The 7 Best 35mm Film Stocks For Travel (2024)

After 7 years of shooting film I’ve discovered which ones are the best for all sorts of things including travel!

Most people would agree that Kodak Gold 200 is the best film for travel for someone who doesn’t need to take the absolute highest quality shots. Alternatively, if you’re shooting more important photos then Kodak Portra 400 is a brilliant option. These are the two most ideal films for most people, but there are a lot of other great options that might suit you better.

What Makes The Ideal 35mm Film For Travel

There are quite a few factors to take into account when you’re looking for a good film for shooting while travelling. Generally, you’ll want a low to mid-range ISO, like 200-400 usually.

Also, most people will want nice, punchy colours and natural skin tones since usually a lot of pictures are taken of people, architecture, flowers and scenery.

It’s not always important that the film is particularly great quality, for a lot of travellers, price is one of the biggest aspects, so I’ll suggest a range, from expensive to relatively inexpensive.

So generally, an affordable, punchy film stock with nice natural skin tones with a moderate ISO so you can capture shots in bright light and low(ish) light.

Of course, some people will want to shoot a better standard of film for travel so I will also include some of those film stocks too!

1) Kodak Gold 200 – The King Of Travel

Kodak Gold 200 is effectively the king of travel for so many reasons. It costs £10-12 a roll (which is sadly cheap these days), it has nice saturated colours, a yellowy vintage hue and it’s not bad at all really.

I guess Kodak Gold is best suited to anyone who wants to capture bright, fun photos that feel a bit vintage. I’d say it’s best for you if you’ve got a point-and-shoot and you just want to take nice pictures while you’re travelling.

Don’t get me wrong, you can shoot really good pictures on Kodak Gold with an SLR or Rangefinder but most people would probably opt for a slightly better film stock if they were shooting either of those.

The downside to Kodak Gold is it isn’t super high quality, it’s good but it’s not great, so if you’re really after some top-notch photos while you hike the Dolomites or wander through the Alps then you probably want something else.

2) Fuji Superia X-Tra 400 – A Classic

Fuji Superia is kind of a middle-ground film stock, it’s like the in-between of Kodak Colorplus and Kodak Portra 400 and for a long time it had an in-between price. Now I think those prices are becoming closer and closer so it almost feels pointless to suggest it.

That being said, if you can get it for the right price Superia X-Tra is a great option if you want quality without having to pay Portra 400 prices.

Fuji Superia has pretty good exposure latitude, so you can get more details from the highlights and shadows of an image. It’s also got nice colours which aren’t overly saturated, they’re pretty natural.

Superia is ideal for someone that want’s better-than-average shots on their travels, they won’t be incredible but they’ll be good enough! You could be using an SLR, Rangefinder or point-and-shoot and it’d deliver pretty well.

The downside is it’ll probably get discontinued and the price is going up like all film!

3) Kodak Colorplus – The Original Budget Badboy

Kodak Colorplus used to cost next to nothing and it was pretty good as a consumer film stock. These days, it’s a similar price to Kodak Gold and it’s arguably worse, yet I will stand by Kodak Colorplus.

I stand by Kodak Colorplus because I shot with it for years and I personally really like it. Obviously, the fact that it cost next to nothing to shoot with was a massive thing for me. It allowed me to shoot a lot and therefore I could get better shots.

But Colorplus is known for its somewhat punchy colours, nice skin tones and vintage look which could be ideal for your holiday photos.

It doesn’t do too well when the light is very bright or dark, but in most normal situations, Kodak Colorplus is a good colour film.

Colorplus is ideal for someone who just wants to get nice photos while they’re travelling, nothing super high-quality but nice and good enough. Probably best for someone who’s shooting on a point-and-shoot but as I’ve said, I’ve taken a lot of really good shots with Colorplus. It’s not about the film, it’s about the shooter.

The cons for Colorplus are that it’s not really high quality, so it might not always nail exposure.

4) Cinestill 400D – The Weirdo

Cinestill 400D is a film stock I knew I’d have to include in this list, it’s warm, it’s punchy, it’s weird and it has halation which makes it even more interesting.

Cinestill 400D is a relatively new film stock released by Cinestill in 2022 and as per usual, it’s pretty good!

This isn’t really like many other kinds of film, most film doesn’t produce halation and it’s not usually as warm as Cinestill 400D so it’s a pretty unique kind of film.

400D is ideal if you want to capture interesting shots that are a bit more creative and warm. If you’re shooting it with a point-and-shoot then I’d be careful of light leaks but otherwise, I’d suggest this if you’re shooting with an SLR too.

The downsides to this are that it’s pretty expensive and it can produce some pretty weird shots.

5) Kodak Portra 400 – High Quality Demon

Okay, I’ve got to include Portra 400 because it’s simply such a good film stock. Known for its great exposure latitude, fine grain and pastel colours, Portra 400 is great if you want to get some really good travel shots.

If I could shoot any film forever then I’d probably choose Portra 400, it’s versatile, it’s easy to get the right exposure and it’s nice and editable. Personally, I don’t want to worry about what my film is going to look like, it’s the least important part of shooting for me.

It’s ideal for you if you can afford it and you want to take some really high-quality pictures on your travels. Whether you’re using a point-and-shoot camera, SLR or rangefinder, Portra 400 will do the job for you.

Its main drawback is its price, it’s like £22 a roll which is pretty nuts. Otherwise, it’s the bees knees.

6) Ilford HP5 – If You Must Shoot Black & White

If you’ve got to shoot black & white for some reason the Ilford HP5 is a pretty great option for travel. It’s still affordable, it’s got good contrast and it’ll produce some nice black-and-white shots.

Personally, I don’t really like black & white and it feels a waste to shoot your travels on it, but I understand it’s one of those things that some people like.

It’s ideal for you if you want some OK black & white shots and you don’t wanna pay a tonne for Kodak Tri-X. Whether you’re shooting an SLR, point-and-shoot or rangefinder, it won’t let you down.

Main drawback is that it’s black & white, also, it costs more than colour to be developed.

7) Lomo 400 – The Classic

Lomo 400 is a pretty good colour film stock by Lomography. It’s known for pretty nice colours, fairly nice skin tones, and a pretty fair price (£14 a roll ish).

I’ve shot Lomo 400 pretty recently and I was pleasantly surprised by it. I’m usually pretty suspicious of Lomo film stocks because they love making weird stuff, but Lomo 400 puts up a bit of a fight, it’s actually not bad.

Lomo 400 is ideal for someone who wants to take good photos, not quite Portra 400 good but much better than Kodak Gold or Colorplus. It’s good for any type of camera, so you can shoot it pretty freely!

I don’t really know what the downside to Lomo 400 is, I guess it’s not the highest quality, but it’s up there.

Final Word

Of course, you can shoot whatever kind of film you want to when you’re travelling. I personally don’t put too much importance on type of film or type of camera. It makes a small aesthetic difference and I think it’s much more important how you capture it, what the picture is of and all of the other creative aspects.

So basically, don’t get too caught up, this is just a guide and your travel photos won’t be rubbish just because you’re shooting Ultramax and not Portra 400.

Keep shooting you beautiful people and keep enjoying yourselves.

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