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Best Medium Format Film for Ambient Lighting

Want to capture the best ambient lighting with your favorite film camera? These are the absolute greatest medium format film for ambient lighting to get right now.

By C.C. CurtisPublished 5 years ago 7 min read

Compared to digital cameras, we can't technically see how our photos turn out until we've fully scanned them with film. For digital cameras, you can easily see how the photo turned out from the viewfinder. But that's not how it works for film cameras, since the majority of them don't technically possess a digital viewfinder. And when we use film cameras, lighting can play a major role in how we want our photos to look. We definitely don't want to use film that will make all of your photos look dull and dark from the natural lighting. We want our photos to use the natural lighting and create great-looking photos every time. This natural lighting is usually labeled as ambient lighting.

What ambient lighting is is the natural lighting inside and outside where you don't use any additional, artificial lighting. In a room that's naturally lit, that's basically what ambient lighting is—the lighting that's naturally coming from the windows from the sunlight as well as the lighting already installed in the room. And when you're using your film camera, most of the time, it can't pick up details of your subject because of the ambient lighting. Don't you want use a type of film that can pick up everything within the frame, despite not using any additional lighting? If you want to change your film to something better that can see through ambient lighting, these are the all-time best medium format film for ambient lighting to use for your photography now.

If you have your own film camera, you probably already use Kodak film. Not only does Kodak create great film for all of your photographing, but they usually make your photos come out fantastic. Not to mention, this brand produces a ton of diverse types of film to suit your specific photographing. Like this precise type of film—daylight-balanced color negative film.

While it's very fine grain, this type of film also has high color saturation as well as low contrast. It can capture high sharpness of your subject and even the fine edge details that many films can't do for you. For a smooth and natural color palette, I highly suggest this film by Kodak that works well with ambient lighting.

Among the best medium format film for ambient lighting is the one by Ilford. This panchromatic black and white negative film does wonders for all of your photos—in ambient lighting or not. This film features wide exposure latitude and a medium contrast. Perfect for mixed lighting and overall general use, ambient lighting won't be a problem for you anymore when using this film.

This film is perfect for general photographic applications in an array of different lighting. So, if you're afraid of wasting your film on diverse types of lighting, then use this film to capture all types of lighting. From pure daylight to ambient, you won't have to worry about wasting your film from bad lighting anymore!

Here's another amazing Ilford that can surpass ambient lighting—the PAN F Plus. Since it features ultra-fine grain, this can capture the littlest of details in all of your photos. Since ambient lighting doesn't give off too much lighting in the room, it can be tough to fully grab your subject in the photo. That's why you need this specific type of film to have everything in your photos. From the subject to its surroundings, images in ambient lighting do come out stunning, if you capture everything the right way.

From the best medium format film for ambient lighting, the Ilford PAN F Plus will never let you down when it comes to shooting in ambient lighting. From the ultra-fine grain, you'll always get crystal clear photos, even when using a film camera! The film will help you produce top-quality images in whatever setting and lighting you're in.

Like I've mentioned before, Kodak makes amazing films for all of your film cameras. Not to mention that this precise type of film is known to be the world's finest grain color negative film ever. With its exceptional sharpness, every single one of your photos will come out amazingly clear—even when you're shooting in ambient lighting, which makes this a great film for that form of lighting.

In addition, this type of photography film is ideal for film scanning, so you don't have to worry about your photos coming out terrible after scanning. If you're a commercial photographer or even an amateur, you shouldn't look past this film. It'll completely change your film photography game in the best possible way.

Have you ever heard of the brand Bergger Pancro? Not only does the brand create awesome film, but film for ambient lighting! With a standard black and white chemistry, your photos will come out way better than the film you were previously using, which is why this type is among the greatest medium format film for ambient lighting.

The panchromatic black and white negative film is everything that you need when it comes to taking photos in ambient lighting. With a film speed of 400, you're guaranteed that your photos will come out fantastic. Plus, you can never go wrong with a Bergger Pancro film!

Fomapan 200 is known to be panchromatically sensitized with a black-and-white negative film that's designed for taking great photographs. This type of film essentially meets high requirements for low granularity, high resolving power, as well as high contour sharpness. And this film has a nominal speed rating of ISO 200/24deg. However, from its wide exposure latitude, the film offers great results even when being overexposed by one EV or underexposed by two EV without any chance in processing and without lengthening the development time or increasing the temperature of the developer used.

And to make the prints or enlargements, the Fomabrom and Fomaspeed-type enlarging papers are usually recommended. But aside from that, all types of black-and-white enlargement papers can be used, too.

Rollei is also an awesome photography brand that creates great film to make all of your photos come out stunning. Especially in ambient lighting, you need film that can capture everything within the frame, even if you're not using any artificial lighting. Whether you're shooting outside with just the sun giving you light or inside with either the sun giving light through the windows or the room's natural lighting, this type of film can still pick up anything.

Since it's among the medium format film for ambient lighting, it's fast, fine-grained panchromatic black and white with an ISO of 400/27deg. It’s seen to be a great general purpose film, yet it’s also suitable for any professional assignment. It gives off excellent sharpness and contrast in every shot you take. It’s also coated onto a modern clear synthetic polyester film base, which offers better and much easier scanning!

The Digibase CR200 PRO is a medium-speed daylight-balanced color transparency film that includes a nominal sensitivity of ISO 200 and great reciprocity characteristics for much longer exposures. It’s also characterized by high color saturation with the additional neutral gray balance with that vivid yet realistic finish. And the film features a fine grain structure with intense sharpness.

This type of film is coated on a transparent synthetic base in order to make it fairly well-suited for scanning applications. And we usually need film to be in this type of coating to make scanning a much easier process. This film is an ideal color slide film with warm colors and subtle contrasts. So, if you prefer warmer images in your ambient lighting photos, this film is right for you.

Among the great Rollei films as well as the best medium format film for ambient lighting ever is the RPX 25 black and white negative. For a more low-speed panchromatic black and white film, this has a nominal sensitivity of ISO 25/15deg. Rather than the extraordinary fine grain, this type of film possesses a great resolving power and a high acutance. It’s also characterized by a high sensitivity reserve of one f-stops, but it depends on the development.

While it’s a thin, silver emulsion, it’s completely coated in a crystal-clear base that offers the perfect balance between image quality like the sharpness and fine grain as well as the speed yield. Not to mention, this is truly a unique type of film that everyone who owns a film camera should have.

Finally from the all-time greatest medium format film for ambient lighting ever is the Portra 800 by Kodak. This film is easily among many people's favorite when using their film camera because it can capture everything within the frame. In any form of lighting, like ambient lighting, you never have to worry about your images blurring from the lighting. It can basically pick up the littlest of details from your subject and its surroundings.

It unsurpassed sharpness gives well-balanced color saturation, and has tight grain. This type of film is perfect for shooting with long lenses and even stopping action in low light. Yes, this type of film can do that. From fine grain to exposure latitude, amazing sharpness, unmatched color saturation, and precise skin tones, you’ll never have to be cautious of your photos coming out terrible in any form of lighting again!


About the Creator

C.C. Curtis

Enjoys lounging in NYC bars, loves traveling to foreign countries, and volunteers at the homeless shelter twice a month.

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