Best 35mm Film (A Comprehensive Guide for Photographers)

If you are one who love outing and shoot still photography, 35mm film has a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts and professionals alike.

As digital technology continues to advance, there’s still an undeniable allure to the organic and timeless qualities of film photography.

The best 35mm film for you depends on factors like your preferred style, subject matter, and lighting conditions.

There’s an array of 35mm film stocks available on the market, each offering unique characteristics in terms of color rendition, grain, and contrast.

Some popular choices include Kodak Portra, Fujifilm Neopan Acros 100 II, Cinestill 50D, Lomography Color Negative 400 and 800 films are the best 35mm film for the 35mm film photography.

When selecting a film stock, consider your shooting preferences, the intended output, and the aesthetic you aim to achieve.

As you explore the captivating world of film photography, experimenting with different 35mm film stocks will help you discover the unique properties of each and find the one that best suits your creative vision.

Embrace the process and enjoy the distinctiveness that each film has to offer in your photographic journey.

Different Types of 35mm Film

Color Negative Film

Color negative film is the most common type of 35mm film, and it’s what you’ll most likely encounter when you start shooting with film.

This type of film features a wide array of beautiful colors and tones, making it suitable for various lighting conditions.

Some popular color negative films include Kodak Portra (available in 160, 400, and 800 ISO) and Kodak Gold 200, both known for their excellent color reproduction and fine grain quality.

Black and White Film

For those who appreciate the classic appeal of monochrome photography, black and white film is an excellent choice.

This type of 35mm film offers a wide range of tones, from deep blacks to bright whites. Some notable black and white films are Kodak Tri-X 400TX and Fujifilm Neopan Acros 100 II.

These films are renowned for their fine grain, sharpness, and the ability to capture incredible detail.

Slide Film

Slide film, also known as reversal film, produces a positive image on a transparent base, which enables you to project your photos directly using a slide projector.

Most slide films provide vibrant, saturated colors and fine details. One of the best slide films available is Kodak Ektachrome, celebrated for its rich colors and exceptional sharpness.

Color Reversal Film

Color reversal film is a versatile option that combines the color saturation of slide film with the versatility and practicality of color negative film.

This type of 35mm film is popular with photographers who want to experiment with unique colors and tones, as well as those looking to shoot in challenging light conditions.

Fujifilm Fujichrome Velvia is a prominent example of a high-quality color reversal film, known for its strong color rendition and fine grain structure.

By understanding the different types of 35mm film available, such as color negative film, black and white film, slide film, and color reversal film, you can match the film to your creative vision and capture the images you desire.

Best 35mm Film Brands


Kodak is a legendary brand when it comes to 35mm film. Their Portra 400 is a popular choice among photographers for its fine grain and natural colors.

Other notable options include the Kodak Ektar 100, a sharper alternative perfect for landscape photography, and the ever-reliable Kodak UltraMax 400 for general use.


Fujifilm offers a wide range of 35mm film options for various needs. For black and white photography, the Fujifilm Neopan Acros 100 II is an excellent choice, known for its fine grain and rich contrasts.

In the color film category, don’t miss Fujifilm’s Superior X-TRA series, which delivers beautiful and vivid hues.


Ilford is an iconic brand specializing in black and white film. Their Ilford HP5 Plus 400 and Ilford Delta 100 provide impressive sharpness and contrast.

For photographers who want more artistic grain, Ilford Delta 3200 is an option worth considering. Ilford’s reputation for high-quality monochrome film makes it a go-to choice for many in the analog photography community.


Cinestill has made a name for itself by adapting motion picture film for still photography.

Their Cinestill 50D is admired for its fine grain and unique color palette, while the Cinestill 800T is a tungsten balanced film perfect for capturing low-light scenes.

These films provide a distinct cinematic look, which continues to attract both amateur and professional photographers.


Lomography is known for its creative and experimental approach to analog photography. Among their 35mm film offerings, the Lomography Color Negative 400 and 800 films provide punchy colors and unique visual effects.

