Since I started shooting film almost three years ago I’ve shot so many different types, 18 to be exact! But this summer I really began to work on out my favourites and develop a style and I discovered that for me, Kodak film just works. Today I’m going to go through some of my favourites to give you an idea of what to expect from the various offering Kodak has.
Color Plus is Kodak’s main consumer level film, but don’t be fooled by it’s cheaper price tag! The colours are amazing and it’s highly versatile. I find it gives a lovely desaturated look to your photos and gives them that typical ‘film’ look. If you’re on a budget or just looking for that specific look, I can highly recommend this film.
Ektar was the first film I used exclusively for a project, when I went to the Aran Islands last June I brought only 5 rolls of Ektar to document the whole trip and it performed wonderfully. The grain is very fine (as the box suggests!) and the colours are very saturated, in stark contrast to Color Plus. One thing to note is that this film is amazing in the sun, but very dull in the dull!
Portra 160 is a film I have only ever shot on medium format so my perspective may be slightly warped! It renders skin tones beautifully (as Portra is famous for) and with a lower ISO, it means you can get a keep your aperture wide and get that perfect shallow depth of field portrait. The grain structure is also phenomenal but the medium format is probably distorting my experience of that!
This summer I discovered the joys of Portra 400, like it’s lower ISO sibling it renders skin tones beautifully, but also has the versatility of being a 400 ISO film. The latitude of the film is phenomenal, I said Portra 160 was perfect because you could leave your aperture wide open, but with 400 you could just overexpose it two stops and it’d take it all in its stride! Portra 400 has rapidly become my go to colour negative film for all situations, two-thirds of my shots this year have been on it!
Tri-X is known the world over as the oldest black and white film in existence, but just because it’s old doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a place anymore, there’s a reason it’s survived! Over the summer I tested it out and I cannot fault it, the look it gives really suits by black and white work and the ability to push to 1600 and pull to 200 (I’m sure further too but I haven’t tested that) means it’s the only black and white film I need to carry.
I hesitated about putting BW400CN on this list, it’s a film I really got to like and was the first film I ever bulk bought, but unfortunately it’s since been discontinued. I first bought it because I couldn’t develop black and white film myself and C41 process was cheaper, but even after I started developing it myself I kept shooting 400CN. It has really nice tones to it although the latitude is a bit lacking, it’s a film I recommend buying and trying now while it’s still relatively easy to get online and still in date!
Needless to say, I’m not endorsed by Kodak in any way, they’re just an amazing brand whose products work really well for me (even if they’re a bit on the expensive side!). Going forward I intend to focus on Portra 400 and Tri-X and I’m hoping that by sticking with them I’ll learn even more about them and be able to get the most out of their amazing potential. Sticking with the same films too, I hope to be able to bring a consistent style to all my photos going forwards.