Which Film Stock Is Best for You? A Comparison of 9 Films

When it comes to budget film stocks, there is no shortage of options. This guide offers a blinded comparison of 9 options widely available in most of the United States. 

In this video, Andrew of Andrew and Denae performed a rigorous comparison of 9 color negative film stocks available throughout most of the U.S. There are 3 from Fujifilm: Superia Xtra 400, C200, and Pro 400H. There are 5 from Kodak: ColorPlus 200, Gold 200, GC/UltraMax 400, Portra 160, and Ektar. Lastly, there are 2, not so budget-friendly options from CineStill: 50 Daylight and 800T

In order to blind the viewer of which stock is which while the photographs are being presented, they randomly assigned a letter to each film stock which maintained the same label through each example. I must admit, I found the the process of going through the examples and taking notes of my favorites and least favorites to be a lot of fun. Having experience with all but a couple of the stocks used in this comparison, I had an idea of what my results would be and for the most part, I was spot on. There was one stock, however, which I haven't used in a long time and found that it consistently showed up on my list of favorites. I look forward to giving that stock a go again. 

This comparison looked at only color negative film, leaving out color reversal film (a.k.a. slide film). If you're unsure what the difference is and would like to read more about the different kind of film stocks available, please refer to a previous article detailing the different kind of film stocks offered in 35mm, 120, and large format. 

If you watch the video and keep track of your favorites and least favorites, let me know in the comments. I'm interested to hear your thoughts!

If you're passionate about taking your photography to the next level but aren't sure where to dive in, check out the Well-Rounded Photographer tutorial where you can learn eight different genres of photography in one place. If you purchase it now, or any of our other tutorials, you can save a 15% by using "ARTICLE" at checkout. 

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.

Log in or register to post comments

I'm a B&W guy, but when it comes to color, I've found myself to be a fan of the Cinestill films (which are really just Kodak motion picture films). I find it particularly fun to put Cinestill 800T in my Holga 135BC to screw around from time to time.

Portra 400

Yeah. I've been shooting, processing, and printing various c41 films since the 80s and Portra 400 has amazing latitude, great sharpness, and it's very easy to get a decent colour-balance no matter the subject or exposure error. I've push processed it to 1600 and it held up very well!

Nice video. Its an interesting and thorough way to compare film stocks. I was surprised to see he didn't include Portra 400.