Best Film for the Fujica AX-5
The best film to use in the Fujica AX-5 is going to be based on the lighting conditions, lens, and type of film you want to shoot.
To eliminate having to carry around a flash and/or tripod, pick a 35mm film that has an ISO of 400 or faster.
If you need to take pictures in low light, such as indoors, ensure you have a fast lens. Check out my list on the 5 Best Lenses for the Fujica AX-5 for ideas.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film can be used in a large range of lighting conditions and is an excellent choice for a color film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should be able to handhold the AX-5 in almost all circumstances.
Expect photographs to look slightly warm with amazing colors.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - A different option than Kodak that could have better availability depending on what country you are in.
Fujifilm photos tend to have cooler colors with notable blues and greens, compared to Kodak.
Lomography 800 - If you want a color film with an ISO of 800, there are only a small number of offerings. For film focused on consumers, this is the single choice.
Lomography 800 can also be bought in the 120 film format, to be used with medium format cameras.
Kodak Gold 200 - A reliable option to achieve that mid-1980s through 90s style. For the classic experience take advantage of a flash.
To bring the ideal look out of the film, you will want to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will produce the outstanding colors people love Kodak Gold for.
Kodak Portra 400 - Among enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is without a doubt the most frequently used color 35mm film. Overexpose Portra 400 by 1 or 2-stops to get the look and feel the film is highly regarded for.
There’s also ISO 160 and ISO 800 emulsions of Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also manufactured.
Black and White Film
These film emulsions have low prices and more than acceptable quality, making them very popular to use in the Fujica AX-5.
The biggest attraction for budget minded photographers and photography students is the reasonable price. Even if you do not put yourself in those groups, it’s nice to have relatively cheap rolls of film on hand for trying out recently obtained used gear.
Kentmere 400 - Produced by Harmon Technology, which is the owner of Ilford. This is notable considering that allows this to be the most widely sold B&W film out of the 3.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It will probably less difficult to buy in Europe as the film is made by Foma Bohemia in the Czech Republic.
A good quality film to work with for your first couple of attempts at developing film at home or film photography. Also a good choice if you are trying out a camera to be sure that it is working correctly.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The cheapest place to buy this film is straight from Ultrafine.
If you develop film at home, you might have used developer sold by them to develop your film.
The two most commonly used black & white films are Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5 Plus 400. They have several qualities in common that help make them a favourite, while preserving unique appearances.
You can achieve solid photos after pushing both film stocks 2-stops. This makes the film versatile as a roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two film stocks, HP5 Plus is less expensive and has less contrast. Lower levels of contrast can be a benefit because of the fact contrast can be adjusted when making a darkroom print or through digital processing.
The film stock still appears good when pushed 2-stops. It is also known for having subdued grain.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion provides a more distinctive style to it. To create the legendary grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be developed in D-76.
Kodak Tri-X undeniably has far more contrast. That is great if that is the look you are after because it results in not as much work when through digital processing or printmaking.
Slide film, also known as reversal film or transparency film, results in a positive image. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to view the photos.
Colors are not required to be inverted to be viewable, in contrast to the more often used negative film stocks.
Slide films are viewed as tough to shoot because slide film has far less latitude and dynamic range than negative film.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for striking skin tones and fine grain. There’s not any hypersaturation of colors. Ektachrome has a daylight color balance.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Provides distinct looking photographs that have noticeably increased amounts of contrast and saturation. It is amazingly sharp daylight balanced film. Velvia has the top resolving power of any available reversal film.
There is another speed with an ISO of 100.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Offers realistic and vivid colors with medium color saturation and contrast. It’s a film balanced for daylight with ultrafine grain.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white transparency film, marketed by Fomapan as having fine grain, high resolving power, and higher levels of contrast. It is also mentioned as a replacement for the discontinued Agfa Scala slide film.
Consumer vs Professional Film
Pro film stock have greater dynamic range, latitude, and can more easily be pushed, this is why they cost more.
There will be a significant difference in business that sell film. Consumer films can usually be bought in pharmacies and big-box stores in limited amounts. Professional level film stocks needs to be purchased from a online retailer or camera store.
A film’s sensitivity to light is displayed by the ISO.
The bigger the film’s ISO, the less light is required to get a frame. In addition, be prepared for more noticeable film grain.
It is often a challenge to handhold the AX-5 with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). This is because without full sun, the shutter speeds will probably take longer than what you could handhold without resulting in motion blur.
A tripod, a fast lens, and/or a flash can assist you with longer shutter speeds. The extra equipment may not be needed if you decide to use a higher speed ISO 800 or ISO 400 film.
As a quick note, the ISO selection knob is labeled as ASA on the Fujica AX-5. The shift to using ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Film latitude is the range of stops a film can be overexposed while having satisfactory photographs. Professional film emulsions have a larger latitude to go along with a slightly increased price.
Negative film has a greater amount of latitude than transparency film. That is one of the reasons why it’s considered harder to use.
The difference between the darkest and brightest parts of a picture is known as dynamic range. Sections of an image that fall out of this range will be rendered as black underexposed shadows or solid white overexposed highlights.
When working in a wide variety or quickly shifting lighting conditions, films with a larger dynamic range is better.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
Slide film is thought to be tricky to shoot on account of the constrained dynamic range. Golden hour is the best time to use reversal.
The Fujica AX-5 uses 35mm film that is sold in metal canisters. The film can also be referred to as 135 film, and it’s the most commonly used type of film.
The only other film format you are likely to come across is 120 or 220 film that is used with medium format cameras}.
One of the terrific properties of film is that you can switch the film stock you work with and get a totally different look to your images.
DX Coded Film
All commercially available 35mm film distributed at this point has a DX code. This makes it possible for cameras to detect and set the ISO when the canister is loaded into the camera.
The ISO (ASA) on the Fujica AX-5 is required to be manually selected. Which means that DX-coding is not going to make a difference.
Fujica AX-5 Resources
Where to Get Film Developed?
You will find several possible choices for where to have 35mm film processed. For a more thorough discussion of the possible choices have a look at my guide on Where to Get Film Developed.
WARNING: Film is not processed on location at pharmacies and big box stores. They mail film away to be developed by a 3rd party. As a result, you won’t receive your negatives back.
- Develop Film at Home
- Use a Local Photography Lab
- Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
- Pharmacy or Big Box Store
The most convenient solution and the method I suggest doing if you are just getting started shooting film is to mail your film to a photo lab to be processed and scanned. A disadvantage to this is that it ends up being very expensive if you regularly use film.
There are a couple of things that you are capable of doing to decrease the expenses required to shoot film, on condition that you’re using a moderate to high volume of film.
Bulk Loading Film
Certainly one of the most popular options to lower your expenses on film is to buy a bulk roll of 100’ of film and load canisters by hand.
A 100 foot roll will load typically around 18 rolls of film with 36 frames. Based on the film stock you are likely to save 20%-30%.
Be aware that you’re going to be limited to rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black & white film is less difficult and less expensive to develop yourself.
Home Developing and Scanning
It is easy to develop and scan any film yourself. It’s an excellent method to save money so that you can shoot more film with your Fujica AX-5.
Black & white film is significantly less complicated to develop yourself. Developer temperature and development times are not as vital to do correctly with black and white film as time and temperatures are for color negative or slide film.