Best Film for the Olympus OM-2n
The best film to use in your Olympus OM-2n will have to be based on the available light, your lens, and if you want to shoot color or black & white.
To prevent having to carry around a flash or tripod, go with a 35mm film that has an ISO of 400 or faster.
Make sure you have a fast lens if you want to shoot images in low light, conditions that are commonly found indoors. Go read my blog post on the 5 Best Lenses for the Olympus OM-2n for lens ideas.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - An excellent choice for a wide range of lighting conditions. Using this film you should have the ability to handhold the OM-2n in lots of scenarios.
Expect photographs to look a little warm with wonderful skin tones.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Based on your location, this film may have greater availability. It is a great alternative to Kodak emulsions.
In comparison to to Kodak, Fujifilm tends to be a bit cooler with stronger blues and greens.
Lomography 800 - There are only a small number of offerings if you want an ISO 800 speed color 35mm film. For 35mm film emulsions focused on consumers, this is the sole choice.
The emulsion is offered in the 120 film format, to be used in a medium format camera.
Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film stock that debuted in the mid-1980s. Gold 200 gives the look and feel of family snapshots from the 1980s and 90s. Use a flash to get the “nostalgic” film look.
To bring the ideal look out of the film, over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will give you the fantastic colors everyone loves Kodak Gold 200 for.
Kodak Portra 400 - By far the most popular color negative film among film enthusiasts online. Overexpose it by 1 or 2-stops to get the rendering the film is highly regarded for.
There’s also ISO 160 and ISO 800 versions of Kodak Portra. It is also offered in rolls of 120 film, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.
With low prices and more than acceptable quite popular to try in the Olympus OM-2n.
The main appeal for budget minded photographers and photography students is the very low price. Even if you would not put yourself in those groups, it’s good to have low-priced rolls of 35 film readily available for trying out recently delivered used gear.
Kentmere 400 - It’s produced by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is good considering that makes this the most widely sold B&W film of the 3.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It is much easier to acquire in Europe as the film is produced in the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.
A fine film emulsion to choose for your first few attempts at film photography or home developing. Also a good option if you’re testing out a camera to be sure that it is operating properly.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the lowest price by getting it from Ultrafine.
If you process color film at home, you could have used developer sold by them to process your film.
Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 are the 2 top selling black & white 35mm film stocks. While they both possess unique appearances, they do have numerous characteristics that are equivalent that help makes them a favorite.
Both emulsions can be pushed 1 or 2 stops and while still generating excellent photos. This makes the film versatile as a roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The major differences are that HP5 Plus has less contrast and is less expensive compared to Tri-X. Less contrast can be nice because of the fact contrast can be adjusted when making a print or editing digitally.
The film stock still looks great when pushed 2-stops. It is also known for having subtle grain.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock has got a stronger look. To produce the old-school grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it should be developed in Kodak D-76.
Kodak Tri-X 400 undeniably has higher levels of contrast. That’s beneficial if it’s the overall look you will want because it means significantly less work when through digital processing or making a darkroom print.
Slide film, also known as transparency film or reversal film, provides a positive picture. This allows the pictures to be exhibited with a projector or light box.
This is distinct from the more readily available negative film stocks that produce photographs that need inverting the colors for the image to be viewable.
Slide films are regarded as very difficult to use because slide film has far less dynamic range and latitude than negative film.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. The colors will not look oversaturated. Ektachrome is daylight balanced.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Produces distinct looking photos that have high levels of contrast and saturation. It is sharp and balanced for daylight. Velvia has the top resolving power of any elevated increased.
An ISO 100 version is also offered.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Produces realistic and vivid colors with medium color saturation and contrast. It’s a daylight color balanced film with ultrafine grain.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white reversal film, marketed by Fomapan as having high resolving power, increased contrast, and fine grain. It’s also mentioned as a replacement for the long discontinued Agfa Scala Film Stock.
Professional film stock have a greater dynamic range, are easier to push, and larger latitude, that is why they are more expensive.
You should be prepared for a difference in where film can be purchased. Consumer film stocks can more often than not be obtained from big-box stores and pharmacies in small quantities. Pro film will need to be bought from a photography store or online.
The speed of the film is listed as ISO, which may also be regarded as the film’s light sensitivity.
The bigger the film’s ISO, the less light will be necessary to get an image. Also, expect to see increased film grain.
It is often quite challenging to handhold the OM-2n with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc). This is due to the fact that if you don’t have full sun, the exposure times can take longer than what you could handhold without causing motion blur.
To prevent motion blur you will need to use a fast lens, flash, and/or tripod. Using a fast ISO 400 or ISO 800 film will help make the extra accessories not needed.
The ISO knob is labeled as ASA on the Olympus OM-2n. The transition to using ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Film latitude is the amount of stops a film can be overexposed while keeping good images. Professional films have a larger latitude paired with a somewhat increased price.
Negative film has a greater amount of latitude than transparency film. That is a reason it’s perceived as more challenging to work with.
The difference between the brightest and darkest details of a photograph is known as dynamic range. Parts of a picture that fall out of this range will be seen as totally white overexposed highlights or totally black underexposed shadows.
A larger dynamic range is preferable because a bigger range can make working in a wide variety of lighting conditions easier.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
Slide film is considered hard to shoot resulting from the small dynamic range. Golden hour is the prime time to shoot slide.
35mm film that comes in canisters is used by the Olympus OM-2n. 35mm film can also be described as 135 film, and it is the most commonly used film format.
The only other type of film you are likely to encounter is 120 or 220 film that is used with medium format cameras}.
One of the wonderful things about film is that you can switch the film you use and get a different look to your images.
Almost all new 35mm film on the market currently has DX encoding. This enables electronically controlled cameras to detect and set the ISO of the film canister loaded into the camera.
DX-coding doesn’t matter for the Olympus OM-2n because ISO has to be manually set with the ASA knob.
There are just a few possible choices for where to process film. For a more thorough explanation of the possible choices check out my article on Where to Develop Film.
WARNING: Pharmacies and big box stores do not develop film on location. They send the film off to be processed by a 3rd party. As a result, you will not be given your processed negatives back.
- Develop Film at Home
- Use a Local Photography Lab
- Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
- Pharmacy or Big Box Store
The most convenient method and what I would suggest doing if you’re just getting started shooting film is to mail off your film to a lab to be developed and scanned. A disadvantage to this is that it can become really expensive if you’re regularly using film.
There are a couple of things that you can do to greatly reduce the expenses required to use film, provided that you are shooting a moderate to high volume of film.
Getting a bulk roll of 100 feet of film and manually loading in into canisters yourself is considered one of the best options to lower your costs.
Once you’ve finished, you’ll find yourself with approximately 18 rolls of 36 exposures. Expect to save 20-30% depending on the film you choose.
Take into account that you’re only going to be able to get bulk rolls of black and white film. This is because black & white film is easier and cheaper to process yourself.
All film can be developed at home. It’s a smart way to reduce costs so that you can use more film with your Olympus OM-2n.
Black & white film is significantly simpler to develop. Developer temperature and development times are both not as imperative to get correct with black & white film as they are for color negative or slide film.