Best Film for the Fuji AX
The best film to use in your Fuji AX should be based on your lens, available light, and if you want to shoot color or black & white.
Taking advantage of an ISO 400 film or faster will allow you to eliminate needing to carry around a tripod or flash.
Make sure that you have a fast lens if you want to capture photographs in low light, conditions that are often found indoors. Go read my article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Fuji AX for recommendations.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - A great option for a variety of conditions. The film is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the AX in lots of situations.
The pictures will have wonderful skin tones and is on the warm side.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Another option that may have far better availability based on where you are in the world.
Fuji photos appear to have cooler tones with stronger blues and greens, when compared to Kodak.
Lomography 800 - You’re limited to just a few possibilities if you want an ISO 800 speed color film. This is the only film stock geared towards consumers.
Furthermore, if you have a medium format camera, it’s also offered in 120 film format.
Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film emulsion that was launched in the mid-1980s. The film provides the look and feel of snapshots from the 1980s and 1990s. Use a flash to get the “classic” look.
To really bring the best out of this film, make sure to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will help you achieve the outstanding colors people love Kodak Gold for.
Kodak Portra 400 - Among photography enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is hands down the most widely used color film. Overexpose it by 1 or 2-stops to get the look the film is highly regarded for.
Additionally, ISO 800 and ISO 160 emulsions of Kodak Portra. As well as in rolls of 120 film, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.
With reasonable prices and more than acceptable favorable to use in the Fuji AX.
The primary appeal for photography students and budget minded photographers is the competitive price. Even if you do not put yourself in those groups, it is great to have economical rolls of 35 film around for testing newly delivered used gear.
Kentmere 400 - Made by Harmon Technology, which is the owner of Ilford. This is excellent due to the fact that makes this the most widely available film of the 3.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Might be easier to find in Europe as the film is manufactured inside of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.
A good film to try for your initial couple of attempts at film photography or developing film at home. Also a good selection if you’re testing out a camera to ensure that it is working correctly.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the best price by buying it directly from Ultrafine.
They produce developer kits for 35mm film, so if you process film at home you could have already had interactions with them.
The two top selling black & white 35mm film emulsions are Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5+ 400. While they both do have individual styles, they possess several qualities in common that help makes them so well liked.
You can create high quality photographs after pushing both films 2-stops. A 35mm roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them quite versatile.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two films, HP5 Plus is less expensive and has lower levels of contrast. Less contrast can be an advantage due to the fact contrast can be increased when making a print or editing digitally.
The film emulsion has subdued grain and still appears good when pushed 2-stops.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock has a more distinctive style. To reveal the traditional grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be processed in D-76.
You will clearly see a higher level of contrast with Tri-X 400. That’s notable if it is the style you would you like because it results in substantially less work when during digital processing or printmaking.
Transparency film, also known as slide film or reversal film, results in a positive picture. This allows the photographs to be shown with a projector or light box.
This is unique from the more often used negative film emulsions that result in pictures that require inverting the colors in order to be viewed.
Slide films have less latitude and dynamic range than negative films and so they are perceived as tougher to shoot.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. There’s not any hypersaturation of colors. Ektachrome is daylight balanced.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a exceptionally sharp color balanced for daylight film with lots of contrast and saturation, giving photos a special appearance. Out of all the reversal films available for purchase, it has the greatest resolving power.
There’s also another emulsion with an ISO of 100.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Creates vivid and realistic colors with medium contrast and color saturation. It has ultra fine grain with a daylight color balance.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white transparency film, marketed by Fomapan as having very fine grain, very good resolving power, and elevated levels of contrast. It’s also billed as a alternative for the discontinued Agfa Scala reversal film.
Pro film stock have a greater dynamic range, are easier to push, and bigger latitude, which is why they cost more.
There is a big difference in availability. Consumer films can commonly be bought in big-box stores and pharmacies in limited amounts. Professional film stocks has to be ordered from a online retailer or specialized camera store.
A film’s sensitivity to light is listed as the ISO.
The less light available to get an image, the bigger the ISO will be needed. This comes at the tradeoff of noticeably increased film grain.
It may be difficult to handhold the AX with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc). This is due to the fact that if you don’t have full sun, the exposure times will most likely be longer than what you are able to handhold without resulting in motion blur.
A fast lens, flash, and/or tripod are going to help you with longer shutter speeds. The extra accessories may not be needed if you choose to use a higher speed ISO 400 or ISO 800 film.
As a quick note, the ISO selection knob is listed as ASA on the Fuji AX. The change 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 keeping acceptable results. Professional films have a larger latitude along with a slightly higher price.
Reversal film has less latitude in comparison with negative film. That is a reason why it’s viewed as more challenging to work with.
The difference between the shadows and highlights details of a photograph is described as dynamic range. Areas of a photograph that fall out of this range will be seen as totally black underexposed shadows or white overexposed highlights.
A larger dynamic range is better due to the fact that a bigger range tends to make working in a wide variety of lighting situations easier.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
The constrained dynamic range of slide film is a further reason it is viewed as challenging to shoot. Golden hour is the prime time to use reversal.
35mm film that is in metal canisters is used by the Fuji AX. It can also be referred to as 135 film, and it is the most frequently used type of film.
The only other type of film you are going to encounter is 120 or 220 film that is used in medium format cameras}.
One of the terrific things about film is that you can change the film emulsion you work with and get a completely different look to your photos.
Virtually all new 35mm film sold at this time has DX encoding on the canister. This enables electronically controlled cameras to auto detect and set the ISO when the film canister is put in the camera.
The ISO (ASA) on the Fuji AX needs to be set manually. Which means DX-coding isn’t going to matter.
There are only a few choices for where to have film processed. For a more comprehensive explanation of the choices go look at my guide on Where to Develop Film.
WARNING: Big box stores and pharmacies have ceased developing film locally. They ship film off-site to be processed by a third party. As a consequence, you will not get your negatives back.
- Develop Film at Home
- Use a Local Photography Lab
- Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
- Pharmacy or Big Box Store
The simplest solution and what I would suggest doing if you are just getting started using film is to ship your film to a lab to be developed and scanned. If you frequently use film, this can be a downside due to the fact that it can get really expensive.
Assuming that you’re going through a moderate to high volume of film, there are a few things that you can do to reduce your costs.
One of the ideal methods to save some money on film is to buy a bulk roll of 100’ of film and load canisters yourself.
After you have finished, you’ll get around 18 rolls of 36 exposures. You should expect to save 20-30% based on your selection.
Bear in mind that you’re limited to 100 foot rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black & white film is quite a bit easier and more affordable to process at home.
It is possible to develop and digitize film yourself. In fact it’s a great way to lower your costs so you can shoot more film with your Fuji AX.
Black and white film is by far the simplest to develop at home. Chemical temperature and development times are not as important to do correctly with black & white film as temperatures and time are for transparency or color negative.