Best Film for the Canon EOS Rebel XS

The best film to use in the Canon EOS Rebel XS should be based on your lens, lighting conditions, and type of film you want to shoot.

Buying an ISO 400 film or faster will enable you to avoid needing to haul around a tripod and/or flash.

Make sure that you have a fast lens if you want to shoot images in low light, conditions that are frequently encountered indoors. For lens lens recommendations take a look at my list on the 5 Best Lenses for the Canon EOS Rebel XS.

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Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film
Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - An excellent option for a plethora of lighting conditions. Using this film you should have the ability to handhold the EOS Rebel XS in just about all situations.

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

Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400
Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

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

When compared to Kodak, Fuji tends to be a little bit cooler with an emphasis on blues and greens.

Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO
Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - There are only a few choices if you want a color ISO 800 film. This happens to be the only 35mm film stock geared towards consumers.

Lomography 800 is also offered in the 120 film format, to be used in medium format cameras.

Kodak Gold 200
Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - A guaranteed way to get that mid-80s through 90s rendering. For the authentic photography experience use a flash.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to reveal the most popular look the film has to offer. This will provide you with the idyllic colors everyone loves Gold 200 for.

Box of Kodak Portra 400 ISO 35mm film
Kodak Portra 400

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

Kodak Portra is also available for purchase in ISO 160 and 800 emulsions. It is also offered in rolls of 120, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.

These film emulsions have low costs and more than acceptable quality, making them very popular for use in the Canon EOS Rebel XS.

The main attraction for photography students and budget minded photographers is the very affordable price. Even if you don’t put yourself in that group, it’s great to have comparatively cheap rolls of film available for evaluating newly delivered camera gear.

Kentmere ISO 400 Film
Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - Manufactured by Harmon Technology, which is also the parent company of Ilford. This is notable because that makes this the most widely sold B&W film of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action
Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It will probably less difficult to purchase in Europe as the film is produced out of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A very good film to use for your initial couple of attempts at analog photography or home developing. Also a good choice if you’re trying out a camera to confirm that it’s fully functional.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400
Ultrafine eXtreme 400

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the cheapest price by ordering it from Ultrafine.

If you develop film yourself, you may have done that with developer sold by them to process your film.

The 2 most popular black and white films are Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400. They have many characteristics that are equivalent that make them a favourite, while preserving unique looks.

Both film stocks can be pushed 1 or 2 stops and provide very good images. This makes the film versatile as a roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600.

Ilford HP5 Plus 400
Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two film emulsions, HP5 Plus is cheaper and has lower levels of contrast. Minimal contrast can be advantageous because contrast can be changed when making a print or during digital post processing.

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

Kodak Tri-X 400
Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock features a stronger style to it. To reveal the old-school grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be developed in D-76.

Tri-X definitely has more contrast. That is awesome if that is the look you want because it results in considerably less work when editing digitially or making a print.

Film stocks that produce a positive image can be called reversal, slide, or transparency film. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to display the photographs.

This is distinct from the more widespread negative film emulsions that result in photographs that need the colors to be inverted so that they can be viewed.

Slide films have substantially less dynamic range and latitude than negative film and so they are perceived as more difficult to work with.

Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Slide Film
Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. The colors do not appear oversaturated. It’s daylight balanced.

Fujichrome Velvia 50
Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Provides signature looking images that have increased amounts of contrast and saturation. It is exceptionally sharp with a daylight color balance. When compared to all the reversal films available for purchase, it has the highest resolving power.

An ISO 100 speed is also available.

Fujichrome Provia 100F
Fujichrome Provia 100F

Fujichrome Provia 100F - Delivers natural and vivid colors with medium color saturation and contrast. It has a daylight color balance and ultrafine grain.

Foma Fomapan R100
Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white transparency film, described by Fomapan as having high resolving power, fine grain, and increased levels of contrast. It’s also billed as a alternative for the long discontinued Agfa Scala Film Stock.

Professional film stocks cost more due to the fact that they are easier to push, have greater dynamic range, and latitude.

There is a disparity in where film can be purchased. Consumer film emulsions can often still be found in pharmacies and big-box stores in meager amounts. Pro film stocks should be purchased from a specialized camera store or online.

The ISO represents the speed of the film, which may also be thought of as the film’s sensitivity to light.

The higher the ISO of the film, the less light is required to get a photo. This comes at the expense of noticeably increased film grain.

It is often quite challenging to handhold the EOS Rebel XS with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc). The will most likely take longer will likely be longer than what you’re able to handhold without causing motion blur unless you are out in full sun.

A fast lens, flash, and/or tripod are going to help you with longer exposure times. The additional accessories may not be needed if you get a faster ISO 400 or ISO 800 film.

As a quick note, the ISO knob is marked as ASA on the Canon EOS Rebel XS. The shift to using ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film latitude is the amount of stops film can be overexposed while still producing tolerable results. Professional film stocks have a greater latitude along with a somewhat higher price.

Transparency film has a smaller amount of latitude when compared to negative film. That is one of the reasons why it is regarded as more challenging to use.

Dynamic range is the difference between the shadows and highlights parts of an image that can be captured. Sections of a picture that do not fit in this range will be seen as solid white overexposed highlights or black underexposed shadows.

When shooting in a wide variety or quickly shifting lighting conditions, film stocks with a larger dynamic range is better.

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

Transparency film is considered tough to use resulting from the small dynamic range. Golden hour is the best time to use transparency.

35mm film that is in metal canisters is used by the Canon EOS Rebel XS. In addition, it is the most popular film format and sometimes described as 135 film.

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

Switching the film stock you are using will change the look of your pictures. This is one of the best things about using film.

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister
DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Just about all commercially available 35mm film on the market currently has a DX code. This enables cameras to detect and set the ISO of the film canister loaded into the camera.

DX-coding won’t matter for the Canon EOS Rebel XS because ISO must be selected manually.

You will find a handful of choices for where to get 35mm film processed. For a more thorough explanation of the possibilities see my article on Where to Develop Film.

WARNING: Pharmacies and big box stores have stopped developing film locally. They mail film off to be developed by a 3rd party. As a consequence, you will not be given your developed 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 developed and scanned is the least complicated choice if you are new to shooting film. A drawback to this is that it gets really expensive if you are consistently using film.

There are two actions that can be done to decrease the costs involved in using film, on condition that you are using a medium to high volume of film.

Considered one of the most popular ways to spend less money on film is to buy a bulk roll of 100 feet of film and load canisters by hand.

Once you are done, you’ll end up getting about 18 canisters of 36 exposures each. Based on the film stock you are likely to save 20%-30%.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you are only going to be able to get rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black and white film is easier and less expensive to develop yourself.

You can easily develop and scan any film at home. In fact it’s an excellent method to cut costs so you can use more film with your Canon EOS Rebel XS.

Black and white film is significantly less complicated to develop yourself. Chemical temperature and time are not as important to do correctly with black & white film as they are for transparency or color negative.