The 10 Best 35mm Films

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This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in July of 2018. Although everyone snaps pictures on their phones nowadays, there is still plenty of artistic value in old-fashioned, analog photography. Whether you're a serious shutterbug with a darkroom setup or just a hobbyist nostalgic for the 1990s, this list offers a range of 35mm color and black-and-white films suitable for different camera settings, lighting situations and processing methods. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Kodak Tri-X 400

2. Kodak Portra 160

3. Kodak Ektar 100

Editor's Notes

September 06, 2019:

Selecting a film for your 35mm camera largely comes down to what you plan to shoot. Because of this, shooting with film often requires more forethought than would shooting with a digital camera. That's because once you've loaded in a roll of film, you're pretty much bound by its constraints (if you opt to remove it, you likely won't be able to reuse it).

Some of the factors to consider when choosing a roll are how it will be processed, whether you want color or black-and-white photos, the environment's lighting and how much movement there will be in the shots.

For, say, shooting daytime sporting events you'll want a high-speed film that lets you freeze a moment while retaining sharp detail. To do that you'll want something like the Lomography 800 ISO, which will let you use a high shutter speed without your photos turning out too dark. Because high speed films, such as this one, are more sensitive to light than lower ISO films, they are also what you'd want to choose for low-light situations.

When it comes to portraits, especially those in well-lit areas, it's hard to go wrong with the Kodak Portra 160, which will deliver exceptionally accurate skin tones. Those on a budget can still develop beautiful portraits using the Fujicolor Pro 400H.

There are some great generalist films too, which are always good to have on hand, such as the Kodak UltraMax 400 and the Lomography 400 ASA.

A couple of housekeeping clarifications: Sometimes you'll see ASA in place of ISO to express film speed. ASA is just a more antiquated name for the film speed scale and the two abbreviations are interchangeable. You'll also sometimes see 35mm film referred to as 135 film; again the two are interchangeable.

4. Ilford HP5

5. Fujicolor Pro 400H

6. Lomography 800 ISO

7. Kodak Portra 800

8. CineStill 50 Daylight

9. Lomography 400 ASA

10. Kodak UltraMax 400

Kevin Flores
Last updated by Kevin Flores

Kevin Flores is an award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker whose work has been featured in several major media outlets. Word thrift and clarity were pounded into his prose by merciless editors during his days as a breaking news reporter for a wire service. These days he can usually be found trawling through public records and tracking down shadowy shell companies for a nonprofit media organization he co-founded. He enjoys his time away from the screen by pursuing a hobby restoring furniture, giving him special insight into woodworking tools and materials. His filmmaking experience also turned him—willing or not—into something of an audio and video equipment fiend.

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