5 Color Films You Should Try
There are so many different films in the market, so if you’re just starting your journey with analog photography, it may be hard to choose, and you may be disappointed with results. Don’t let this discourage you, defining your own style as a photographer, and choosing the right look for images is never easy. Here we give you the list of the best and most commonly used films that might help you with the choice.
Kodak Portra 400
Kodak Portra series is definitely the most popular choice of professional photographers around the world. It has been introduced in the late 2010, and has been chosen as the best analog film in 2011, by the photographers. It replaced Portra NC (Neutral color) and Portra VC (Vivid color) and many people were skeptical towards the new model. No need to say how wrong they were!
Kodak Portra 400 quickly found its way to our hearts and plans to stay there – it is a film that gives fine grain to your images, but not too much; It gives color saturation under variety of lighting conditions that can be easily described as exceptional, great skin tones, and in cases of small under/over exposure still delivers good results. We recommend this film for shooting portraits, but it’s good for pretty much everything else, from night shots to nature.
Kodak Ektar 100
Kodak Ektar is one of those love-it-or-hate-it kind of things. It’s a very unique film, it doesn’t give the ‘filmy’ look to your images, which can be either good or bad, depending on what you like and looking for. It is very sharp, has a nice, fine grain structure, its colors are vibrant (especially red, blue, pink and purple) and it brings generally much more saturation and contrast than Portra. It has a great dynamic range, and gives nice details in the dark areas of the picture.
Because of its small ISO sensitivity (and it’s only available in 100), it’s not good for low light lighting conditions, and it doesn’t handle underexposure all that well. It delivers great results when shooting outdoors by day and it’s great for landscape, architecture, fashion and nature photography and pretty much for shooting anything else that demands strong, vivid and beautiful colors. I wouldn’t recommend it for shooting portraits, for its skin tones tend to look a bit pink-ish, but it’s all up to the taste and idea.
Fujicolor Pro 400
When we talk about Fujicolor Pro 400, the comparison to Kodak Portra is inevitable, but there are big differences among these two films. First of them is, of course, the price (Fujicolor costs a bit more than Portra), and all others are the ones regarding the look they provide to your photograph. Fujifilm adds a “fourh layer” to help out with color reproduction, even under mixed light conditions, so it gives the balanced picture style.
Compared to Portra, it gives slightly greener and colder look, though the reproduction of the skin tones is very good. It’s great for portraits, fashion and wedding photography and it handles well both under and over exposures. This is a great film if you’re either a beginner or a pro, you can never go wrong with this fine grain and highly balanced film.
Agfa Vista Plus 200
This is probably one of the cheapest films in the market, its prices vary from $1-$3, but not dismiss it just yet. I put this film on the list not because it’s cheap but because it gives very very good results in almost any lighting conditions. To professionals it may not provide what it needs, but for beginners who still look for their own style and are not experienced, Agfa Vista Plus 200 is an excellent choice.
I personally liked for it’s combination of good price and very good result, so you can practice as much as you want and still be satisfied with photos. It gives good colors at bright light, although its color palette might seem strange, so to say. Skin tones are reproduced quite well and it’s decently sharp and there’s just the perfect amount of grain. It is versatile and balanced film, great for capturing everyday moments at any conditions.
Lomography Color 100 Negative
We just love Lomography Color 100! It’s very cheap and surprisingly an excellent film. Though It’s not good for all lighting conditions, on a sunny day outdoors, you will simply fall in love with this film and all the pretty colors that nice weather brings out of it. Moreover, it brings very good results when combined with flash. It’s fine grained, smooth and very sharp film with great looking contrasts for your lomo camera.
If you’re familiar with the process, you know that the easiest way to describe the results of Lomo is unpredictable, so I would strongly recommend this film. First, expensive film won’t make huge difference and Lomography Color 100 Negative offers just the right amount of pretty and price.