Best Film for the Olympus OM-1

Best Olympus OM-1 35mm Film

The best film to use in your Olympus OM-1 will be based on the lighting conditions, lens, and type of film you want to shoot.

Using an ISO 400 35mm or higher speed will help you avoid having to carry around a flash or tripod.

If you would like to capture pictures in low light, such as indoors, make sure you have a fast lens. Have a look at my guide on the 5 Best Lenses for the Olympus OM-1 for lens ideas.

Color Film


Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film handles a multitude of lighting conditions well and is a good selection for a 35mm color film. The film is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the OM-1 in most circumstances.

Expect photographs to look slightly warm with amazing skin tones.

Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Depending on where you are in the world, this film may have greater availability. It is a very good alternative to Kodak emulsions.

Fuji pictures appear to have cooler colors with notable blues and greens, when compared to Kodak.

Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - You’re limited to just a small number of choices if you want a color ISO 800 35mm film. For 35mm film stocks targeted towards consumers, this is the sole option.

Lomography 800 can also be purchased in the 120 film format, to be used with medium format cameras.

Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - A great option to achieve that mid-1980s through 90s look. For the genuine photography experience try an on-camera flash.

To really bring the ideal look out of the film, make sure to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will produce the spectacular colors everyone loves Kodak Gold for.


Kodak Portra 400

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

Portra is also available for purchase in ISO 160 and ISO 800 emulsions. As well as in rolls of 120 film, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.

Black and White Film


These film stocks have reasonable prices and good quality, making them very popular to be used in the Olympus OM-1.

The primary appeal for photography students and budget minded photographers is the reasonable cost. Even if you don’t put yourself in that group, it is good to have affordable rolls of 35 film on hand for evaluating recently purchased used gear.

Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - Produced by Harmon Technology, which is the parent company of Ilford. This is good considering that makes this the most commonly sold 35mm film of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Is likely to be less difficult to purchase in Europe as the film is manufactured by Foma Bohemia in the Czech Republic.

An ideal film to choose for your initial few attempts at home developing or analog photography. Also a good option if you happen to be looking to test out a camera to confirm that it is completely operational.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400

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

If you process film at home, you might have done that with chemicals produced by them.


The two most commonly used black & white film stocks are Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400. They possess numerous capabilities in common that make them a favourite, while preserving different styles.

You can still get solid images 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 - The major differences are that HP5 Plus has less contrast and is less expensive when compared to Tri-X. Minimal amounts of contrast can be an advantage because of the fact contrast can be increased when making a print in the darkroom or through digital processing.

The film still looks very good when pushed 2-stops. It is also known for having subtle grain.

Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock has a more distinctive aesthetic. To achieve the classic grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be developed in D-76.

Kodak Tri-X 400 certainly has greater contrast. That’s fantastic if it is the look and feel you are looking for because it results in less work when making a print or through digital post processing.

Slide Film

Slide film, also known as reversal film or transparency film, produces a positive image. That means a projector or lightbox can be used to exhibit the slides.

Colors are not required to be inverted to be seen, in contrast to the more commonly available negative film emulsions.

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

Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a film known for wonderful skin tones and fine grain. The colors don’t look oversaturated. The film has been balanced for daylight.

Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Provides distinctive looking pictures that have increased amounts of contrast and saturation. It is remarkably sharp with a daylight color balance. Velvia has the top resolving power of any increased elevated.

You can also get it in an ISO 100 emulsion.

Fujichrome Provia 100F

Fujichrome Provia 100F - Offers natural and vivid colors with moderate color saturation and contrast. It is a ultrafine grain film balanced for daylight.

Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white transparency film, reported by Fomapan as having high resolving power, elevated levels of contrast, and very fine grain. It’s also billed as a replacement for the long discontinued Agfa Scala transparency film.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Pro film stock have better latitude, are easier to push, and expanded dynamic range, which is why they cost more.

There is a disparity in business that sell rolls of film. Consumer films can commonly be obtained from big-box stores and pharmacies in anemic quantities. Professional film will need to be purchased from a online retailer or photography store.


A film’s light sensitivity is displayed by the ISO.

The bigger the ISO of the film, the less light will be required to expose an image. Additionally, be prepared to see bigger film grain.

It is often frustrating to handhold the OM-1 with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). The can take more time will take more time than what you’re able to handhold without producing motion blur unless you’re shooting in full sun.

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

The ISO knob is labeled as ASA on the Olympus OM-1. The shift to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film Latitude

Latitude is the amount of stops a film can be overexposed while maintaining good results. Pro films have a larger latitude along with a somewhat increased price.

Slide film has a smaller amount of latitude in comparison with negative film. That is one of the reasons why it is perceived as more challenging to shoot.

Dynamic Range

The range between the darkest and brightest parts of a photograph is described as dynamic range. Areas of a photograph that do not fit in this range will appear as completely white overexposed highlights or solid black underexposed shadows.

When shooting in a wide variety or quickly changing lighting situations, film stocks with a larger dynamic range are a superior choice.

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

The limited dynamic range of transparency film is an additional factor it is considered difficult to shoot. Golden hour is the best time to use reversal.

Film Type

35mm film that is sold in metal canisters is used by the Olympus OM-1. In addition, it’s the most frequently used film format and is on occasion described as 135 film.

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

One of the excellent properties of film is that you can change the film you work with and get a completely different look to your photographs.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Just about all available 35mm film for sale at this time has DX encoding on the canister. This makes it possible for electronically controlled cameras to auto detect and set the ISO when the film canister is loaded into the camera.

ISO (ASA) on the Olympus OM-1 is required to be manually dialed in. So DX-coding does not do anything.

Olympus OM-1 Resources

Where to Get Film Developed?

There are just a few choices for where to develop film. For a more in depth discussion of the possibilities go to my guide on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Pharmacies and big box stores do not process film on location. They ship the film away to be processed by a third party. Because of this, 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

The most straightforward choice and the method I would suggest using if you’re just getting started shooting film is to send off your film to a lab to be developed and scanned. If you consistently use film, this can be a drawback due to the fact that it can get very expensive.

As long as you’re using a medium to high volume of film, there are two activities that you are able to do to lower your costs.

Bulk Loading Film

Certainly one of the most well known options to get a better price on film is to buy a bulk roll of 100’ of film and load it into canisters yourself.

Once you’ve finished, you’ll end up making roughly 18 rolls of 36 frames each. You should expect to save 20-30% depending on your selection.

Be aware that you’re going to be limited to 100 foot rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black and white film is a lot easier and more cost-effective to develop at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

All film can be processed at home. It is a smart method to spend less so that you can use more film with your Olympus OM-1.

Black & white film is much simpler to develop at home. Chemical temperature and development times are not as necessary to do correctly with black & white film as time and temperatures are for color negative or slide film.