Best Film for the Nikon FT2
The best film to use in the Nikon FT2 will have to be based on the available light, lens, and type of film you want to shoot.
To avoid having to carry around a flash and/or tripod, pick a 35mm film that has an ISO of 400 or faster.
Make sure you have a fast lens if you want to shoot photos in low light, conditions that are often found indoors. Check out my blog post on the 5 Best Lenses for the Nikon FT2 for lens recommendations.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film works well in a plethora of lighting conditions and is a fantastic selection for a color 35mm film. The film is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the FT2 in most situations.
Expect photographs to appear a little warm with gorgeous colors.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - An alternative to Kodak that may have far better availability based on what country you are in.
Compared to Kodak, Fuji appears to be a bit cooler with stronger blues and greens.
Lomography 800 - You’re limited to just a few choices if you want a color ISO 800 film. This is literally the only 35mm film stock focused on consumers.
It is offered in the 120 film format, to be used in a medium format camera.
Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film stock that was released in the mid-1980s. Kodak Gold 200 has the look and feel of snapshots from the 1980s and 1990s. For the authentic photography experience use an on-camera flash.
Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to reveal the best look the film can achieve. This will provide you with the exceptional colors people love Gold 200 for.
Kodak Portra 400 - By far the most popular color negative film among photography enthusiasts online. Overexpose Portra 400 by 1 or 2-stops to get the look the film is highly regarded for.
Kodak Portra is also sold in ISO 160 and 800 versions. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 are also available to buy.
Black and White Film
With affordable prices and good quite popular to try in the Nikon FT2.
The main attraction for budget minded photographers and photography students is the reasonable price. Even if you don’t put yourself in that group, it is nice to have relatively cheap rolls of 35 film on hand for testing newly acquired camera gear.
Kentmere 400 - It is manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable due to the fact that allows this to be the most widely sold B&W film out of the 3.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It is less difficult to get in Europe as the film is made in the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.
A fine film emulsion to work with for your initial couple of attempts at developing film at home or analog photography. Also a good selection if you’re testing out a camera to ensure that it is totally operational.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The cheapest place to purchase this film is directly from Ultrafine.
If you develop color 35mm film at home, you could have used chemicals produced by them.
Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the two most widely used black & white 35mm film stocks. They have many characteristics in common that help make them so well received, while maintaining distinctive looks.
Both emulsions can be pushed 2 stops and produce good quality results. This makes the film versatile as a roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The largest differences are that HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is less expensive compared to Tri-X. Minimal contrast can be helpful due to the fact contrast can be increased when making a print in the darkroom or through digital post processing.
The film still appears outstanding when pushed 2-stops. It is also noted for having subdued grain.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film provides a more distinctive rendering. To showcase the legendary grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be developed in D-76.
The film stock without a doubt has more contrast. That is awesome if it’s the style you would like because it involves much less work when making a print in the darkroom or through digital post processing.
Film emulsions that produce a positive image can be called transparency, reversal, or slide film. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to exhibit the photos.
Colors are not required to be inverted to be seen, as opposed to the more common negative films.
Slide films are believed to be tricky to use because slide film has substantially less dynamic range and latitude when compared with negative film.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. The colors won’t appear oversaturated. It’s daylight color balanced.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a remarkably sharp daylight balanced reversal film with high levels of contrast and saturation, giving pictures a special rendering. When compared to all the transparency films available to buy, it has the best resolving power.
An ISO 100 version is also on the market.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Delivers vivid and realistic colors with medium contrast and color saturation. It has a daylight color balance and ultra fine grain.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white reversal film, noted by Fomapan as having very fine grain, increased contrast, and excellent resolving power. It’s also mentioned as a alternative for the discontinued Agfa Scala transparency film.
Consumer vs Professional Film
Pro films cost more because they have greater latitude, are easier to push, and increased dynamic range.
You should be prepared for a difference in where 35mm rolls of film can be purchased. Consumer films can commonly be purchased from big-box stores and pharmacies in meager amounts. Professional film should be ordered from a camera store or online retailer.
A film’s sensitivity to light is represented by the ISO.
The less light there is available to get an image, the higher the ISO of the film will need to be. Additionally, expect to see larger sized film grain.
It might be challenging to handhold the FT2 with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc). This is because if you don’t have full sun, the exposure times will take more time than what you can handhold without producing motion blur.
To avoid this you will need to use a flash, fast lens, and/or tripod. The additional accessories may not be needed if you choose to use a higher speed ISO 800 or ISO 400 film.
The dial to select film speed is labeled as ASA on the Nikon FT2. The change to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Latitude is the amount of stops film can be overexposed while producing usable images. Professional films have a larger latitude to go along with a somewhat higher cost.
Negative film has a greater amount of latitude when compared to reversal film. That is one of the reasons why it’s thought of harder to use.
The difference between the shadows and highlights details of a photograph is described as dynamic range. Parts of a photo that are not in this range will be seen as completely white overexposed highlights or solid black underexposed shadows.
A bigger dynamic range is better because it tends to make shooting in different lighting conditions easier.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
Slide film is considered tricky to use on account of the small dynamic range. A very good time to give it a try would be during the golden hour.
35mm film that is in canisters is used by the Nikon FT2. It can also be described as 135 film, and it is the best-selling film format.
The only other type of film you are going to encounter is 120 or 220 film that is used with medium format cameras}.
Changing the film emulsion you are using will change the look of your photos. This is an example of the excellent things about shooting film.
DX Coded Film
Most commercially available 35mm film sold at this time has a DX code. This allows electronically controlled cameras to auto detect and set the ISO of the canister put in the camera.
The ISO (ASA) on the Nikon FT2 needs to be dialed in manually. For that reason DX-coding isn’t going to do anything.
Nikon FT2 Resources
Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?
There are just a few possible choices for where to have 35mm film processed. For a more in depth explanation of the choices see my guide on Where to Get Film Developed.
WARNING: Film is not processed on location at big box stores and pharmacies. They mail film off to be developed by a separate company. As a consequence, 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
The most convenient choice and what I would suggest doing if you’re just starting to shoot film is to send off your film to a lab to be processed and scanned. If you frequently shoot film, this could be a drawback since it can get pricey.
There are two things that can be done to help reduce the costs involved in shooting film, provided that you’re going through a moderate to high volume of film.
Bulk Loading Film
Buying a bulk roll of 100 feet of film and loading in into canisters by hand is one of the common methods to lower your expenses.
A 100 foot bulk roll of film can fill approximately 18 rolls of film containing 36 exposures. Based on the film stock you are likely to save 20%-30%.
Keep in mind that you’re only going to find bulk rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black & white film is quite a bit easier and less expensive to develop yourself.
Home Developing and Scanning
It is possible to process and digitize any film at home. It’s a great way to cut costs so you can shoot more film with your Nikon FT2.
Black & white film is significantly easier to develop. Chemical temperature and development times are both not as important to do correctly with black & white film as they are for transparency or color negative.