Kodak vs. Fujifilm: Which one is right for you?

Two legendary film companies are facing head-to-head. Kodak vs. Fujifilm. Which ones is right for you? What makes each so great, and what are the pros and cons?

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The new-age renaissance of film has returned. Veterans and newbies alike are turning to their one true love of analog photography. Whether that be through vintage cameras sold on Etsy or beloved snappers passed down from their grandparents, people are truly rehashing #filmisnotdead for years to come (let’s be real, it’s not slowing down anytime soon). Our awakened souls have been wanting something fresh, unique, and persistently stubborn — luckily 35mm and 120 medium format does just the trick. While there are tons of choices out there in the film industry, including Ilford’s classic Black and White stocks or CineStill’s unimaginable tones with their 50Daylight — there’s two famous film companies that instantly come to mind: Kodak and Fujfilm. But, which one is right for you? How do you know? Well, before wasting your time and precious cash on film scans, why don’t we sit down and have a chat. Find out below.
The 7 Best Kodak 35mm and 120 Film Stocks 2020: A Hands On Review

All the goodies.

Fujifilm 16
The 7 Best Kodak 35mm and 120 Film Stocks 2020: A Hands On Review

35mm w/ Ektar 100 by April Mariveles.

The 7 Best Kodak 35mm and 120 Film Stocks 2020: A Hands On Review

35mm w/ Ektar 100 by April Mariveles.

A Beginner’s Master Film Guide

Taken with a Mamiya 645 with Kodak Portra 160.

A Beginner’s Master Film Guide

Taken with a Mamiya 645 with Kodak Portra 160.

A Beginner’s Master Film Guide

Taken with a Mamiya 645 with Kodak Portra 160.

A Beginner's Master Film Guide

Taken on a Canon EOS 1 and Kodak Portra 400.

A Beginner’s Master Film Guide

Taken on a Canon Rebel 2000 with Kodak Portra 400.

A Beginner’s Master Film Guide

Taken with a Canon Rebel 2000 with Kodak Portra 160.

To Know:

Beides their famous iconic yellow branding and an upended identity for Super 8 motion film, Kodak is the leading film stockist in the world for it’s gorgeous skin tones, true-to-life colors, and outstanding dynamic range. Their Professional Porta Series are undeniably some of the best in the film photography industry, being used by ultra professionals and larger-than-life influencers alike. Whether these be formulated for wedding or portrait photographers, or made to work best with landscapes, pro films usually do one job exceptionally well. Of course these come at a larger cost, but are worth it for the quality you’ll receive. They all portray just the right amount of grain, are sharp without being clinically sharp, its colors are vibrant but not gaudy, and its speed is just right for an all-day shoot.

What We Love:

For the Pros

Enhanced with pro-level integration with their Professional series line.

Excellent Tones

Made to do one thing really well, for portraits especially.

Name and Branding

There’s a reason why Kodak has been in business for as long as they have.

The Details:

Brand: Kodak

Price: Starting at $12.99

Product Type: 35mm Film and 120 Film

Best For: More professional photographers needing excellent grain and better latitude with hue and tones.

Shop Kodak

A photo displaying red beams from Kyoto, Japan.

Shot by Mel Picardal.

Flowers graced upon a bamboo bar.

Shot by Mel Picardal.

The famous bamboo forest in Kyoto, Japan.

Shot by Mel Picardal.

Bright, plump Cherry blossoms in Japan.

Shot by Mel Picardal.

A human walking near a cherry blossom tree in Japan.

Shot by Mel Picardal.

A man walking across the street.

Shot by Mel Picardal.

To Know:

Fujifilm film stocks are incredible color negative films made with extraordinary fine grain and great exposure latitude. While each stock greatly varies in color and hue, the most rewarding stocks come from point-and-shoot cameras — where technicality doesn’t quite matter and tones aren’t that much of a priority. Most of Fujifilm seems to prefer colder tones like green and blue, which makes it great for outdoor shooting (unless you live in the desert). The CEO of Fujifilm, Mr. Shigetaka Komori explains in his book that “in addition to film formation and high-precision coating, there are grain formation, function polymer, nano-dispersion, functional molecules, and redox control (oxidation of the molecule). Inherent in all these is very precise quality control (PetaPixel, 2018).

