Five films to shoot with in 2016

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Refreshments on an Istanbul ferry, on a FED 50 and Fomapan 100

In 2014 I did a round-up of five films that were still in production, all films I’ve used and could recommend from experience. It’s proven to be one of the most popular things on the site.

Two years later, I’m pleased to say that all five of those films – Agfaphoto CT100 Precisa, Fomapan 200, Fuji Superia 400, Kodak Ektar and Kodak Tri-X – are all still available, some in a range of formats. News of discontinued films keeps the photographic forums busy and makes it sometimes feel like analogue photography is down to the last handful of emulsions; it’s not.

So below is a list of five films to shoot with – three of which you can buy right now, and two which will hit stores in the coming months. In fact, one of them was a secret until a few days ago.

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Fomapan 100

Fomapan in the Czech Republic has been making film since 1921. Their 200-speed film is a nice mid-range film, great in sunshine and with a pleasing old-school graininess. Fomapan 100 is their sunny day emulsion, with pleasing contrast. Some have likened it to the original version of Agfa’s APX 100 film, while others think it has some similarities to old emulsions from before World War II. Fomapan 100 is a fantastic film for trying black and white in good light – in the UK, you can get a roll of 35mm for little more than £3 a roll. I shoot it a lot when I’m in Istanbul, where it’s even cheaper, little more than £2 a roll. [35mm, 120, 4×5, 5×7]

 

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Lomography 100

Lomography does more than sell people toy cameras that spring light leaks and revived Soviet curios; they also sell film, including their own branded range. Lomography 100 is their 100-speed emulsion; since the sad demise of their Lomography Xpro Chrome 100 film (really Kodak Elite Chrome 100), I’d say this is the best film in their stable. It scans beautifully, and tends to have a decidedly warm cast in strong rich light. The other great thing is the price – a three-pack in 35mm is less than £10. The packs says ‘Made in USA’ so it’s undoubtedly a Kodak film. Definitely worth having a pack in your bag – it really works well with cameras like the Lomo LC-A, and that warm tone can make really punchy pictures. [35mm, 120]

 

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Istanbul wildlife, shot on a Pentax ESII

Ilford HP5

I shot a roll of HP5 on a trip to New Zealand recently, pushing it to 3200 to take pictures of a massive World War One diorama. I’d forgotten just how good HP5 looks when it’s pushed. This film has fantastic contrast and fine but atmospheric grain; it’s a worthy rival to Kodak’s fantastic Tri-X. There’s been an Ilford film bearing the ‘HP’ (Hypersensitive Panchromatic) name since the 1920s – HP5 has been around since the 1960s. Though it is essentially a 200 speed film, it’s designed to be shot at the box speed of 400. But HP5 will easily handle push processing up to 6400 (four stops). If you’re wanting to shoot in low light, and don’t quite want the extra chalk-and-charcoal contrast of Tri-X, use HP5. You won’t regret it. [35mm, 120, 4×5, 5×7, disposable camera]

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Ferrania Chrome 100

Italy’s Ferrania made film from the 1920s until the middle of the 2000s – they were one of the early victims of the digital revolution. That meant the end of the Scotch Chrome range of slide films, and Solaris print films. But the Ferrania story, it appears, is not over. In August 2013, the new Film Ferrania company announced they’d return to making film, starting with a re-engineered version of the Scotch Chrome 100 film, available for Super-8 and cine cameras aswell as 35mm and 120. Since then, they’ve raised a huge amount of money to refurb the old Ferrania factory in northern Italy, some of it via Kickstarter. The timetable has faltered of late, thanks to serious flooding and the discovery of asbestos in the factory, but Film Ferrania still intend to release their film in the next few months.

In fact, Film Ferrania founder Nicola Baldini said in a recent interview:  “Everything is now scheduled for the spring of 2016 – almost exactly a year delayed from the original schedule.” Slide film fans, who’ve been having to put up with Fujifilm’s consistent price-hiking of its dwindling range of slide film, will be counting down the days. [35mm, 120, 16mm cine, 8mm cine]

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Japan Camera Hunter JCH Streetpan 400

In the last week, there’s been some more news to make film fans a little more optimistic – there’s a new brand of black-and-white film, coming not from a leading photographic brand, or even a giant retailer, but from a website. JCH StreetPan 400 comes from analogue site Japan Camera Hunter. Founder Bellamy Hunt has re-branded an old surveillance film made by Agfa. But unlike some ‘new’ films, this is not something that has been given a new bade (I’m looking at you Agfaphoto CT100 Precisa) but a film that has been brought back into production.

Hunt says he wanted something that mirrored the contrast and grain of Fuji’s discontinued Neopan 400 film – that’s one of the films I’ve been most upset to see go. Neopan had fantastic contrast and lovely grain – I used to use it for my Soundcheck Sessions project, where I would push it to 6400, and the results were consistently fantastic.

