The best film to use in the Canon Rebel II is going to be based on the available light, your lens, and if you want to use color or black & white.
To prevent having to haul around a flash and/or tripod, purchase a 35mm film that has an ISO of 400 or higher.
If you intend to capture images inside or anywhere there is low light, make sure you are using a fast lens.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film can be used in a large range of lighting conditions and is a terrific choice for a color film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should have the ability to handhold the Rebel II in lots of scenarios.
Expect photographs to look a little warm with pleasant colors.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - An alternative to Kodak that may have far better availability depending on where you are in the world.
Fujifilm photos appear to have cooler tones with notable greens and blues when compared to Kodak.
Lomography 800 - If you want a color 35mm film with an ISO of 800, there are not very many choices. For 35mm film emulsions targeted towards consumers, this is the only available choice.
In addition, if you own a medium format camera, Lomography 800 is also available in 120 film format.
Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film emulsion that was launched in the mid-1980s. Kodak Gold 200 produces the look of snapshots from the 80s and 1990s. Use a flash to get the "authentic" film look.
Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to create the best look the film can achieve. This will provide the idyllic colors everyone loves Gold 200 for.
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 color the film is well-known for.
Additionally, ISO 160 and 800 emulsions of Kodak Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 are also available to purchase.
Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H - The Fujifilm equivalent to Kodak Portra 400, but with a distinctive color appearance. Expect to see more vibrant greens and blues.
It's offered in 120, but not in sheets of 8x10 or 4x5.
Black and White Film
With low prices and excellent favorable to use in the Canon Rebel II.
The main attraction for photography students and budget-minded photographers is the low price. Even if you don't put yourself in that group, it's great to have inexpensive rolls of 35 film on hand for trying out recently delivered used cameras.
Kentmere 400 - Made by Harmon Technology, which is the owner of Ilford. This is notable since that allows this to be the most broadly sold film out of the three.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It's less difficult to purchase in Europe as the film is manufactured by Foma Bohemia in the Czech Republic.
A solid film emulsion to choose for your initial few attempts at home developing or analog photography. Additionally, a good selection if you are testing out a camera to guarantee that it is working properly.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The cheapest store to get this film is straight from Ultrafine.
They distribute chemical developer kits for film, so if you process film at home you could have previously interacted with them.
Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the 2 most popular black & white films. They do have quite a few characteristics in common that helps make them so popular while retaining distinctive rendering.
You can enjoy solid photographs after pushing both film stocks 2-stops. A 35mm roll of film can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them very versatile.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The biggest differences are that HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is more affordable when compared to Tri-X. Minimal amounts of contrast can be helpful because contrast can be adjusted when making a darkroom print or through digital post-processing.
The film emulsion still looks good when pushed 2-stops. It is also recognized as having subdued grain.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock features a more distinctive aesthetic. To reveal the legendary grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be developed in D-76.
You're going to undoubtedly see higher levels of contrast with Tri-X. That is notable if it happens to be the look you are after because it requires not as much work when through digital processing or making a print.
Film emulsions that produce a positive image are commonly referred to as reversal, transparency, or slide film. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to exhibit the photographs.
Colors are not required to be inverted to be viewed, as opposed to the more prevalent negative film stocks.
Slide films have a lot less dynamic range and latitude compared to negative films and so they are perceived as more difficult to work with.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for fine grain and exquisite skin tones. The colors will not look oversaturated. Ektachrome has a daylight color balance.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a seriously sharp color balanced for daylight slide film with high levels of contrast and saturation, giving pictures a distinct look. Velvia has the highest resolving power of any available slide film emulsion.
It is also available in an ISO 100 speed.
Fujifilm Provia 100F - Creates realistic and vibrant colors with moderate contrast and color saturation. It's an ultrafine grain film with a daylight color balance.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white slide film, noted by Fomapan as having elevated levels of contrast, very good resolving power, and fine grain. It's also billed as an alternative for the discontinued Agfa Scala Film Stock.
Consumer vs Professional Film
Pro film stock have increased latitude, dynamic range, and are easier to push, which is the reason they cost more.
You should expect to see a big difference in businesses that sell it. Consumer film emulsions can oftentimes still be found in big-box stores and pharmacies in limited amounts. Pro film will need to be ordered from an online retailer or camera store.
A film's light sensitivity is shown as the ISO.
The less light available to properly expose an image, the bigger the film's ISO will need to be. This comes at the cost of more film grain.
It can be frustrating to handhold the Rebel II with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). This is due to the fact that if you do not have full sun, the shutter speeds might take longer than what you can handhold without producing motion blur.
To stop motion blur you are going to need to use a flash, fast lens, and/or tripod. The extra gear might not be needed if you choose a faster ISO 400 or ISO 800 film.
The ISO is set electronically by the Canon Rebel II. This is a change from previous SLRs that have a physical ISO dial.
Film latitude is the range of stops a film can be overexposed while retaining usable images. Pro film stocks have a larger latitude along with a slightly increased cost.
Negative film has more latitude when compared to reversal film. That is a reason it is deemed to be challenging to shoot.
The range between the darkest and brightest details of a photo is referred to as dynamic range. Parts of a photo that are not in this range will appear as totally black underexposed shadows or totally white overexposed highlights.
When shooting in a wide variety of quickly shifting lighting situations, film stocks 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 small dynamic range of transparency film is a second factor it's considered hard to shoot. The golden hour is the ideal time to shoot reversal film.
35mm film that is in metal canisters is used by the Canon Rebel II. It can also be referred to as 135 film, and it's the most often used film format.
The only other type of film you are likely going to come across is 120 or 220 film that is used with medium format cameras.
One of the best properties of film is that you can switch the film stock you work with and get a different look to your shots.
DX Coded Film
Nearly all commercially available 35mm film offered currently has DX encoding on the canister. This will allow cameras to detect and set the ISO of the canister put in the camera.
The ISO on the Canon Rebel II will automatically be set. That is due to the fact that the camera can read the DX-coding on film canisters.
Canon Rebel II Resources
Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?
You will find a range of options for where to get 35mm film processed. For a more comprehensive explanation of the choices, you can check out my article on Where to Get Film Developed.
WARNING: Pharmacies and big box stores have ceased processing film locally. They send film off-site to be processed by a third party. As a consequence, you won't get your negatives back.
- Develop Film at Home
- Use a Local Photography Lab
- Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
- Pharmacy or Big Box Store
The most convenient method and what I suggest using if you are just beginning to use film is to send off your film to a photo lab to be developed and scanned. If you consistently use film, this might be a disadvantage because it can get really expensive.
Assuming that you are going through a medium to high-volume of film, there are a couple of activities that can be done to cut back on your expenses.
Bulk Loading Film
Investing in a bulk roll of 100 feet of film and loading it into canisters by hand is among the leading ways to lower expenses.
A 100' bulk roll of film will fill up typically around 18 rolls of film with 36 exposures. You should expect to save 20-30% based on your selection.
Keep in mind that you're only going to be able to get 100' rolls of black & white film. This is due to black & white film is easier and more cost-effective to develop at home.
Home Developing and Scanning
All film can be developed at home. It is a great option to lower your costs so you can use more film with your Canon Rebel II.
Black & white film is much less complicated to develop. Chemical temperature and time are not as essential to get correct with black & white films as they are for color negative or transparency film.