Q&A: 35mm Film Look on a Digital SLR

by Buffalo Bob on May 8, 2013

I took this question from the Facebook page:

Any thoughts on how to achieve that 35mm film look on a Canon Rebel t3i? I have a 55mm nikkor ais 2.8-macro mounted on it for portraits.


Hi Joao. The best way to get a 35mm film look is to shoot 35mm film. I’m not sure which Nikon film body would work with your particular lens, but some Googling should get you the answer. I do know, however, that people practically give away film cameras on Craig’s List. For film, I recommend Kodak Portra as it has enormous exposure latitude, scans well, and looks great when converted to black & white in post. You can also push it like crazy and it still looks great.

You may want to look at Jonathan Canlas’ book Film Is Not Dead: A Digital Photographer’s Guide to Shooting Film.

Another option is to look at digital film emulators like the DXO Filmpack. Just keep in mind that these types of collections can be hit or miss — people either love them or hate them.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Joao May 8, 2013 at 1:21 pm

thanks for the reply, I will shoot film for sure with my zenit 11 and my nikon f3 :D. sad that film it’s so expensive to shoot on film nowadays


Lo June 3, 2013 at 6:09 pm

I love Portra, and it provides lovely true to life colours. But I feel like if you’re asking this question, you’re probably looking for something a bit different. Try Fujifilm for more saturation, Kodak Ektar for colours that skew a bit depending on whether they’re balanced, underexposed, or overexposed, or just cheap expired film!


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