Recommended Beginner Film for the Canon EOS Rebel XS (EOS 500)

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

The best film to use in the Canon Rebel XS is going to depend on the available light, lens, and type of film you want to shoot.

Choosing an ISO 400 film or faster will let you avoid being weighed down with a flash and/or tripod.

Make sure you have a fast lens if you want to shoot images in low light, conditions that are frequently encountered indoors.

Color Film


Consumer 35mm Color Negative Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film handles a large range of lighting conditions well and is a great option for a color film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should have the ability to handhold the Rebel XS in most scenarios.

The pictures will have extremely good colors and is on the warm side.

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Depending on your location, this film could have greater availability. It's a fantastic alternative to Kodak emulsions.

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

Lomography 800 - If you want an ISO 800 color 35mm film, there are only a small number of offerings. This is literally the only film geared towards consumers.

Lomography 800 is also for sale in the 120 film format, to be used with a medium format camera.

Kodak Gold 200 - An awesome way to achieve that mid-1980s through 90s feeling. Use a flash to get the "nostalgic" film look.

To really bring the best out of the film, over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will provide you with the great colors everyone loves Gold 200 for.


Kodak Portra 400 ISO Color Negative 35mm Film

Kodak Portra 400 - By far the most popular color negative film among photography enthusiasts online. Overexpose Portra 400 by 1 or 2-stops to get the style the film is highly regarded for.

Kodak Portra is also available for purchase in ISO 160 and 800 versions. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also available.

Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H - The Fujifilm film that is most similar to Portra, but with a distinct color appearance. Expect more vibrant blues and greens.

It's offered in 120, but not in sheets of 4x5 or 8x10.

Black and White Film


These film stocks have low costs and more than acceptable quality, making them very popular to try in the Canon Rebel XS.

The biggest appeal for photography students and budget-minded photographers is the reasonable price. Even if you don't put yourself in those groups, it's great to have comparatively cheap rolls of film available for evaluating recently delivered used gear.

Consumer Black & White 35mm Film

Kentmere 400 - It's manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable due to the fact that makes this the most commonly sold B&W film of the three.

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

An ideal film to choose for your initial few attempts at analog photography or developing film at home. Also, a good option if you happen to be attempting to check out a camera to ensure that it's totally operational.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the best price by purchasing it straight from Ultrafine.

They produce chemical developer kits for 35mm film, so if you process film at home you could have previously interacted with them.


Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5+ 400 are the two top-selling black & white film stocks. While they both possess individual styles, they possess numerous attributes that are comparable that makes them popular.

Both film emulsions can be pushed 2 stops and still create professional results. A roll can be used at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them very versatile.

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

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The most significant differences are that HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is more affordable in comparison to Tri-X. A lack of contrast can be a benefit because of the fact that contrast can be added when making a darkroom print or during digital processing.

The film still appears excellent when pushed 2-stops. It is also noted for having subdued grain.

Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm Film

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock features a more distinctive look. To achieve the traditional grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it should be processed in Kodak D-76.

You're going to clearly see considerably more contrast with Tri-X. That is notable if that is the style you will want because it requires substantially less work when through digital post-processing or making a print in the darkroom.

Transparency Film

Films that make a positive image are known as transparency, slide, or reversal film. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to view the slides.

The colors are not required to be inverted to be viewed, unlike the more commonplace negative film stocks.

Slide films have substantially less latitude and dynamic range when compared to negative film and so they are believed to be challenging to work with.

Kodak Ektachrome 100 35mm Film

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

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Creates appealing looking photographs that have elevated amounts of saturation and contrast. It is exceptionally sharp with a daylight color balance. When compared with all the transparency films you can buy, it has the top resolving power.

An ISO 100 speed is also available.

Fujifilm Provia 100F - Produces realistic and vivid colors with moderate color saturation and contrast. It's an ultra-fine grain film balanced for daylight.

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white slide film, marketed by Fomapan as having fine grain, higher levels of contrast, and high resolving power. It's also regarded as an alternative for the long-discontinued Agfa Scala transparency film.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Pro film stock have a greater dynamic range, are easier to push, and increased latitude, this is why pro-film costs more.

There will also be a difference in businesses that sell 35mm rolls of film. Consumer film stocks can often be bought from pharmacies and big-box stores in small amounts. Professional level film stocks needs to be ordered from a specialized camera store or online retailer.

Film ISO

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

The less light available to get an image, the bigger the film's ISO will need to be. In addition, be prepared to see noticeably increased film grain.

It may be hard to handhold the Rebel XS with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc). They will probably take more time than what you could handhold without causing motion blur unless you are working in full sun.

To prevent motion blur you are going to need to use a tripod, a fast lens, and/or a flash. Using a high-speed ISO 800 or ISO 400 film is likely to make the extra accessories not needed.

The ISO is set by the Canon Rebel XS electronically. This is different from previous SLRs that use a physical ISO dial.

Film Latitude

Film latitude is the range of stops a film can be overexposed while producing tolerable images. Pro film emulsions have a larger latitude along with a slightly higher cost.

Negative film has a greater amount of latitude compared to reversal film. That is one of the reasons it's regarded as difficult to work with.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is the range between the darkest and brightest details of a photo that can be recorded. Parts of an image that don't fit within this range will be seen as solid white overexposed highlights or completely black underexposed shadows.

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

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

The small dynamic range of reversal film is an additional reason it is viewed as difficult to shoot. A fantastic time to try it out is during the golden hour.

Film Type

35mm film that is sold in canisters is used by the Canon Rebel XS. The film can also be described as 135 film, and it's the most widely used type of film.

120 or 220 film, used in medium format cameras, is the only other film format you are likely to see.

Swapping the film stock you are working with will change the look of your photographs. This is one of the marvelous things about shooting film.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Nearly all new 35mm film for sale currently has DX encoding on the canister. This lets electronically controlled cameras to auto-detect and set the ISO when the film is loaded into the camera.

The Canon Rebel XS will set the film ISO automatically. That is because the camera can read the DX-coding on film canisters.

Canon Rebel XS Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

You will find limited possible choices for where to develop 35mm film. For a more complete explanation of the possible choices, check out my guide on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Big box stores and pharmacies have ceased processing film locally. They ship the film off-site to be processed by a separate company. Consequently, you won't receive your 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 your film to a mail-order photo lab to be processed and scanned is the simplest choice if you're new to using film. A disadvantage to this is that it becomes pricey if you're consistently shooting film.

As long as you're using a medium to high-volume of film, there are a couple of activities that you can do to reduce your expenses.

Bulk Loading Film

Certainly one of the best ways to lower your costs on film is to buy a bulk roll of 100 feet of film and manually load canisters by hand.

After you've finished, you will end up having roughly 18 canisters of 36 exposures each. Count on savings of 20-30% based on the film you purchase.

Bear in mind that you're limited to rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black & white film is much easier and cheaper to develop yourself.

Home Developing and Scanning

It's simple to process and scan any film at home. It's a smart option to lower your costs so you can use more film with your Canon Rebel XS.

Black & white film is by far the easiest to process at home. Temperature and development times are not as crucial to get correct with black and white films as they are for color negative or transparency film.

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