What We Love:

Clean-Looking

Fine grains makes it possible to see each image with crystal clarity.

Makes for Great Landscapes

Prefers cooler toned environments, making for stellar landscape shots.

Great Exposure Latitude

Holds a wide dynamic range.

The Details:

Brand: Fujifilm

Price: Starting at $12.99

Product Type: 35mm Film and 120 Film

Best For: Hobbyists or those just starting out with a point-and-shoot cameras needing something a bit more contrasted and saturated.

Shop Fujifilm

My Consensus

Results will widely vary depending upon the camera you use, your settings, and whether it be 35mm or 120 film, of course. This is obvious. But, from my personal experience of years working with both brands, I always find myself going back to Kodak’s undeniably gorgeous tones. While some of the images feel more “washed out” when compared to Fujifilm’s Velvia, I’m noticing that the colors are much clearer and truer-to-life than the contrasted saturation from Fujifilm. Creative visions vary per project and scenario, however, so I’m not saying you should use one brand over the other on a consistent basis; truly feel the moods per shoot or situation and choose from there. I’ve noticed that the Velvia and Provia struggle with beach / pool scenes and high daylight, but feel that the C200 would thrive. Kodak always performs best under delicious golden hour, and Fujifilm tends to shine it’s brightness during the overcasted days, as well. Natural light sources are a huge component to film photography, folks! I’ve often heard of people preferring Fujfilm for product / still shots, whereas Kodak was always designed for a meaningful portrait (i.e; proper skin tones).

It's a shame that Fujifilm no longer produces the beloved 400H anymore. With reasons being understandable, it’s still such a great loss to the community who greatly depended on its airy colors and bright creative outlook. This was by far Fujifilm’s best film stock, as I’m not a huge fan of the Velvia and Provia’s tinted magenta vibes; they’re a little uneven and hard to manage in post. Nonetheless, I always recommend trying out the different film stocks under conditions mentioned above to see what fits your vision the best. Everyone is different, though I’m happy to be given an honest opinion nonetheless.

Blue life houses placed upon each other with green grass.

Shot by Taylor Pendleton.

A soft sea with expansive views during blue hour.

Shot by Taylor Pendleton.

People on the beach during blue hour with lovely lines.

Shot by Taylor Pendleton.

The 7 Best Kodak 35mm and 120 Film Stocks 2020: A Hands On Review

35mm film w/ Gold 200 by Erica Coble.

The 7 Best Kodak 35mm and 120 Film Stocks 2020: A Hands On Review

35mm film w/ Gold 200 by Erica Coble.

The 7 Best Kodak 35mm and 120 Film Stocks 2020: A Hands On Review

35mm film w/ Gold 200 by Erica Coble.

The 7 Best Kodak 35mm and 120 Film Stocks 2020: A Hands On Review

35mm film w/ Gold 200 by Erica Coble.

How We Tested

Moment has been granted the unique opportunity to enter the film world. What used to be a company made strictly for mobile lenses has blossomed into the everlasting marketplace you might know today. Being a writer on the team, whose also a professional film photographer, you could imagine my excitement getting to coherently jot my thoughts on the exciting practices of different film stocks. I find that the difference between Kodak and Fujifilm are comparable to the Titans of the universe; two incredibly sought after brands fighting to the death. Having shot on both for years, I’ve been able to formulate my opinion based on precious time. Luckily, our Gear Guides are also amazing at film portraiture so they had a few words and photos to grab from, as well.

We hope you enjoyed this chit-chat, be sure to check out our other related film articles below!

A blurry movement image of a woman in the bathtub with blue tones.

Shot by Dani Chase.

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