Best Film for the Nikon F100

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: May 26, 2020
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35mm Film To Use

The best film to use in the Nikon F100 should be based on your lens, lighting conditions, and if you want to use color or black & white.

Choosing an ISO 400 35mm or higher speed will enable you to eliminate being weighed down with a flash or tripod.

If you need to take images in low light, such as inside, make sure that you have a fast lens.

Color Film

Consumer

Consumer 35mm Color Negative Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film works well in a plethora of lighting conditions and is a fantastic option for a color 35mm film. Kodak UltraMax 400 is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the F100 in the majority of situations.

Expect photographs to look slightly warm with pleasant colors.

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Based on where you are in the world, this film can be more widely available. It's an excellent alternative to Kodak.

Fuji photographs tend to have cooler tones with an emphasis on greens and blues when compared to Kodak.

Lomography 800 - If you want a color 35mm film with an ISO of 800, there are not many offerings. For 35mm film emulsions targeted towards consumers, Lomography 800 is the only available choice.

Lomography 800 is also for sale in the 120 film format, to be used with a medium format camera.

Kodak Gold 200 - An outstanding solution to get that mid-80s through 90s look. For the authentic shooting experience have a flash.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to create the best look the film can achieve. This will produce the fantastic colors people love Kodak Gold for.

Professional

Kodak Portra 400 ISO Color Negative 35mm Film

Kodak Portra 400 - Among the film shooting enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is the most frequently used color film emulsion. Overexpose Portra 400 by 1 or 2-stops to get the rendering the film is well known for.

Plus, ISO 160 and ISO 800 versions of Kodak Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also available to buy.

Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H - The Fujifilm equivalent to Portra, but with a distinct color appearance. Expect more vibrant blues and greens.

It's offered in rolls of 120, but not in 4x5 or 8x10 sheets.

Black and White Film

Consumer

With low prices and very good favorable for use in the Nikon F100.

The largest attraction for photography students and budget-minded photographers is the affordable price. Even if you do not put yourself in that group, it's nice to have economical rolls of 35 film on hand for evaluating newly delivered used gear.

Consumer Black & White 35mm Film

Kentmere 400 - It's produced by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable since that allows this to be the most broadly sold 35mm film out of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It will probably less difficult to purchase in Europe as the film is made out of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A fine film to use for your initial couple of attempts at analog photography or home developing. Additionally, a good option if you happen to be attempting to try out a camera to check that it is completely operational.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the best price by purchasing it straight from Ultrafine.

They distribute chemical developer kits for 35mm color film, so if you develop film at home you might have previously done business with them.

Professional

Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the two top-selling black & white 35mm films. They possess several attributes that are similar that helps make them so well-liked while preserving distinctive looks.

Both film stocks can be pushed 1 or 2 stops and deliver professional photographs. This makes the film versatile as a roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600.

Box of Ilford HP5 Plus ISO 400 35mm Black & White Film

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The most significant differences are that HP5 Plus has less contrast and is more affordable when compared to Tri-X. Low amounts of contrast can be beneficial because contrast can be changed when making a darkroom print or through digital processing.

The film stock still appears excellent when pushed 2-stops. It is also recognized as having subtle grain.

Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm Film

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock possesses a stronger look. To produce the traditional grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be developed in Kodak D-76.

Kodak Tri-X 400 certainly has a higher level of contrast. That's very good if it happens to be the look and feel you want because it results in a smaller amount of work when through digital processing or making a print in the darkroom.

Slide Film

Film emulsions that produce a positive image are referred to as reversal, transparency, or slide film. That means a projector or lightbox can be used to exhibit the slides.

The colors don't need to be inverted to be viewed, in contrast to the more widespread negative film emulsions.

Slide films have far less dynamic range and latitude when compared to negative film and so they are viewed as challenging to use.

Kodak Ektachrome 100 35mm Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. There is virtually no hypersaturation of colors. It is daylight color balanced.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is an extraordinarily sharp daylight color balanced slide film with lots of contrast and saturation, giving shots a unique appearance. Velvia has the greatest resolving power of any available reversal film.