As the name might tell you, JCH StreetPan is aimed at street photographers, a community that seems to avidly supporting film. Streetpan 400 should be out later in the summer. I’ve ordered my first brick, and I can’t wait to put it through its paces. (All pics below have been kindly provided by Bellamy Hunt)

Obviously, this is just a smattering of the films still available. What are you using? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

39 Comments

  1. Well I never. That was just what I’m looking for today! ‘Pushing’ film is a good concept (although I can only reach 800 on my Olympus-35 EC). I’ve been advised to try other Ilford offerings, with greater contrast being the primary aim.

    • Get investigating, Mike. Ilford HP5 is a great film, but if it’s contrast you want, go for Kodak Tri-X. It’s an incredible film with biting, chalk-and-charcoal contrast. If you’re wanting something for a sunny day, Fuji Acros 100 is a cracker aswell.

  2. Hey. Don’t forget kentmere 400, this harman/ilford made film is currently private labelled by ultrafine ( “ultrafine xtreme 400” and rollei “rollei rpx400

    Not as pushable as trix or hp5 but price is very affordable and quality is quite consistent, and more importantly, dries flat, which is great for scanning.

  3. I was *just saying* the other day that I wished there were a good, inexpensive b/w film option. I’ve heard of the Fomapan but this is the first useful (mini-) review I’ve read of it. I’ll buy some and try some!

    • Hey Jim! Good to hear. I hope you like it. It’s one of my go-to black and white films for Istanbul. 9 lira a roll works out at about £2.15. I usually scoop up 10 rolls of that from my favourite little photo store and hits the streets. Let me know what the price works out for you. It might be cheaper for me to buy it for you in London and send it over.

      • So I did some research last night. Amazon sells it in 36-exp rolls for $4.29. You have to buy $25 worth, but because I have Prime, I get free shipping. And Freestyle Photo sells rebranded Fomapan 100 as Arista.Edu 100 for $3.19 for 24 exp and $3.59 for 36 exp, plus shipping. You’re very generous to offer to send me some from London, and I’m astonished that you would, but it looks like I have viable options here!

        • Wow. Those are good prices. No problem. I would have bought 20 rolls and we could have split the cost… there’s a great lab/film shop here that I think would have done me a good deal.

  4. I fluctuate between HP5 and Delta 400 for b&w. Both films can be pushed with beautiful results, and I find them to be a little crisper and brighter than Tri-X (but it always depends on your personal taste!). I haven’t experimented much with colour film, but I recently started using Agfa Vista 400, both at box speed and pushed to 1600, and I have fallen in love with the film! I am also looking forward to trying out CineStill 800, and I have a few rolls of Ektar 100 waiting in my refrigerator. Thanks for the article, it always makes me happy when I read positive things about film!

    • I’ve not tried Vista 400 yet – if I’m shooting colour 400, I usually go for Superia 400… I like the reddish tones. Pushing sounds intriguing… I’d like to see results.

  5. Bellamy`s “Street film” was available as MACO EAGLE surveillance film Two ways of getting fantastic results is: RODINAL “stand development” One hour in 1:100 dilution ( without agitation) and second is ACUFINE 1:1 dilution with once in minute agitation Both of these have fantastic acutance and reasonable contrast.

  6. I find it better to recommend the film under the company’s brand. If you like Tmax100, shoot it. Lomo 100 B&W might end up being something different at another date. You have no way of knowing when it could change. Ilford HP-5+ and FP-4+ are top-notch b&w films. In addition, a rebranded film may not have all of the developer/time combinations available. Fomapan 100 is an excellent film, and I think Freestyle’s Arista 100 is the same emulsion, but I go back to my first statement. Film Photography Project is selling Svema films, and the Svema FN64 is a lovely b&w film.

  7. All good choices! I just shot a roll of Fomapan 100 recently, and it is quite a nice-looking film, though I was surprised at how contrasty it is (I think I’ll prefer using it with old lenses). Currently I’m running down to my last rolls from a 100ft bulk roll of Eastman Double-X which is definitely an experience. As long as you expose it properly, it looks wonderful, but exposure latitude is something this film doesn’t have much of, and I haven’t had much success pushing it.

