Best Film for the Nikon FT2

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: May 30, 2020
Best 35mm Film To Use

The best film to use in the Nikon FT2 should be based on the lens, lighting, and if you want to use color or black & white.

Using an ISO 400 35mm or higher speed will let you skip needing to carry around a tripod and/or flash.

If you have a need to shoot pictures in low light, such as inside, ensure that you are using a fast lens.

Color Film

Consumer

Box of Kodak UltraMax 400 ISO 35mm film for cameras

Kodak UltraMax 400 - A fantastic choice for a diverse range of conditions. The film is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the FT2 in almost all scenarios.

Expect pictures to appear a little bit warm with amazing colors.

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Based on where you are in the world, this film may be more widely available. It is a great alternative to Kodak.

Fuji photos tend to have cooler colors with stronger greens and blues, compared to Kodak.

Lomography 800 - If you want an ISO 800 color 35mm film, there are only a small number of choices. For 35mm film stocks geared towards consumers, Lomography 800 is the single option.

Furthermore, if you own a medium format camera, it's also for sale in 120 film format.

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film emulsion that was launched in the mid-1980s. Kodak Gold 200 offers the look of family snapshots from the 80s and 1990s. For the classic shooting experience take advantage of a flash.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to bring out the most popular look the film has to offer. This will ensure that you get the gorgeous colors people love Kodak Gold for.

Professional

Box of Kodak Portra 400 ISO 35mm film

Kodak Portra 400 - Among the film enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is easily the most widely used color negative 35mm film. Overexpose it by 1 or 2-stops to get the overall look the film is highly regarded for.

Kodak Portra is also offered in ISO 160 and 800 versions. Portra is also offered in rolls of 120, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.

Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H - The Fujifilm emulsion that is closest to Kodak Portra 400, but with a different color appearance. Expect to see more vibrant blues and greens.

Sheets of 8x10 or 4x5 film are not manufactured, but 120 is.

Black and White Film

Consumer

With reasonable costs and more than acceptable favorable for use in the Nikon FT2.

The biggest appeal for budget-minded photographers and photography students is the reasonable price. Even if you wouldn't put yourself in those groups, it's great to have low-priced rolls of film on hand for evaluating recently delivered used gear.

Kentmere 400 black & white 35mm camera film

Kentmere 400 - Manufactured by Harmon Technology, which is also the owner of Ilford. This is excellent because that allows this to be the most commonly sold B&W film out of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - This is likely to be much easier to buy in Europe as the film is manufactured inside of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A suitable 35mm film to try for your initial few attempts at film photography or home developing. Also, a good selection if you are attempting to try out a camera to make sure that it's working properly.

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

They produce chemical developer kits for 35mm film, so if you develop film at home you may have previously had interactions with them.

Professional

The 2 most commonly used black & white 35mm films are Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5 Plus 400. While they both possess individual styles, they have a large number of qualities that are similar that help makes them so well received.

You can create high-quality results after pushing both film stocks 2-stops. A 35mm roll of film can be used at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them quite flexible.

Ilford HP5+ ISO 400 35mm Film

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two film emulsions, HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is less expensive. Minimal amounts of contrast can be advantageous due to the fact contrast can be adjusted when making a print in the darkroom or editing digitally.

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

Kodak Professional Tri-X 400TX Film Stock

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion provides a stronger rendering to it. To showcase the classic grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be processed in Kodak D-76.

You're going to without a doubt see higher levels of contrast with Kodak Tri-X. That is ideal if that is the look and feel you would like because it requires significantly less work when through digital processing or printmaking.

Reversal Film

Films that make a positive image can be called transparency, slide, or reversal film. This means the photographs can be showcased with a lightbox or projector.

This is different from the more commonplace negative film emulsions that make photographs that need inverting the colors so that they can be viewed.

Slide films have a smaller amount of dynamic range and latitude when compared to negative films and so they are viewed as challenging to work with.

