The 12 Best 35mm Film Stocks And Who They’re Best For

When I first started film photography I tried all kinds of film stocks, some good, some not so good! After years of experimenting, I’ve found the best film stocks and when to use them!

Most film photographers agree that Kodak Portra 400 or 800 are effectively the best film stocks available. This is true in a roundabout way, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are the best film stocks for you or for your particular style of photography. For instance, Kodak Ektar 100 may be one of the best film stocks for landscape photography due to its very low ISO, meaning you will get very crisp and sharp shots.

The Best Film Stocks available are:

  • Kodak Portra 400
  • Kodak Portra 800
  • Kodak Gold 200
  • Fujicolor Superia X-TRA 400 (Discontinued)
  • Kodak Ektar 100
  • Cinestill 400D
  • Kodak Colorplus 200
  • Cinestill 800T
  • Kodak Portra 160
  • Kodak 400 TX
  • Delta 3200
  • Ilford HP5

If you want to find the best film stock for your style of photography and find out where to find it, then read on!

An Overview Of The Best Stocks Around

Opinions will always differ about what ‘the best’ film stock is because it can be such a personal thing. However, it’s evident that there are some absolutely superior types of film and there are certainly some brilliant film types for specific styles of photography.

Discovering the right film stock for you is important, not all of us can afford the top film and some of us just want the cheapest colour film that we can take travelling or use for day to day life. Take a look at this table to get a better understanding of the differences between these film stocks:

Price Per RollGrainTonesDynamic RangeMost Used ForWhere to Buy?
Portra 400$23FineBrilliantBrilliantEverythingHere
Portra 800$27Pretty GrainyBrilliantBrilliantLow Light/Fast Moving ShotsHere
Kodak Gold 200$16.90FineAlrightFairTravel/Day To DayHere
Fuji 400$19.40Pretty FineGoodGoodEverything/FlashHere
Ektar 100$20Crystal ClearGreatBrilliantLandscape/PortraitHere
Cinestill 400D$20Pretty FineGreatGoodEverythingHere
Kodak Colorplus$16.30FineGoodFairTravel/Day To DayHere
Cinestill 800T$32.50Pretty GrainyGreatGoodArtificial Light/Night PhotographyHere
Portra 160$18.20ClearBrilliantGreatLandscape/PortraitHere
400 TX (B&W)$15.60Fairly GrainyGreatGreatAnything B&WHere
Delta 3200 (B&W)$11.70GrainyGoodGoodLow light/ fast-movingHere
HP5 (B&W)$9.10FairGoodGoodAnything B&W and budget-friendly.ere
Comparison of the most popular film stocks

Now if you want to take a closer look at some of these film stocks and see some genuine shots taken with them then carry on reading the rest of the article!

Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400 is many photographers’ favourite film stock and it’s widely thought of as one of the best film stocks still available today.

Portra 400 is loved for it’s incredibly fine grain, great dynamic range, amazing skin tones and fairly fast film speed. This is a brilliantly forgiving film stock which will allow for under/over exposure without ruining your shots.

This is a brilliantly forgiving film stock which will allow for under/over exposure without ruining the your shots.

What is Portra 400 good for? Portra 400 is fantastic for all kinds of photography. Portra 400 is best for:

  • Street Photography
  • Editorial
  • Portrait
  • Documentary Photography
  • Travel

Portra 400 is a very versatile film stock and it will be good for most kinds of photography but it will be great for the types of photography listed above!

Portra 400 is one of the most expensive film stocks available now because it’s so popular and of such good quality. If you want to try out Portra 400 then the best deal is here.

Your Photography Buddy gives Portra 400 a rating of 4.8/5

Kodak Portra 800

Kodak Portra 800 is Portra 400’s faster, grainier brother. Portra 800 is basically the same as Portra 400 but it’s better in low light and it has some more grain which many film shooters prefer.

Kodak Portra 800 is loved because of its grainy aesthetic, dynamic range, tones, film speed and versatility. The fact that Kodak Portra 800 is near enough the most expensive film stock available should speak for itself.

The fact that Kodak Portra 800 is near enough the most expensive film stock available should speak for itself.

What is Kodak Portra 800 best for?

  • Low light/night photography
  • Sport/wildlife.
  • Street photography
  • Documentary photography
  • Portrait Photography
  • Editorial Photography

Portra 800 would be good at pretty much any style of photography, but it’s great for the types listed and especially the first two of the list.

Kodak Portra 800 is the most expensive film stock of the list and for good reason, it can do everything and do it very well. If you are looking for one of the most premium, fast and somewhat grainy film stocks available then this is it. This stock will make photography easier for you and it’ll forgive being under or over-exposed. You can’t go wrong with a bit of Portra 800, if you want to pick some up, the best link I have is this one here.

Your Photography Buddy gives Portra 800 a 4.9/5.

Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 has regained popularity since Kodak released the 120mm version of it. For most film shooters, Kodak Gold is the ‘cheap’ colour film alternative at the moment. That being said, it’s virtually the same price that Portra 400 used to be in 2021. Kodak Gold’s main attributes are that it’s fairly low in grain, it produces nice yellow tones and it’s fairly cost effective.

