The biggest users of film these days are millennials and people younger than 30. Why? It’s a different experience from seeing an image pop up immediately or being able to send it off to all your friends right then and there in that moment. While the tried and true standards like Portra, Tri-X and Velvia are popular, they’re not always capable of giving you a look in a photo that digital can’t easily do with some tweaking. So instead, we’re rounding up a number of films that we strongly recommend you try out.
As the lowest ISO film on this list, you should know that CineStill 50D is based off of Kodak movie film that has had a layer removed and is repackaged for 35mm film usage. Due to being rated at ISO 50, it has the finest grain of any color film I’ve honestly ever seen and it great for shooting outdoors or indoors with studio lighting.
Words of advice: bring a tripod or a wide angle lens to compensate for the reciprocal rule of shutter speeds because you’re shooting at such a low ISO.
My only complaint about CineStill film is that sometimes the layers aren’t always perfectly removed and so a whole section of a roll can be ruined.
Fujifilm Natura 1600
Fujifilm Natura isn’t exactly an alternative film in Japan, but to many of us here in the US it’s something rare and tough to get your hands on. The film was developed to be shot in low light quite obviously due to the ISO 1600 rating. However, for what it’s worth it also provides a very low grain and in the hands of a skilled photographer can offer a look that will simply blow your mind away.
Oddly enough, this film is daylight balanced. So when you shoot a photo, it’s bound to be very accurate based on what you’re seeing in real life.
LomoChrome Purple is one of the really, really weird ones. When it arrived on the scene, we all thought that it was an alternative to Kodak Aerochrome. But instead, it’s a negative film and just renders all the greens in the scene into a pinkish purple. It offers a look almost like that of an infrared photo.
For the best results, Lomography recommends using it at ISO 100 and giving it lots of light.
While Fujifilm Natura 1600 gives you very fine grain at 1600, so too does CineStill 800T. It too is a movie film that is repackaged. Of all color films currently on the market, it’s one of my favorites. Use this film outside on cloudy days, inside with Tungsten lighting, or inside with a flash bounced off a wall or something. It’s designed for that.
This is a remarkable film if you’re a strobist.
Kono! Tungsten 400T
A film that probably isn’t well mentioned or talked about is that from Kono. Specifically I’m falling in love with their 400T. Like CineStill, it too is a Tungsten balanced film that otherwise will make everything look very blue. It’s designed for the photographer that goes out and shoots at night. However, it offers a finer grain than CineStill does and is so far proving to be my absolute top choice for portraiture.