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Best Film for the Sears KS Super II

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Best Sears KS Super II 35mm Film

´╗┐The best film to use in the Sears KS Super II will have to depend on the lighting conditions, lens, and type of film you want to shoot.

To avoid having to carry around a flash or tripod, opt for a film that has an ISO of 400 or faster.

If you would like to take photographs inside or anywhere there is low light, make sure that you are using a fast lens. For lens lens suggestions check out my blog post on the 5 Best Lenses for the Sears KS Super II.

Color Film

Consumer

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Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - A fantastic choice for an array of conditions. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should be able to handhold the KS Super II in lots of situations.

Expect photographs to appear slightly warm with gorgeous colors.

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Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Depending on your location, this film can be more widely available. It is a fantastic alternative to Kodak emulsions.

In comparison to to Kodak, Fuji appears to be a bit cooler with notable blues and greens.

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Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - If you want a color 35mm film with an ISO of 800, there are not very many possible choices. For film stocks targeted towards consumers, Lomography 800 is the single option.

It can also be found in the 120 film format, for use with medium format cameras.

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Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - An outstanding way to achieve that mid-80s through 90s style. For the authentic photography experience use an on-camera flash.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to produce the best look the film can achieve. This will provide you with the striking colors people love Gold 200 for.

Professional

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Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400 - Among film enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is undoubtedly the most frequently used color negative film. Overexpose the film by 1 or 2-stops to get the overall look the film is well known for.

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

Black and White Film

Consumer

With reasonable costs and good very popular to try in the Sears KS Super II.

The primary attraction for photography students and budget minded photographers is the reasonable price. Even if you would not put yourself in that group, it’s good to have affordable rolls of 35 film readily available for testing recently delivered used cameras.

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Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - Made by Harmon Technology, which is also the parent company of Ilford. This is notable since that allows this to be the most widely sold film out of the 3.

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Foma Fomapan 400 Action

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

A very good film emulsion to work with for your first few attempts at home developing or film photography. Also a good choice if you’re testing out a camera to check that it’s completely functional.

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Ultrafine eXtreme 400

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

If you develop color 35mm film yourself, you could have done that with developer sold by them to develop your film.

Professional

The 2 most commonly used black & white film emulsions are Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400. While they both have different looks, they have a lot of traits in common that makes them so well received.

You can get good quality results after pushing both film stocks 2-stops. This makes the film versatile as a roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600.

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Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The major differences are that HP5 Plus is less expensive and has less contrast compared to Tri-X. Minimal contrast can be a benefit due to the fact contrast can be changed when making a print or during digital processing.

The film has subdued grain and still looks great when pushed 2-stops.

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Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock possesses a stronger look. To produce the old-school grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be processed in Kodak D-76.

You’re going to unquestionably see far more contrast with Tri-X. That’s good if it’s the look and feel you are after because it requires much less work when making a print in the darkroom or editing digitially.

Slide Film

Transparency film, also known as reversal or slide film, creates a positive picture. This allows the photos to be viewed with a light box or projector.

Colors are not required to be inverted to be viewable, contrary to the more common negative film stocks.

Slide films are perceived as tough to use because slide film has less latitude and dynamic range compared to negative film.

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Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. The colors don’t be seen as oversaturated. It is daylight balanced.

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Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a amazingly sharp daylight color balanced slide film with lots of contrast and saturation, giving photos a beautiful rendering. When compared to all the transparency films offered, it has the greatest resolving power.

An ISO 100 speed is also available.

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Fujichrome Provia 100F

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

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Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white transparency film, described by Fomapan as having high resolving power, fine grain, and elevated levels of contrast. It’s also mentioned as a alternative for the long discontinued Agfa Scala transparency film.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Pro film stock can more easily be pushed, have better latitude, and dynamic range, this is why pro-film costs more.

You should expect a disparity in business that sell film. Consumer films can frequently be obtained from big-box stores and pharmacies in limited amounts. Pro film stocks should really be purchased from a online retailer or specialized camera store.

ISO

The ISO shows the film speed, which may also be thought of as the film’s light sensitivity.

The bigger the ISO, the less light is necessary to capture a photograph. This comes at the cost of more film grain.

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

To prevent motion blur you are going to need to use a flash, fast lens, and/or tripod. The extra gear might not be needed if you choose to use a higher speed ISO 800 or ISO 400 film.

As a quick note, the ISO selection knob is marked as ASA on the Sears KS Super II. The switch to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Latitude

Film latitude is the amount of stops film can be overexposed while still producing tolerable results. Pro films have a greater latitude along with a somewhat increased cost.

Negative film has more latitude compared to transparency film. That is a reason why it’s thought of harder to use.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is the range between the brightest and darkest details of a photo that can be recorded. Parts of a picture that are not in this range will appear as black underexposed shadows or totally white overexposed highlights.

When working in a wide variety or quickly shifting lighting situations, films with a larger dynamic range is preferable.

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

The constrained dynamic range of reversal film is another reason why it’s regarded as tough to shoot. Golden hour is the best time to use reversal.

Film Type

35mm film that is in canisters is used by the Sears KS Super II. 35mm film can also be described as 135 film, and it is the most widely used film format.

The only other type of film you are probably going to notice is 120 or 220 film that is used by medium format cameras}.

One of the best properties of film is that you can swap the film you work with and get a totally different look to your pictures.

DX Coded Film

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DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Just about all new 35mm film offered for sale today has DX encoding. This enables electronically controlled cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO of the film loaded.

The ISO (ASA) on the Sears KS Super II is required to be manually dialed in. For that reason DX-coding does not matter.

Sears KS Super II Resources

Where to Get Film Developed?

You will find limited choices for where to develop 35mm film. For a more comprehensive discussion of the possibilities read my article on Where to Develop Film.

WARNING: Big box stores and pharmacies have ended processing film locally. They send the film off-site to be processed by a third party. Because of this, you won’t receive your developed 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

Shipping film to a mail-order photo lab to be processed and scanned is the most convenient choice if you’re just starting to use film. A disadvantage to this is that it will get very expensive if you are frequently shooting film.

As long as you are using a medium to high volume of film, there are a few activities that you can do to greatly reduce your costs.

Bulk Loading Film

Investing in a bulk roll of 100 feet of film and manually loading in into canisters yourself is one of the most common options to cut costs.

All said and done, you will end up having roughly 18 rolls of 36 frames each. Expect to see discounts of 20-30% depending on the film you choose.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you are going to be limited to 100 foot rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black and white film is much easier and cheaper to process at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

You can easily develop and digitize any film at home. It is an excellent option to lower your costs so you can use more film with your Sears KS Super II.

Black and white film is by far the least complicated to process yourself. Temperature and time are not as essential to do correctly with black & white films as temperatures and time are for color negative or transparency film.