Best Film for the Nikon N90

´╗┐The best film to use in your Nikon N90 will have to depend on the lighting, your lens, and type of film you want to use.

Buying an ISO 400 film or higher speed will help you skip having to lug around a flash and/or tripod.

If you would like to shoot photos inside or anytime there is low light, make sure that you have a fast lens. See my post on the 5 Best Lenses for the Nikon N90 for recommendations.

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

Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film handles a plethora of lighting conditions well and is a very good selection for a color 35mm film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should have the ability to handhold the N90 in the vast majority of situations.

The photos will have wonderful skin tones and tend to be on the warm side.

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

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

In comparison to to Kodak, Fuji appears to be a little bit cooler with notable greens and blues.

Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO
Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - If you want a color film with an ISO of 800, there are only a small number of options. For 35mm film stocks focused on consumers, this is the sole option.

Additionally, if you own a medium format camera, it is also available in 120 film format.

Kodak Gold 200
Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film that was launched in the mid-1980s. The film provides the look of snapshots from the 1980s and 90s. For the authentic experience take advantage of a flash.

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

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

Kodak Portra 400 - By far the most popular color negative film among photography enthusiasts online. Overexpose it by 1 or 2-stops to get the overall look the film is known for.

There are also ISO 160 and ISO 800 emulsions of Kodak Portra. Portra is also offered in rolls of 120, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.

With low costs and very good very popular for use in the Nikon N90.

The major draw for budget minded photographers and photography students is the very affordable cost. Even if you would not put yourself in those groups, it’s great to have relatively cheap rolls of film on hand for evaluating recently obtained used gear.

Kentmere ISO 400 Film
Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - It’s manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is good due to the fact that makes this the most broadly available B&W film of the 3.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action
Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Can be much easier to acquire in Europe as the film is produced by Foma Bohemia inside of the Czech Republic.

A fine film emulsion to use for your initial few attempts at analog photography or home developing. Also a good option if you’re attempting to try out a camera to be sure that it is completely operational.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400
Ultrafine eXtreme 400

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The best store to buy this film is straight from Ultrafine.

They make developer kits for film, so if you process film at home you may have previously had interactions with them.

The 2 most popular black and white 35mm film stocks are Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5+ 400. They do have a large amount of capabilities that are comparable that make them a favourite, while maintaining unique styles.

You can create very good results after pushing both emulsions 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 largest differences are that HP5 Plus has less contrast and is less expensive compared to Tri-X. Low amounts of contrast can be helpful because contrast can be changed when making a print in the darkroom or through digital post processing.

The film still looks outstanding 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 stock has a more distinctive look to it. To showcase the old-school grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be processed in Kodak D-76.

You will definitely notice more contrast with Tri-X 400. That’s helpful if it happens to be the style you want to have because it results in substantially less work when making a darkroom print or editing digitially.

Films that produce a positive image are commonly referred to as transparency, slide, or reversal film. That means a projector or lightbox can be used to show the slides.

Colors are not required to be inverted to be viewable, contrary to the more prevalent negative film stocks.

Slide films are perceived as hard to use due to the fact slide film has far less latitude and dynamic range when compared with negative film.

Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Slide Film
Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for fine grain and terrific skin tones. The colors won’t appear oversaturated. Ektachrome has been balanced for daylight.

Fujichrome Velvia 50
Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a unbelievably sharp color balanced for daylight film with high levels of contrast and saturation, giving pictures a unique appearance. Velvia has the top resolving power of any available slide film.

An ISO 100 emulsion is also available.

Fujichrome Provia 100F
Fujichrome Provia 100F

Fujichrome Provia 100F - Creates realistic and vibrant colors with moderate color saturation and contrast. It has ultrafine grain with a daylight color balance.

Foma Fomapan R100
Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white transparency film, claimed by Fomapan as having very fine grain, excellent resolving power, and elevated levels of contrast. It is also mentioned as a alternative for the long discontinued Agfa Scala reversal film.

Pro film stock have improved dynamic range, latitude, and are easier to push, which is the reason they are more expensive.

There’s a disparity in availability. Consumer film stocks can usually still be purchased from big-box stores and pharmacies in limited amounts. Pro film needs to be bought from a camera store or online retailer.

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

The higher the ISO of the film, the less light is needed to expose a film frame. This comes at the expense of bigger film grain.

ISO 100 and slower speed films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc) may be tough to shoot handheld with the N90. The might take longer will probably take longer than what you can handhold without resulting in motion blur unless you are shooting in full sun.

A fast lens, tripod, and/or flash can help you with longer exposure times. Using a high speed ISO 400 or ISO 800 film is likely to make the extra gear unnecessary.

The ISO selection knob is labeled as ASA on the Nikon N90. The switch to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film latitude is the amount of stops film can be overexposed while keeping tolerable photographs. Professional film stocks have a greater latitude along with a slightly higher cost.

Negative film has a larger amount of latitude when compared to transparency film. That is a reason why it is viewed as challenging to shoot.

Dynamic range represents the range between the darkest and brightest parts of a photograph that can be recorded. Sections of a photo that are not in this range will be seen as totally white overexposed highlights or completely black underexposed shadows.

A larger dynamic range is better because it tends to make shooting in a wide variety of lighting situations easier.

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

Slide film is thought to be difficult to use on account of the constrained dynamic range. An excellent time to give it a try would be during the golden hour.

35mm film that is in metal canisters is used by the Nikon N90. It can also be called 135 film, and it’s the most widely used type of film.

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

Changing the film you are working with will change the look of your photographs. This is one of the best things about shooting film.

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

Just about all new 35mm film manufactured currently has DX encoding on the canister. This allows electronically controlled cameras to auto detect and set the ISO of the canister put in the camera.

The ASA (ISO) on the Nikon N90 has to be selected manually. As a result DX-coding isn’t going to matter.

There are only a few possibilities for where to get 35mm film developed. For a more complete explanation of the possibilities read my article on Where to Develop Film.

WARNING: Pharmacies and big box stores no longer develop film at the store. They send film off-site to be processed by a 3rd party. Consequently, 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 your film to a mail-order lab to be developed and scanned is the least difficult solution if you are just getting started shooting film. If you consistently use film, this may be a disadvantage since it can get pricey.

There are a couple of activities that you are capable of doing to minimize the expenses involved in shooting film, given that you’re going through a moderate to high volume of film.

Investing in a bulk roll of 100’ of film and loading in into canisters yourself is certainly one of the common options to lower your costs.

A 100 foot roll can load around 18 canisters of film with 36 exposures each. Depending on the film you can expect to save 20%-30%.

Take into account that you’re only going to be able to buy 100’ rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black & white film is less difficult and more cost-effective to develop at home.

It is possible to process and digitize any film yourself. In fact it’s a very good option to lower your costs so you can use more film with your Nikon N90.

Black and white film is significantly less difficult to develop at home. Developer temperature and time are not as necessary to do correctly with black and white films as time and temperatures are for slide or color negative.