Best Film for the Nikon N4004 (F-401)

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: May 25, 2020
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35mm Film To Use

The best film to use in the Nikon N4004 will have to depend on the lighting conditions, lens, and type of film you want to use.

Choosing an ISO 400 film or faster will enable you to skip being burdened with a tripod or flash.

If you want to capture pictures in low light, such as indoors, ensure that you have a fast lens.

Color Film

Consumer

Consumer 35mm Color Negative Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film handles a large range of lighting conditions well and is a very good pick for a color 35mm film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should have the ability to handhold the N4004 in most scenarios.

Expect photos to look a little warm with amazing colors.

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - A different option than Kodak that could have far better availability based on what country you are in.

Fujifilm pictures appear to have cooler colors with an emphasis on blues and greens compared to Kodak.

Lomography 800 - You're limited to just a small number of options if you want an ISO 800 speed color film. For 35mm film emulsions focused on consumers, Lomography 800 is the sole available option.

The emulsion can also be bought in the 120 film format, for use in a medium format camera.

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film stock that debuted in the mid-1980s. Kodak Gold 200 has the look of family snapshots from the 1980s and 90s. For the genuine photography experience have a flash.

To really bring the best look out of this film, you will want to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will give you the appealing colors people love Kodak Gold for.

Professional

Kodak Portra 400 ISO Color Negative 35mm Film

Kodak Portra 400 - Among film shooting enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is easily the most popular color 35mm film emulsion. Overexpose Portra 400 by 1 or 2-stops to get the rendering the film is well known for.

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

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

Sheets of 4x5 or 8x10 film aren't available, but 120 film is available.

Black and White Film

Consumer

With affordable costs and good favorable to try in the Nikon N4004.

The main appeal for photography students and budget-minded photographers is the reasonable price. Even if you don't put yourself in those groups, it's nice to have comparatively cheap rolls of 35 film on hand for evaluating recently delivered used cameras.

Consumer Black & White 35mm Film

Kentmere 400 - Manufactured by Harmon Technology, which is the owner of Ilford. This is excellent considering that makes this the most widely sold film of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It's less difficult to acquire in Europe as the film is made in the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A pretty good film to try for your first few attempts at developing film at home or analog photography. Additionally, a good choice if you happen to be trying out a camera to check that it's completely functional.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the best price by getting it from Ultrafine.

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

Professional

Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the two most popular black & white films. They have a large number of qualities that are equivalent that makes them so well-liked while preserving unique styles.

You can enjoy professional images 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 - The primary differences are that HP5 Plus has less contrast and is more affordable compared to Tri-X. Lower levels of contrast can be beneficial because of the fact that contrast can be adjusted when making a print in the darkroom or during digital processing.

The film still appears outstanding when pushed 2-stops. It is also notable for having subtle grain.

Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm Film

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion has a more distinctive aesthetic. To achieve the old-school grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it should be processed in Kodak D-76.

You'll clearly notice higher levels of contrast with Kodak Tri-X. That's fantastic if that is the look you want to have because it results in not as much work when editing digitally or making a print.

Transparency Film

Film emulsions that create a positive image are referred to as slide, reversal, or transparency film. This means the photos can be viewed with a lightbox or projector.

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

Slide films have less dynamic range and latitude when compared to negative film and so they are perceived as more challenging to work with.

Kodak Ektachrome 100 35mm Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. The colors don't seem oversaturated. It has been color balanced for daylight.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Provides distinct looking photos that have increased amounts of contrast and saturation. It is a sharp daylight color balanced film emulsion. It has the top resolving power of any available slide film emulsion.

An ISO 100 version is also offered.

Fujifilm Provia 100F - Produces vibrant and realistic colors with moderate contrast and color saturation. It has an ultra-fine grain with a daylight color balance.

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

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Professional film stock have better latitude, are easier to push, and increased dynamic range, this is why they will cost you more.

You should expect to see a significant difference in businesses that sell it. Consumer film emulsions can generally be bought from big-box stores and pharmacies in meager amounts. Pro film stocks often need to be ordered from a photography store or online retailer.

Film ISO

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

The less light there is available to properly expose an image, the bigger the ISO of the film will need to be. This comes at the expense of noticeably increased film grain.

ISO 100 and slower films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc) are often troublesome to shoot handheld in the N4004. They will probably be longer will be longer than what you are able to handhold without producing motion blur unless you're working in full sun.

A flash, fast lens, and/or tripod will help you with longer shutter speeds. Using a fast ISO 400 or ISO 800 film often makes the additional equipment unnecessary.

The ISO is set by the Nikon N4004 electronically. This is a change from older cameras that use an ISO dial.

Latitude

Latitude is the range of stops a film can be overexposed while still holding onto usable photographs. Pro film stocks have a greater latitude paired with a somewhat increased price.

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

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range represents the range between the shadows and highlights details of a photograph that can be recorded. Areas of a photo that do not fit in this range will be seen as totally black underexposed shadows or solid white overexposed highlights.

A bigger dynamic range is advantageous since a larger range helps make shooting in varied lighting conditions easier.

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

The small dynamic range of reversal film is an additional factor it is regarded as challenging to shoot. A great time to try it out is during the golden hour.

Film Type

35mm film that is sold in metal canisters is used by the Nikon N4004. It can also be called 135 film, and it is the best-selling film format.

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

Changing the film stock you are using will change the look of your images. This is an example of the best things about using film.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

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

The ISO does not need to be manually set as the Nikon N4004 can read DX-encoded canisters.

Nikon N4004 Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

There are several possible choices for where to have 35mm film processed. For a more in-depth discussion of the possible choices see my article on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Film is no longer processed locally at big box stores and pharmacies. They ship film off-site to be processed by a separate company. Because of this, you won't get 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 getting started using film. If you consistently use film, this might be a disadvantage because it can get expensive.

There are a few things that can be done to cut back on the expenses involved in using film, provided that you are shooting a moderate to high volume of film.

Bulk Loading Film

Considered one of the most well known options to cut costs on film is to buy a roll of 100 feet of film and load it into canisters by hand.

Once you have finished, you will get around 18 canisters of 36 frames each. Depending on the film you can expect to save 20%-30%.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you're limited to rolls of black & white film. This is due to black & white film is a lot easier and cheaper to process yourself.

Home Developing and Scanning

Any film can be processed by hand. It's a very good way to spend less so that you can use more film with your Nikon N4004.

Black & white film is significantly simpler to develop. Chemical temperature and development times are both not as necessary to do correctly with black & white films as they are for color negative or transparency film.

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