Best Film for the Nikon N55

The best film to use in the Nikon N55 will have to depend on the lens, available light, and type of film you want to shoot.

To prevent having to haul around a flash and/or tripod, opt for a 35mm film that has an ISO of 400 or faster.

If you would like to shoot images inside or anywhere there is low light, ensure you are using a fast lens. Have a look at my short article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Nikon N55 for lens ideas.

Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film
Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film handles a wide variety of lighting conditions well and is a very good selection for a color film. Using this film you should have the ability to handhold the N55 in almost all circumstances.

The pictures will have very good skin tones and leans towards the warm side.

Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400
Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Based on where you are in the world, this film may be more widely available. It is a fantastic alternative to Kodak.

Fuji images appear to have cooler tones with notable greens and blues, when compared to Kodak.

Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO
Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - If you want a color 35mm film with an ISO of 800, there are only a small number of offerings. This is literally the only 35mm film stock focused on consumers.

It is sold in the 120 film format, to be used in a medium format camera.

Kodak Gold 200
Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film emulsion that was released in the mid-1980s. Gold 200 gives the look and feel of home snapshots from the 1980s and 1990s. Use a flash to get the “authentic” look.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to bring out the best look the film has to offer. This will help you achieve the appealing colors everyone loves Gold 200 for.

Box of Kodak Portra 400 ISO 35mm film
Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400 - Among the enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is by far and away the most frequently used color film emulsion. Overexpose it by 1 or 2-stops to get the look the film is well known for.

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

With low costs and more than acceptable favorable to try in the Nikon N55.

The largest draw for budget minded photographers and photography students is the very affordable price. Even if you do not put yourself in that group, it is nice to have low cost rolls of 35 film available for testing recently delivered camera gear.

Kentmere ISO 400 Film
Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - It is produced by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable considering that makes this the most commonly sold film of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action
Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Is likely to be much easier to acquire in Europe as the film is manufactured in the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A great film to choose for your initial few attempts at developing film at home or film photography. Also a good choice if you happen to be testing out a camera to check that it’s functioning correctly.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400
Ultrafine eXtreme 400

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

If you develop color film yourself, you could have used chemicals produced by them.

The two most widely used black and white 35mm film emulsions are Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5 Plus 400. While they both have individual rendering, they do have several capabilities that are comparable that help makes them so well liked.

You can get quality photographs after pushing both film stocks 2-stops. This makes the film versatile as a roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600.

Ilford HP5 Plus 400
Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The most significant differences are that HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is less expensive when compared to Tri-X. Minimal contrast can be good because contrast can be changed when making a print in the darkroom or editing digitally.

The film still looks excellent when pushed 2-stops. It is also notable for having subdued grain.

Kodak Tri-X 400
Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion has a stronger rendering. To create the traditional grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be developed in Kodak D-76.

Kodak Tri-X 400 undoubtedly has greater contrast. That’s very good if it’s the style you will want because it involves a smaller amount of work when making a darkroom print or editing digitially.

Film stocks that create a positive image are generally referred to as slide, reversal, or transparency film. This allows the photographs to be shown with a projector or light box.

The colors are not required to be inverted to be viewed, in contrast to the more common negative films.

Slide films are believed to be very hard to use because slide film has much less dynamic range and latitude than negative film.

Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Slide Film
Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a film known for fine grain and appealing skin tones. There’s no hypersaturation of colors. The film has been color balanced for daylight.

Fujichrome Velvia 50
Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a seriously sharp color balanced for daylight reversal film with high levels of saturation and contrast, giving photos a unique appearance. When compared to all the reversal films you can buy, it has the top resolving power.

It is also available in an ISO 100 emulsion.

Fujichrome Provia 100F
Fujichrome Provia 100F

Fujichrome Provia 100F - Delivers natural and vivid colors with medium contrast and color saturation. It has ultra fine grain with a daylight color balance.

Foma Fomapan R100
Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white slide film, noted by Fomapan as having very good resolving power, increased levels of contrast, and fine grain. It’s also mentioned as a alternative for the discontinued Agfa Scala transparency film.

Professional films cost more because they are easier to push, have larger dynamic range, and latitude.

There’s a big difference in where film can be purchased. Consumer film stocks can frequently still be bought from pharmacies and big-box stores in small quantities. Pro film stocks will need to be bought from a online retailer or photography store.

A film’s sensitivity to light is shown as the ISO.

The less light available to get an image, the higher the ISO of the film should be. Furthermore, expect to see more film grain.

It may be problematic to handhold the N55 with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). The are going to take more time will probably take more time than what you could handhold without causing motion blur unless you are shooting in full sun.

A tripod, a fast lens, and/or a flash are going to help you with longer exposure times. Using a high speed ISO 400 or ISO 800 film probably will make the additional gear unnecessary.

The dial to select film speed is marked as ASA on the Nikon N55. The switch to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Latitude is the amount of stops film can be overexposed while keeping tolerable results. Pro film stocks have a larger latitude paired with a slightly increased cost.

Negative film has more latitude than reversal film. That is one of the reasons it’s regarded as more challenging to shoot.

Dynamic range is the range between the shadows and highlights parts of a photograph that can be recorded. Sections of a picture that are not in this range will be rendered as totally black underexposed shadows or white overexposed highlights.

A larger dynamic range is better due to the fact that it makes working in variable lighting conditions easier.

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

The constrained dynamic range of slide film is one more factor it is viewed as difficult to shoot. Golden hour is the best time to use reversal.

The Nikon N55 uses 35mm film that comes in canisters. It’s also the most popular film format and sometimes called 135 film.

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

Changing the film you are using will transform the look of your photographs. This is an example of the fantastic things about using film.

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister
DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

All commercially available 35mm film offered for sale today has DX encoding on the canister. This enables cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO of the canister loaded into the camera.

The ISO (ASA) on the Nikon N55 must be manually dialed in. Which means DX-coding doesn’t do anything.

There are several choices for where to process film. For a more extensive explanation of the options see my guide on Where to Develop Film.

WARNING: Film does not get developed on site at pharmacies and big box stores. They mail the film off-site to be processed by a third party. Because of that, you won’t be given your 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 your film to a mail-order lab to be developed and scanned is the most straightforward choice if you are new to using film. A disadvantage to this is that it gets really expensive if you’re regularly using film.

As long as you are going through a medium to high volume of film, there are two activities that you are able to do to limit your expenses.

Getting a roll of 100’ of film and loading in into canisters by hand is certainly one of the most common options to cut costs.

After you have finished, you will get about 18 canisters of 36 frames each. Based on the film stock you are likely to save 20%-30%.

Be aware that you’re limited to bulk rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black and white film is quite a bit easier and more affordable to process yourself.

All film can be processed at home. In fact it’s an excellent method to reduce costs so you can shoot more film with your Nikon N55.

Black & white film is by far the simplest to develop at home. Temperature and development times are both not as important to do correctly with black & white film as time and temperatures are for color negative or slide film.