For a retro black and white look, try the Lomography Lady Grey 400. Lomography’s film selection encourages you to explore your artistic side and push the boundaries of traditional photography.

Remember to choose the right film based on your desired outcome and personal preferences. Try experimenting with various film stocks to discover your favorite brands and learn what works best in different situations.

Top 35mm Films for Various Photography Styles

While you are going to purchase the 35mm film, you need to know which top 35mm films suitable for different photography styles.

I will cover Portrait Photography, Landscape Photography, Street Photography, and Wedding Photography.

Portrait Photography

When it comes to portrait photography, you would want a film that renders skin tones naturally and showcases true-to-life colors. Kodak Portra 400 is a popular choice for its beautiful color reproduction and fine grain.

It is available in different ISOs (160, 400, and 800), making it versatile for various lighting conditions.

Another great option for portraits is the Fujifilm Superior X-TRA, known for its accurate portrayal of skin tones and nice balance between color saturation and sharpness.

Landscape Photography

For landscape photography, color and detail preservation are crucial.

Kodak Ektar 100 is a top choice with its high saturation, fine grain, and excellent color contrast, making it ideal for capturing the vibrant and wide-ranging hues in landscape shots.

Alternatively, Fujifilm Fujichrome Velvia is another excellent choice for its vivid, saturated colors and excellent rendition of details.

Street Photography

In street photography, capturing the dynamic and spontaneous moments is essential. Having a film with a quick response to varying light conditions and contrast is crucial.

Kodak Tri-X 400TX is a classic black-and-white film with high ISO sensitiveness, ideal for street photos in low light conditions.

For a color option, Kodak Gold 200 is budget-friendly, with decent contrast and color rendition suitable for various lighting conditions.

Wedding Photography

Wedding photography demands a film capable of capturing precise moments with natural skin tones, balanced contrast, and pleasant colors.

Kodak Portra 400 is a great choice to meet these requirements due to its fine grain quality and excellent color reproduction.

Another option to consider is Fujifilm Neopan Acros 100 II, a black-and-white film that delivers sharp detail, high resolution, and a wide tonal range, perfect for capturing timeless wedding moments.

What to Look for in a 35mm Film (Film Characteristics)

Now, I am going to discuss the key characteristics to consider when selecting the best 35mm film for your needs.

Here, I will cover ISO and film speed, dynamic range and contrast, saturation and color reproduction, and grain and sharpness.

ISO and Film Speed

The ISO or ASA number indicates the film’s sensitivity to light. A higher ISO film is more sensitive, allowing you to shoot in low-light conditions, while a lower ISO film is less sensitive and performs better in bright light.

When choosing a film, consider the lighting conditions you’ll be shooting in and select an appropriate ISO to ensure optimal exposure.

Dynamic Range and Contrast

Dynamic range refers to the film’s ability to capture a range of tones from the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights.

A film with a high dynamic range can reproduce a greater range of tonal values, while a low dynamic range film may struggle to capture detail in extreme light or dark areas.

Contrast is the difference between the darkest and lightest tones in an image.

Film with high contrast will produce bold, dramatic images with deep blacks and bright whites, while low contrast film will create more subtle, softer images with a greater range of gray tones.

Consider your desired aesthetic when selecting a film with specific dynamic range and contrast characteristics.

Saturation and Color Reproduction

Saturation refers to the intensity and vibrancy of colors in a photograph. A highly saturated film will produce more vivid, intense colors, while a less saturated film will yield more muted, subdued hues.

Color reproduction describes how accurately the film renders the colors in a scene. Some films favor certain color palettes, such as Kodak Ektar 100 which is known for its strong saturation and vibrant colors.

Consider the subject matter and desired mood of your photographs when choosing a film with specific saturation and color reproduction qualities.

Grain and Sharpness

Grain refers to the texture created by the light-sensitive silver particles in the film emulsion. Fine-grain films provide smoother, more subtle texture, while coarse-grain films have a more noticeable, rough texture.

