Sears KS Super II Recommended Beginner Film

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: March 6, 2020
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35mm Film To Use

The best film to use in the Sears KS Super II will have to be based on the lens, available light, and if you want to use color or black & white.

Choosing an ISO 400 film or higher speed will let you avoid being weighed down with a flash and/or tripod.

Ensure you have a fast lens if you want to shoot photographs in low light, conditions that are commonly encountered indoors.

Color Film

Consumer

Consumer 35mm Color Negative Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film works well in a variety of lighting conditions and is a great selection for a 35mm color film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should have the ability to handhold the KS Super II in the vast majority of situations.

Expect pictures to appear a little warm with pleasant skin tones.

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Based on where you are in the world, this film could be more widely available. It's an excellent alternative to Kodak film.

Fujifilm photographs appear to have cooler tones with notable greens and blues compared to Kodak.

Lomography 800 - There are only a few options if you want a color ISO 800 film. This is the only 35mm film emulsion focused on consumers.

The emulsion is for sale in the 120 film format, for use with a medium format camera.

Kodak Gold 200 - An awesome way to achieve that mid-80s through 90s look. Use a flash to get the "nostalgic" look.

To really bring the best look out of the film, make sure to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will produce the striking colors everyone loves Kodak Gold 200 for.

Professional

Kodak Portra 400 ISO Color Negative 35mm Film

Kodak Portra 400 - By far the most popular color negative film among film shooting enthusiasts online. Overexpose Portra 400 by 1 or 2-stops to get the rendering the film is highly regarded for.

There are also ISO 800 and 160 versions of Kodak Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also available to buy.

Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H - The Fujifilm counterpart to Portra 400, but with a different color appearance. Expect to see more vibrant blues and greens.

Sheets of 8x10 or 4x5 film aren't offered, but 120 film is.

Black and White Film

Consumer

With affordable prices and very good favorable to try in the Sears KS Super II.

The main attraction for photography students and budget-minded photographers is the competitive price. Even if you wouldn't put yourself in that group, it's great to have low-priced rolls of film readily available for testing recently delivered used gear.

Consumer Black & White 35mm Film

Kentmere 400 - It's manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable considering that makes this the most widely sold B&W film of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It's less difficult to purchase in Europe as the film is made by Foma Bohemia in the Czech Republic.

An appropriate film emulsion to use for your initial few attempts at developing film at home or film photography. Additionally, a good selection if you happen to be trying out a camera to guarantee that it's operating properly.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The cheapest place to purchase this film is online directly from Ultrafine.

They sell developer kits for color film, so if you process film at home you may have previously interacted with them.

Professional

Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the 2 top-selling black and white films. While they both possess different rendering, they do have several traits that are similar that help makes them so well-liked.

You can create very good photos after pushing both films 2-stops. A 35mm roll of film can be used at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them remarkably flexible.

Box of Ilford HP5 Plus ISO 400 35mm Black & White Film

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The fundamental differences are that HP5 Plus has less contrast and is more affordable in comparison to Tri-X. Minimal contrast can be advantageous due to the fact that contrast can be changed when making a print or through digital post-processing.

The film stock has subdued grain and still appears outstanding when pushed 2-stops.

Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm Film

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film has got a more distinctive rendering to it. To achieve the classic grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be processed in Kodak D-76.

Tri-X clearly has far more contrast. That is notable if it happens to be the overall look you would like because it requires less work when through digital post-processing or printmaking.

Slide Film

Slide film, also known as transparency film or reversal film, gives you a positive picture. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to exhibit the slides.

Colors are not required to be inverted to be viewed, unlike the more often used negative film emulsions.

Slide films have substantially less latitude and dynamic range compared to negative film and so they are perceived as tougher to shoot.

Kodak Ektachrome 100 35mm Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. The colors will not be seen as oversaturated. The film has a daylight color balance.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Produces special looking pictures that have substantially increased levels of saturation and contrast. It is sharp daylight balanced film. Out of all the reversal films that are available, it has the best resolving power.

There is another version with an ISO of 100.

Fujifilm Provia 100F - Offers vivid and realistic colors with moderate contrast and color saturation. It's an ultrafine grain film balanced for daylight.

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white slide film, claimed by Fomapan as having excellent resolving power, elevated levels of contrast, and fine grain. It is also regarded as a substitute for the discontinued Agfa Scala Film Stock.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Professional film stock can more easily be pushed, have increased dynamic range, and latitude, which is the reason pro-film costs more.

There is a disparity in availability. Consumer film stocks can oftentimes be obtained from big-box stores and pharmacies in meager amounts. Pro film stocks should really be ordered from an online retailer or specialized camera store.

Film ISO

The film speed is shown as ISO, which may also be thought of as the film's light sensitivity.

The less light there's available to expose an image, the bigger the ISO of the film needs to be. Additionally, be prepared to see increased film grain.

It is often challenging to handhold the KS Super II with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). They will likely be longer than what you can handhold without resulting in motion blur unless you're in full sun.

To stop this you will need to use a flash, fast lens, and/or tripod. The additional equipment may not be needed if you pick a higher speed ISO 400 or ISO 800 film.

As a quick note, the dial to select film speed is labeled as ASA on the Sears KS Super II. The switch to using ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film Latitude

Film latitude is the amount of stops a film can be overexposed while keeping satisfactory photographs. Professional film emulsions have a greater latitude along with a somewhat increased price.

Negative film has a greater amount of latitude than reversal film. That is a reason why it's perceived as challenging to shoot.

Dynamic Range

The range between the brightest and darkest details of a photograph is described as dynamic range. Areas of a photo that are not in this range will be seen as solid black underexposed shadows or white overexposed highlights.

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

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

The small dynamic range of slide film is a second factor it's considered tough to shoot. The golden hour is the ideal time to shoot slide film.

Film Type

The Sears KS Super II takes 35mm film that is sold in canisters. The film can also be described as 135 film, and it is the best-selling film format.

120 or 220 film, used with medium format cameras, is the only other type of film you are probably going to come across.

Swapping the film stock you are using will alter the look of your pictures. This is an example of the wonderful things about using film.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

All available 35mm film offered these days has a DX code. This allows electronically controlled cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO of the film canister loaded into the camera.

ASA (ISO) on the Sears KS Super II is required to be selected manually. For that reason DX-coding is not going to be of any use.

Sears KS Super II Resources

Where to Get Film Developed?

You will find only a few possibilities for where to get 35mm film processed. For a more in-depth discussion of the possible choices, see my article on Where to Develop Film.

WARNING: Big box stores and pharmacies don't develop film on location. They ship film away to be processed by a separate company. Because of this, you will not receive your processed 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 easiest method and what 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. If you consistently use film, this may be a drawback due to the fact that it can get expensive.

There are two activities that can be done to cut back on the costs required to shoot film, as long as you're using a moderate to high-volume of film.

Bulk Loading Film

Getting a bulk roll of 100 feet of film and manually loading it into canisters yourself is considered one of the common options to lower your costs.

All said and done, you'll get typically around 18 canisters of 36 exposures each. Expect to see savings of 20-30% depending on your selection.

Keep in mind that you're limited to 100-foot rolls of black and white film. This is due to black and white film is less difficult and cheaper to develop at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

It's easy to process and digitize any film yourself. It's a smart option to cut costs so that you can shoot more film with your Sears KS Super II.

Black & white film is significantly easier to develop. Chemical temperature and development times are both not as crucial to get correct with black & white films as temperatures and time are for slide or color negative.

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