Best Film for the Canon EOS A2
The best film to use in the Canon EOS A2 is going to be based on the lighting, lens, and type of film you want to shoot.
To eliminate having to haul around a flash or tripod, pick a 35mm film that has an ISO of 400 or higher.
Make sure that you have a fast lens if you want to take photos in low light, conditions that are commonly encountered indoors. For lens suggestions read my article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Canon EOS A2.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film works well in a multitude of lighting conditions and is a fantastic pick for a color 35mm film. The film is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the EOS A2 in the vast majority of scenarios.
Expect photographs to look slightly warm with wonderful colors.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Another option that could have far better availability depending on what country you are in.
In comparison to to Kodak, Fujifilm tends to be a little bit cooler with notable blues and greens.
Lomography 800 - If you want a color film with an ISO of 800, there are only a small number of possible choices. This is literally the only 35mm film focused on consumers.
Lomography 800 is for sale in the 120 film format, for use in medium format cameras.
Kodak Gold 200 - An excellent means to achieve that mid-1980s through 90s rendering. Use a flash to get the “nostalgic” look.
To really bring the ideal look out of this film, you will have to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will give you the eye-catching colors people love Kodak Gold 200 for.
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 style the film is known for.
Portra is also offered in ISO 800 and 160 versions. As well as in rolls of 120, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.
Black and White Film
These film emulsions have affordable prices and very good quality, making them favorable to use in the Canon EOS A2.
The major attraction for budget minded photographers and photography students is the very affordable cost. Even if you don’t put yourself in that group, it is good to have relatively cheap rolls of 35 film available for evaluating recently purchased used cameras.
Kentmere 400 - It is manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is great due to the fact that allows this to be the most widely available 35mm film out of the three.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It will probably easier to purchase in Europe as the film is produced in the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.
An excellent film to employ for your initial few attempts at home developing or analog photography. Also a good selection if you are looking to check out a camera to ensure that it is fully operational.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the lowest price on this film by getting it straight from Ultrafine.
They distribute developer kits for color 35mm film, so if you develop film at home you could have previously done business with them.
The 2 most widely used black and white 35mm film stocks are Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400. They have numerous capabilities in common that make them so popular, while keeping different rendering.
You can obtain solid photographs after pushing both emulsions 2-stops. A 35mm roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them quite flexible.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two film emulsions, HP5 Plus is less expensive and has lower levels of contrast. Less contrast can be beneficial because contrast can be adjusted when making a darkroom print or through digital processing.
The film has subtle grain and still looks outstanding when pushed 2-stops.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film possesses a stronger look to it. To reveal the old-school grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be developed in Kodak D-76.
You’ll undeniably notice a higher level of contrast with Kodak Tri-X. That’s good if that is the overall look you would you like because it requires substantially less work when making a print or through digital processing.
Films that make a positive image are generally referred to as slide, reversal, or transparency film. That means a projector or lightbox can be used to show the slides.
This is distinct from the more commonly available negative film stocks that create pictures that need the colors to be inverted for the image to be seen.
Slide films have substantially less latitude and dynamic range than negative film and so they are perceived as more difficult to use.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a film known for gorgeous skin tones and fine grain. The colors will not seem oversaturated. The film is daylight balanced.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Offers appealing looking images that have increased levels of contrast and saturation. It is very sharp daylight color balanced film. It has the highest resolving power of any elevated elevated.
An ISO 100 speed is also out there.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Produces 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 & white reversal film, described by Fomapan as having higher contrast, very fine grain, and excellent resolving power. It is also billed as a alternative for the long discontinued Agfa Scala film emulsion.
Consumer vs Professional Film
Pro film stock have larger dynamic range, latitude, and can more easily be pushed, which is why they are more expensive.
There’s a big difference in business that sell film. Consumer film emulsions can oftentimes still be found in pharmacies and big-box stores in meager quantities. Professional quality film should be ordered from a online or camera store.
A film’s sensitivity to light is listed as the ISO.
The higher the ISO, the less light will be necessary to expose a frame. This comes at the expense of larger film grain.
It might be difficult to handhold the EOS A2 with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc). This is because if you don’t have full sun, the shutter speeds will be longer than what you are able to handhold without resulting in motion blur.
A tripod, flash, and/or fast lens are going to assist you with longer exposure times. Using a high speed ISO 800 or ISO 400 film will make the additional equipment not needed.
The ISO knob is listed as ASA on the Canon EOS A2. The switch to using ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Film latitude is the number of stops film can be overexposed while still retaining good results. Professional film emulsions have a larger latitude to go along with a somewhat increased cost.
Negative film has more latitude than reversal film. That is one of the reasons it’s believed to be challenging to use.
Dynamic range is the range between the shadows and highlights details of a photograph that can be captured. Areas of an image that fall out of this range will be rendered as solid black underexposed shadows or solid white overexposed highlights.
When working in a variety or quickly shifting lighting situations, films with a bigger dynamic range are a better choice.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
Slide film is regarded as a challenge to shoot because of the constrained dynamic range. Golden hour is the ideal time to shoot reversal.
35mm film that is sold in metal canisters is used by the Canon EOS A2. It can also be described as 135 film, and it’s the most popular film format.
The only other type of film you are going to encounter is 120 or 220 film that is used in medium format cameras}.
One of the best properties of film is that you can change the film you work with and get a totally different look to your photos.
DX Coded Film
Almost all available 35mm film distributed currently has DX encoding on the canister. This lets cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO of the canister loaded into the camera.
DX-coding won’t matter for the Canon EOS A2 because ISO must be set manually with the ASA knob.
Canon EOS A2 Resources
Where to Get Film Developed?
There are a variety of options for where to have 35mm film processed. For a more thorough explanation of the choices check my article on Where to Develop Film.
WARNING: Film does not get developed on site at pharmacies and big box stores. They mail film off-site to be processed by a separate company. This means that, 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
Sending your film to a mail-order photo lab to be processed and scanned is the least complicated solution if you’re just getting started shooting film. A drawback to this is that it ends up being really expensive if you frequently shoot film.
Assuming that you’re going through a moderate to high volume of film, there are two actions that you can do to decrease your costs.
Bulk Loading Film
Considered one of the common ways to spend less money 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 should fill approximately 18 rolls of film with 36 exposures. Expect to see cost savings of 20-30% depending on the film.
Take into account that you’re going to be limited to rolls of black & white film. This is due to black & white film is a lot easier and cheaper to develop yourself.
Home Developing and Scanning
All film can be processed at home. It’s a good way to reduce costs so that you can shoot more film with your Canon EOS A2.
Black & white film is by far the simplest to develop. Developer temperature and time are not as necessary to get correct with black and white films as they are for color negative or transparency film.