Box of Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for eye-catching skin tones and fine grain. There's almost no hypersaturation of colors. The film has a daylight color balance.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Provides beautiful looking shots that have increased amounts of contrast and saturation. It is razor-sharp and balanced for daylight. When compared to all the reversal films offered, it has the greatest resolving power.

An ISO 100 speed is also available.

Fujifilm Provia 100F - Delivers realistic and vibrant colors with moderate contrast and color saturation. It is an ultra-fine grain film balanced for daylight.

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white reversal film, described by Fomapan as having fine grain, very good resolving power, and increased contrast. It's also regarded as a replacement for the long-discontinued Agfa Scala reversal film.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Pro film stock have a greater dynamic range, are easier to push, and larger latitude, this is why they will be more expensive.

There is a big difference in businesses that sell 35mm rolls of film. Consumer film stocks can oftentimes be bought in big-box stores and pharmacies in anemic amounts. Professional level film stocks need to be ordered from an online retailer or specialized camera store.

ISO

Film speed is listed as ISO, which can also be regarded as the film's light sensitivity.

The less light available to get an image, the bigger the ISO of the film will have to be. In addition, be prepared for noticeably increased film grain.

It may be quite challenging to handhold the FT2 with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). This is due to the fact that if you do not have full sun, the exposure times might take more time than what you could handhold without resulting in motion blur.

A tripod, flash, and/or fast lens are going to assist you with longer shutter speeds. The extra equipment might not be needed if you use a higher speed ISO 400 or ISO 800 film.

The ISO knob is marked as ASA/ISO on the Nikon FT2. The shift to using ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Latitude

Latitude is the amount of stops film can be overexposed while keeping usable images. Pro films have a larger latitude paired with a slightly higher cost.

Negative film has more latitude compared to slide film. That is one of the reasons why it's believed to be harder to work with.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is the range between the darkest and brightest details of a picture that can be recorded. Sections of a photo that don't fit within this range will be seen as totally white overexposed highlights or completely black underexposed shadows.

A larger dynamic range is ideal due to the fact that a bigger range 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 transparency film is a second reason why it's considered to be a challenge to shoot. Golden hour is the prime time to shoot reversal.

Film Type

The Nikon FT2 uses 35mm film that is sold in metal canisters. In addition, it is the most popular film format and in some instances is referred to as 135 film.

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

Changing the film stock you are working with will alter the look of your images. This is one of the fantastic things about using film.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Virtually all new 35mm film sold at this point has DX encoding. This enables cameras to auto-detect and set the ISO when the film is loaded.

DX-coding isn't going to matter for the Nikon FT2 because ISO has to be selected manually with the ASA/ISO knob.

Nikon FT2 Resources

Where to Get Film Developed?

There are several possible choices for where to process 35mm film. For a more detailed discussion of the options take a look at my article on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Film doesn't get processed locally at big box stores and pharmacies. They mail film off-site to be developed by a separate company. As a result, you won't 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 convenient option and the method I suggest using if you are just getting started using film is to ship your film to a lab to be processed and scanned. If you consistently use film, this could be a drawback because it can get really expensive.

There are two activities that you are able to do to minimize the costs required to use film, if you're shooting a medium to high volume of film.

Bulk Loading Film

Ordering a bulk roll of 100 feet of film and loading in into canisters by hand is certainly one of the ideal ways to lower your costs.

A 100-foot bulk roll should fill up approximately 18 canisters of film containing 36 frames. Based on the film you are likely to save 20%-30%.

Keep in mind that you are going to be limited to 100-foot rolls of black & white film. This is because black & white film is much easier and cheaper to process yourself.

Home Developing and Scanning

All film can be processed by hand. It's an excellent way to lower your costs so you can use more film with your Nikon FT2.

Black and white film is significantly simpler to process yourself. Developer temperature and development times are not as essential to do correctly with black and white films as time and temperatures are for slide or color negative.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *