Best Film for the Nikon F100
The best film to use in your Nikon F100 will have to depend on the lens, lighting conditions, and if you want to shoot color or black & white.
To eliminate having to haul around a tripod or flash, choose a film that has an ISO of 400 or faster.
If you want to be able to to capture photographs in low light, such as indoors, ensure that you are using a fast lens. For lens suggestions go read my short article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Nikon F100.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film handles a wide variety of lighting conditions well and is a terrific selection for a color 35mm film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should be able to handhold the F100 in the majority of situations.
Expect photos to look slightly warm with pleasant skin tones.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - A different option than Kodak that may have better availability based on what country you are in.
When compared to Kodak, Fuji appears to be a bit cooler with stronger greens and blues.
Lomography 800 - If you want a color film with an ISO of 800, there are not many choices. This is literally the only film focused on consumers.
It can also be bought in the 120 film format, to be used with medium format cameras.
Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film stock that was released in the mid-1980s. Gold 200 offers the look of snapshots from the 80s and 1990s. Use a flash to get the “nostalgic” film look.
To really bring the ideal look out of the film, make sure to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will provide the idyllic colors everyone loves the film for.
Kodak Portra 400 - Among the film enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is by far and away the top color 35mm film emulsion. Overexpose it by 1 or 2-stops to get the rendering the film is well known for.
There are also ISO 800 and ISO 160 versions of Kodak Portra. It is also offered in rolls of 120 film, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.
Black and White Film
These film stocks have affordable prices and more than acceptable quality, making them favorable for use in the Nikon F100.
The major appeal for budget minded photographers and photography students is the low cost. Even if you would not put yourself in those groups, it’s good to have low-priced rolls of film around for trying out recently delivered used gear.
Kentmere 400 - It is produced by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable considering that allows this to be the most widely sold 35mm film out of the 3.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It will probably easier to purchase in Europe as the film is manufactured inside of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.
A fine 35mm film to work with for your first few attempts at analog photography or home developing. Also a good selection if you happen to be trying out a camera to make sure that it is operating properly.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The cheapest store to buy this film is online directly from Ultrafine.
If you develop color film at home, you could have done that with developer sold by them to develop your film.
The two best black and white film emulsions are Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400. They have a lot of capabilities that are comparable that help make them so well received, while retaining unique looks.
You can enjoy professional images after pushing both emulsions 2-stops. A 35mm roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them quite flexible.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two film stocks, HP5 Plus has less contrast and is cheaper. Low amounts of contrast can be good because of the fact contrast can be changed when making a print or editing digitally.
The film emulsion still looks good when pushed 2-stops. It is also notable for having subtle grain.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock has got a stronger rendering. To bring out the old-school grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it should be developed in D-76.
You’ll clearly notice greater contrast with Tri-X. That’s excellent if it’s the look you are after because it means a smaller amount of work when through digital post processing or making a print in the darkroom.
Film stocks that make a positive image are often referred to as transparency, reversal, or slide film. This means the pictures can be viewed with a light box or projector.
The colors don’t need to be inverted to be seen, as opposed to the more readily available negative film emulsions.
Slide films are viewed as difficult to use because slide film has a smaller amount of latitude and dynamic range than negative film.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for fine grain and great skin tones. The colors do not show up oversaturated. It’s daylight color balanced.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a amazingly sharp daylight color balanced transparency film with high levels of contrast and saturation, giving photos a distinct rendering. It has the greatest resolving power of any available transparency film emulsion.
An ISO 100 version is also available for purchase.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Delivers realistic and vibrant colors with medium color saturation and contrast. It has a daylight color balance and ultra fine grain.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white transparency film, described by Fomapan as having very good resolving power, elevated contrast, and very fine grain. It’s also mentioned as a replacement for the discontinued Agfa Scala transparency film.
Consumer vs Professional Film
Professional film stock have improved latitude, dynamic range, and can more easily be pushed, this is why they will cost you more.
You should be prepared for a difference in where it can be purchased. Consumer film stocks can commonly still be purchased from pharmacies and big-box stores in limited amounts. Pro film stocks will need to be purchased from a specialized camera store or online retailer.
The ISO represents the speed of the film, which may also be thought of as the film’s sensitivity to light.
The less light available to properly expose an image, the bigger the film’s ISO will need to be. This comes at the expense of more noticeable film grain.
It can be challenging to handhold the F100 with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc). This is because if you don’t have full sun, the shutter speeds will probably take more time than what you can handhold without producing motion blur.
To prevent motion blur you’ll need to use a fast lens, flash, and/or tripod. Using a high speed ISO 800 or ISO 400 film probably will make the extra gear not needed.
The dial to select film speed is listed as ASA on the Nikon F100. The shift to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) happened after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Film latitude is the amount of stops a film can be overexposed while still retaining good results. Pro film emulsions have a greater latitude along with a slightly increased cost.
Negative film has a greater amount of latitude when compared to reversal film. That is a reason it is regarded as challenging to work with.
Dynamic range represents the difference between the highlights and shadows details of a picture that can be recorded. Parts of a picture that do not fit within this range will be rendered as completely black underexposed shadows or totally white overexposed highlights.
A bigger dynamic range is advantageous due to the fact that it helps make shooting in a wide variety of lighting situations easier.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
Transparency film is viewed as hard to use because of the constrained dynamic range. Golden hour is the best time to shoot transparency.
35mm film that is in metal canisters is used by the Nikon F100. It is also the most widely used type of film and sometimes called 135 film.
The only other type of film you are likely to notice is 120 or 220 film that is used in medium format cameras}.
Swapping the film stock you are working with will alter the look of your pictures. This is one of the fantastic things about film.
DX Coded Film
All commercially available 35mm film sold today has DX encoding. This makes it possible for cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO when the canister is loaded into the camera.
ISO (ASA) on the Nikon F100 has to be set manually. Which means that DX-coding will not matter.
Nikon F100 Resources
Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?
You will find a range of choices for where to get 35mm film developed. For a more complete discussion of the possibilities read my article on Where to Get Film Developed.
WARNING: Big box stores and pharmacies don’t process film at the store. They send film away to be developed by a 3rd party. Because of this, you will not receive your developed negatives back.
- Develop Film at Home
- Use a Local Photography Lab
- Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
- Pharmacy or Big Box Store
Sending film to a mail-order photo lab to be processed and scanned is the least complicated choice if you’re just getting started shooting film. If you regularly use film, this may be a drawback because it can get really expensive.
So long as you are going through a moderate to high volume of film, there are a few activities that you can do to help reduce your costs.
Bulk Loading Film
Investing in a roll of 100 feet of film and manually loading in into canisters yourself is one of the most well known methods to lower expenses.
Once you are done, you’ll end up with approximately 18 rolls of 36 frames each. Depending on the film you can expect to save 20%-30%.
Keep in mind that you are limited to 100 foot rolls of black & white film. This is because black and white film is easier and more affordable to develop yourself.
Home Developing and Scanning
All film can be processed by hand. In fact it is an excellent method to lower your costs so you can shoot more film with your Nikon F100.
Black & white film is by far the least difficult to develop. Developer temperature and time are both not as imperative to get correct with black & white film as temperatures and time are for color negative or slide film.