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Who still makes color film?

In the digital age, it may seem like color film is a dying technology. However, there are still a few manufacturers worldwide that continue to produce color film for both amateur and professional photographers. This article will explore who is still making color film in 2023, the different types of color film available, and the pros and cons of shooting with color film vs digital in the 21st century.

The Remaining Color Film Manufacturers

While many major film manufacturers like Kodak ended their production of color film years ago, moving entirely to digital technology, a handful of companies still see value in keeping color film alive. Here are the major players still manufacturing color film today:

  • Fujifilm – This Japanese company is one of the few major manufacturers still producing color film. They make a range of consumer and professional color films including Fujicolor, Fujichrome, and their Instax instant films.
  • Kodak – While they discontinued many of their iconic color films, Kodak still produces professional films like Ektachrome and consumer films like Kodak Gold and Kodak ColorPlus.
  • Lomography – This Austrian company produces both color negative and slide films designed for experimental and artistic photography.
  • ILFORD Photo – An English company specializing in black and white film, ILFORD recently launched their new ILFORD COLOR 400 color negative film after 22 years.

Aside from these major manufacturers, boutique film companies like Cinestill and ADOX also produce unique color films for niche markets. And in Asia, Shanghai GP3 and Lucky Film still make color film primarily for Chinese consumers. But the vast majority of color film today comes from just Fujifilm and Kodak.

Types of Color Film Still Available

While options are far more limited today, photographers still have a variety of color film stocks to choose from including:

  • Color Negative Film – This is the most common type of color film which produces a negative image for scanning/printing. Popular color negative films include Kodak Gold, Fujicolor Superia, and ILFORD COLOR 400.
  • Color Reversal Film – Also known as slide or transparency film, produces a positive image for projection. Fujichrome Provia and Kodak Ektachrome are popular reversal films.
  • Instant Color Film – Used in Polaroid or Instax instant cameras, this film develops the image immediately. Fujifilm makes Instax Mini, Instax Wide, and Instax Square instant color films.
  • Specialty Color Films – More artistic films like Lomography’s LomoChrome create unique colors and saturation for stylistic photography.

Each film type has its own unique colors, contrast, saturation, and overall look. Photographers should research the different characteristics to choose the right film stock for their needs.

The Cost of Color Film in 2023

One downside of shooting with color film today is the cost. With economies of scale drastically reduced, a 36 exposure roll of color film can now cost $10-15. That’s 10-15x more expensive per exposure compared to when film was at its peak. Here are some example prices of popular color film rolls:

Film Cost per 36 Exp. Roll
Kodak Gold 200 $10
Fujifilm Superia 400 $12
Kodak Portra 400 (pro film) $15
Fujichrome Provia 100F (slide film) $13

As you can see, color film has become a pricey purchase for the average photographer. You can save some money buying in bulk or expired film. But the days of cheap color film are long gone.

The Remaining Color Film Production Lines

With such small production runs today, most color film is produced in a single factory per manufacturer:

  • Kodak – All their color film is now produced at their facility in Rochester, NY.
  • Fujifilm – Their main color film factory is in Odawara, Japan southwest of Tokyo.
  • ILFORD – Their new color film is produced at their HQ in Knutsford, UK.
  • Lomography – Outsources production to different international facilities.

Keeping these aging film production machines running requires significant upkeep and maintenance. But thankfully for film lovers, these manufacturers have so far found it worthwhile to keep the color film alive.

Why Shoot Color Film in 2023?

With the high costs and challenges of shooting film today, why do some photographers still opt for color film over digital? Here are some of the key benefits color film offers:

  • Unique aesthetics – Many photographers prefer the distinct look of color film like grain, tones, and colors that is hard to perfectly replicate digitally.
  • Better light sensitivity – Color film can capture a wider dynamic range of shadow and highlight detail.
  • Capture medium purity – Some prefer the experience of working fully in an analog photography medium.
  • Enjoyment/Nostalgia – The process of shooting film simply provides joy and fond memories for enthusiasts.

While not for everyone, for many photographers, shooting with color film remains a magical experience worth the cost. The look and feel of color film continues to offer something digital can’t fully replace.

The Downsides of Color Film Photography

There are also several disadvantages to shooting with color film that digital avoids:

  • Higher cost per photo as detailed earlier
  • Possible delays waiting for film processing
  • No instant preview like with digital
  • Less convenience and flexibility than digital
  • Film doesn’t last forever and can degrade over time

For professional photographers or anyone who needs to quickly review, edit or share images, these factors can make color film impractical for many uses today. The benefits have to outweigh the inconvenience.

The Outlook for Color Film’s Future

Looking ahead, there is certainly uncertainty around how much longer Kodak, Fujifilm, and others can sustain color film production. But for now, thanks to devoted film enthusiasts, processors, and photographers, the film market lives on.

It is likely that in the coming years, color film will transition from a mainstream consumer product to a niche specialty product catering to artists and hobbyists. While expensive and demanding, shooting color film provides a unique experience digital simply cannot replicate. For those who love the look and feel of analog photography, color film remains a vibrant, living art form in 2023.


While the glory days are behind it, color film lives on in 2023 thanks to a dedicated group of manufacturers and photographers. Kodak and Fujifilm lead the way producing a variety of consumer and professional color films. Despite the high cost and inconveniences, shooting with color negative, slide, and instant film allows artists to achieve timeless aesthetic looks that the digital realm still cannot perfectly recreate.

For those who want to experience the wonders of color film’s magic, ample options still exist. But it requires some determination and expense. Moving forward, color film is likely to become more of a rarity outside of niche communities. Still, thanks to the passion of so many analog fanatics, color film remains alive and kicking in 2023 against all odds.