But the words today are not about movies, records, or lost emulsions. It will be about emulsions of today.
The question I am asked the most: “but are there still film rolls available?
My answer always is : YES! Go get it. Stick it in... analogue cameras are everywhere too, go and grab one!
I will talk about my favourite emulsions still available today. Most of them can be found in photo stores, some only in specialist shops, others just online.
The three big ones are Ilford, Kodak and Fujifilm.
Most of my work is done with black&white film, because I can develop it myself with precision at home. And the one I use the most is Delta100, 35mm, 120 and sheet film. I know exactly how it behaves, what to expect and over the years I have fine tuned the development to achieve my pre-visualization. For beginners I would recommend Ilford’s (own advice) and start with ID-11 for various results.
In colour, things are a little more complex, because there are two basic ones available: natural light and tungsten, in both modes, negative and positive. In the old days, professionals had a hard time measuring light colour temperature, applying the results to graphs, and in the end choose the right filters to balance the final result.
Colour film is mostly used in natural light and the corresponding films.
But nowadays, for colour … digital may be the way to choose.
My favourite in colour negative is Kodak Ektar, again in all formats. And if you can afford to buy 4x5 sheets, the results will be mind blowing.
In colour reversal, nothing beats Velvia, by Fujifilm. I use it in 120, 6x6 format, because I have a slide projector to see them on the wall. What an experience that is!.
And sometimes 4x5… Looking at a slide from that size is something.
I cannot put it into words, you have to see it for yourself.
As an important advice for colour film, always choose the best lab to do the development, it’s hard to get it right.
Another popular option for B&W is Kodak Tri-X, classic emulsion with that feeling from old times. For colour Portra 160, also from Kodak. With the compressed colours no digital sensor can match.
I had a list ready for this article, but I found a much larger one updated to the limits, online! So better to share the link with everyone believing my words ;-)
Film is alive, just use it!