Save & earn with MPB; trade-in and buy pre-loved

A Film for Every Occasion


I hope you enjoy browsing the images in my Portfolio - all comments are welcome!
...Read More

A Film for Every Occasion

26 Dec 2020 12:28AM   Views : 427 Unique : 332

The films illustrated in this image are a little before my time, but they do show a glimpse of the vast array of options that existed. The biggest problem was probably that once a film was loaded it was uneconomic to change it without using the whole roll. We would be stuck with, perhaps, an ISO 64 transparency (slide) film and then go into a building and really need something much faster. These days this isn't a problem, we just rack up the ISO to whatever we need. Modern cameras are fully capable of producing low noise images at amazing ISO settings, some more than others, but the best are truly astonishing.


There are quite a few formats in the image, but only a few that I would have used. I have experience of 35mm film, 126 and 110 cartridges, 120, 620 and 220 roll film. What is generally lost these days is the difference in character that various films had. Just looking at 35mm format:

Ilford Pan F (ISO 50) had beautiful tones, very fine grain and very high sharpness.
Ilford FP4 (ISO 125) was a good all round compromise between fine grain and a little more speed. I preferred the tonal values of Kodak Plus-X (ISO 125) and Agfapan 100.
Ilford HP4 (ISO 400) was to me a bit weak on "bite" and my usual film of choice was Kodak Tri-X (ISO 400) which had higher contrast, very sharp grain and a lovely texture, especially when processed in Paterson's FX39 developer.
Agfapan 400 was also an appealing film, as was Agfapan 1000. The latter was very fast, but bear in mind that it was also grainy, had lower contrast and is nothing like the sort of speeds we expect from our digital sensors.
Kodak Recording Film 1275 (35mm format) and Kodak Royal-X (ISO 1250 I think and only available in 120 roll film) were specialised and not cheap either.

With colour, my film of choice was Kodachrome 200, a beautifully natural colour slide film with a bit more speed than the ISO 64 version.
GAF 500 was fast, had horrible colour and grain but was useful for night shooting.
The Ektachromes had a bluer balance and we used to describe cold, sunny winter days as being "an Ektachrome sort of day", meaning the light was very blue. Ektachrome also fades faster than the incredible Kodachromes. Kodachrome will stay colour true for decades if kept in the dark, and indeed we have found that to be true.

So there's a smattering of what we used to use, but now we can get the various types of film effects in camera or via Photoshop and just not worry any more about high ISO values. What we want is what we dial in, and with news of a new pentax camera coming withy ISO 1.6 Million it looks as though the upward trend is still happily moving onwards.

Recent blogs by johnriley1uk

Historic Tyldesley - The Technical College

There is a road sign that says "Welcome to Historic Tyldesley" or something similar, and for a while we scratched our heads wondering what excatly was historic about Tyldesley. Well, slap on the hand for us, because there are plenty of things that w...

Posted: 23 Sep 2023 2:41PM

Buile Hill Greenhouse - Progress Report

We were down at Buile Hill Park in Salford today, just to see how the mansion and the Greenhouse were getting along. The mansion is under restoration at the moment, but the greenhouse was set to be demolished. This was such a wonderful place, with bi...

Posted: 11 Sep 2023 12:42AM

Always Carry a Camera

I make a point of always carrying a camera, just to capture anything and everything that catches my eye as we carry on with the minutiae of life. I was in Atherton and just heading for the shop that sells fuses and passed a small alleyway that used t...

Posted: 7 Sep 2023 8:59PM

The Golden Days of Motoring, Part Three

For the final part of this short sequence of motoring based blogs, a glimpse of something that would be a terrific find for anyone. Perhaps there's an old disused barn on your land, perhaps one day you decide to clear it out and perhaps withiong you ...

Posted: 5 Sep 2023 9:56AM

The Golden Days of Motoring, Part Two

Continuing the look at yesterday's classic car show, I could have spent many more hours looking at these fine machines and chatting to their owners, plus of course collecting a huge set of images. Only one car that I would like to see again seemed to...

Posted: 4 Sep 2023 10:19AM


altitude50 Avatar
altitude50 19 23.9k United Kingdom
26 Dec 2020 8:22AM
John, I found that interesting. From my own point of view I started with a Zeiss Ikonta folding camera using 127 b/w film, most likely some slow Ilford example. After that I used a Voigtlander Vito B (a lot) and my film of choice was Agfacolor CT18 transparency type which I found most reliable at the time. I still have some Ferrania & Perutz Slides plus, much later, 1,000s of Kodachrome and Ektachrome.
Even later, in the mid 80's I had better cameras but as a not very committed amateur, then, started to use a lot of print films, some came free from the print processors I am ashamed to say.
All the slides were stored away in boxes and when I lived in Spain were exposed to extrememes of heat, both hot and cold. Most have survived fairly well but the Kodachromes are still fresh & bright.
A Kodachrome from 1968.

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join for free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.