Best Film for the Fuji STX-2
The best film to use in your Fuji STX-2 will depend on the lens, lighting conditions, and type of film you want to shoot.
Taking advantage of an ISO 400 film or faster will allow you to skip having to lug around a tripod and/or flash.
If you have a need to capture photos in low light, such as inside, ensure that you have a fast lens. Check out my guide on the 5 Best Lenses for the Fuji STX-2 for recommendations.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film handles a large range of lighting conditions well and is a very good option for a color film. Kodak UltraMax 400 is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the STX-2 in almost all circumstances.
Expect images to appear slightly warm with pleasant colors.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Based on where you are in the world, this film can be more widely available. It’s a very good alternative to Kodak film.
In comparison to to Kodak, Fuji tends to be a little cooler with an emphasis on blues and greens.
Lomography 800 - If you want a color 35mm film with an ISO of 800, there are only a few possible choices. For 35mm film emulsions geared towards consumers, this is the sole option.
In addition, if you have a medium format camera, Lomography 800 is also sold in 120 film format.
Kodak Gold 200 - An awesome option to achieve that mid-80s through 90s style. For the genuine photography experience have a flash.
To bring the ideal look out of the film, make sure to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will ensure that you get the great colors people love Kodak Gold 200 for.
Kodak Portra 400 - Among film shooting enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is hands down the most widely used 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 800 and 160 versions of Portra. Portra is also offered in rolls of 120 film, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.
With low prices and excellent very popular to use in the Fuji STX-2.
The primary draw for budget minded photographers and photography students is the competitive cost. Even if you wouldn’t put yourself in that group, it’s nice to have affordable rolls of 35 film around for testing recently obtained camera gear.
Kentmere 400 - It’s manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is excellent since that makes this the most broadly sold B&W film of the 3.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Might be less difficult to find in Europe as the film is manufactured in the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.
A decent 35mm film to employ for your first few attempts at film photography or home developing. Also a good option if you are trying out a camera to confirm that it’s operating correctly.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The cheapest place to get this film is straight from Ultrafine.
If you process color 35mm film at home, you may have used developer sold by them to process your film.
The two most commonly used black & white 35mm film emulsions are Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5 Plus 400. While they both do have distinctive appearances, they possess quite a few characteristics in common that help makes them popular.
Both film stocks can be pushed 2 stops and while still generating excellent photographs. This makes the film versatile as a roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The largest differences are that HP5 Plus is cheaper and has lower levels of contrast in comparison to Tri-X. Low amounts of contrast can be advantageous because contrast can be adjusted when making a print in the darkroom or through digital processing.
The film still looks very good when pushed 2-stops. It is also notable for having subdued grain.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film has a stronger look to it. To produce the classic grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be developed in D-76.
Tri-X undoubtedly has far more contrast. That is very good if it is the overall look you need because it involves less work when making a darkroom print or during digital processing.
Film emulsions that produce a positive image are known as reversal, transparency, or slide film. This means the photos can be exhibited with a projector or light box.
This is unique from the more readily available negative film stocks that result in photos that require the colors to be inverted for the image to be seen.
Slide films are perceived as difficult to use because slide film has less latitude and dynamic range when compared to negative film.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a film known for fine grain and exquisite skin tones. The colors do not appear oversaturated. It is daylight color balanced.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Produces signature looking photos that have substantially increased amounts of contrast and saturation. It is sharp with a daylight color balance. Velvia has the highest resolving power of any available transparency film.
There’s also another speed that is ISO 100.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Creates natural and vivid 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 reversal film, described by Fomapan as having very fine grain, high resolving power, and increased levels of contrast. It is also mentioned as a alternative for the discontinued Agfa Scala reversal film.
Pro films cost more because they have larger latitude, are easier to push, and expanded dynamic range.
You should be prepared for a big difference in supply. Consumer film stocks can commonly still be purchased from pharmacies and big-box stores in meager amounts. Professional quality film will need to be purchased from a online retailer or camera store.
A film’s light sensitivity is represented by the ISO.
The less light available to properly expose an image, the higher the film’s ISO will need to be. Also, be prepared to see noticeably increased film grain.
It is often a challenge to handhold the STX-2 with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). This is because if you do not have full sun, the shutter speeds can be longer than what you could handhold without causing motion blur.
To stop this you will need to use a flash, tripod, and/or fast lens. Using a fast ISO 400 or ISO 800 film probably will make the extra gear unnecessary.
As a quick note, the ISO selection knob is marked as ASA on the Fuji STX-2. The switch to using ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) happened after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Latitude is the number of stops a film can be overexposed while maintaining acceptable quality. Pro films have a greater latitude along with a somewhat higher cost.
Negative film has more latitude compared to transparency film. That is one of the reasons why it is deemed to be more difficult to work with.
The difference between the darkest and brightest details of a picture is referred to as dynamic range. Parts of an image that don’t fit within this range will be seen as solid black underexposed shadows or totally white overexposed highlights.
When shooting in a wide variety or quickly changing lighting conditions, films with a bigger dynamic range is preferable.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
The constrained dynamic range of transparency film is one more reason it is considered tricky to shoot. Golden hour is the ideal time to use reversal.
The Fuji STX-2 takes 35mm film that comes in metal canisters. In addition, it is the best-selling film format and occasionally described as 135 film.
120 or 220 film, used with medium format cameras, is the only other film format you are likely to notice}.
One of the wonderful things about film is that you can swap the film you use and get a different look to your photographs.
All commercially available 35mm film for sale currently has DX encoding. This enables cameras to detect and set the ISO of the film canister loaded into the camera.
ISO (ASA) on the Fuji STX-2 is required to be manually dialed in. As a result DX-coding is not going to be of any use.
You will find a few possibilities for where to get 35mm film developed. For a more in depth discussion of the possible choices you can check out my article on Where to Get Film Developed.
WARNING: Film does not get developed locally at pharmacies and big box stores. They send film off-site to be processed by a 3rd party. Because of this, 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
The easiest solution and what I would suggest using if you’re just starting to shoot film is to mail your film to a lab to be processed and scanned. If you regularly use film, this could be a disadvantage due to the fact that it can get very expensive.
Assuming that you are shooting a moderate to high volume of film, there are a few activities that can be done to reduce your expenses.
Certainly one of the most popular options to lower your costs on film is to buy a roll of 100’ of film and load canisters by hand.
After you’re done, you will end up with around 18 rolls of 36 exposures. Expect to save 20-30% depending on the film you decide on.
Be aware that you’re only going to be able to buy 100 foot rolls of black and white film. This is due to the fact black & white film is much easier and less expensive to develop at home.
You can develop and scan film at home. In fact it is a great option to save money so you can shoot more film with your Fuji STX-2.
Black and white film is by far the easiest to process yourself. Chemical temperature and time are not as necessary to get correct with black & white film as time and temperatures are for slide or color negative.