There Are More Options for Film Stocks Than You Think

For those that are just getting into film, the “film look” doesn’t mean anything. There are so many different film stocks available, each with their own characteristics and personalities.  

In this video, Mat Marrash runs through all of the different film stock options available for large format. He covers everything from 4x5, to 8x10, up to ultra-large format. Most interesting for me are the options beyond the “Big 3”: Kodak, Ilford, and Fuji. Some of the other options are available through B&H. I’ve seen but never used Berrger and CatLabs films which Marrash covers. Among the numerous options I’ve not seen previously, the one perhaps most interesting to me was the X-Ray film. Who knew you could shoot X-Ray film? Not this guy. 

My favorite films to shoot, regardless of format, are: Kodak Portra 400 for color negative, Fujifilm Provia for color slide film, and Kodak TMax 100 for black and white. I’m fortunate those are my favorites as they are available in every format from 35mm to 4x5. If you have any experience with film, you know that as the format goes up, the selection goes down. Many people love Kodak Gold or Fuji C200 which are not available in anything beyond 35mm. Others, like me, love Kodak Portra 800 and Fuji Acros which are not available beyond 120. With my still limited experience in large format, I thought the selection of large format film was pretty slim. This video came as a breath of fresh air, demonstrating that there are actually much more than I previously thought. 

What are your favorite film stocks? Do your favorites differ by format?

James Madison's picture

Madison is a mathematician turned statistician based out of Columbus, OH. He fell back in love with film years ago while living in Charleston, SC and hasn't looked back since. In early 2019 he started a website about film photography.

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Evrything except what I want. 😉

I am using mostly Foma films in small and medium format as I feel that it is easier to push them into 'low quality' look when I want it, pronounced grain mostly.
Also, I find Ilford FP4 admirable a bit overdeveloped in rodinal, looks like a better behaved tri-x :)

I guess film isn’t dead, just hibernating.

Although not the purpose of his video, I would mention here Kodak's Vision3 stocks that are currently used to make movies. Kodak keeps working on those, too, and I'm sure a lot of people don't realize that, either. And you can cut it up and shoot it in a stills camera--many people do--but it's difficult to get developed in the chemicals designed for it.

Nice to see Matt’s face, I’m used to only hearing his voice on the FPP.