Best 35mm Film For Low Light Photography

Best 35mm Film For Low Light Photography

Understanding Film Photography in Low Light

Low light photography can be amazing, but it can also be frustrating if you don't have the right film. Finding the right film for low light photography requires different consideration to choosing 35mm film for day to day photography.

Capturing images in low light with film requires an understanding of film sensitivity (ISO), grain texture, and colour rendition. High ISO films are more sensitive to light and better for darker settings, but come with larger grain, which can either enhance the image with a desired texture or appear as noise. Certain films maintain colour saturation and contrast even in low light, affecting the mood and realism of the photos.

Top Film Picks for Low Light Photography

Kodak Portra 400

  • Pros:
    • Versatile for various lighting conditions.
    • Wide exposure latitude.
  • Cons:
    • Slightly grainier in very low light.
  • Review: A reliable choice for natural colour reproduction and a forgiving nature when it comes to exposure variances.

One of our photos taken in low light on Portra 400 film:

Two girls smiling taken on Kodak Portra 400 film

Ilford Delta 3200

  • Pros:
    • Extremely high ISO.
    • Fine grain for its sensitivity level.
  • Cons:
    • Limited to black and white photography.
  • Review: For those seeking dramatic black and white images with a fine grain structure, this is a strong contender.

An example photo taken on Ilford Delta 3200 in low light: Subway station taken on Ilford Delta in low light source

Fujifilm Fujicolor 400H

  • Pros:
    • Great colour accuracy.
    • Fine grain at higher ISOs.
  • Cons:
    • Not the best in very dim light.
  • Review: Optimal for shooters prioritising colour accuracy and finer grain in their low light images.

An example photo taken on Fujicolor 400H film in low light: 

Fujicolor 400H photo in low light source

Kodak Ultra Max

  • Pros:
    • High-quality images at a reasonable price.
    • Good performance in lower light situations.
  • Cons:
    • Outperformed by higher ISO films in dim conditions.
  • Review: An all-rounder and a budget-friendly option that performs well in lower light conditions.

An example photo taken on Kodak Ultramax 400: 

Kodak Ultramax 400 photo in low light source

Kodak T-MAX P3200

  • Pros:
    • Ideal for nighttime photography.
    • Fine grain despite the high ISO.
  • Cons:
    • Only available in black and white.
  • Review: The go-to for black and white photography in low light, offering fine-grained results in challenging conditions.

Portra 800

  • Pros:
    • Excellent exposure latitude.
    • Muted halation effects.
  • Cons:
    • More expensive than some alternatives.
  • Review: A robust choice for varying low light conditions with a wide exposure latitude and muted halation effects.


The right film can elevate your low light photography to new heights. Whether you prioritise grain, colour fidelity, or exposure forgiveness, there's a film on this list to meet your needs. Choose based on the aesthetic you wish to achieve and the practicalities of your shoot environment.

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