5 Films to shoot with in 2014

Posted on by Bellamy

A mannequin on a street in Ghent, Belgium, shot on a Voigtlander Bessaflex TM and Tri-X
5 Films to shoot with in 2014 by Stephen Dowling
Stephen shares with us another article, this time about films worth shooting whilst we can still get them. There are a few more I would add to this list, so I might have to put together another post about this topic soon. In the meantime, check out this great guest post.

The 21st Century has not been kind to film photography. As digital has become more and more widespread, the number of films available to analogue snappers has dwindled with every passing year. The casualties have included some of the most iconic films ever produced – like Kodak’s Kodachrome and Ektachrome slide films – and others less notable but still sadly missed, such as Agfa’s original CT 100 Precisa slide (the best film for cross-processing) or Fuji’s fantastic Neopan black-and-white print film. With every passing brand of film, you could believe that analogue photography will soon be no more.

But the show isn’t quite over yet. While some of the big players, such as Japan’s Fuji, appear to be edging out of the film business, the likes of Ilford and Kodak appear committed to making film for quite some time yet. And there’s smaller companies too, such as the Czech Republic’s Foma, which also show no sign of shutting down. Some companies are even returning to film; Ferrania, the Italian company which used to produce Solaris print films and the Scotch Chrome slide films, have announced they are returning to film production this year.

There might very well be similar stories in the future – in the meantime here are five films still in production that every film photographer should try in 2014.

Kodak Ektar

bowls_ektar

Ektar is one of the last ISO 100 print films still in production – a very useful speed when it comes to shooting in strong summer sun. Ektar began life in the late 1980s before being replaced by the Royal Gold lines of print film in the 1990s. In 2008, Kodak announced it was bringing Ektar back. It’s an incredibly fine-grained film, and particularly good for scanning. If you’re shooting in strong sun, this should definitely be in the camera bag. Prices are around the £6 mark per roll in the UK, but you can get discounts if you’re buying in bulk. I always try to make sure I’ve got a few rolls of this if I’m heading away somewhere in spring or summer.

Fomapan 200

shard_f200

There are no shortage of black and white films still available – this is the healthiest part of the film market. Fomapan is one of the lesser names on the market – from the Czech Republic, they produce a range of black and white print films in formats from 35mm to large format. The most interesting is their 200-speed film; aside from Ilford’s SFX 200, which is an infrared style film, this is the only 200-speed film you can get these days. It’s particularly useful if you want really fast shutter speeds on sunny days, or want to take pics in open shade on overcast days. It’s also one of the cheapest films you can buy; here in London, some stores sell it for as little as £3 for a roll of 26 in 35mm. It’s a good film to scan too – there’s plenty of detail captured in the bright tones and rich blacks.

Kodak Tri-X

josh_tri-x

Kodak may have retired its National Geographic staples Kodachrome and Ektachrome, but one of its most iconic films is still with us. Tri-X, a 400-speed black and white film, is more than 50 years old, having been introduced in the 1950s. Its chemistry changed little from then until 2007, when it was re-engineered to give it finer grain. Kodak’s continued survival despite its recent bankruptcy protection has given a new lease of life to it film line-up, and Tri-X is likely to remain at the forefront of it. If I could shoot on one black and white film for the rest of my photo-taking days, this would be it. Tri-X is incredibly pushable – I’ve had excellent results pushing it as far as 6400, and it’s got great contrast. Tones are bright and blacks deep and rich. Expect to pay around £5 a roll.

Fuji Superia X-Tra 400

clock_superia400

Fuji appears to be slowly but surely disappearing from the film business, retiring great films such as Neopan and its Provia 400X slide film, and jacking up the prices of those remaining its stable. There’s every possibility we’re in the last decade of Fuji making film. If that’s so, make sure you shoot a few rolls of this; it’s a 400-speed print film with a slight magenta cast, making it great for atmospheric shots in afternoon light or indoors. It might need a bit of post-processing after scanning to get rid of a slight red tinge in faces, but is a good film to have in the bag for when the light goes down low. I’ve made a resolution to shoot a few more gigs with it in 2014, after getting some lovely results shooting Calexico on a Pentax ESII last year. It can still be had for under £5 a roll, but is now only made in 35mm.

Agfaphoto Precisa CT100

table_precisa

Agfa’s CT100 Precisa was the ultimate cross-processing film, and one which the Lomography movement owes a great deal; when xpro’d it created deep blues and biting contrast, deep blacks and vibrant reds. Agfa pulled the plug on it around 2005, much to cross-processing fans’ dismay. But, there is a film still on sale called Precisa; Agfaphoto Precisa. It’s a slide film, but not the Agfa film of old. It’s Fuji Provia 100, one of Fuji’s last remaining slide films, and the Agfaphoto rolls are ones which haven’t quite met Fuji’s quality control standards. In reality, you’d be hard to find any fault with it – it’s a slide film delivering bright punchy colours. The big plus point though, is the price. A roll of Provia now costs over £10 in the UK – Agfaphoto’s rebadged version sells for around £6.

They will only keep making this stuff if we keep buying it and shooting with it…

letterbox_precisa

Autumn sunlight on a Minolta SRT 100X and Agfaphoto CT100 Precisa

candles_ektar

Candles in Cologne Cathedral, on an Olympus 35RC and Kodak Ektar

acecafe_precisa

The Ace Cafe in north-west London, shot on a Zenit 3M and Agfaphoto CT100 Precisa

bike_f200

Brighton shadows on an Olympus XA and Fomapan 200

pipe_tri-x

Chap Olympiad pipe on a Chinon Memotron and Kodak Tri-X

* This is a piece originally written for Film’s Not Dead, who sell cameras, film and other photographica at their shop in Clerkenwell and weekend stall at The Backyard Market at Brick Lane. They also host regular photographic exhibitions.

