Best Film for the Canon F-1

Best Canon F-1 35mm Film

The best film to use in the Canon F-1 will have to depend on the lighting, lens, and type of film you want to shoot.

Working with an ISO 400 35mm or faster will allow you to skip being weighed down with a flash and/or tripod.

Make sure that you have a fast lens if you want to capture photos in low light, conditions that are often found indoors. For lens lens suggestions take a look at my blog post on the 5 Best Lenses for the Canon F-1.

Color Film


Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - A fantastic selection for a wide range of lighting conditions. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should be able to handhold the F-1 in almost all situations.

The images will have fantastic skin tones and tend to be on the warm side.

Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - An alternative to Kodak that might have far better availability depending on where you are in the world.

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

Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - There are only a small number of options if you want an ISO 800 speed color 35mm film. This is literally the only 35mm film stock focused on consumers.

Furthermore, if you own a medium format camera, it is also available in 120 film format.

Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - A reliable solution to achieve that mid-80s through 90s rendering. For the genuine experience try 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 beautiful colors everyone loves Kodak Gold for.


Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400 - Among the film shooting enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is by far the top color negative film. Overexpose it by 1 or 2-stops to get the look and feel the film is known for.

There’s also ISO 160 and ISO 800 versions of Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 are also manufactured.

Black and White Film


These film emulsions have low costs and very good quality, making them very popular to use in the Canon F-1.

The major appeal for budget minded photographers and photography students is the reasonable cost. Even if you would not put yourself in those groups, it is great to have low-priced rolls of 35 film readily available for evaluating recently obtained used cameras.

Kentmere 400

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

Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It is easier to buy in Europe as the film is made inside of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

An excellent 35mm film to use for your first few attempts at analog photography or home developing. Also a good option if you’re trying out a camera to confirm that it’s operating correctly.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400

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

They make developer kits for color film, so if you develop film at home you might have previously had interactions with them.


The 2 most commonly used black & white 35mm films are Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5 Plus 400. While they both possess different styles, they have a number of qualities in common that makes them a favorite.

You can get excellent photographs after pushing both film emulsions 2-stops. A 35mm roll of film can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them very useful.

Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two films, HP5 Plus is more affordable and has lower levels of contrast. Minimal contrast can be beneficial due to the fact contrast can be adjusted when making a darkroom print or through digital post processing.

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

Kodak Tri-X 400

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

Kodak Tri-X 400 undeniably has greater contrast. That’s beneficial if it happens to be the style you need because it means a great deal less work when editing digitially or making a darkroom print.

Slide Film

Slide film, also known as reversal or transparency film, gives you a positive picture. This allows the pictures to be viewed with a projector or light box.

The colors do not need to be inverted to be viewed, as opposed to the more widespread negative films.

Slide films have far less latitude and dynamic range when compared with negative film and so they are viewed as more difficult to shoot.

Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for fine grain and superb skin tones. The colors do not show up oversaturated. It’s daylight color balanced.

Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a seriously sharp daylight balanced slide film with lots of contrast and saturation, giving pictures a unique rendering. Velvia has the highest resolving power of any available reversal film.

An ISO 100 speed is also offered.

Fujichrome Provia 100F

Fujichrome Provia 100F - Produces vibrant and natural colors with medium contrast and color saturation. It is a ultra fine grain film with a daylight color balance.

Foma Fomapan R100

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

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Pro film stocks cost more due to the fact they have greater dynamic range, latitude, and can more easily be pushed.

There’s a difference in where rolls of film can be purchased. Consumer film emulsions can quite often still be bought in big-box stores and pharmacies in meager quantities. Professional level film should really be bought from a online or specialized camera store.


A film’s light sensitivity is shown as the ISO.

The less light available to capture an image, the higher the ISO of the film will have to be. Also, be prepared for larger film grain.

ISO 100 and slower films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc) might be tricky to use handheld with the F-1. This is because if you don’t have full sun, the shutter speeds are going to be longer than what you could handhold without resulting in motion blur.

A flash, fast lens, and/or tripod are going to assist you with longer exposure times. The extra equipment might not be needed if you choose to use a faster ISO 800 or ISO 400 film.

The ISO dial is listed as ASA on the Canon F-1. The shift to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film Latitude

Latitude is the number of stops a film can be overexposed while still keeping usable quality. Pro film emulsions have a larger latitude to go along with a slightly higher cost.

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

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is the difference between the brightest and darkest details of an image that can be recorded. Areas of a photo that fall out of this range will be rendered as completely black underexposed shadows or solid white overexposed highlights.

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

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

The constrained dynamic range of transparency film is another reason why it’s regarded as challenging to shoot. The perfect time to test it out is during the golden hour.

Film Type

35mm film that is sold in metal canisters is used by the Canon F-1. It’s also the most commonly used film format and sometimes described as 135 film.

120 or 220 film, used by medium format cameras, is the only other type of film you are likely to come across}.

Switching the film emulsion you are working with will transform the look of your pictures. This is an example of the excellent things about shooting film.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Most available 35mm film offered for sale these days has a DX code. This allows cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO when the film canister is loaded.

DX-coding does not change anything for the Canon F-1 because ISO must be selected manually.

Canon F-1 Resources

Where to Get Film Developed?

You will find just a few possible choices for where to get 35mm film developed. For a more thorough explanation of the possible choices read my guide on Where to Develop Film.

WARNING: Big box stores and pharmacies no longer develop film on location. They send the film off to be developed by a third party. Because of this, you won’t be given 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

The most convenient choice and the method I would suggest using if you’re just getting started using film is to mail your film to a lab to be developed and scanned. A disadvantage to this is that it ends up being really expensive if you regularly use film.

As long as you’re shooting a moderate to high volume of film, there are a few activities that can be done to lower your expenses.

Bulk Loading Film

Getting a bulk roll of 100 feet of film and manually loading in into canisters by hand is considered one of the most popular methods to lower your costs.

Once you’re done, you’ll end up getting typically around 18 canisters of 36 frames. Expect savings of 20-30% based on the film you choose.

Bear in mind that you are only going to be able to get 100’ rolls of black & white film. This is because black and white film is less difficult and more cost-effective to process at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

It’s easy to develop and digitize film at home. In fact it’s a smart method to cut costs so you can use more film with your Canon F-1.

Black & white film is significantly simpler to develop yourself. Temperature and development times are not as crucial to do correctly with black & white films as time and temperatures are for color negative or slide film.