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Best Film for the Canon EOS Rebel II

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Best Canon EOS Rebel II 35mm Film

´╗┐The best film to use in your Canon EOS Rebel II will have to be based on the lighting conditions, lens, and if you want to use color or black & white.

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

If you need to shoot pictures inside or anywhere there is low light, make sure that you are using a fast lens. For lens lens ideas go read my list on the 5 Best Lenses for the Canon EOS Rebel II.

Color Film

Consumer

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Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film can be used in a variety of lighting conditions and is a great pick for a 35mm color film. Kodak UltraMax 400 is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the EOS Rebel II in most scenarios.

The pictures will have wonderful colors and tend to be on the warm side.

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Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Depending on your location, this film may be more widely available. It’s a fantastic alternative to Kodak emulsions.

Compared to Kodak, Fujifilm appears to be a little bit cooler with stronger greens and blues.

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Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - You’re limited to a small number of offerings if you want a color ISO 800 film. This happens to be the only 35mm film emulsion focused on consumers.

It 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 - A reliable means to obtain that mid-80s through 90s feeling. Use an on-camera flash to get the “authentic” look the film is known for.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to create the best look the film has to offer. This will help you achieve the fantastic colors people love Kodak Gold 200 for.

Professional

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Kodak Portra 400

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

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

Black and White Film

Consumer

With affordable prices and very good favorable for use in the Canon EOS Rebel II.

The largest attraction for budget minded photographers and photography students is the reasonable price. Even if you would not put yourself in those groups, it’s great to have comparatively cheap rolls of film around for testing newly delivered used gear.

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Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - It is manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable considering that makes this the most broadly sold B&W film of the 3.

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Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Can be less difficult to get in Europe as the film is made inside of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A solid 35mm film to try for your initial few attempts at home developing or film photography. Also a good choice if you’re looking to check out a camera to be sure that it is completely functional.

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Ultrafine eXtreme 400

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The cheapest place to get this film is directly from Ultrafine.

If you develop color 35mm film yourself, you may have done that with chemicals sold by them to develop your film.

Professional

Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the 2 best black & white film emulsions. While they both have individual rendering, they have numerous qualities that are similar that help makes them so popular.

Both film stocks can be pushed 2 stops and while still supplying professional photos. A roll of film can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them remarkably flexible.

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Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The most significant differences are that HP5 Plus is less expensive and has lower levels of contrast when compared to Tri-X. Minimal amounts of contrast can be nice because of the fact contrast can be changed when making a print or editing digitally.

The film emulsion has subdued grain and still looks excellent when pushed 2-stops.

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Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion has a stronger rendering to it. To showcase the traditional grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it should be developed in Kodak D-76.

The film stock undoubtedly has higher levels of contrast. That is great if it happens to be the overall look you would you like because it results in considerably less work when making a print in the darkroom or through digital post processing.

Reversal Film

Slide film, also known as transparency or reversal film, provides a positive image. This means the photos can be exhibited with a projector or light box.

This is unique from the more commonly available negative films that make pictures that need the colors to be inverted for the image to be viewed.

Slide films have far less dynamic range and latitude compared to negative films and so they are viewed as difficult 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 won’t look oversaturated. It has a daylight color balance.

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Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Provides distinctive looking images that have high levels of contrast and saturation. It is sharp with a daylight color balance. Matched against all the reversal films you can buy, it has the top resolving power.

It is also available in an ISO 100 speed.

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Fujichrome Provia 100F

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

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Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white transparency film, claimed by Fomapan as having elevated contrast, very fine grain, and high resolving power. It is also mentioned as a replacement for the long discontinued Agfa Scala Film Stock.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Pro film stock have increased dynamic range, latitude, and are easier to push, this is why they cost more.

You should be prepared for a big difference in business that sell rolls of film. Consumer film emulsions can usually still be found in pharmacies and big-box stores in small amounts. Professional film emulsions needs to be bought from a camera store or online.

ISO

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

The less light there is available to get an image, the bigger the film’s ISO should be. This comes at the tradeoff of larger sized film grain.

It is often difficult to handhold the EOS Rebel II with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). The will most likely be longer can be longer than what you could handhold without resulting in motion blur unless you are out in full sun.

To stop this you will need to use a flash, tripod, and/or fast lens. Using a fast ISO 400 or ISO 800 film is likely to make the additional equipment unnecessary.

As a quick note, the ISO selection knob is listed as ASA on the Canon EOS Rebel II. The transition to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film Latitude

Film latitude is the range of stops film can be overexposed while still maintaining adequate images. Professional films have a larger latitude along with a somewhat increased price.

Slide film has a smaller amount of latitude compared to negative film. That is a reason it’s perceived as harder to shoot.

Dynamic Range

The range between the shadows and highlights details of an image is known as dynamic range. Parts of a photo that are not in this range will appear as solid black underexposed shadows or white overexposed highlights.

A bigger dynamic range is advantageous due to the fact that it makes working in variable lighting conditions easier.

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

The constrained dynamic range of slide film is another reason why it is considered to be tough to shoot. The best time to try it out would be during the golden hour.

Film Type

35mm film that is sold in canisters is used by the Canon EOS Rebel II. It can also be described as 135 film, and it’s the most commonly used type of film.

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

One of the excellent properties of film is that you can change the film you use and get a unique look to your photographs.

DX Coded Film

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DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Most commercially available 35mm film for sale currently has a DX code. This makes it possible for cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO when the canister is loaded.

The ISO (ASA) on the Canon EOS Rebel II must be manually selected. Which means DX-coding doesn’t matter.

Canon EOS Rebel II Resources

Where to Get Film Developed?

There are only a few possible choices for where to process 35mm film. For a more in depth discussion of the options you can check out my article on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Pharmacies and big box stores do not process film locally. They mail film off to be processed by a separate company. That is why, 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

Sending your film to a mail-order lab to be developed and scanned is the most straightforward option if you are just getting started shooting film. A drawback to this is that it will get pricey if you consistently shoot film.

As long as you are going through a medium to high volume of film, there are two actions that you are able to do to reduce your expenses.

Bulk Loading Film

Considered one of the most popular options to get a better price on film is to buy a roll of 100’ of film and manually load it into canisters by hand.

A 100 foot roll will fill around 18 rolls of film with 36 exposures. Based on the film stock you are likely to save 20%-30%.

Keep in mind that you’re only going to be able to get 100’ rolls of black and white film. This is due to black and white film is quite a bit easier and cheaper to process yourself.

Home Developing and Scanning

Any film can be developed at home. It is a good option to lower your costs so you can use more film with your Canon EOS Rebel II.

Black and white film is by far the simplest to process yourself. Developer temperature and time are both not as essential to do correctly with black and white film as temperatures and time are for slide or color negative.