The size and visibility of the grain often depend on the ISO, with higher ISO films typically exhibiting more grain. Sharpness is the film’s ability to resolve detail and the edge contrast between different tones in an image.

High-resolution films are capable of capturing fine details, while low-resolution films may not reproduce details as crisply.

Factor in your desired level of image detail and texture when selecting a film with particular grain and sharpness characteristics.

Popular 35mm Film Options and Their Unique Features

When it comes to shooting with 35mm film, there are various options available, each with unique properties that can enhance your photographs. Some of the popular film choices include:

Kodak Portra Series:

The Kodak Portra series offers a range of film stocks such as Portra 160, Portra 400, and Portra 800.

Renowned for their natural color reproduction and fine grain, these films are perfect for portraits, weddings, and fashion photography.

Kodak Ektar 100:

If you seek vibrant colors and increased contrast, Kodak Ektar 100 is an excellent choice. Often called the world’s finest grain color negative film, it’s ideal for landscape and nature photography.

Kodak UltraMax 400 and Kodak Gold 200:

Budget-friendly options like Kodak UltraMax 400 and Kodak Gold 200 provide solid color reproduction and flexibility for various lighting conditions. They’re suitable for everyday shooting and outdoor photography.

Kodak Ektachrome:

For those who prefer slide film, Kodak Ektachrome offers a fine grain and exceptional sharpness. Its moderate saturation and contrast make it perfect for landscape, fashion, and travel photography.

Kodak Tri-X 400:

As a popular black-and-white film, Kodak Tri-X 400 boasts a classic look with broad tonal range and strong contrast. It’s excellent for street photography and low-light situations.

Fujicolor Pro 400H and Velvia 50:

Fujicolor Pro 400H is a versatile color film with natural tones and a pleasing grain structure.

Comparing with, Fujifilm Velvia 50 is a slide film known for its vibrant colors and fine details, making it excellent for landscape photography.

Ilford HP5 Plus and FP4 Plus:

Black-and-white film enthusiasts can opt for Ilford HP5 Plus for its fine grain and wide exposure latitude or Ilford FP4 Plus for a sharper, more detailed rendition.

CineStill 800T:

If you want a more cinematic look, consider CineStill 800T. This tungsten balanced film offers unique halation and warm tones, making it perfect for nightscapes and urban photography.

Lomography Color 400:

With its unique color palette and aesthetic, Lomography Color 400 is ideal for those seeking a distinct, artistic style.

By exploring these popular 35mm film options and their unique features, you can elevate your photography and develop your own visual language.

It’s essential to experiment with various film stocks to discover which suits your preferences and artistic vision best.

What is The Best Compatible Film Cameras for 35mm Film

When starting your journey in analog photography, choosing the right 35mm film camera plays a significant role in the quality of images you will capture.

There are numerous options in the market, spanning various budgets and skill levels. Here are some of the best film cameras available to hone your photography skills and produce stunning 35mm film images.

The Canon AE-1 is a dependable choice for both beginners and seasoned photographers. It boasts a robust build quality and easy-to-use features, making it an excellent starting point for those new to film photography.

For an affordable, beginner-friendly option, the Pentax K-1000 is hard to beat. This camera is known for its simplicity, manual controls, and exceptional durability that has made it a favorite among photography students.

If you are looking for an entry-level automatic film camera, the Minolta X-700 is an ideal choice. With its user-friendly interface, the X-700 offers an excellent introduction to film photography without overwhelming you with too many features.

For those who prefer rangefinder cameras, the Contax G2 is an impressive automatic rangefinder camera with a sleek design and advanced autofocusing capabilities. It’s an excellent choice for street photography and capturing candid moments.

The Leica M6 is a sought-after, premium camera that offers exceptional build quality and performance. With its elegant design, solid craftsmanship, and excellent image quality, the M6 is an investment that will provide you with years of photographic experience.

If advanced features are what you seek, the Nikon F100 is a top-of-the-line film SLR that pairs well with most Nikon lenses, providing you with extensive creative control. This camera is perfect for professionals and serious enthusiasts alike.