Most professionals probably wouldn’t shoot Gold if they had the choice, it’s absolutely ideal for someone that’s travelling or that shoots day-to-day life. This doesn’t mean that you can’t take great photos on Kodak Gold, after all, a bad workman always blames his tools, however, it’s not as forgiving as other film stocks and it isn’t quite as versatile.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t take great photos on Kodak Gold, after all, a bad workman always blames his tools.

Kodak Gold is best for:

  • Travel
  • Day to day
  • Documenting life

Kodak Gold is best for these kinds of photography but that doesn’t mean that you can’t take great shots with it, I’m sure that entire photo projects have been made with Kodak Gold and the fact that it’s cheaper and more accessible to people will mean that more and more people use this affordable stock.

If you want to try out some Kodak Gold then the best link is here!

Your photography buddy gives Kodak Gold a 3.5/5.

Fuji Superia X-TRA 400

Unfortunately, it seems that Fuji has discontinued pretty much all film stocks. You can still pick up Fuji Superia 400’s last dregs and some slightly out-of-date film (which should be fine for a couple of years).

Fuji Superia X-TRA was a great film stock, typically more affordable than their Kodak counterparts but probably just not quite as good. The stock was known for being reliable, fairly fine grain, a fair latitude, slightly green yellows and ideal for flash photography.

Fuji Superia is perfect for:

  • Street photography
  • Wedding photography
  • Editorial photography
  • Portrait Photography
  • Documentary photography

Of course, Fuji Superia is great for all kinds of photography but it’s ideal for the ones listed above.

If you want to grab some Fuji Superia while it’s still here, then the best link is here.

Your photography buddy gives Fuji Superia a 4.3/5.

Kodak Ektar 100

Ektar 100 is a favourite for landscape photographers because the ISO is low meaning there’s hardly any grain and all of the shots are crystal clear. I’ve used Ektar 100 quite a lot and I can say it’s a beautiful film stock to use.

The key aspects of Ektar 100 are that it’s a low ISO, clear and low grain film stock, it has great tones and it’s fairly forgiving, also it’s moderately cost-effective compared to Portra 400/800.

Kodak Ektar 100 is great for:

  • Landscape Photography
  • Portrait Photography
  • Well Lit Scenes
  • Architecture/Cityscapes
  • Editorial Photography

Ektar 100 is primarily ideal for landscape photography but it’s also very good for all kinds of photography. The main thing that makes Ektar less versatile is that it’s only a 100 ISO film stock so low light shooting isn’t very easy. If you have a set thing that you’re shooting and it’s well lit, this is a really great film stock.

If you want to pick up some Ektar 100, the best link for it is here!

Your photography buddy rates Ektar 100 4.5/5.

Cinestill 400D

At the time of writing, Cinestill 400D has not yet been fully released however I strongly hope it’ll be the Portra 400 competition that we so desperately need.

Cinestills 800T has been a fan favourite for years, if they can do the same with 400D then we’ll be very lucky indeed.

Kodak Colorplus 200

Kodak Colorplus is the film stock that I used for most of my early street and documentary photography work. My main reason for shooting it is that it was cheap at the time and I honestly found it to do a great job for me.

Colorplus is best know for being a cost effective film stock, fairly fine grain and ideal for travel.

Colorplus is best for:

  • Travel
  • Day to day
  • Documenting life

Kodak Colorplus is best for these types of photography but in my experience, it’s also really good for street photography and documentary photography. Really, you could use it for anything, it’s just more suited to basic travel and day to day use.

If you want to pick up some Colorplus, the best link it here!

Your photography buddy gives colorplus a 3.8/5.

Cinestill 800T

Cinestill 800T has been the top dog of night/artificial light photography for a while now. Best known for it’s halation and green tones, Cinestill 800T creates a cinematic and dreamlike night shot.

Cinestill 800T Is best for:

  • Nightlife
  • Low Light
  • Artificial Light

Cinestill is ideal for these things but you can use it for all sorts if you choose to, you can of course shoot 800T in the daytime. If you choose to you can shoot street, portrait, documentary, editorial or whatever you like with 800T, just remember you’ll get the deep orange halation on the brightest light points of your shots.

800T is actually the most expensive film stock on our list, I think this is due to it being such a specialist film stock and the fact that Cinestill is a fairly small company.

If you want to grab the best deal for Cinestill then take a look at this link!

Your photography buddy gives Cinestill 800T a 4.5/5.

Kodak Portra 160

Kodak Portra 160 is best known for being crystal clear and providing amazing skin tones. This is arguably one of the best film stocks available, it’s popularity is perhaps only lowered by its low ISO.

Portra 160’s attributes are incredibly fine grain, clear shots, nice saturation and real skin tones.

Kodak Portra 160 is best for:

  • Portrait
  • Landscape
  • Cityscapes
  • Editorial
  • Street photography

Of course, you can use Portra 160 for all kinds of photography, but it’s particularly ideal for Portrait and Landscape photography, and very good at all other kinds.

Portra 160 is notably cheaper than Portra 400/800 which is definitely a positive for this beautiful stock.

If you want to pick some Portra 160 up for the best price then check this link out!

Your photography buddy gives Portra 160 a 4.7/5!

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