Best Film for the Nikon FG

Best Nikon FG 35mm Film

The best film to use in the Nikon FG will have to be based on the lens, available light, and type of film you want to use.

Using an ISO 400 35mm or higher speed will allow you to eliminate being burdened with a tripod or flash.

Make sure that you have a fast lens if you want to shoot images in low light, conditions that are often found indoors. For lens recommendations see my blog post on the 5 Best Lenses for the Nikon FG.

Color Film


Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - A terrific choice for an array of conditions. Using this film you should be able to handhold the FG in just about all scenarios.

Expect pictures to appear a little bit warm with wonderful skin tones.

Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - A different option than Kodak that may have better availability depending on where you are in the world.

Compared to Kodak, Fujifilm appears to be a little cooler with notable greens and blues.

Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - If you want a color 35mm film with an ISO of 800, there are only a few choices. For 35mm film stocks targeted towards consumers, Lomography 800 is the sole option.

The emulsion is for sale in the 120 film format, for use in a medium format camera.

Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - A reliable way to obtain that mid-80s through 90s feeling. For the genuine photography experience try a flash.

To bring the best out of this film, make sure to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will provide you with the spectacular colors people love Gold 200 for.


Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400 - By far the most popular color negative film among enthusiasts online. Overexpose the film by 1 or 2-stops to get the look and feel the film is highly regarded for.

There are also ISO 800 and 160 emulsions of Kodak Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also available.

Black and White Film


These film emulsions have affordable costs and good quality, making them quite popular to try in the Nikon FG.

The largest attraction for photography students and budget minded photographers is the reasonable cost. Even if you wouldn’t put yourself in those groups, it is great to have relatively cheap rolls of film around for trying out newly purchased camera gear.

Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - Made by Harmon Technology, which is the owner of Ilford. This is great considering that makes this the most commonly available film of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It is less difficult to acquire in Europe as the film is made inside of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A suitable film to employ for your first few attempts at analog photography or developing film at home. Also a good selection if you’re trying out a camera to be sure that it’s operating correctly.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The best store to get this film is directly from Ultrafine.

If you process 35mm color film at home, you could have used chemicals produced by them.


Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the 2 most popular black & white film emulsions. While they both do have distinctive appearances, they possess numerous attributes that are comparable that help makes them popular.

Both emulsions can be pushed 1 or 2 stops and while still creating excellent results. This makes the film versatile as a roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600.

Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The main differences are that HP5 Plus is less expensive and has lower levels of contrast compared to Tri-X. Minimal amounts of contrast can be advantageous due to the fact contrast can be adjusted when making a print in the darkroom or through digital processing.

The film stock still looks good when pushed 2-stops. It is also recognized as having subdued grain.

Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion possesses a stronger aesthetic to it. To reveal the legendary grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be processed in D-76.

You’re going to unquestionably see more contrast with Kodak Tri-X. That is great if it happens to be the style you would like because it involves a smaller amount of work when printmaking or editing digitially.

Transparency Film

Transparency film, also known as slide or reversal film, results in a positive image. This allows the photographs to be viewed with a projector or light box.

This is different from the more commonplace negative film emulsions that result in photographs that need the colors to be inverted so that they can be viewed.

Slide films are believed to be tricky to use because slide film has a smaller amount of latitude and dynamic range when compared to negative film.

Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

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

Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a sharp daylight balanced film with high levels of saturation and contrast, giving photographs a signature look. Matched against all the transparency films you can get, it has the top resolving power.

It is also available in an ISO 100 emulsion.

Fujichrome Provia 100F

Fujichrome Provia 100F - Offers vivid and natural colors with medium contrast and color saturation. It has a daylight color balance and ultra fine grain.

Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white slide film, marketed by Fomapan as having very fine grain, increased levels of contrast, and high resolving power. It is also billed as a substitute for the long discontinued Agfa Scala Film Stock.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Professional film stock have larger dynamic range, latitude, and are easier to push, which is the reason they will be more expensive.

There is a significant difference in supply. Consumer film emulsions can usually still be found in pharmacies and big-box stores in meager quantities. Professional film stocks usually need to be bought from a camera store or online retailer.


A film’s light sensitivity is shown as the ISO.

The higher the ISO, the less light is necessary to properly expose a frame. Also, be prepared for larger sized film grain.

It can be hard to handhold the FG with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc). The will take more time will be longer than what you can handhold without producing motion blur unless you’re shooting in full sun.

A tripod, a fast lens, and/or a flash are going to help you with longer shutter speeds. The additional gear might not be needed if you get a faster ISO 400 or ISO 800 film.

The ISO knob is listed as ASA on the Nikon FG. The change to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film Latitude

Film latitude is the range of stops a film can be overexposed while still producing good images. Professional film emulsions have a greater latitude to go along with a slightly higher cost.

Negative film has a larger amount of latitude than slide film. That is one of the reasons it is considered more challenging to use.

Dynamic Range

The difference between the shadows and highlights details of a photo is known as dynamic range. Areas of a photograph that fall out of this range will be seen as totally white overexposed highlights or totally black underexposed shadows.

A larger dynamic range is better because it can make working in different lighting conditions easier.

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

The small dynamic range of slide film is a second reason why it is considered challenging to shoot. Golden hour is the prime time to shoot slide.

Film Type

35mm film that is in metal canisters is used by the Nikon FG. It’s also the most widely used film format and sometimes referred to as 135 film.

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

One of the terrific things about film is that you can switch the film emulsion you use and get a totally different look to your photographs.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Just about all commercially available 35mm film made at this time has a DX code. This enables electronically controlled cameras to detect and set the ISO when the film canister is loaded.

DX-coding doesn’t make a difference for the Nikon FG because ISO must be manually set.

Nikon FG Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

You will find a few possibilities for where to process film. For a more thorough discussion of the possibilities read my guide on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Pharmacies and big box stores do not process film at the store. They send the film off-site to be processed by a separate company. 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

The least complicated option and what I suggest doing if you are just getting started using film is to mail your film to a lab to be developed and scanned. If you regularly use film, this could be a downside since it can get really expensive.

Assuming that you are using a moderate to high volume of film, there are a few things that can be done to decrease your expenses.

Bulk Loading Film

Purchasing a bulk roll of 100’ of film and manually loading in into canisters by hand is considered one of the most popular options to cut costs.

Once you’ve finished, you will have about 18 canisters of 36 frames. Depending on the film stock you are likely to save 20%-30%.

Be aware that you’re going to be limited to 100’ rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black and white film is much easier and more cost-effective to process at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

All film can be processed by hand. It’s an intelligence method to reduce costs so you can use more film with your Nikon FG.

Black and white film is by far the simplest to process. Temperature and time are not as necessary to do correctly with black and white films as they are for slide or color negative.