It is also available in an ISO 100 emulsion.

Fujifilm Provia 100F - Creates vibrant and realistic colors with medium color saturation and contrast. It's an ultra-fine grain film balanced for daylight.

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white slide film, noted by Fomapan as having increased levels of contrast, excellent resolving power, and fine grain. It's also mentioned as a substitute for the long-discontinued Agfa Scala reversal film.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Pro film stock have a greater dynamic range, are easier to push, and expanded latitude, that is why they are more expensive.

You should expect to see a difference in businesses that sell rolls of film. Consumer films can commonly still be obtained from big-box stores and pharmacies in small amounts. Professional quality film emulsions often need to be bought from an online retailer or specialized camera store.

Film ISO

The film speed is listed as ISO, which can also be thought of as the film's sensitivity to light.

The less light there is available to get an image, the bigger the ISO will be required. Additionally, expect to see noticeably increased film grain.

It can be challenging to handhold the F100 with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). They can take more time will take more time than what you’re able to handhold without leading to motion blur unless you're shooting in full sun.

To get around motion blur you are going to need to use a flash, fast lens, and/or tripod. The extra equipment might not be needed if you choose a faster ISO 800 or ISO 400 film.

The ISO is set by the Nikon F100 electronically. This is a change from older SLRs that have a physical ISO dial.

Latitude

Latitude is the range of stops film can be overexposed while maintaining satisfactory images. Professional film emulsions have a larger latitude to go along with a somewhat increased cost.

Reversal film has a smaller amount of latitude when compared to negative film. That is one of the reasons why it's perceived as more difficult to work with.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is the range between the shadows and highlights parts of an image that can be recorded. Sections of an image that fall out of this range will be seen as totally black underexposed shadows or completely white overexposed highlights.

When shooting in a variety of quickly shifting lighting conditions, films with a larger dynamic range are a much better choice.

  • Digital cameras 14+ stops
  • Negative film up to 13 stops
  • Slide film 6-8 stops

Slide film is regarded as tough to shoot resulting from the small dynamic range. The perfect time to give it a try is during the golden hour.

Film Type

The Nikon F100 takes 35mm film that is sold in metal canisters. The film can also be referred to as 135 film, and it's the most popular film format.

120 or 220 film, used with medium format cameras, is the only other type of film you are going to encounter.

Switching the film stock you are working with will alter the look of your pictures. This is an example of the wonderful things about using film.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Most commercially available 35mm film offered for sale at this point has a DX code. This enables cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO when the film canister is loaded.

DX-coding means the Nikon F100 will set the film ISO when a compatible canister is loaded into the camera.

Nikon F100 Resources

Where to Get Film Developed?

There are several possible choices for where to have film developed. For a more comprehensive explanation of the possibilities, you can check out my article on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Film does not get processed on-site at pharmacies and big box stores. They ship film away to be processed by a separate company. Because of that, you won't get your processed negatives back.

  1. Develop Film at Home
  2. Use a Local Photography Lab
  3. Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
  4. Pharmacy or Big Box Store

The most convenient solution and what I suggest using if you are just getting started using film is to ship your film to a photo lab to be processed and scanned. If you regularly shoot film, this may be a drawback since it can get very expensive.

Assuming that you're using a medium to high volume of film, there are two things that you can do to greatly reduce your costs.

Bulk Loading Film

Ordering a roll of 100 feet of film and loading it into canisters yourself is one of the ideal ways to save money.

A 100' bulk roll can fill up typically around 18 canisters of film with 36 frames each. Expect to save 20-30% based on your selection.

Take into account that you are limited to 100-foot rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black & white film is much easier and more cost-effective to process at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

It is simple to process and scan any film yourself. In fact, it's a good option to reduce costs so that you can use more film with your Nikon F100.

Black & white film is by far the easiest to develop yourself. Temperature and development times are not as essential to get correct with black and white film as time and temperatures are for transparency or color negative.

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