Best Film for the Vivitar XC-3

Best Vivitar XC-3 35mm Film

The best film to use in the Vivitar XC-3 will have to depend on the lighting, your lens, and type of film you want to shoot.

Choosing an ISO 400 35mm or faster will enable you to eliminate being weighed down with a tripod and/or flash.

Ensure you have a fast lens if you want to shoot pictures in low light, conditions that are often encountered indoors. For lens lens suggestions read my brief article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Vivitar XC-3.

Color Film


Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film works well in a variety of lighting conditions and is a terrific choice for a color film. Kodak UltraMax 400 is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the XC-3 in most situations.

The photographs will have excellent colors and leans towards the warm side.

Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Based on your location, this film might be more widely available. It’s a very good alternative to Kodak film.

In comparison to to Kodak, Fujifilm tends to be a little bit cooler with notable blues and greens.

Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - There are just a few options if you want a color ISO 800 film. For film geared towards consumers, Lomography 800 is the sole choice.

It is also for sale in the 120 film format, for use with medium format cameras.

Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film stock that debuted in the mid-1980s. It gives the look of snapshots from the 1980s and 1990s. Use an on-camera flash to get the “authentic” look the film is known for.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to bring out the best the film has to offer. This will help you achieve the attractive colors everyone loves Gold 200 for.


Kodak Portra 400

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

Portra is also offered in ISO 800 and 160 emulsions. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 are also available to purchase.

Black and White Film


These film stocks have reasonable prices and very good quality, making them quite popular to be used in the Vivitar XC-3.

The major attraction for budget minded photographers and photography students is the competitive price. Even if you wouldn’t put yourself in that group, it’s good to have low cost rolls of film around for testing recently obtained used cameras.

Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - It is made by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is good because that allows this to be the most widely available 35mm film out of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It will probably much easier to purchase in Europe as the film is manufactured by Foma Bohemia out of the Czech Republic.

A very good film emulsion to work with for your first couple of attempts at film photography or developing film at home. Also a good choice if you are trying out a camera to check that it is completely operational.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the cheapest price by purchasing it straight from Ultrafine.

If you process color film yourself, you may have used chemicals sold by them to develop your film.


Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5+ 400 are the two most popular black and white films. They have numerous attributes in common that make them so well received, while keeping distinctive rendering.

Both emulsions can be pushed 1 or 2 stops and still result in very good results. A roll can be used at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them very versatile.

Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The primary differences are that HP5 Plus is less expensive and has lower levels of contrast when compared to Tri-X. Less contrast can be nice because contrast can be increased when making a print or through digital post processing.

The film still appears great when pushed 2-stops. It is also recognized for having subdued grain.

Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film has got a stronger look. To showcase the classic grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be developed in D-76.

Tri-X 400 certainly has a higher level of contrast. That is very good if it is the look you want to have because it results in a smaller amount of work when through digital post processing or making a darkroom print.

Transparency Film

Reversal film, also known as transparency film or slide film, gives you a positive picture. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to exhibit the pictures.

The colors are not required to be inverted to be seen, in contrast to the more common negative film emulsions.

Slide films are regarded as hard to work with due to the fact slide film has a smaller amount of dynamic range and latitude compared to negative film.

Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for fine grain and beautiful skin tones. There is not any hypersaturation of colors. The film is daylight balanced.

Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a incredibly sharp daylight balanced slide film with high levels of saturation and contrast, giving photos a distinctive rendering. Matched against all the transparency films you can get, it has the highest resolving power.

There is another version with an ISO of 100.

Fujichrome Provia 100F

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

Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white reversal film, marketed by Fomapan as having fine grain, very good resolving power, and elevated levels of contrast. It is also mentioned as a replacement for the discontinued Agfa Scala slide film.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Pro film stock have a greater dynamic range, are easier to push, and increased latitude, that is why they cost more.

You should expect to see a big difference in business that sell film. Consumer film emulsions can more often than not be bought from pharmacies and big-box stores in small amounts. Professional level film stocks should be bought from a online or camera store.


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

The bigger the ISO, the less light will be required to properly expose a film frame. Furthermore, be prepared for more film grain.

ISO 100 and slower films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc) can be a challenge to shoot handheld in the XC-3. This is because without full sun, the shutter speeds might take more time than what you could handhold without creating motion blur.

To stop this you are going to need to use a flash, fast lens, and/or tripod. Using a high speed ISO 400 or ISO 800 film probably will make the additional gear unnecessary.

As a quick note, the ISO dial is marked as ASA on the Vivitar XC-3. The change to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).


Latitude is the amount of stops film can be overexposed while still keeping good photographs. Pro film emulsions have a larger latitude paired with a slightly higher price.

Transparency film has less latitude compared to negative film. That is a reason it’s thought of more challenging to shoot.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is the range between the shadows and highlights details of a photograph that can be captured. Sections of an image that are not in this range will be seen as totally black underexposed shadows or totally white overexposed highlights.

A larger dynamic range is preferable given that a bigger range tends to make working in a variety of lighting situations easier.

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

Reversal film is thought to be tricky to shoot as a consequence of the limited dynamic range. A fantastic time to try it is during the golden hour.

Film Type

The Vivitar XC-3 uses 35mm film that is in canisters. 35mm film can also be called 135 film, and it’s the best-selling film format.

120 or 220 film, used by medium format cameras, is the only other film format you are likely to notice}.

Switching the film stock you are using will alter the look of your photographs. This is one of the fantastic things about film.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Just about all available 35mm film made currently has DX encoding. This will allow cameras to detect and set the ISO of the film canister loaded.

DX-coding is not going to matter for the Vivitar XC-3 because ISO is required to be selected manually with the ASA knob.

Vivitar XC-3 Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

There are just a few options for where to get 35mm film developed. For a more extensive explanation of the choices go look at my article on Where to Develop Film.

WARNING: Pharmacies and big box stores have ended processing film on location. They mail the film off-site to be developed by a 3rd party. Because of this, you won’t receive your 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 lab to be developed and scanned is the least complicated choice if you are new to using film. If you consistently shoot film, this can be a drawback because it can get very expensive.

There are a couple of actions that you can do to reduce the costs required to shoot film, if you are using a medium to high volume of film.

Bulk Loading Film

Among the most well known ways to lower your expenses on film is to buy a roll of 100 feet of film and load it into canisters by hand.

A 100’ bulk roll of film will load typically around 18 rolls of film containing 36 exposures each. Depending on the film you can expect to save 20%-30%.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you are limited to rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black & white film is quite a bit easier and less expensive to process at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

It’s possible to develop and scan film at home. In fact it’s a smart method to spend less so you can use more film with your Vivitar XC-3.

Black & white film is much easier to develop yourself. Temperature and time are not as essential to do correctly with black and white films as temperatures and time are for slide or color negative.