important to do correctly with black & white films as they are for slide or color negative.