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Film 101: What are the different kinds of films?

Film, much like Lomographers, comes in many shapes, sizes, and kinds.

Standard film formats are:

  • 135 or 35mm film (used in cameras like the LC-A+ and Fisheye)
  • 120 or medium format film (used in cameras like the Diana F+ and Lubitel 166+)
  • 4×5, 8×10, etc. called large format film or sheet film (used in old-timey view cameras)

Standard film types are:

  • color negative
  • color positive or slide
  • black and white
  • infrared

The most easily procured and processed film is 135 or 35mm color negative film. This is the film that you can buy and get developed at drugstores or one-hour photo labs.

120 film, slide film, black and white film, and infrared film must be processed at the professional photo lab of your choice. You can usually find these types of films at professional photo labs or camera supply stores.

Infrared film is film that is simply sensitive to a larger spectrum of light than our eyeballs are. It can yield other-worldly looking images when exposed correctly, and can be devastating when it’s not. True infrared film must also be loaded and unloaded in complete darkness. This film is best left to the experienced Lomographer.

Most Lomography cameras can take any type of 35mm or 120 format film.