Best Film for the Olympus OM-2n

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: February 26, 2020
Outside the Shot participates in affiliate advertising programs. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases made through links on this site. I may also earn commissions from links to other online retailers. You can see the full disclosure here.
35mm Film To Use

The best film to use in the Olympus OM-2n will have to be based on the available light, lens, and type of film you want to use.

To prevent having to carry around a flash and/or tripod, choose a 35mm film that has an ISO of 400 or higher.

If you have a need to take images inside or anywhere there is low light, ensure you are using a fast lens.

Color Film

Consumer

Consumer 35mm Color Negative Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film can be used in a variety of lighting conditions and is a good option for a color film. Kodak UltraMax 400 is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the OM-2n in just about all circumstances.

Expect photographs to look slightly warm with outstanding skin tones.

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - An alternative to Kodak that might have far better availability based on where you are in the world.

Fujifilm photographs tend to have cooler colors with stronger blues and greens compared to Kodak.

Lomography 800 - There are just a few possibilities if you want a color ISO 800 film. For 35mm film emulsions focused on consumers, this is the sole available choice.

In addition, if you own a medium format camera, it's also sold in 120 film format.

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film emulsion that was launched in the mid-1980s. Gold 200 gives the look and feel of family snapshots from the 80s and 90s. Use an on-camera flash to get the "classic" look the film is known for.

To bring the best out of this film, over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will ensure that you get the exceptional colors everyone loves the film for.

Professional

Kodak Portra 400 ISO Color Negative 35mm Film

Kodak Portra 400 - Among the photography enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is definitely the top color film emulsion. Overexpose it by 1 or 2-stops to get the rendering the film is known for.

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

Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H - The Fujifilm emulsion that is most similar to Portra, but with a distinctive color appearance. Expect to see more vibrant blues and greens.

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

Black and White Film

Consumer

These film emulsions have reasonable costs and more than acceptable quality, making them favorable to use in the Olympus OM-2n.

The main draw for budget-minded photographers and photography students is the reasonable cost. Even if you do not put yourself in those groups, it's great to have low-priced rolls of 35 film on hand for testing newly delivered used gear.

Consumer Black & White 35mm Film

Kentmere 400 - It's manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is good because that allows this to be the most widely sold B&W film out of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It's less difficult to purchase in Europe as the film is manufactured inside of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A pretty good film stock to employ for your initial few attempts at home developing or analog photography. Additionally, a good option if you are attempting to test out a camera to make sure that it's totally operational.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the cheapest price by getting it from Ultrafine.

If you process color film yourself, you might have done that with chemicals produced by them to process your film.

Professional

The 2 most commonly used black and white 35mm film emulsions are Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400. They have a large amount of traits in common that helps make them popular while preserving individual looks.

You can obtain professional results after pushing both emulsions 2-stops. A roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them very versatile.

Box of Ilford HP5 Plus ISO 400 35mm Black & White Film

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The largest differences are that HP5 Plus has less contrast and is less expensive compared to Tri-X. A lack of contrast can be a benefit because of the fact that contrast can be added when making a darkroom print or editing digitally.

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

Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm Film

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film possesses a more distinctive look to it. To produce the traditional grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be processed in D-76.

The film emulsion unquestionably has greater contrast. That is great if it's the overall look you want to have because it involves less work when during digital processing or making a print in the darkroom.

Reversal Film

Transparency film, also known as reversal film or slide film, creates a positive picture. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to display the photos.

This is unique from the more commonly available negative films that result in pictures that need inverting the colors in order to be viewed.

Slide films have a lot less latitude and dynamic range compared to negative film and so they are believed to be more challenging to work with.

Kodak Ektachrome 100 35mm Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for fine grain and great skin tones. The colors will not appear oversaturated. It is daylight-balanced.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Produces special looking shots that have greatly increased levels of saturation and contrast. It is exceptionally sharp daylight balanced film emulsion. Matched against all the slide films available, it has the greatest resolving power.

An ISO 100 speed is also out there.

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

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white slide film, claimed by Fomapan as having fine grain, increased levels of contrast, and very good resolving power. It's also billed as a replacement for the discontinued Agfa Scala.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Pro films cost more due to the fact they have a greater dynamic range, are easier to push, and larger latitude.

There might be a disparity in businesses that sell rolls of film. Consumer film emulsions can quite often still be bought from big-box stores and pharmacies in anemic amounts. Pro film stocks should really be ordered from camera store or online retailer.

Film ISO

The ISO represents the film speed, that can also be regarded as the film's sensitivity to light.

The higher the ISO of the film, the less light will be necessary to properly expose a film frame. Additionally, be prepared for more film grain.

It is often quite challenging to handhold the OM-2n with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). This is due to the fact that without full sun, the exposure times will take more time than what you’re able to handhold without causing motion blur.

To get around this you'll need to use a fast lens, tripod, and/or flash. Using a fast ISO 400 or ISO 800 film often makes the extra equipment not needed.

As a quick note, the ISO knob is marked 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).

Latitude

Latitude is the amount of stops film can be overexposed while keeping good photographs. Professional film stocks have a greater latitude to go along with a somewhat higher cost.

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

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is the difference between the shadows and highlights details of a photo that can be captured. Sections of a photograph that fall out of this range will be seen as totally white overexposed highlights or black underexposed shadows.

A bigger dynamic range is advantageous due to the fact that a larger range makes shooting in varied lighting situations easier.

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

Transparency film is viewed as challenging to shoot on account of the constrained dynamic range. The golden hour is the ideal time to shoot reversal film.

Film Type

35mm film that is in metal canisters is used by the Olympus OM-2n. 35mm film can also be described as 135 film, and it is the best-selling film format.

120 or 220 film, used in medium format cameras, is the only other type of film you are probably going to come across.

Swapping the film emulsion you are working with will change the look of your shots. This is an example of the best things about using film.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Most available 35mm film for sale currently has DX encoding. This enables electronically controlled cameras to auto-detect and set the ISO when the film canister is loaded into the camera.

DX-coding isn't going to make a difference for the Olympus OM-2n because ISO is required to be dialed in manually with the ASA knob.

Olympus OM-2n Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

There are only a few possibilities for where to have film processed. For a more in-depth discussion of the possibilities, read my article on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Film doesn't get processed locally at big box stores and pharmacies. They mail the film off to be developed by a separate company. This means that, you won't be given 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 simplest solution and the method I suggest using if you are just getting started shooting film is to ship your film to a photo lab to be processed and scanned. If you consistently shoot film, this could be a drawback since it can get really expensive.

There are a few activities that you are able to do to reduce the costs involved in using film, on condition that you're using a moderate to high-volume of film.

Bulk Loading Film

One of the leading options to get a better price on film is to buy a bulk roll of 100 feet of film and manually load canisters by hand.

After you're done, you will end up with roughly 18 canisters of 36 frames each. Based on the film you can expect to save 20%-30%.

Take into account that you're only going to be able to buy rolls of black & white film. This is because black & white film is less difficult and more affordable to process at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

All film can be processed at home. It's a very good way to spend less so that you can use more film with your Olympus OM-2n.

Black and white film is significantly less complicated to develop yourself. Developer temperature and time are both not as imperative to do correctly with black and white films as temperatures and time are for transparency or color negative.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyright ©2020 Midwest Redistributors LLC