Recommended Beginner Film for the Canon EOS A2 (EOS 5)

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: March 4, 2020
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35mm Film To Use

The best film to use in your Canon EOS A2 is going to be based on the available light, your lens, and type of film you want to use.

Getting an ISO 400 35mm or higher speed will let you skip being burdened with a flash or tripod.

Make sure that you have a fast lens if you want to take photographs in low light, conditions that are commonly encountered indoors.

Color Film

Consumer

Consumer 35mm Color Negative Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film works well in a large range of lighting conditions and is an excellent pick for a color 35mm film. Using this film you should be able to handhold the EOS A2 in the vast majority of circumstances.

Expect photographs to look a bit warm with amazing skin tones.

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Based on your location, this film could be more widely available. It is a fantastic alternative to Kodak film.

Fujifilm photos appear to have cooler tones with notable greens and blues compared to Kodak.

Lomography 800 - You're limited to a small number of choices if you want a color ISO 800 film. This happens to be the only 35mm film emulsion geared towards consumers.

In addition, if you have a medium format camera, Lomography 800 is also sold in 120 film format.

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film emulsion that started production in the mid-1980s. Kodak Gold 200 offers the look and feel of home snapshots from the 80s and 90s. Use an on-camera flash to get the "authentic" look.

To bring the best out of this film, over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will produce the striking colors people love Gold 200 for.

Professional

Kodak Portra 400 ISO Color Negative 35mm Film

Kodak Portra 400 - Among the film enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is definitely the most frequently used color film. Overexpose it by 1 or 2-stops to get the look the film is well-known for.

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

Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H - The Fujifilm film that is closest to Portra, but with "Fuji colors." Expect to see more vibrant greens and blues.

4x5 or 8x10 sheets of film aren't produced, but 120 film is.

Black and White Film

Consumer

With reasonable costs and good quite popular to be used in the Canon EOS A2.

The largest appeal for photography students and budget-minded photographers is the very low cost. Even if you do not put yourself in those groups, it is nice to have inexpensive rolls of 35 film on hand for evaluating newly delivered used gear.

Consumer Black & White 35mm Film

Kentmere 400 - It's produced by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is excellent considering that allows this to be the most broadly sold B&W film out of the 3.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It will probably easier to obtain in Europe as the film is manufactured by Foma Bohemia inside of the Czech Republic.

A fine film stock to choose for your initial few attempts at developing film at home or film photography. Additionally, a good selection if you're attempting to check out a camera to confirm that it's fully functional.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the cheapest price on this film by ordering it straight from Ultrafine.

They sell developer kits for 35mm film, so if you process film at home you could have previously done business with them.

Professional

Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the 2 most widely used black & white films. While they both have distinctive rendering, they do have numerous capabilities in common that help makes them popular.

You can achieve solid photographs after pushing both films 2-stops. A 35mm roll can be used at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them remarkably useful.

Box of Ilford HP5 Plus ISO 400 35mm Black & White Film

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The fundamental differences are that HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is more affordable when compared to Tri-X. Minimal contrast can be advantageous because contrast can be increased when making a print in the darkroom or through digital post-processing.

The film stock still looks good when pushed 2-stops. It is also recognized as having subdued grain.

Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm Film

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion has a more distinctive rendering to it. To achieve the classic grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be processed in Kodak D-76.

You are going to clearly see far more contrast with Kodak Tri-X. That's ideal if that is the style you want to have because it involves a great deal less work when printmaking or during digital processing.

Transparency Film

Film emulsions that create a positive image are generally referred to as transparency, slide, or reversal film. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to exhibit the slides.

Colors are not required to be inverted to be viewed, contrary to the more widespread negative film stocks.

Slide films have far less dynamic range and latitude when compared to negative film and so they are thought of more challenging to work with.

Kodak Ektachrome 100 35mm Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for fine grain and superb skin tones. The colors will not be seen as oversaturated. Ektachrome is daylight-balanced.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Produces special looking photos that have high amounts of contrast and saturation. It is astonishingly sharp with a daylight color balance. Velvia has the best resolving power of any available reversal film emulsion.

There's another speed with an ISO of 100.

Fujifilm Provia 100F - Offers vibrant and natural colors with moderate contrast and color saturation. It has a daylight color balance and ultrafine grain.

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white transparency film, claimed by Fomapan as having very good resolving power, increased levels of contrast, and very fine grain. It is also regarded as a substitute for the long-discontinued Agfa Scala Film Stock.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

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

You should be prepared for a big difference in businesses that sell 35mm rolls of film. Consumer film stocks can more often than not be obtained from big-box stores and pharmacies in small amounts. Pro film stocks has to be purchased from camera store or online retailer.

Film ISO

A film's light sensitivity is represented by the ISO.

The higher the ISO, the less light will be necessary to expose a film frame. Additionally, be prepared to see larger film grain.

ISO 100 and slower films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc) may be tricky to shoot handheld in the EOS A2. This is due to the fact that without full sun, the shutter speeds might take more time than what you are able to handhold without causing motion blur.

A flash, fast lens, and/or tripod will assist you with longer shutter speeds. The extra gear may not be needed if you get a faster ISO 800 or ISO 400 film.

The ISO is electronically set by the Canon EOS A2. This is different from previous SLRs that have an ISO dial.

Latitude

Latitude is the range of stops film can be overexposed while producing acceptable results. Pro films have a greater latitude paired with a somewhat higher cost.

Negative film has more latitude than slide film. That is a reason why it is deemed to be challenging to shoot.

Dynamic Range

The range between the darkest and brightest details of a photograph is referred to as dynamic range. Areas of an image that fall out of this range will be rendered as totally white overexposed highlights or black underexposed shadows.

When working in a variety of quickly shifting lighting conditions, films with a bigger dynamic range are a much better choice.

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

The limited dynamic range of transparency film is a second factor it's considered to be tricky to shoot. The golden hour is the prime time to use slide film.

Film Type

35mm film that comes in metal canisters is used by the Canon EOS A2. It can also be described as 135 film, and it's the most often used film format.

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

Changing the film stock you are working with will transform the look of your shots. This is an example of the fantastic things about using film.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

All new 35mm film for sale these days has a DX code. This will allow electronically controlled cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO when the film canister is put in the camera.

The Canon EOS A2 will automatically set the film ISO. That is due to the fact that the camera is capable of reading the DX-coding on film canisters.

Canon EOS A2 Resources

Where to Get Film Developed?

You will find limited choices for where to have 35mm film processed. For a more in-depth discussion of the possible choices, go to my guide on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Pharmacies and big box stores have ended processing film locally. They ship the film off to be processed by a third party. As a result, you will not receive your processed 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

Shipping film to a mail-order photo lab to be processed and scanned is the most straightforward solution if you are just beginning to use film. If you consistently shoot film, this could be a disadvantage due to the fact that it can get very expensive.

There are a couple of actions that can be done to limit the costs required to use film, as long as you're shooting a moderate to high-volume of film.

Bulk Loading Film

Getting a bulk roll of 100' of film and manually loading it into canisters by hand is one of the ideal ways to lower expenses.

Once you are done, you will end up with typically around 18 canisters of 36 exposures. You should expect to save 20-30% based on the film.

Take into account that you are limited to 100' rolls of black and white film. This is due to the fact black & white film is quite a bit easier and more affordable to develop yourself.

Home Developing and Scanning

All film can be processed by hand. In fact, it's an excellent method to reduce costs so that you can use more film with your Canon EOS A2.

Black & white film is significantly less complicated to develop. Developer temperature and development times are both not as crucial to do correctly with black and white film as temperatures and time are for color negative or transparency film.

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