In my last article about films, somebody asks in the comments how to choose films, where to buy it and is it expensive ? I will answer those questions right now.
While I’m here, I wanted to let you know that I just got a new Lomography device ! It’s a Lomo’Instant, I will do an article on this matter to explain to you why I choose this camera over the Fujifilm Instax. I will also tell you how it works, as soon as I use it a little bit.
• Which film and when to use it ?
There are multiple things to consider : the camera, the ISO, the grain, the brand, the type of photo that you want, the number of pose on the film …
First of all, the device. Your camera defines the type of film that you will use. The two most used format of film are the 35mm and the 120mm. The 35mm is used by the « classical » cameras like mine (like you can see below).
The second, bigger by its size but with fewer photos, is mostly used on Lomography cameras types, like the Diana F+ for example.
Once you have the type of film, you have to choose the type of photo that you want. Simple in colours, in black and white, with an infrared effect or LomoChrome ? If you are an amateur and/or you don’t want to spend too much money on the films; choose the simple colour or black and white type. I didn’t test the other effects yet, so I can’t tell you more about it for now. So I’m going to focus on the simple colour and black and white.
And now, let’s choose the brand.
For the colour film, I will talk about the two famous Fujifilm and Kodak. Other brands exist, but I’m not too familiar with it, so I won’t talk about it for now. Besides, Fujifilm and Kodak are easier to find. What are the differences between those two brand ? I seem like Fujifilm fits better to amateur. Kodaks colours are warmer and more neutral, Fujifilm’s are colder and more saturated. Kodak’s films grain is told to be thinner. Finally, Kodak’s films are a bit more expensive than the Fujifilm.
I only use Fujifilm’s for now because I own them thank’s to a friend who works in a photo lab. Once I use all my Fujifilm, I will maybe try other brands. You are free to try each brand to see what fits you the best.
Regarding the black and white films you also have the choice between some brands : Kodak, Fujifilm, Ilford, Agafa … I own an Ilford film which I can’t wait to use ! I can’t really tell you more about it because I didn’t use any black and white film yet. But, I found this website that can give you some advices.
Now let’s talk about ISO. You can find it on the film box (as you can see on the photo down bellow). ISO indicate the film sensitivity to the light. The higher is the ISO, the more sensitive is the film, so the exposition can be low. For example, with an ISO 800 film I can take indoor photos, with a 50 ISO film I better be outside with a sunny day or even snow. The standard ISO film is between 100 and 400.
Finally, the number of poses. There are films with 12 to 36 poses. Most of the time, the pose number goes with the film type, which means that the more standard is the film (simple, colour film), the more pose there is. So I don’t advise you to choose your films under this criterion.
So, if you want to take photos for your family picnic, you better use a film with 24 to 36 poses and an ISO from 200 to 400 (it depends on the weather), with a colour that fits the reality (so no weird effect) or black and white. It really depends on what you do !
• Where and how much ?
Of course « online » is my first answer. On websites such as Amazon, Lomography.com, Missnumérique and Fnac (for France) … or on photo lab and studio photo website. You can find films on the shops of the photo labs and studio photos.
About the prices, like I said before, it depends on the film type. The 35mm standard colour, can be between 3€ to a bit more than 6€ (depending on the number of poses, the ISO and the brand). On Amazon, you will find interesting packs of 3 for 8 to 10€ offers.
The black and white films (35mm still), are a little bit more expensive than the colours films, the prices start at 4€. Most of the time, for the special effects films, the prices begin at more than 8€ the film. I recommend you the website Lomography.com to find what makes you happy and learn more about those specials films.
This website is great too if you’re looking for 120mm. About those films, the prices are higher, I will tell you more about it in my next article about devices using this type of film.
One more thing, even if your film is out of date, you can still use it ! The colours will be a little diffrents but that’s all. I did it, and I had no problem.
That’s it for me. I hope everything is clearer now. I mostly talked about how to choose your 35mm film, but I’ll be back with a post about Lomography, its devices and films (120mm).
All my advice are from my personal experience, so there are other ways to do and another opinion on the matter !
If you have more questions or some things to add, don’t hesitate to leave a message.