Best Film for the Canon EOS A2
The best film to use in the Canon EOS A2 will have to be based on your lens, lighting conditions, and type of film you want to shoot.
Taking advantage of an ISO 400 35mm or higher speed will enable you to skip having to haul around a tripod or flash.
If you want to shoot photos indoors or anywhere there is low light, ensure that you are using a fast lens. Go read my brief article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Canon EOS A2 for recommendations.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - A good selection for a wide range of conditions. Kodak UltraMax 400 is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the EOS A2 in just about all situations.
The photos will have excellent skin tones and leans towards the warm side.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - An alternative to Kodak that may have better availability depending on what country you are in.
Fuji pictures tend to have cooler tones with stronger blues and greens, compared to Kodak.
Lomography 800 - You’re limited to only a few choices if you want a color ISO 800 35mm film. For 35mm film stocks geared towards consumers, this is the single choice.
It can also be found in the 120 film format, to be used in medium format cameras.
Kodak Gold 200 - A reliable way to obtain that mid-80s through 90s look. Use a flash to get the “nostalgic” look the film is known for.
Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to produce the best the film has to offer. This will ensure that you get the eye-catching colors everyone loves the film for.
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 appearance the film is known for.
There are also ISO 800 and ISO 160 versions of Kodak Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also easily found.
These film emulsions have affordable costs and more than acceptable quality, making them very popular to be used in the Canon EOS A2.
The primary appeal for budget minded photographers and photography students is the very affordable cost. Even if you do not put yourself in those groups, it’s good to have comparatively cheap rolls of film available for testing recently acquired camera gear.
Kentmere 400 - It’s produced by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is good since that allows this to be the most widely sold film out of the three.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Is likely to be much easier to find in Europe as the film is made by Foma Bohemia in the Czech Republic.
An excellent film stock to choose for your first few attempts at home developing or film photography. Also a good selection if you’re trying out a camera to be sure that it is totally functional.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the cheapest price by buying it from Ultrafine.
They manufacture chemical developer kits for color 35mm film, so if you process film at home you might have previously done business with them.
Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 are the 2 most commonly used black & white 35mm film stocks. While they both do have individual rendering, they have a number of traits in common that help makes them so well received.
You can enjoy professional results after pushing both film emulsions 2-stops. 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 stocks, HP5 Plus is cheaper and has lower levels of contrast. A lack of contrast can be helpful because of the fact contrast can be increased when making a print in the darkroom or during digital post processing.
The film emulsion has subtle grain and still appears excellent when pushed 2-stops.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion has got a more distinctive look. To create the old-school grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be processed in Kodak D-76.
You will certainly see higher levels of contrast with Tri-X 400. That is fantastic if it happens to be the style you will want because it results in significantly less work when during digital processing or printmaking.
Slide film, also known as transparency film or reversal film, produces a positive image. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to exhibit the photos.
The colors do not need to be inverted to be viewable, as opposed to the more commonly available negative film emulsions.
Slide films have less dynamic range and latitude when compared with negative films and so they are believed to be challenging to use.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a film known for eye-catching skin tones and fine grain. The colors don’t show up oversaturated. It’s daylight balanced.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a unbelievably sharp daylight balanced film with high levels of contrast and saturation, giving photos a unique appearance. Velvia has the greatest resolving power of any increased elevated.
An ISO 100 emulsion is also out there.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Creates natural and vibrant colors with medium color saturation and contrast. It is a film balanced for daylight with ultra fine grain.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white slide film, reported by Fomapan as having very good resolving power, higher levels of contrast, and fine grain. It is also mentioned as a alternative for the discontinued Agfa Scala Film Stock.
Professional films cost more because they have larger latitude, are easier to push, and larger dynamic range.
There is a big difference in availability. Consumer film stocks can generally be found in pharmacies and big-box stores in anemic quantities. Professional film stocks usually need to be ordered from a online or photography store.
A film’s light sensitivity is listed as the ISO.
The less light there’s available to get an image, the higher the ISO will need to be. This comes at the expense of noticeably increased film grain.
It may be quite challenging to handhold the EOS A2 with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). This is due to the fact that in the absence of full sun, the shutter speeds are going to take more time than what you can handhold without creating motion blur.
To prevent motion blur you are going to need to use a flash, fast lens, and/or tripod. The additional gear might not be needed if you decide to use a faster ISO 400 or ISO 800 film.
The ISO selection knob is labeled as ASA on the Canon EOS A2. The shift to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Latitude is the amount of stops a film can be overexposed while maintaining tolerable quality. Professional film emulsions have a greater latitude along with a somewhat increased cost.
Negative film has a greater amount of latitude when compared to reversal film. That is one of the reasons why it’s regarded as more challenging to work with.
Dynamic range represents the difference between the brightest and darkest details of a photo that can be recorded. Parts of a photograph that fall out of this range will be seen as totally black underexposed shadows or solid white overexposed highlights.
A larger dynamic range is better since it can make shooting in varied lighting situations easier.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
Transparency film is viewed as tricky to use because of the small dynamic range. Golden hour is the best time to shoot transparency.
The Canon EOS A2 takes 35mm film that is in canisters. In addition, it is the best-selling film format and occasionally described as 135 film.
The only other type of film you are likely to see is 120 or 220 film that is used with medium format cameras}.
Changing the film emulsion you are working with will change the look of your photos. This is an example of the marvelous things about using film.
Just about all commercially available 35mm film distributed today has a DX code. This allows cameras to auto detect and set the ISO of the film canister put in the camera.
ISO (ASA) on the Canon EOS A2 is required to be dialed in manually. For that reason DX-coding will not do anything.
You will find a range of possibilities for where to develop film. For a more comprehensive explanation of the possible choices go look at my guide on Where to Get Film Developed.
WARNING: Pharmacies and big box stores have ended developing film at the store. They send film away to be processed by a 3rd party. That is why, you won’t get your processed negatives back.
- Develop Film at Home
- Use a Local Photography Lab
- Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
- Pharmacy or Big Box Store
The least complicated method and what I suggest doing if you are just starting to use film is to ship your film to a photo lab to be processed and scanned. A drawback to this is that it will become expensive if you’re consistently shooting film.
There are a couple of things that can be done to help reduce the expenses involved in shooting film, if you are going through a medium to high volume of film.
One of the most well known ways to get a better price on film is to buy a bulk roll of 100’ of film and load it into canisters by hand.
A 100 foot roll of film can load about 18 rolls of film containing 36 frames each. Depending on the film stock you can expect to save 20%-30%.
Keep in mind that you are only going to find 100’ rolls of black and white film. This is in part because black & white film is a lot easier and more affordable to develop yourself.
All film can be processed by hand. It’s a good way to cut costs so you can shoot more film with your Canon EOS A2.
Black & white film is by far the least complicated to process. Chemical temperature and time are both not as imperative to get correct with black & white film as time and temperatures are for transparency or color negative.