Best Film for the Nikon N50
The best film to use in your Nikon N50 is going to be based on the available light, lens, and type of film you want to use.
Working with an ISO 400 35mm or faster will allow you to eliminate having to haul around a flash and/or tripod.
Ensure you have a fast lens if you want to shoot photos in low light, conditions that are commonly encountered indoors. For lens ideas check out my post on the 5 Best Lenses for the Nikon N50.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film handles a wide variety of lighting conditions well and is a terrific pick for a color 35mm film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should have the ability to handhold the N50 in just about all scenarios.
Expect images to look a bit warm with beautiful colors.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - An alternative to Kodak that might have better availability based on what country you are in.
Fujifilm photographs tend to have cooler tones with an emphasis on greens and blues, compared to Kodak.
Lomography 800 - If you want a color film with an ISO of 800, there are not very many possible choices. For 35mm film emulsions targeted towards consumers, this is the sole choice.
The emulsion is available in the 120 film format, for use with medium format cameras.
Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film emulsion that was released in the mid-1980s. Kodak Gold 200 produces the look and feel of home snapshots from the 1980s and 1990s. Use a flash to get the “classic” film look.
To bring the ideal look out of this film, you’ll have to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will ensure that you get the fantastic colors everyone loves Kodak Gold 200 for.
Kodak Portra 400 - By far the most popular color negative film among photography enthusiasts online. Overexpose the film by 1 or 2-stops to get the style the film is highly regarded for.
Portra is also sold in ISO 160 and ISO 800 versions. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also manufactured.
Black and White Film
These film emulsions have affordable costs and very good quality, making them quite popular to be used in the Nikon N50.
The main appeal for photography students and budget minded photographers is the very low price. Even if you do not put yourself in that group, it’s good to have economical rolls of film around for trying out newly delivered used gear.
Kentmere 400 - It is produced by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable because that allows this to be the most widely available film out of the three.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Might be much easier to buy in Europe as the film is made by Foma Bohemia out of the Czech Republic.
A very good film stock to try for your initial few attempts at developing film at home or film photography. Also a good option if you happen to be trying out a camera to be sure that it’s working properly.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The cheapest place to buy this film is online directly from Ultrafine.
If you develop film at home, you could have done that with developer sold by them to process your film.
Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the two best black & white films. They do have a lot of characteristics in common that make them popular, while retaining individual rendering.
Both films can be pushed 2 stops and result in excellent photographs. 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 less contrast and is cheaper in comparison to Tri-X. Lower levels of contrast can be good because contrast can be added when making a print or editing digitally.
The film emulsion still looks very good when pushed 2-stops. It is also noted for having subtle grain.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock has got a stronger aesthetic. To showcase the classic grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be developed in Kodak D-76.
You’re going to undoubtedly see considerably more contrast with Kodak Tri-X. That’s notable if it is the look you would you like because it involves substantially less work when printmaking or through digital processing.
Transparency film, also known as reversal or slide film, results in a positive image. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to view the slides.
This is distinct from the more widespread negative film stocks that make photographs that require the colors to be inverted 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 believed to be challenging to work with.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. There is almost no hypersaturation of colors. The film has been balanced for daylight.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Makes distinctive looking photos that have significantly elevated amounts of saturation and contrast. It is definitely sharp and balanced for daylight. It has the best resolving power of any available reversal film.
It is also available in an ISO 100 version.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Delivers natural and vivid colors with medium color saturation and contrast. It’s a ultra fine grain film with a daylight color balance.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white slide film, noted by Fomapan as having excellent resolving power, very fine grain, and elevated contrast. It’s also billed as a substitute for the long discontinued Agfa Scala reversal film.
Consumer vs Professional Film
Professional films cost more because they are easier to push, have increased dynamic range, and latitude.
There is a difference in availability. Consumer film stocks can quite often be obtained from big-box stores and pharmacies in meager quantities. Pro film should really be ordered from a online retailer or camera store.
A film’s light sensitivity is represented by the ISO.
The bigger the ISO of the film, the less light will be needed to properly expose a frame. Also, be prepared for larger film grain.
ISO 100 and slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc) may be difficult to use handheld in the N50. This is because without full sun, the exposure times will likely be longer than what you are able to handhold without causing motion blur.
A tripod, a fast lens, and/or a flash will assist you with longer shutter speeds. The additional accessories may not be needed if you pick a higher speed ISO 800 or ISO 400 film.
The dial to select film speed is labeled as ASA on the Nikon N50. The switch to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Latitude is the number of stops film can be overexposed while keeping adequate photographs. Professional film emulsions have a larger latitude along with a slightly increased cost.
Negative film has more latitude compared to transparency film. That is a reason why it’s believed to be more challenging to shoot.
Dynamic range represents the range between the shadows and highlights details of a photo that can be recorded. Areas of a picture that are not in this range will appear as totally black underexposed shadows or completely white overexposed highlights.
A bigger dynamic range is preferable because a bigger range helps make shooting in a variety of lighting situations easier.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
Transparency film is considered to be a challenge to shoot due to the constrained dynamic range. An ideal time to try it is during the golden hour.
35mm film that comes in metal canisters is used by the Nikon N50. 35mm film can also be called 135 film, and it’s the most widely used film format.
The only other type of film you are likely to see is 120 or 220 film that is used with medium format cameras}.
One of the excellent properties of film is that you can swap the film emulsion you work with and get a completely different look to your images.
DX Coded Film
All commercially available 35mm film sold at this time has DX encoding on the canister. This allows electronically controlled cameras to auto detect and set the ISO of the film loaded.
DX-coding will not matter for the Nikon N50 because ISO needs to be manually set.
Nikon N50 Resources
Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?
You will find several possibilities for where to develop film. For a more complete explanation of the possibilities look at my article on Where to Develop Film.
WARNING: Film is not processed on location at big box stores and pharmacies. They send film away to be developed by a third party. As a consequence, you won’t be given your developed negatives back.
- Develop Film at Home
- Use a Local Photography Lab
- Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
- Pharmacy or Big Box Store
Sending film to a mail-order photo lab to be developed and scanned is the most straightforward choice if you are just starting to use film. If you consistently use film, this could be a downside since it can get pricey.
There are a couple of actions that you are able to do to minimize the costs required to shoot film, if you’re going through a medium to high volume of film.
Bulk Loading Film
Getting a bulk roll of 100’ of film and loading in into canisters by hand is among the ideal options to lower expenses.
After you’ve finished, you will end up getting roughly 18 canisters of 36 frames each. Based on the film you are likely to save 20%-30%.
Take into account that you’re only going to be able to buy 100 foot rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black and white film is quite a bit easier and cheaper to process at home.
Home Developing and Scanning
All film can be developed at home. In fact it’s a smart method to save money so you can use more film with your Nikon N50.
Black & white film is by far the easiest to process at home. Temperature and time are not as critical to do correctly with black and white films as temperatures and time are for color negative or slide film.