Best Film for the Canon F-1
The best film to use in your Canon F-1 should depend on the lighting, your lens, and type of film you want to shoot.
To avoid having to haul around a flash or tripod, opt for a film that has an ISO of 400 or faster.
If you intend to take photographs inside or anytime there is low light, make sure you have a fast lens. For lens suggestions go to my blog post on the 5 Best Lenses for the Canon F-1.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - A very good option for a diverse range of lighting conditions. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should have the ability to handhold the F-1 in the vast majority of scenarios.
Expect pictures to look a bit warm with gorgeous skin tones.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - A different option than Kodak that could have better availability based on what country you are in.
In comparison to Kodak, Fujifilm tends to be a bit cooler with stronger greens and blues.
Lomography 800 - There are a small number of choices if you want a color ISO 800 film. This happens to be the only 35mm film stock geared towards consumers.
The emulsion can also be found in the 120 film format, for use in a medium format camera.
Kodak Gold 200 - An excellent way to achieve that mid-80s through 90s feeling. Use a flash to get the “classic” look.
Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to create the best the film has to offer. This will give you the striking colors people love Kodak Gold for.
Kodak Portra 400 - By far the most popular color negative film among film shooting enthusiasts online. Overexpose the film by 1 or 2-stops to get the look the film is well known for.
There are also ISO 800 and ISO 160 versions of Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 are also available to purchase.
These film emulsions have low costs and very good quality, making them quite popular to use in the Canon F-1.
The major appeal for photography students and budget minded photographers is the reasonable cost. Even if you don’t put yourself in that group, it is great to have relatively cheap rolls of film on hand for testing recently purchased used gear.
Kentmere 400 - It is manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable due to the fact that makes this the most broadly sold film of the three.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Will be less difficult to get in Europe as the film is produced inside of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.
A great 35mm film to use for your initial couple of attempts at analog photography or home developing. Also a good option if you happen to be trying out a camera to check that it’s completely functional.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The cheapest store to purchase this film is straight from Ultrafine.
They have chemical developer kits for 35mm color film, so if you process film at home you could have previously interacted with them.
The two most frequently used black & white film stocks are Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400. While they both possess different looks, they have a number of traits that are equivalent that makes them so well received.
You can get excellent 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 useful.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The major differences are that HP5 Plus is less expensive and has less contrast in comparison to Tri-X. Minimal amounts of contrast can be beneficial because of the fact contrast can be added when making a print in the darkroom or through digital processing.
The film has subtle grain and still appears very good when pushed 2-stops.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film has a stronger look. To create the traditional grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be processed in D-76.
The film stock without a doubt has higher levels of contrast. That’s notable if it happens to be the look and feel you want to have because it results in significantly less work when during digital processing or printmaking.
Films that make a positive image are often referred to as slide, transparency, or reversal film. This allows the slides to be exhibited with a projector or light box.
Colors don’t need to be inverted to be seen, contrary to the more prevalent negative films.
Slide films have substantially less dynamic range and latitude when compared to negative films and so they are perceived as difficult to use.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a film known for fine grain and gorgeous skin tones. There’s virtually no hypersaturation of colors. The film has been color balanced for daylight.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Offers distinct looking photographs that have high levels of saturation and contrast. It is sharp with a daylight color balance. Compared to all the slide films available for purchase, it has the top resolving power.
An ISO 100 speed is also available.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Offers vibrant and natural colors with moderate contrast and color saturation. It has ultra fine grain with a daylight color balance.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white slide film, noted by Fomapan as having fine grain, elevated levels of contrast, and excellent resolving power. It’s also mentioned as a replacement for the discontinued Agfa Scala.
Pro film stock have larger latitude, are easier to push, and larger dynamic range, which is the reason they are more expensive.
There might be a disparity in business that sell 35mm rolls of film. Consumer film emulsions can often still be obtained from big-box stores and pharmacies in small amounts. Professional film has to be ordered from a online retailer or specialized camera store.
A film’s sensitivity to light is displayed by the ISO.
The bigger the ISO, the less light will be needed to get a film frame. This comes at the cost of increased film grain.
ISO 100 and slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc) is often hard to shoot handheld in the F-1. This is because in the absence of full sun, the shutter speeds are going to be longer than what you are able to handhold without causing motion blur.
A tripod, a fast lens, and/or a flash will help you with longer shutter speeds. The extra gear may not be needed if you choose to use a faster ISO 400 or ISO 800 film.
As a quick note, the ISO dial is listed as ASA on the Canon F-1. 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 a film can be overexposed while still holding onto good results. Professional films have a greater latitude along with a somewhat higher price.
Transparency film has less latitude than negative film. That is a reason it is viewed as more difficult to shoot.
Dynamic range represents the difference between the highlights and shadows details of a photo that can be recorded. Areas of a picture that do not fit in this range will be rendered as completely white overexposed highlights or completely black underexposed shadows.
When working in a variety or quickly changing lighting situations, film stocks with a larger dynamic range are a superior choice.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
Transparency film is considered hard to use due to the small dynamic range. A very good time to try it out would be during the golden hour.
35mm film that comes in metal canisters is used by the Canon F-1. The film can also be called 135 film, and it is the most frequently used type of film.
120 or 220 film, used by medium format cameras, is the only other type of film you are probably going to see}.
Changing the film stock you are using will alter the look of your photographs. This is an example of the terrific things about film.
Nearly all new 35mm film for sale at this point has DX encoding. This lets electronically controlled cameras to detect and set the ISO of the film canister loaded into the camera.
DX-coding won’t change anything for the Canon F-1 because ISO needs to be dialed in manually.
There are a variety of choices for where to get 35mm film processed. For a more detailed discussion of the options check my article on Where to Get Film Developed.
WARNING: Film does not get developed on location at big box stores and pharmacies. They mail film off to be developed by a separate company. This means that, you will not be given your processed negatives back.
- Develop Film at Home
- Use a Local Photography Lab
- Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
- Pharmacy or Big Box Store
Shipping film to a mail-order photo lab to be developed and scanned is the least difficult choice if you’re just getting started using film. If you consistently shoot film, this can be a drawback due to the fact that it can get expensive.
So long as you are using a medium to high volume of film, there are a couple of actions that you are capable of doing to help reduce your costs.
Ordering a bulk roll of 100’ of film and manually loading in into canisters yourself is considered one of the most well known methods to cut costs.
A 100’ roll will fill up around 18 rolls of film containing 36 exposures. Look forward to discounts of 20-30% depending on your selection.
Keep in mind that you are limited to bulk rolls of black & white film. This is because black and white film is quite a bit easier and more cost-effective to develop at home.
Any film can be processed at home. It’s a smart method to save money so you can shoot more film with your Canon F-1.
Black and white film is by far the least complicated to develop yourself. Developer temperature and development times are both not as vital to do correctly with black & white films as temperatures and time are for color negative or slide film.