Best Film for the Nikon N50 (F50)

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: May 27, 2020
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35mm Film To Use

The best film to use in the Nikon N50 will depend on the lens, available light, and type of film you want to use.

Getting an ISO 400 35mm or higher speed will allow you to skip being weighed down with a flash and/or tripod.

Ensure you have a fast lens if you want to shoot images in low light, conditions that are frequently encountered indoors.

Color Film

Consumer

Consumer 35mm Color Negative Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film handles a multitude of lighting conditions well and is a very good option for a color film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should have the ability to handhold the N50 in just about all scenarios.

Expect photographs to look a bit warm with gorgeous colors.

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Depending on where you are in the world, this film could be more widely available. It's a top-quality alternative to Kodak emulsions.

Compared to Kodak, Fujifilm appears to be a little cooler with notable blues and greens.

Lomography 800 - You're limited to just a few options if you want an ISO 800 speed color film. For film geared towards consumers, Lomography 800 is the sole available choice.

The emulsion is also for sale in the 120 film format, for use in medium format cameras.

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film stock that was released in the mid-1980s. Gold 200 has the look of snapshots from the 80s and 1990s. For the classic photography experience take advantage of an on-camera flash.

To really bring the ideal look out of the film, over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will provide the idyllic 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 without a doubt the most widely used color negative film. Overexpose Portra 400 by 1 or 2-stops to get the overall look the film is well known for.

Plus, ISO 160 and ISO 800 emulsions of Kodak Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 are also available.

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

It's offered in rolls of 120, but not in sheets of 8x10 or 4x5.

Black and White Film

Consumer

These film emulsions have reasonable costs and good quality, making them very popular to use in the Nikon N50.

The major appeal for photography students and budget-minded photographers is the reasonable price. Even if you do not put yourself in those groups, it's good to have inexpensive rolls of 35 film on hand for trying out recently purchased camera gear.

Consumer Black & White 35mm Film

Kentmere 400 - It is manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is good considering that allows this to be the most commonly available B&W film out of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Can be less difficult to obtain in Europe as the film is manufactured by Foma Bohemia inside of the Czech Republic.

A great 35mm film to try for your first couple of attempts at analog photography or developing film at home. Additionally, a good selection if you're attempting to check out a camera to ensure that it is completely functional.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The cheapest store to purchase this film is straight from Ultrafine.

They sell developer kits for color film, so if you develop film at home you might have already interacted with them.

Professional

Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 are the 2 best black and white film emulsions. While they both possess individual rendering, they possess several capabilities that are equivalent that help makes them a favorite.

Both films can be pushed 2 stops and while still creating great results. 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 - Between the two film emulsions, HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is more affordable. A lack of contrast can be nice because contrast can be added when making a print in the darkroom or through digital post-processing.

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

Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm Film

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock has got a more distinctive aesthetic. To bring out the legendary grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be processed in Kodak D-76.

You are going to without a doubt see higher levels of contrast with Kodak Tri-X 400. That is ideal if that is the overall look you will want because it involves significantly less work when editing digitally or making a print in the darkroom.

Transparency Film

Film stocks that create a positive image can be called reversal, transparency, or slide film. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to view the pictures.

This is different from the more often used negative film emulsions that produce pictures that require the colors to be inverted for the image to be seen.

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

Kodak Ektachrome 100 35mm Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for fine grain and superb skin tones. The colors don't show up oversaturated. The film has a daylight color balance.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a remarkably sharp color balanced for daylight reversal film with lots of contrast and saturation, giving photographs a distinctive rendering. Matched against all the slide films you can get, it has the greatest resolving power.

There's another version with an ISO of 100.

Fujifilm Provia 100F - Offers natural and vibrant colors with medium contrast and color saturation. It is a film balanced for daylight with an ultrafine grain.

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white slide film, claimed by Fomapan as having excellent resolving power, elevated levels of contrast, and fine grain. It's also regarded as a substitute for the long-discontinued Agfa Scala Film Stock.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Pro film stock have better dynamic range, latitude, and can more easily be pushed, which is why pro-film costs more.

You should expect to see a significant difference in availability. Consumer film stocks can more often than not still be bought in pharmacies and big-box stores in small quantities. Professional film emulsions should be purchased from an online retailer or camera store.

Film ISO

A film's light sensitivity is shown as the ISO.

The less light available to capture an image, the bigger the film's ISO will need to be. This comes at the expense of increased film grain.

It can be frustrating to handhold the N50 with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). This is due to the fact that if you don't have full sun, the shutter speeds will probably take more time than what you’re able to handhold without creating motion blur.

A fast lens, tripod, and/or flash can assist you with longer exposure times. Using a high-speed ISO 800 or ISO 400 film is likely to make the additional equipment not needed.

The ISO is set electronically by the Nikon N50. This is different from previous SLRs that have an ISO dial.

Film Latitude

Latitude is the range of stops a film can be overexposed while keeping adequate photographs. Pro film stocks have a larger latitude along with a somewhat higher cost.

Negative film has more latitude than transparency film. That is a reason why it's deemed to be more difficult to work with.

Dynamic Range

The range between the brightest and darkest details of a photo is referred to as dynamic range. Areas of an image that don't fit within this range will be seen as solid white overexposed highlights or black underexposed shadows.

A bigger dynamic range is ideal due to the fact that a bigger range can make working in various lighting conditions easier.

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

Slide film is considered to be a challenge to use as a consequence of the constrained dynamic range. The golden hour is the prime time to shoot reversal film.

Film Type

35mm film that is in metal canisters is used by the Nikon N50. The film can also be called 135 film, and it is the most commonly used film format.

The only other film format you are probably going to notice is 120 or 220 film that is used with medium format cameras.

One of the fantastic properties of film is that you can swap the film you use and get a fresh look to your images.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Almost all new 35mm film manufactured at this point has DX encoding. This lets cameras to detect and set the ISO of the film canister put in the camera.

DX-coding will be set by the Nikon N50 because it can read DX codes.

Nikon N50 Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

You will find a handful of options for where to develop 35mm film. For a more in-depth explanation of the possibilities check my article on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Film doesn't get processed locally at pharmacies and big box stores. They send film off-site to be processed by a separate company. Consequently, you won't receive your developed 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 option if you are new to using film. If you frequently shoot film, this might be a disadvantage because it can get really expensive.

Assuming that you're going through a medium to high volume of film, there are a couple of things that can be done to minimize your expenses.

Bulk Loading Film

Among the most widely used methods to save some money on film is to buy a roll of 100 feet of film and manually load canisters yourself.

All said and done, you will end up having around 18 canisters of 36 frames each. Based on the film you will probably save 20%-30%.

Take into account that you're limited to bulk rolls of black & white film. This is because black & white film is quite a bit easier and less expensive to process yourself.

Home Developing and Scanning

Any film can be processed by hand. In fact, it's an excellent way to lower your costs so you can use more film with your Nikon N50.

Black & white film is by far the least complicated to process. Temperature and development times are not as vital to do correctly with black & white films as time and temperatures are for color negative or transparency film.

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