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Best Film for the Canon EOS 850

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Best Canon EOS 850 35mm Film

The best film to use in the Canon EOS 850 will depend on the lighting, lens, and type of film you want to shoot.

To prevent having to haul around a tripod and/or flash, opt for a film that has an ISO of 400 or higher.

Make sure you have a fast lens if you want to shoot photographs in low light, conditions that are frequently encountered indoors. For lens ideas take a look at my list on the 5 Best Lenses for the Canon EOS 850.

Color Film

Consumer

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Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film works well in a large range of lighting conditions and is a good option for a 35mm color film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should have the ability to handhold the EOS 850 in the majority of scenarios.

The photos will have very good colors and leans towards the warm side.

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Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Based on where you are in the world, this film could have greater availability. It’s an excellent alternative to Kodak.

In comparison to to Kodak, Fujifilm tends to be a small amount 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 film, there are only a few options. For film focused on consumers, this is the only choice.

The film can also be found in the 120 film format, to be used in medium format cameras.

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Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - An excellent way to achieve that mid-80s through 90s look. Use a flash to get the “authentic” look.

To really bring the best out of this film, you will need to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will help you achieve the great colors people love Kodak Gold for.

Professional

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Kodak Portra 400

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

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

Black and White Film

Consumer

These film emulsions have reasonable costs and good quality, making them favorable to try in the Canon EOS 850.

The primary attraction for photography students and budget minded photographers is the affordable price. Even if you wouldn’t put yourself in those groups, it is good to have economical rolls of film on hand for testing newly delivered used gear.

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Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - It is produced by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable because that makes this the most commonly sold 35mm film of the three.

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Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It’s less difficult to purchase in Europe as the film is manufactured by Foma Bohemia out of the Czech Republic.

An excellent film emulsion to try for your initial couple of attempts at developing film at home or analog photography. Also a good option if you are testing out a camera to check that it is functioning correctly.

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Ultrafine eXtreme 400

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The best place to get this film is straight from Ultrafine.

They distribute chemical developer kits for color film, so if you develop film at home you may have already interacted with them.

Professional

Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the 2 most popular black and white 35mm film emulsions. They do have a number of attributes that are similar that make them so well liked, while keeping unique styles.

You can still get excellent images after pushing both emulsions 2-stops. A roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them very flexible.

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Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The most significant differences are that HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is cheaper when compared to Tri-X. Minimal contrast can be an advantage because of the fact contrast can be added when making a print in the darkroom or editing digitally.

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

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Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion has got a more distinctive aesthetic. To showcase the traditional grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be processed in D-76.

You are going to definitely notice more contrast with this film emulsion. That’s fantastic if it is the look and feel you want to have because it means a great deal less work when making a print or editing digitially.

Reversal Film

Slide film, also known as reversal or transparency film, results in a positive picture. This allows the photographs to be displayed with a light box or projector.

This is unique from the more often used negative films that create pictures that require the colors to be inverted so that they can be viewable.

Slide films have less dynamic range and latitude than negative film and so they are considered harder to work with.

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Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. The colors will not show up oversaturated. The film has a daylight color balance.

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Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Delivers signature looking photographs that have noticeably elevated amounts of contrast and saturation. It is razor-sharp and balanced for daylight. It has the greatest resolving power of any available transparency film emulsion.

It is also available in an ISO 100 speed.

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Fujichrome Provia 100F

Fujichrome Provia 100F - Produces realistic and vibrant colors with medium color saturation and contrast. It’s a film balanced for daylight with ultrafine grain.

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Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white transparency film, described by Fomapan as having very good resolving power, very fine grain, and elevated contrast. It’s also mentioned as a replacement for the discontinued Agfa Scala.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Professional film stocks cost more because they have larger latitude, dynamic range, and can more easily be pushed.

There’s a big difference in supply. Consumer film emulsions can more often than not still be bought from big-box stores and pharmacies in meager amounts. Professional quality film stocks needs to be purchased from a camera store or online.

ISO

The speed of the film is listed as ISO, which can also be thought of as the film’s sensitivity to light.

The less light available to capture an image, the bigger the film’s ISO will be required. This comes at the expense of noticeably increased film grain.

ISO 100 and slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc) is often frustrating to shoot handheld in the EOS 850. This is due to the fact that if you do not have full sun, the exposure times will probably take more time than what you’re able to handhold without causing motion blur.

A tripod, a fast lens, and/or a flash can help you with longer shutter speeds. The additional gear might not be needed if you choose to use a faster ISO 800 or ISO 400 film.

As a quick note, the dial to select film speed is listed as ASA on the Canon EOS 850. The switch to using ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) happened after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film Latitude

Latitude is the range of stops film can be overexposed while still keeping usable photographs. Professional film emulsions have a larger latitude to go along with a somewhat increased cost.

Negative film has more latitude than transparency film. That is a reason why it is perceived as harder to shoot.

Dynamic Range

The range between the brightest and darkest details of a photo is described as dynamic range. Sections of a photograph that fall out of this range will appear as black underexposed shadows or white overexposed highlights.

A larger dynamic range is ideal given that a bigger range can make shooting in various lighting conditions easier.

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

Reversal film is regarded as tricky to use due to the small dynamic range. Golden hour is the ideal time to use reversal.

Film Type

35mm film that is sold in metal canisters is used by the Canon EOS 850. In addition, it’s the most frequently used type of film and in some instances is called 135 film.

The only other film format you are going to encounter is 120 or 220 film that is used in medium format cameras}.

One of the terrific things about film is that you can swap the film stock you use and get a different look to your shots.

DX Coded Film

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DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Almost all commercially available 35mm film sold today has DX encoding on the canister. This enables electronically controlled cameras to detect and set the ISO of the film canister loaded into the camera.

The ISO (ASA) on the Canon EOS 850 must be selected manually. As a result DX-coding is not going to do anything.

Canon EOS 850 Resources

Where to Get Film Developed?

There are several options for where to develop 35mm film. For a more detailed discussion of the options check out my guide on Where to Develop Film.

WARNING: Big box stores and pharmacies do not process film on location. They mail the film off to be processed by a 3rd party. This means that, 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

Sending your film to a mail-order photo lab to be developed and scanned is the simplest choice if you are new to shooting film. If you consistently use film, this might be a disadvantage since it can get expensive.

There are a few activities that can be done to greatly reduce the costs involved in using film, assuming that you are using a moderate to high volume of film.

Bulk Loading Film

Purchasing a roll of 100 feet of film and loading in into canisters yourself is considered one of the common ways to get a better price.

All said and done, you will end up getting approximately 18 canisters of 36 exposures each. Depending on the film stock you can expect to save 20%-30%.

Take into account that you’re going to be limited to 100’ rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black and white film is quite a bit easier and cheaper to develop at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

You have the ability to develop and digitize film yourself. In fact it’s a very good way to reduce costs so that you can use more film with your Canon EOS 850.

Black and white film is by far the least complicated to develop. Chemical temperature and development times are both not as necessary to get correct with black and white film as they are for color negative or slide film.