    Man, I am really psyched to get my package of film from Ferrania, I think that will definitely be the event of the year for me! 🙂

  8. I have been shooting Tri-X, HP5, Portra 400 and Agfa Vista 200 consistently over the past 3 years since returning to shooting film. My favourite is Tri-X, stand developed at 1:100 for and hour. Love the grain and contrast from Tri-X, but HP5 does have a great deal going for it too. One film that really surprised me when I shot a couple of rolls last year way Fomapan 400. Stand developed it can rival Tri-X, witha touch more grain, and it’s very inexpensive too

  9. For my LC-A 120 I get the best results as follows:
    – For a sunny day, if I want to boost the colours (for landscape, or a colourful old district of a town), I will go for Ektar 100
    – For the same conditions, if I want to cross process my best option is Fuji Provia 100F
    – If the day is bright or a little bit overcast (so, on most conditions) I will go for Portra 160 or Portra 400, always overexposed (by fixing 100 at the Asa indicator for Portra 160 and fixing 200 for Portra 400).
    – For very overcast days, general black and white, interiors: Ilford HP5, I really love how it works
    – If I want to give a very dramatic tone in black and white, then I go for Kodak Tri-X or Fuji Neopan Accross
    I recently made a couple of business trips to Dubai and then to Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile and tried all these options. I have never been so happy with the colour rendition as with Portra 160 slightly overexposed. Really amazing!

  10. I can’t speak highly enough for Fuji Superia 100 and Kodak Farbwelt 100 when you can find them. I also like Fujicolor C200 (Agfa Vista Plus 200) instead of faster colour films like Superia 400 or Kodak ultramax 400, usually at half the price per roll. Ektar and Portra are too expensive and technically “perfect” to consider, unless I was shooting in a studio.

    I have limited experience with true B&W films, but I certainly don’t like T-Max films in Rodinal or HC-110 (my most used developers due to convenience of storage). I have achieved great results with Agfaphoto APX-100 in Rodinal, shot at box speed under good lighting conditions.

  11. I am sooooo looking forward to the release of Ferrania 100 and getting my KS fulfillment in the process.

    A few others I like are:
    Rollei Retro 80S – not too easy to find, but a film that when properly exposed (has a narrow latitude) under flatter light gives a great tonal curve and has some impeccably fine grain.

    Film X by Washi – For daylight shots, it’s not so great, but in dusk or night time shots, when developed in E6, it gives one of the best color renditions that I have ever seen for night time photography.

    Ilford Delta 100 – Sure it’s a “safe” film, but I have found that of the “mainstream” offerings, this film really delivers a tack sharp image and great tonal range.

  12. My most used film is Ilford FP 4 125, although I have some experience with HP5, and Fomapanan 100 and 200. From color films I love DM Paradies 200 and 400, but they are now discontinued.

  13. hey, really like your blog and starting to fall for film, suppose it”s a love of old things and chrome. I just bought a olympus om10, shot 10 pics so far and excited about using them up to see the results.

    my question would be with regards pushing the iso and someone told me the whole film needs to be devleoped this way.
    1. where can i get films devleoped + pushed like this (im thinking ilford hp5).
    2. my camera only shows 800 or 1600 asa, so do i shoot at one of these iso’s?
    3. how do i know the pictures will look okay if they are getting pushed, surely some will be too grainy of bright?

    sorry i’m a complete novice, only shooting digital a year and already sick of the crap that comes with digital bodies.

    keep up the website.

    Andy

  14. Yes Andy I was wondering like you in this world of Smartphone cameras where does one get their film developed? There are the drugstores that provide a film developing service but will you get the pristine look and finish you took so much time to capture with a low cost processing plant?

  15. can anyone reccommend some film developer combinations??? … The ones I used to use don’t seem to be around any more. I’ve resurfaced my rollei 35T and just bought a zorki 4 …. will be resurrecting my rollei 3.5F soon and start shooting 120 again. It’s great to see a lot of old films back on the market .

  16. Over the past year, I have become much enamored with Ilford HP-5+, replacing Tri-X entirely. I think the mid-tones are much better, and I develop it in D76 1:1. You may want to check out Svema FN-64, obtainable from the Film Photography Project store. It pairs well with Rodinal developer.

  17. Being a recent film photographer (having started this year for my photography class.) This list makes me happy. I want to try every type of B&W film and color film still in production! I want to show people that though film is near heaven’s door, it’s still lively enough to inspire people who’ve only know of digital photography to try film.

  18. Hi Andy, check out http://www.filmdev.co.uk – I’ve used them a few times and there’s no extra charge for pushing/pulling films. They are very cheap for colour (C41) starting at £3/roll inc scanning at a good enough resolution for online use and checking images etc. Prices go up as you’d expect for higher res scans but they are still very reasonable. They have started offering b+w processing too, again inc scans at various price levels. The best thing is that they’ll work with you to learn the ‘look’ you want from your pictures, and adjust the scanning accordingly. They’re film based wedding photographers who bought some pro lab developing and scanning kit and offer it out for other photographers’ films. They’re a very friendly bunch. The guy I have always dealt with there is called David. Very best, Jonathan Doyle

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