Best Film for the Nikon FT

The best film to use in the Nikon FT will have to be based on the available light, your lens, and if you want to shoot color or black & white.

To avoid having to haul around a tripod or flash, select a 35mm film that has an ISO of 400 or faster.

If you want to be able to to take photographs in low light, such as inside, ensure you are using a fast lens. Have a look at my article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Nikon FT for lens suggestions.

Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film
Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - A terrific option for a plethora of lighting conditions. Kodak UltraMax 400 is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the FT in most scenarios.

The photographs will have excellent colors and is on the warm side.

Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400
Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Another option that might have better availability based on where you are in the world.

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

Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO
Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - If you want an ISO 800 color film, there are only a few offerings. For film geared towards consumers, Lomography 800 is the only choice.

Additionally, if you have a medium format camera, it’s also for sale in 120 film format.

Kodak Gold 200
Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film stock that was released in the mid-1980s. It provides the look and feel of home snapshots from the 1980s and 90s. For the classic shooting experience try a flash.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to reveal the most popular look the film has to offer. This will ensure that you get the fantastic colors everyone loves Gold 200 for.

Box of Kodak Portra 400 ISO 35mm film
Kodak Portra 400

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

Portra is also available in ISO 800 and ISO 160 versions. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also available.

With reasonable costs and more than acceptable very popular to try in the Nikon FT.

The main attraction for budget minded photographers and photography students is the very affordable cost. Even if you don’t put yourself in that group, it is great to have affordable rolls of film around for trying out newly obtained used cameras.

Kentmere ISO 400 Film
Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - Made by Harmon Technology, which is the owner of Ilford. This is notable because that allows this to be the most widely available 35mm film out of the 3.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action
Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It is less difficult to find in Europe as the film is manufactured by Foma Bohemia out of the Czech Republic.

A pretty good film stock to use for your initial few attempts at analog photography or home developing. Also a good choice if you are testing out a camera to make sure that it’s fully functional.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400
Ultrafine eXtreme 400

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The best store to buy this film is straight from Ultrafine.

They have developer kits for film, so if you process film at home you might have previously done business with them.

Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the two most frequently used black and white 35mm film emulsions. They possess several qualities in common that make them so well liked, while keeping individual styles.

You can achieve quality images after pushing both films 2-stops. 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

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two film stocks, HP5 Plus has less contrast and is cheaper. Less contrast can be an advantage because contrast can be increased when making a print or through digital processing.

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

Kodak Tri-X 400
Kodak Tri-X 400

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

You are going to undeniably see a higher level of contrast with Tri-X. That is fantastic if it happens to be the overall look you need because it results in a smaller amount of work when during digital processing or making a print in the darkroom.

Film stocks that produce a positive image are referred to as transparency, slide, or reversal film. This means the photos can be viewed with a light box or projector.

Colors do not need to be inverted to be viewable, in contrast to the more commonly available negative film stocks.

Slide films are thought to be difficult to shoot due to the fact slide film has substantially less dynamic range and latitude compared to negative film.

Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Slide Film
Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a film known for terrific skin tones and fine grain. There is not any hypersaturation of colors. Ektachrome is daylight balanced.

Fujichrome Velvia 50
Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Delivers distinctive looking photographs that have increased amounts of contrast and saturation. It is extremely sharp with a daylight color balance. Out of all the slide films on the market, it has the top resolving power.

There’s another speed with an ISO of 100.

Fujichrome Provia 100F
Fujichrome Provia 100F

Fujichrome Provia 100F - Creates vivid and natural colors with moderate contrast and color saturation. It’s a ultra fine grain film balanced for daylight.

Foma Fomapan R100
Foma Fomapan R100

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

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

There may be a disparity in business that sell 35mm rolls of film. Consumer film emulsions can oftentimes be purchased from big-box stores and pharmacies in small amounts. Pro film needs to be ordered from a specialized photography store or online retailer.

The speed of the film is shown as ISO, which can also be regarded as the film’s sensitivity to light.

The less light available to properly expose an image, the higher the ISO should be. Also, expect to see larger film grain.

It may be tricky to handhold the FT with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). This is because if you don’t have full sun, the exposure times will likely take longer than what you’re able to handhold without creating motion blur.

To prevent this you are going to need to use a fast lens, flash, and/or tripod. Using a high speed ISO 800 or ISO 400 film is likely to make the additional equipment not needed.

As a quick note, the ISO dial is listed as ASA on the Nikon FT. The shift to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) happened after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film latitude is the number of stops a film can be overexposed while keeping usable photographs. Professional film emulsions have a greater latitude along with a slightly increased cost.

Negative film has more latitude than transparency film. That is a reason why it is regarded as challenging to work with.

Dynamic range represents the range between the highlights and shadows parts of an image that can be captured. Areas of a photograph that fall out of this range will be seen as white overexposed highlights or completely black underexposed shadows.

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

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

The limited dynamic range of slide film is an additional factor it’s thought to be a challenge to shoot. A great time to give it a try is during the golden hour.

35mm film that comes in canisters is used by the Nikon FT. In addition, it’s the most widely used type of film and sometimes referred to as 135 film.

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

Changing the film you are using will change the look of your shots. This is one of the excellent things about shooting film.

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister
DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Nearly all available 35mm film offered for sale today has DX encoding on the canister. This makes it possible for cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO when the canister is put in the camera.

The ISO (ASA) on the Nikon FT needs to be manually set. So DX-coding doesn’t do anything.

There are just a few possibilities for where to have 35mm film developed. For a more complete explanation of the possibilities check out my guide on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Big box stores and pharmacies don’t develop film at the store. They mail film away to be processed by a separate company. This means that, you will not be given 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

The most straightforward method and what I suggest doing if you are just getting started shooting film is to ship your film to a photo lab to be processed and scanned. If you consistently use film, this can be a downside due to the fact that it can get really expensive.

There are a couple of things that you are able to do to decrease the expenses involved in shooting film, on condition that you are using a moderate to high volume of film.

Certainly one of the most popular methods to lower your costs on film is to buy a roll of 100’ of film and manually load it into canisters yourself.

A 100’ bulk roll will fill about 18 rolls of film with 36 frames. Expect to save 20-30% depending on the film.

Take into account that you’re going to be limited to 100’ rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black and white film is quite a bit easier and less expensive to process yourself.

It is simple to process and digitize any film at home. It’s an intelligence option to save money so that you can use more film with your Nikon FT.

Black and white film is by far the simplest to process at home. Temperature and development times are both not as essential to do correctly with black & white film as time and temperatures are for color negative or slide film.