Singapore’s film photography scene has been growing at an exponential rate recently, and it’s amazing that there’s a breath of fresh air in an industry that has been touted as ‘ancient’ and ‘the past’. Just a quick scroll on Instagram and you’ll see a pleasant amount of photos with Portra 400 or Kodak gold 200 hash-tagged in the comments.
There’s also been quite a few Insta-shops popping up in recent months that have been selling Point and Shoot cameras for the masses. They’re easy to use and relatively straightforward, to the point where the only thing you’ll really have to worry about is the type of film to use. This prompted me to write this little guide for film!
There are tons of films that are currently on the market and are sold everywhere, but I’ve narrowed it down to 7 films that I think will be perfect, for beginners and pros alike. Below is a quick list I whipped up.
- Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400
- Fujicolor C200
- Kodak Ektar 100
- Kodak Portra 400
- Kodak Portra 800
- Kodak Gold 200
- Fuji Pro 400H
- Ilford HP5 Plus
Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400
- General purpose film, one of the last remaining films offered by Fujifilm, but still the crowd’s favourite.
- Just the right amount of grain, providing beautiful textured quality, what you’re looking for in a nice film photo
- Very good quality for the price range
- Can use in all kinds of conditions, from really bright daylight to low light settings
- Amazing photos captured if using an external flash
- Reds and greens are really saturated, great for a day out. Blue is striking as well, though not as much as red and green.
- Skin tone might appear a little pinker than usual
- Relatively cheap film, perfect for starters or for people who don’t want to splurge so much (at the start)
- Not the best film for portraits, but still gives you a natural skin tone
- Won’t give the sharpest images but then again, bang for your buck
Kodak Ektar 100
- Smoothest grain compared to any other colour negative film
- Vivid colours, natural and vibrant
- Good overall image quality and sharpness (fine grained for a negative film)
- Recommend to shoot landscapes
- Film loves light
- Subtle way of saturating colours – all colours look natural, not out of place (even skin tone)
Kodak Portra 400
- One of the most popular films, highly reliable with excellent image quality.
- More for portraits, details hence the name Portra
- Shoot in direct daylight! You’ll get the best photos
- Use a flash if you’re shooting in cloudy situations/indoors
- Tends to lighten everything in general + warm up skin tones
- A bit on the pricey side, but well worth
Kodak Portra 800
- Great in natural light
- Renders a whole lot of details
- Fairly fine grained
- Recommended to use film in daylight – (window lighting when indoors, outdoors when the sun is setting)
- More colour accurate than Portra 400
- Perfect for less than perfect lighting environment
Kodak Gold 200
- Warmness is there – gives the vintage quality people look for in film
- Family holiday film (sunny, good time feels)
- Colours bright without being unrealistic, skin tones are natural
- Not too much grain
- Recommended to shoot more happy time places
- Really hard to mess up when shooting
Fuji Pro 400H
- A really ‘film’ film
- Tends to have a greenish tint (calming)
- Captures blue realllly well, so like oceans and seas
- Landscape shooting is amazing, but portraits turn out quite nice as well, especially if shooting indoors
Ilford HP5 Plus
- Black and white film
- Balance of good grain and high quality grayscale
- Take note of lighting = especially clean gradient
- As with all black and white films, tip would be to look for contrast when it comes to lighting. Play with shadows
We can obviously see that Kodak is doing a superb job with their films. We stan Kodak film.
Where can I get the film rolls in Singapore?
Pop by any old camera shop and you’re bound to see some sort of film. As always, the camera shops at Peninsula Plaza/Shopping Centre have film in abundance. There’s also the standard Triple D.
However, if you’re thinking of buying a lot at one go, try online. Search for ‘BH photo’, it’s honestly really worth the shipping if you’re buying in bulk.
That’s all for now, happy shooting!