Best Film for the Nikon N4004s (F-401s)

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

The best film to use in the Nikon N4004s should depend on the lens, available light, and type of film you want to shoot.

Getting an ISO 400 35mm or faster will help you avoid being weighed down with a tripod and/or flash.

Make sure you have a fast lens if you want to capture pictures in low light, conditions that are frequently encountered indoors.

Color Film

Consumer

Consumer 35mm Color Negative Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film handles a variety of lighting conditions well and is a terrific selection for a color film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should have the ability to handhold the N4004s in almost all scenarios.

Expect pictures to look slightly warm with beautiful colors.

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

Fujifilm photographs appear to have cooler tones with notable greens and blues compared to Kodak.

Lomography 800 - There are just a few choices if you want an ISO 800 speed color 35mm film. This is literally the only 35mm film emulsion targeted towards consumers.

The emulsion is available in the 120 film format, to be used in a medium format camera.

Kodak Gold 200 - An excellent option to achieve that mid-80s through 90s style. Use an on-camera flash to get the "nostalgic" film look.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to bring out the best the film can achieve. This will ensure that you get the stunning colors people love Kodak Gold for.

Professional

Kodak Portra 400 ISO Color Negative 35mm Film

Kodak Portra 400 - Among the photography enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is hands down the most frequently used color 35mm film emulsion. Overexpose Portra 400 by 1 or 2-stops to get the rendering the film is known for.

There are also ISO 800 and 160 emulsions of Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 are also available to buy.

Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H - The Fujifilm counterpart to Kodak Portra 400, but with a distinctive color profile. Expect to see more vibrant greens and blues.

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

Black and White Film

Consumer

These film emulsions have affordable prices and more than acceptable quality, making them quite popular to use in the Nikon N4004s.

The primary appeal for photography students and budget-minded photographers is the very affordable price. Even if you do not put yourself in that group, it is good to have affordable rolls of 35 film on hand for evaluating newly acquired used gear.

Consumer Black & White 35mm Film

Kentmere 400 - It's manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable since that allows this to be the most commonly sold B&W film out of the 3.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It will probably less difficult to purchase in Europe as the film is made inside of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A pretty good film to use for your first few attempts at film photography or home developing. Additionally, a good choice if you are looking to check out a camera to guarantee that it's totally operational.

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

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

Professional

Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the 2 most popular black and white 35mm film emulsions. They have numerous attributes that are comparable that makes them a favorite while maintaining unique appearances.

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

Box of Ilford HP5 Plus ISO 400 35mm Black & White Film

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The main differences are that HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is more affordable when compared to Tri-X. Less contrast can be nice because of the fact that contrast can be changed when making a print or during digital post-processing.

The film stock has subdued grain and still appears great when pushed 2-stops.

Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm Film

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion provides a more distinctive rendering. To produce the old-school grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be processed in D-76.

You're going to undeniably see far more contrast with Tri-X 400. That is great if it happens to be the look you are looking for because it involves a great deal less work when printmaking or through digital processing.

Slide Film

Transparency film, also known as slide film or reversal film, generates a positive picture. That means a projector or lightbox can be used to display the pictures.

The colors are not required to be inverted to be viewed, contrary to the more widespread negative films.

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

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. The film has been color balanced for daylight.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is an exceptionally sharp color balanced for daylight slide film with lots of saturation and contrast, giving images a beautiful appearance. Velvia has the best resolving power of any available reversal film emulsion.

An ISO 100 speed is also out there.

Fujifilm Provia 100F - Offers 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 & white reversal film, reported by Fomapan as having elevated levels of contrast, excellent resolving power, and very fine grain. It's also regarded as an alternative for the long-discontinued Agfa Scala reversal film.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Professional film stock can more easily be pushed, have greater latitude, and dynamic range, which is the reason they will cost you more.

You should expect to see a disparity in supply. Consumer films can frequently be seen in big-box stores and pharmacies in anemic amounts. Professional film stocks usually need to be bought from an online or photography store.

Film ISO

A film's sensitivity to light is listed as the ISO.

The less light available to get an image, the higher the film's ISO will need to be. Additionally, be prepared for noticeably increased film grain.

ISO 100 and slower speed films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc) are often quite challenging to shoot handheld with the N4004s. Shutter speeds are going to take more time than what you could handhold without resulting in motion blur unless you are working in full sun.

To get around this you are going to need to use a fast lens, tripod, and/or flash. The additional accessories may not be needed if you choose to use a higher speed ISO 400 or ISO 800 film.

The ISO is set by the Nikon N4004s electronically. This is a change from previous SLRs that use an ISO knob.

Film Latitude

Film latitude is the range of stops film can be overexposed while retaining usable photographs. Professional films have a larger latitude paired with a somewhat increased price.

Negative film has more latitude compared to transparency film. That is a reason why it is believed to be harder to work with.

Dynamic Range

The range between the shadows and highlights details of an image is known as dynamic range. Parts of a photo that fall out of this range will be seen as completely white overexposed highlights or black underexposed shadows.

A bigger dynamic range is ideal due to the fact that a larger range makes shooting in different lighting situations easier.

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

The small dynamic range of reversal film is another reason why it is considered a challenge to shoot. An ideal time to test it out would be during the golden hour.

Film Type

The Nikon N4004s uses 35mm film that comes in canisters. In addition, it’s the most often used film format and sometimes called 135 film.

120 or 220 film, used by medium format cameras, is the only other film format you are likely to come across.

Changing the film emulsion you are working with will transform the look of your pictures. This is an example of one of the excellent things about using film.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

All available 35mm film made at this time has DX encoding on the canister. This lets electronically controlled cameras to detect and set the ISO when the film canister is loaded into the camera.

The ISO on the Nikon N4004s will be set automatically as it can read DX-encoding.

Nikon N4004s Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

You will find a few possible choices for where to process 35mm film. For a more in-depth explanation of the possible choices go to my article on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Film is no longer developed locally at big box stores and pharmacies. They ship film away to be processed by a 3rd party. That is why you won't 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

Sending film to a mail-order photo lab to be processed and scanned is the least difficult choice if you are just beginning to use film. A drawback to this is that it ends up being very expensive if you consistently use film.

There are two actions that can be done to greatly reduce the costs required to use film, given that you're going through a medium to high volume of film.

Bulk Loading Film

Purchasing a roll of 100 feet of film and manually loading it into canisters yourself is considered one of the ideal methods to cut costs.

A 100' bulk roll will fill up typically around 18 canisters of film containing 36 frames each. Expect to see discounts of 20-30% based on the film you pick.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you are only going to be able to buy 100-foot rolls of black and white film. This is due to the fact black and white film is less difficult and cheaper to process yourself.

Home Developing and Scanning

It's easy to develop and scan film at home. In fact, it is an intelligent option to cut costs so you can shoot more film with your Nikon N4004s.

Black & white film is significantly less complicated to develop. Developer temperature and development times are not as crucial to do correctly with black and white films as they are for transparency or color negative.

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