When choosing a 35mm film camera, consider your budget, skill level, and style of photography.

It’s essential to find a camera that fits your needs and allows you to explore the creative possibilities of analog photography. Happy shooting!

How to Achieve the Best 35mm Film Results (Tips for Beginners)

To achieve the best results with your 35mm film, there are several factors to consider, such as exposure latitude, lighting conditions, and ease of use. Here are a few tips and tricks that you can apply to your film photography:

Exposure latitude refers to the range of exposures that a film can handle without losing detail in the shadows or highlights. Films with wide exposure latitude are typically ideal for most situations.

To make the most out of your film’s exposure latitude, learn about the different characteristics of each film stock, such as the Kodak T Max 400, which is known for its fine grain and wide latitude.

Lighting conditions play a crucial role in the outcome of your photographs. Take the time to understand your film’s sensitivity to light, which is represented by its ISO rating.

For low light environments, consider fast films like Lomography Color Negative 800 that enable you to capture well-exposed images without relying on a flash or a tripod.

Clarity is affected by the film’s grain structure, and higher ISO films tend to have more noticeable grain. For images with maximum clarity, choose a film with a lower ISO rating, particularly for landscape and portrait photography.

Additionally, investing in quality lenses can help improve the overall sharpness of your shots.

To ensure ease of use, select films that are widely available and compatible with your camera. Understanding your camera’s metering system and how to interpret it will help you achieve well-exposed images consistently.

Familiarize yourself with the film development process, including suitable chemicals and developing times to preserve the quality of your photographs.

Lastly, experiment with various film stocks to find the ones that best suit your shooting style and preferences. Don’t be afraid to try new films or techniques, as this will expand your skillset and enable you to capture memorable photographs.

Remember to keep these tips in mind, and you’ll be well on your way to achieving stunning 35mm film results. Happy shooting!

Buying Guide of 35mm Film: Price, Availability, and Exposure Count

When looking for the best 35mm film, it’s essential to consider the price, availability, and exposure count. Films come in various price points, and your budget will play a significant role in your choice.

Top-rated films like Kodak Portra 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400TX may be more expensive, but they often provide better quality and color rendition.

On the other hand, more affordable options such as Kodak Gold 200 can still deliver good results, especially for beginners.

Availability is another crucial factor when purchasing 35mm film. Popular film brands like Kodak and Fujifilm are widely available online and in photography stores.

However, some specialist films may be harder to find, so make sure to check the availability of your preferred film before deciding.

The exposure count of a film refers to the number of pictures you can take with one roll. Common exposure counts include 24 and 36. While 36-exposure rolls offer more photos per roll, they can be more expensive than 24-exposure rolls.

To maximize the value, focus on choosing a film with an exposure count that suits your needs.

In summary, make sure to consider the price, availability, and exposure count of your desired 35mm film. By doing so, you’ll find the film that best suits your photography needs and your budget.


Which 35mm film has the finest grain?

Kodak Portra 160 is known for its fine grain and is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a film with minimal grain. It’s particularly suitable for portraits and landscape photography where fine detail is important.

Which 35mm film has the highest ISO?

Ilford Delta 3200 and Kodak T-Max P3200 have the highest ISO available for 35mm film, both rated at 3200.

These films provide higher sensitivity, allowing for faster shutter speeds and better performance in low light situations.

What is the best 35mm film for beginners?

For those new to film photography, we suggest starting with a versatile and forgiving film like Kodak Portra 400.

This film has a wide exposure latitude, making it suitable for various lighting conditions, and produces natural colors and skin tones.

Which 35mm film is recommended for low light?

When shooting in low light conditions, you’ll want a film with a higher ISO to ensure better image quality.

Kodak Portra 800 is a popular choice, as it offers the perfect balance between fine grain and high ISO performance.

Which 35mm film has the most vibrant colors?

If vibrant colors are what you’re after, consider using Fuji Velvia 50 or Velvia 100.

These slide films are known for their intense color saturation and strong contrast, making them ideal for landscape photography and other situations where bold colors are required.