Best Film for the Nikon F6

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: May 27, 2020
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35mm Film To Use

The best film to use in the Nikon F6 will have to depend on the lighting, your lens, and if you want to use color or black & white.

Choosing an ISO 400 film or higher speed will let you skip being weighed down with a flash or tripod.

Make sure you have a fast lens if you want to take pictures in low light, conditions that are commonly encountered indoors.

Color Film

Consumer

Consumer 35mm Color Negative Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film handles a large range of lighting conditions well and is a good choice for a color 35mm film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should have the ability to handhold the F6 in the majority of scenarios.

Expect photographs to look a little bit warm with beautiful colors.

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Depending on your location, this film could be more widely available. It is a fantastic alternative to Kodak film.

Fujifilm photos tend to have cooler tones with notable blues and greens when compared to Kodak.

Lomography 800 - If you want a color 35mm film with an ISO of 800, there are not very many possible choices. For 35mm film emulsions geared towards consumers, this is the sole available option.

Additionally, if you own a medium format camera, it's also sold in 120 film format.

Kodak Gold 200 - A great solution to achieve that mid-1980s through 90s look. For the classic photography experience try a flash.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to bring out the most popular look the film can achieve. This will produce the idyllic colors everyone loves Kodak Gold 200 for.

Professional

Kodak Portra 400 ISO Color Negative 35mm Film

Kodak Portra 400 - Among the enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is easily the most popular color 35mm film. 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 emulsions of Kodak Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also manufactured.

Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H - The Fujifilm equal to Kodak Portra 400, but with a distinctive color profile. Expect to see more vibrant blues and greens.

4x5 or 8x10 sheets of film are not offered, but 120 is available.

Black and White Film

Consumer

With reasonable prices and very good very popular to try in the Nikon F6.

The largest appeal for photography students and budget-minded photographers is the reasonable price. Even if you do not put yourself in those groups, it's nice to have comparatively cheap rolls of 35 film available for testing newly obtained camera gear.

Consumer Black & White 35mm Film

Kentmere 400 - It's manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable since that makes this the most commonly sold B&W film of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It's much easier to acquire in Europe as the film is made by Foma Bohemia in the Czech Republic.

An ideal film emulsion to try for your initial couple of attempts at developing film at home or analog photography. Additionally, a good selection if you happen to be testing out a camera to be sure that it is totally functional.

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

They have chemical developer kits for color film, so if you develop film at home you could have previously interacted with them.

Professional

Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the 2 most commonly used black & white film emulsions. They possess many attributes that are equivalent that helps make them so well-liked while maintaining different looks.

You can obtain very good photographs after pushing both film stocks 2-stops. 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 - Between the two film emulsions, HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is cheaper. Minimal amounts of contrast can be advantageous because contrast can be changed when making a print or through digital processing.

The film emulsion still looks good when pushed 2-stops. It is also known for having subtle grain.

Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm Film

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion provides a more distinctive style. To bring out the classic grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it should be developed in Kodak D-76.

Tri-X definitely has far more contrast. That's excellent if that is the look and feel you need because it requires significantly less work when through digital post-processing or making a print in the darkroom.

Transparency Film

Film stocks that create a positive image can be called transparency, slide, or reversal film. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to view the pictures.

Colors don't need to be inverted to be viewed, contrary to the more commonplace negative film emulsions.

Slide films have substantially less dynamic range and latitude when compared to negative films and so they are regarded as more difficult to work with.

Kodak Ektachrome 100 35mm Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. The colors do not be seen as oversaturated. It has been balanced for daylight.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is an extraordinarily sharp color balanced for daylight film with lots of contrast and saturation, giving photographs a unique rendering. Compared to all the reversal films available for purchase, it has the highest resolving power.

An ISO 100 emulsion is also offered.

Fujifilm Provia 100F - Offers realistic and vibrant colors with moderate contrast and color saturation. It has an ultra-fine grain with a daylight color balance.

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

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Pro film stock are easier to push, have larger latitude, and dynamic range, that is why pro-film costs more.

You should expect to see a disparity in businesses that sell 35mm rolls of film. Consumer film stocks can often still be obtained from big-box stores and pharmacies in limited quantities. Pro film stocks will need to be ordered from a camera store or online.

Film ISO

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

The less light available to expose an image, the bigger the ISO of the film will be required. Additionally, be prepared for noticeably increased film grain.

It is often quite challenging to handhold the F6 with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). This is because if you don't have full sun, the shutter speeds might take longer than what you can handhold without causing motion blur.

A tripod, flash, and/or fast lens can help you with longer shutter speeds. Using a high-speed ISO 400 or ISO 800 film is likely to make the additional gear unnecessary.

The ISO is electronically set by the Nikon F6. This is a change from previous cameras that use a physical ISO dial.

Latitude

Film latitude is the range of stops a film can be overexposed while keeping satisfactory photographs. Pro films have a greater latitude to go along with a somewhat higher cost.

Negative film has more latitude than transparency film. That is a reason it's thought of challenging to use.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is the range between the shadows and highlights details of an image that can be recorded. Parts of a picture that do not fit within this range will be seen as totally white overexposed highlights or completely black underexposed shadows.

When working in a variety of quickly shifting lighting conditions, film stocks with a bigger dynamic range is preferable.

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

Reversal film is regarded as difficult to shoot due to the constrained dynamic range. The golden hour is the best time to use slide film.

Film Type

35mm film that is sold in metal canisters is used by the Nikon F6. The film can also be described as 135 film, and it's the most widely used film format.

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

One of the best properties of film is that you can switch the film emulsion you work with and get a totally different look to your photos.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Almost all commercially available 35mm film distributed at this point has DX encoding. This lets cameras to auto-detect and set the ISO when the film is put in the camera.

The Nikon F6 will automatically set the film ISO. That is due to the fact that the camera has electronics to read the DX-coding on film canisters.

Nikon F6 Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

There are several choices for where to develop 35mm film. For a more detailed explanation of the possible choices go look at my article on Where to Develop Film.

WARNING: Film doesn't get processed on location at big box stores and pharmacies. They mail the film off-site to be developed by a third party. As a consequence, you won't be given 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

Shipping your film to a mail-order photo lab to be processed and scanned is the most straightforward solution if you are just beginning to use film. A downside to this is that it gets expensive if you consistently use film.

There are a couple of actions that can be done to minimize the costs required to shoot film, on condition that you're shooting a medium to high volume of film.

Bulk Loading Film

Considered one of the best options to spend less money on film is to buy a roll of 100' of film and load canisters by hand.

All said and done, you will get approximately 18 canisters of 36 frames. Depending on the film you are likely to save 20%-30%.

Be aware that you are limited to rolls of black & white film. This is due to black & white film is quite a bit easier and more affordable to develop yourself.

Home Developing and Scanning

Any film can be processed at home. In fact, it is a smart method to spend less so you can use more film with your Nikon F6.

Black & white film is much easier to process. Chemical temperature and development times are both not as crucial to do correctly with black & white films as they are for color negative or transparency film.

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