Black canon ae-1 with 50mm lens hanging over a field of purple flowers.

There is something magical about film photography. Not only is the retro aspect of it fun, but the process of just waiting for your photo to develop can send chills down the spine of many avid photographers. If you start in film photography, you have come to the right place. Let me help you dive down a rabbit hole of the best photography film for your Canon AE-1.

 

 

But first, let us understand the different types of film stocks.

 

Black and White Film

Black and white film photography is stunning, and it is nostalgic and breathtaking. It is easy to develop and scan at home using an Ilford Paterson Starter Kit

 

Color Negative Film

The next type is color negative film. Go back in time and remember going to your local drug store when you would pick up the film. The color negative film gives you negatives and prints. This type of film is a go-to for many portrait photographers. One of its disadvantages is that it can be harder to develop. For this, you will need to control the temperature of your colors. Using this option, it is best to send your film out to develop it professionally. 

 

Slide Film

And lastly, we have slide film. This type is on the pricey side and suggested for those not wanting to burn a hole in your pocket. Slide film is the most expensive type of film to shoot with and develop, and it is probably not the best film to use if you are starting.

 

Things to Think About Before Purchasing

  1. Film Speed: Film stocks will have a pronounced box speed. This box speed will be the ISO or ASA. You will most likely see an ISO of 100, 200, 400 and, 800. You might even see some as low as 50 or as high as 3200. If you're familiar with photography, you will know that the ISO represents how the film reacts to light. Higher film stocks will result in more grain. Keep in mind; some film stocks prefer to be overexposed by 1 or 2 stops
  2. Film Stock Aesthetic: Film stocks each have a different look. You will see more examples of this towards the end of this article!
  3. Developing Film: Sending your film to a professional to develop may cost a small fortune. But, you will also get the best results. No local camera shops? No worries. You can send your film to a few companies:

     

    If you want to try and develop your film on your own, you will need to invest in some equipment, like the Ilford Paterson Starter KitOnce you get set up with your equipment, it will be more cost-effective than sending your film to a camera store.

     

    Shop With Us!

    Film equipment: store.bandccamera.com/collections/film

     

    Here is your best resource to shop for film stocks. Even better, if you have any questions, you can easily reach out to us at any time.

     

    Which is the best film for your Canon AE-1?

    Great question, glad you asked! Your Canon AE-1 will produce a remarkable outcome with any roll of film! If you are still scratching your head trying to figure out what to buy, read the list below for a few options.

     

    Kodak Gold 200

    This classic will emit rich and saturated colors full of warmth, and it will give you the nostalgic feeling of going through old family albums. Given the name, this option is a 200-speed film and will operate best with natural light conditions. When shooting, meter your subject at 100-160 ISO.

     

    • Kodak Professional T-Max 100

    The Kodak Professional T-Max 100 is a cost-effective option for black and white negative film stock. You will achieve a vintage feel when using this. The difference is these images will be flatter and have less contrast. You'll want to shoot slightly overexposed for this option as well.

     

    • Kodak Portra 400

    This option is most valued and a favorite amongst many photographers. This option will produce pure and accurate colors. The Kodak Portra 400 is a top choice for many portrait photographers, and it is also great for vacations or professional work. On the downside, the price is nearly double the other options above. Since this is a 400-speed film, you will have more adaptability with your light. When shooting, aim for overexposing by 1-stop.

     

     Ilford HP5 Plus

    This film stock is the most notorious black and white film stock. With this, you will get a traditional black and white photo. The Ilford HP5 Plus will also give you incredible detail and smooth grain. The best part, it is very cost-effective. Since it is a 400-speed film, you will have more leeway when taking photos in different lighting conditions.

     

    • Revolog

    With Revolog film, you can create one-of-a-kind photographic effects that will set your pictures apart from the rest. Each roll is filled with unique and completely manual color shifts, so each picture you take will be totally original. Whether you're looking to add a touch of personality or just want to experiment with something new, Revolog film is the perfect way to do it!

     

    • Lomography 

    With its trippy emulsions and unique chemical formulas, Lomography film will take your photography to a whole new level. With experimental shadows and stunning colors, this is one film any photographer will love. So get experimental with the stand-out shadows and desaturation of the LomoChrome Metropolis, accompanied by the contorting colors of the LomoChrome Purple - it's sure to add an extra dimension to your work.

      

    Summary

    These are the most popular film stocks for the Canon AE-1 and, they will give you a great starting point. Be adventurous and try different film stocks to see which will work best for you and give you the aesthetic you want.

     

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