Thanks to Stephen Dowling for sharing this article with us. All the pictures are his and cannot be reproduced without his permission.

If you would like to see the original article, click here or visit Stephen’s site zorkiphoto.co.uk.

Thanks
JCH

13 Responses to 5 Films to shoot with in 2014

Petr February 10, 2014 at 10:08 pm

You want to shoot Adox Silvermax as well. It’s quite a new film. It was introduced in 2012 and I absolutely love it. You will also support a company that is still dedicated to film photography.

Reply
    Argenticien February 11, 2014 at 10:02 am

    My thought exactly! I was going to say any recently introduced film should go on the list, just in recognition of the brave companies adding emulsions when others are deleting theirs. To that end, Cinestill should be included as well. (Yes I know, they don’t make the film; Kodak do, and Cinestill just doctor it for stills usage.) I’ve mucked about with one roll so far and have another ready to go. Interesting stuff. Admittedly pricey at USD 10 per 36 exp 35mm roll. Fast as hell though.

    Reply
Ørjan Laxaa February 10, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Where is the best place to get film(and lenses) in London? I am going on a trip next month, and I’m looking to stock up on some stuff.

Reply
    Jack Allan February 11, 2014 at 4:07 am

    The Photographers Gallery just off Oxford street (Nearest underground station Oxford Circus) has film in stock for fairly cheap prices. Probably some oft he better prices in central London.

    West End Cameras (Nearest underground station Warren Street) on Tottenham Court Road has a wide array of film stocks to choose from.

    Those two Places I would thoroughly recommend for film.

    As for lenses, it depends what you’re looking for. Some places specialise in one brand only so that’s specific. Aperture Photographic, Camera City and York Cameras offer a wide array of lens choices. (I’m speaking mainly analog).

    Aperture can be pricey however, so I would recommend Camera City for a better deal on glass.

    Sendean Cameras within Soho is another good place to try out.

    Hope this has helped you out. :-)

    Reply
Hans ter Horst February 10, 2014 at 10:54 pm

Excellent article, I would also like the point the new ADOX films like ADOX CHS 100 II and complement ADOX for fully committing to film.

As for film and lenses in London, I always bought everything on-line when I was living there. AG-Photographic was the place I used. But Silverprint has a shop in 120 London Road, London SE1 6LF (http://www.silverprint.co.uk/)

Reply
Matt February 11, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Fuji Superia 400, Kodak Portra 400, Illford HP5, Illford Delta 400…..

or buying large amounts of expired film

for what I can get in canada

Reply
Paul Schofield February 11, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Nice article. Tri-X is my go-to b+w film – I love the richness of the blacks and it seems to scan really well too. You need a good fast film in Scotland. I’ve just discovered Ektar – it has an unusual look that I really like.

I always check prices before I buy. AG Photographic and Silverprint are good but Mather of Lancashire have consistently been the cheapest on most brands recently.

Reply
Roberto February 12, 2014 at 4:16 am

Another interesting aritcle Hunt and Stephen.
I woul add that Ektar100 has a little red dominant both printed or scanned; the tones are really creamy, it’s a very nice color negative film, I see beautiful night shots made with Ektar (go check the user “Happy_Axe” on flickr! http://www.flickr.com/photos/61391415@N05/ ).
If you’re looking for a more precise color rendition I would reccommende Fuji’s 160S and 400H (the “old” NPS and NPH).
Cheers ;)

Reply
jean valjean February 21, 2014 at 5:28 am

As a long time amateur film photographer (who’s never been motivated to even try digital), I’ve recently gone back to processing my own black & white film after years of being spoiled by C-41 black & white (which I still use, but hope to wean myself away from). I’ve discovered some interesting films on Freestyle Photo – Fomapan, Holga (which I think is made by Foma), and Arista. That said, the various films made by Ilford remain my favorites.

Reply
Jukka Vatanen May 3, 2014 at 6:34 pm

It was TRI-X since 1965 and it is TRI-X now again… I am loading it from bulk to Leica IXMOO metal cassettes. For a long time Kodak was so arrogant not to sell American made TRI-X in bulk rolls to Europe but since their “bankrupcy” they have come to their senses and it is OK to buy TRI-X 100 feet rolls from Amazon, B&H etc..
So now i forget Ilford, Rollei Adox etc.. TRI-X is the KING, always was !
For max speed ( 1600 Iso and above) it is ACUFINE and for fine, punchy grain & sharpness it is a mix of Rodinal and HC 110 coctail: 20cc of both to one litre developer. fine smooth gradiation of HC 110 and the good acutance of Rodinal… Try it, You`ll love it !

Reply
Tim May 4, 2014 at 6:33 am

I love Tri-X, but I don’t love how it takes so long to flatten out after developing. A pain if I want to scan immediately (Epson V750), less so for printing (Leitz Ic). So I generally shoot HP5+, the look of which I like almost as much, but is easier to handle. I have a bunch of Leica metal cassettes and a Film-Tank, but I’m mostly shooting with the CL rather than the M4, so I’m using disposable or regular reloadables. Freestyle Photo here in LA is a very good mail order service. They buy Tri-X OEM and sell it under their own label (Arista Premium), ADOX, FOMA, Ilford, Rollei, and others, including litho film, if you want to do contrast-masked analog prints.

Reply
Patryk June 17, 2014 at 6:52 am

It is good to see that someone finally said something about Fomapan 200. It is a realy nice film and very easy to deal with and prices are nice. Maybe not as good as Ilford, but still you can have fine results.
If you are not afraid you can also try to find on ebay some old ORWO film’s (probably the best film produced behind the iron curtain)

P.S. My first comment here, so greetings from Poland :)

Reply

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