Best Film for the Nikon FM10

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

The best film to use in the Nikon FM10 will have to be based on the lens, lighting, and type of film you want to use.

To eliminate having to lug around a flash or tripod, purchase a 35mm film that has an ISO of 400 or faster.

Make sure that you have a fast lens if you want to shoot pictures in low light, conditions that are often encountered indoors. Read my post on the 5 Best Lenses for the Nikon FM10 for lens recommendations.

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 option for a color film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should be able to handhold the FM10 in the majority of scenarios.

Expect photos to look a little bit warm with gorgeous colors.

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Depending on your location, this film might be more widely available. It's a top-quality alternative to Kodak emulsions.

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

Lomography 800 - If you want an ISO 800 color 35mm film, there are only a small number of offerings. For 35mm film emulsions focused on consumers, Lomography 800 is the single available choice.

In addition, if you have a medium format camera, it's also for sale in 120 film format.

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film that was launched in the mid-1980s. It gives the look and feel of snapshots from the 1980s and 1990s. Use an on-camera flash to get the "nostalgic" look.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to reveal the best look the film can achieve. This will help you achieve the fantastic colors everyone loves 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 35mm film emulsion. Overexpose it by 1 or 2-stops to get the look and feel the film is known for.

Kodak Portra is also available for purchase in ISO 800 and 160 emulsions. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 are also easily found.

Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H - The Fujifilm emulsion that is most similar to Portra, but with a distinctive color profile. Expect to see more vibrant greens and blues.

4x5 or 8x10 sheets of film aren't produced, but 120 is.

Black and White Film

Consumer

These film stocks have low costs and excellent quality, making them favorable to use in the Nikon FM10.

The biggest draw for photography students and budget-minded photographers is the competitive cost. Even if you wouldn't put yourself in that group, it's great to have affordable rolls of film available for testing recently delivered camera gear.

Consumer Black & White 35mm Film

Kentmere 400 - It is made by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is great because that makes this the most broadly sold 35mm film of the 3.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It will probably easier to obtain in Europe as the film is manufactured inside of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A decent 35mm film to use for your initial couple of attempts at home developing or analog photography. Additionally, a good choice if you're looking to try out a camera to check that it's functioning properly.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the cheapest price by buying it from Ultrafine.

They distribute developer kits for 35mm color film, so if you process film at home you could have previously interacted with them.

Professional

Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5+ 400 are the two most widely used black & white 35mm film emulsions. They possess several characteristics that are equivalent that help makes them so well-liked while preserving individual appearances.

You can get good photographs after pushing both film emulsions 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 stocks, HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is less expensive. Minimal amounts of contrast can be advantageous because of the fact contrast can be changed when making a darkroom print or through digital processing.

The film emulsion has a subtle grain and still looks very good when pushed 2-stops.

Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm Film

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock features a stronger style. To produce the old-school grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be processed in Kodak D-76.

Kodak Tri-X 400 without a doubt has considerably more contrast. That's ideal if it happens to be the overall look you want because it involves much less work when through digital post-processing or printmaking.

Reversal Film

Films that make a positive image are generally referred to as reversal, transparency, or slide film. That means a light box or projector can be used to showcase the photos.

Colors are not required to be inverted to be seen, as opposed to the more prevalent negative films.

Slide films are regarded as tough to work with because slide film has far less dynamic range and latitude than negative film.

Kodak Ektachrome 100 35mm Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for its excellent skin tones and fine grain. The colors do not show up oversaturated. It has been color balanced for daylight.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Provides beautiful looking pictures that have elevated amounts of contrast and saturation. It is an astonishingly sharp daylight color balanced film. Matched against all the transparency films offered, it has the best resolving power.

An ISO 100 emulsion is also available to buy.

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

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

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Professional film stock have better latitude, dynamic range, and are easier to push, which is the reason pro-film costs more.

There's a significant difference in supply. Consumer film stocks can commonly be bought in big-box stores and pharmacies in limited quantities. Pro film usually needs to be ordered from a specialized camera store or online retailer.

Film ISO

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

The higher the film's ISO, the less light will be required to get a frame. Additionally, be prepared for larger sized film grain.

ISO 100 and slower speed films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc) are often frustrating to shoot handheld with the FM10. This is due to the fact that in the absence of full sun, the shutter speeds might take more time than what you are able to handhold without producing motion blur.

A flash, fast lens, and/or tripod are going to help you with longer shutter speeds. Using a fast ISO 400 or ISO 800 film probably will make the additional equipment not needed.

As a quick note, the ISO knob is marked as ISO on the Nikon FM10. Lots of older SLR cameras may be labeled with ASA instead of ISO. The shift to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) happened after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film Latitude

Film latitude is the number of stops film can be overexposed while having good photographs. Pro films have a larger latitude paired with a somewhat higher cost.

Reversal film has less latitude in comparison with negative film. That is a reason why it's deemed to be challenging to work with.

Dynamic Range

The range between the shadows and highlights parts of an image is known as dynamic range. Parts of a picture that are not in this range will be seen as totally white overexposed highlights or black underexposed shadows.

When working in a wide variety of quickly changing lighting conditions, film stocks with a bigger dynamic range are a much better choice.

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

Transparency film is regarded as tricky to shoot due to the constrained dynamic range. Golden hour is the prime time to shoot slide film.

Film Type

35mm film that is sold in metal canisters is used by the Nikon FM10. 35mm film can also be described as 135 film, and it's the best-selling film format.

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

Swapping the film stock you are working with will alter the look of your shots. This is an example of the best things about using film.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

All new 35mm film on the market at this time has a DX code. This makes it possible for cameras to auto-detect and set the ISO when the film canister is loaded.

DX-coding isn't going to change anything for the Nikon FM10 because ISO needs to be dialed in manually with the ISO knob.

Nikon FM10 Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

There are a variety of options for where to develop 35mm film. For a more extensive explanation of the possible choices see my article on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Film is no longer processed on-site at big box stores and pharmacies. They mail film off-site to be processed by a separate company. As a consequence, you won't get your 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 film to a mail-order photo lab to be processed and scanned is the simplest choice if you are just getting started using film. A drawback to this is that it gets really expensive if you consistently shoot film.

Assuming that you're shooting a medium to high volume of film, there are a few actions that you are capable of doing to decrease your costs.

Bulk Loading Film

Investing in a roll of 100 feet of film and manually loading it into canisters by hand is considered one of the common options to lower expenses.

A 100-foot roll should fill up roughly 18 canisters of film with 36 frames. Look forward to cost savings of 20-30% depending on the film you go for.

Keep in mind that you are limited to bulk rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black & white film is easier and more cost-effective to develop at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

All film can be developed at home. It's a great way to reduce costs so that you can shoot more film with your Nikon FM10.

Black and white film is by far the least complicated to process yourself. Developer temperature and development times are not as essential to get correct with black & white films as temperatures and time are for slide or color negative.

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