3 strange facts about 35mm film

35mm photographic film, arguably the most popular film format of all time. This was the film that ran through thousands of compact cameras for holiday and christmas snaps. Additionally was the primary film for newspapers, agencies and photo-journalists for decades. Millions of films were sold each year. However, is everything so straightforward with the 35mm film?

Our three strange facts about 35mm film

  1. 35mm film is a movie film format.

    Before any still cameras used 35mm film, the film was produced for shooting cinema films! When Oscar Barnack wanted a smaller. more portable camera in the 1920’s he chose to use this existing film stock. It only had to be cut into shorter lengths from the rolls for the movies. Oscar Barnack designed the first Leica camera! Which still produce cameras to use 35mm film today. Using the movie film in a still camera is the reason why 35mm has sprocket holes along both edges! The’re only really needed to transport the film through a movie camera, but they still persist even now. 35mm film stock is still produced for shooting movies, recent movies to use 35mm film include; Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” and others.

  2. More than one image format. Aside from the standard image format of 36mm x 24mm, smaller and longer formats have been commercially used.

    Half frame format (18mm x 24mm) was commercially successful for Olympus with the original Pen series of cameras and lenses. A longer format of 65mm x 24mm was created by Hasselblad using 35mm film with their XPan camera and lenses. The original was very successful, leading to a second version – the XPan 11. Both X-Pan cameras now command seriously high resale prices and are widely regarded as having exceptional lenses.

  3. It is still available to buy!

    Yes, 35mm film is being produced and can be bought quite easily. In the U.K. even Boots (High street chemists) stock 35mm film! A greater variety can be purchased from specialist retailers such as Silverprint or AG Photographic (no affiliation with either retailer). Other specialist retailers also stock film.

The 35mm film is still the most widely used film format, though not in the vast quantities that were consumed. It still has its strangeness(es), though inspite of those it is remarkably easy to use and can be great fun to use for analogue photography! Why not dig out an older camera, pop some film in and look forward to the wonderful bundle of prints? Oh, do let us know if you have other strange facts about 35mm film.


This has been a Hand Printed Photos production