Best Film for the Nikon FT3

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

The best film to use in your Nikon FT3 will have to depend on the lighting, lens, and type of film you want to use.

Getting an ISO 400 film or higher speed will enable you to avoid being weighed down with a tripod and/or flash.

Make sure that you have a fast lens if you want to capture photographs in low light, conditions that are often found indoors.

Color Film

Consumer

Box of Kodak UltraMax 400 ISO 35mm film for cameras

Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film can be used in a large range of lighting conditions and is a fantastic pick for a 35mm color film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should have the ability to handhold the FT3 in just about all scenarios.

The photographs will have extremely good skin tones and tend to be on the warm side.

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Based on your location, this film could be more widely available. It's a fantastic alternative to Kodak film.

Fujifilm images tend to have cooler tones with an emphasis on greens and blues, compared to Kodak.

Lomography 800 - You're limited to only a few options if you want a color ISO 800 35mm film. For 35mm film emulsions focused on consumers, Lomography 800 is the only option.

Lomography 800 can also be purchased in the 120 film format, to be used in a medium format camera.

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film emulsion that was released in the mid-1980s. It gives the look and feel of snapshots from the 80s and 90s. Use a flash to get the "authentic" film look.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to create the best the film can achieve. This will ensure that you get the outstanding colors everyone loves Kodak Gold for.

Professional

Box of Kodak Portra 400 ISO 35mm film

Kodak Portra 400 - Among the enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is by far and away the most frequently used color 35mm film emulsion. Overexpose Portra 400 by 1 or 2-stops to get the rendering the film is highly regarded for.

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

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

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

Black and White Film

Consumer

With reasonable costs and good favorable to try in the Nikon FT3.

The largest attraction for photography students and budget-minded photographers is the reasonable price. Even if you would not put yourself in those groups, it's great to have low-priced rolls of 35 film around for evaluating recently delivered used cameras.

Kentmere 400 black & white 35mm camera film

Kentmere 400 - Manufactured by Harmon Technology, which is the parent company of Ilford. This is notable since that allows this to be the most commonly sold film out of the three.

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

A decent film stock to employ for your initial few attempts at analog photography or developing film at home. Also, a good choice if you happen to be attempting to check out a camera to be sure that it is completely operational.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the cheapest price on this film by purchasing it from Ultrafine.

They make chemical developer kits for color film, so if you process film at home you may have previously interacted with them.

Professional

Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the two most frequently used black & white 35mm film emulsions. They possess a lot of characteristics in common that help makes them so well received while preserving individual rendering.

You can get high-quality images after pushing both film stocks 2-stops. A 35mm roll of film can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them remarkably useful.

Ilford HP5+ ISO 400 35mm Film

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The primary differences are that HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is less expensive when compared to Tri-X. Minimal contrast can be beneficial because contrast can be changed when making a print or during digital processing.

The film has a subtle grain and still appears excellent when pushed 2-stops.

Kodak Professional Tri-X 400TX Film Stock

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion has a more distinctive rendering. To bring out the legendary grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be processed in Kodak D-76.

You'll undeniably notice more contrast with Tri-X. That's notable if that is the overall look you want because it involves substantially less work when making a darkroom print or editing digitally.

Transparency Film

Films that make a positive image are typically referred to as reversal, transparency, or slide film. This means the photos can be displayed with a lightbox or projector.

Colors are not required to be inverted to be viewed, contrary to the more commonly available negative films.

Slide films have a smaller amount of dynamic range and latitude when compared to negative film and so they are perceived as challenging to shoot.

Box of Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. The colors do not appear oversaturated. Ektachrome has been balanced for daylight.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a seriously sharp daylight color balanced film with lots of contrast and saturation, giving shots an appealing look. Velvia has the highest resolving power of any available slide film.

There is another speed that is ISO 100.

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

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white reversal film, marketed by Fomapan as having fine grain, higher contrast, and high resolving power. It's also billed as an alternative for the long-discontinued Agfa Scala reversal film.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Pro films cost more due to the fact they have a greater dynamic range, are easier to push, and bigger latitude.

You should expect to see a disparity in where 35mm rolls of film can be purchased. Consumer film stocks can oftentimes still be purchased from big-box stores and pharmacies in anemic quantities. Professional level film needs to be purchased from a specialized photography store or online retailer.

ISO

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

The less light available to get an image, the bigger the ISO of the film needs to be. Additionally, be prepared to see larger sized film grain.

It is often difficult to handhold the FT3 with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc). The can take longer are going to take longer than what you could handhold without leading to motion blur unless you're working in full sun.

To prevent motion blur you will need to use a fast lens, flash, and/or tripod. The additional gear might not be needed if you go with a higher speed ISO 400 or ISO 800 film.

The ISO knob is listed as ASA/ISO on the Nikon FT3. 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 range of stops film can be overexposed while holding onto usable quality. Pro film stocks have a greater latitude along with a slightly increased price.

Negative film has more latitude than reversal film. That is one of the reasons why it is believed to be challenging to work with.

Dynamic Range

The difference between the highlights and shadows details of a photograph is described as dynamic range. Areas of a photograph that don't fit within this range will appear as white overexposed highlights or totally black underexposed shadows.

A bigger dynamic range is ideal because a bigger range makes shooting in varied lighting conditions easier.

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

Reversal film is considered to be a challenge to use as a consequence of the small dynamic range. Golden hour is the ideal time to shoot reversal.

Film Type

35mm film that comes in metal canisters is used by the Nikon FT3. In addition, it’s the most widely used film format and is on occasion described as 135 film.

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

One of the marvelous things about film is that you can change the film emulsion you work with and get a fresh look to your photographs.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

All available 35mm film distributed at this point has DX encoding. This lets cameras to detect and set the ISO when the film canister is loaded into the camera.

DX-coding isn't going to change anything for the Nikon FT3 because ISO has to be set manually with the ASA/ISO knob.

Nikon FT3 Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

You will find limited options for where to have film developed. For a more complete discussion of the possible choices, you can check out my guide on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Film doesn't get processed locally at big box stores and pharmacies. They mail film away to be processed by a 3rd party. Because of that, you will not receive 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

Shipping film to a mail-order photo lab to be processed and scanned is the least complicated solution if you're just starting to use film. If you frequently shoot film, this could be a disadvantage since it can get pricey.

So long as you are using a medium to high volume of film, there are a couple of actions that can be done to reduce your expenses.

Bulk Loading Film

Considered one of the ideal options to lower your expenses on film is to buy a roll of 100 feet of film and load canisters by hand.

After you have finished, you will end up getting about 18 canisters of 36 exposures. Look forward to discounts of 20-30% based on your pick.

Bear in mind that you are going to be limited to 100-foot rolls of black & white film. This is because black & white film is a lot easier and less expensive to process at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

You can develop and digitize film yourself. It's an excellent way to lower your costs so that you can shoot more film with your Nikon FT3.

Black & white film is much less complicated to develop. Temperature and development times are not as essential to do correctly with black & white films as they are for transparency or color negative.

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