Contents

Best Film for the Olympus OM-2n

best-35mm-film.jpg
Best Olympus OM-2n 35mm Film

´╗┐The best film to use in your Olympus OM-2n should be based on your lens, lighting, and type of film you want to use.

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

Make sure that you have a fast lens if you want to take images in low light, conditions that are often encountered indoors. For lens recommendations have a look at my brief article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Olympus OM-2n.

Color Film

Consumer

/film/kodak-ultramax-400.jpg
Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film handles a variety of lighting conditions well and is a terrific pick for a color film. The film is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the OM-2n in almost all circumstances.

The images will have fantastic skin tones and is on the warm side.

/film/fujifilm-superia-x-tra-400.jpg
Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Based on your location, this film might be more widely available. It’s an excellent alternative to Kodak film.

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

/film/lomography-color-800.jpg
Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - If you want an ISO 800 color 35mm film, there are not very many possible choices. For 35mm film focused on consumers, Lomography 800 is the single option.

Lomography 800 is also sold in the 120 film format, for use with a medium format camera.

/film/kodak-gold-200.jpg
Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film that was launched in the mid-1980s. The film produces the look of home snapshots from the 80s and 90s. Use a flash to get the “nostalgic” look the film is known for.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to create the best the film has to offer. This will ensure that you get the wonderful colors people love Kodak Gold for.

Professional

/film/kodak-portra-400.jpg
Kodak Portra 400

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

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

Black and White Film

Consumer

These film stocks have reasonable costs and very good quality, making them very popular to try in the Olympus OM-2n.

The biggest attraction for budget minded photographers and photography students is the affordable cost. Even if you would not put yourself in those groups, it is great to have low-priced rolls of film around for trying out newly purchased used cameras.

/film/kentmere-400.jpg
Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - Made by Harmon Technology, which is also the parent company of Ilford. This is notable considering that makes this the most broadly available film of the three.

/film/fomapan-400-action.jpg
Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It will probably less difficult to acquire in Europe as the film is manufactured by Foma Bohemia in the Czech Republic.

A solid film stock to use for your first few attempts at home developing or film photography. Also a good choice if you are attempting to try out a camera to confirm that it is functioning correctly.

/film/ultrafine-xtreme-400.jpg
Ultrafine eXtreme 400

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the best price by purchasing it from Ultrafine.

If you develop film at home, you could have used developer produced by them to develop your film.

Professional

Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 are the 2 most popular black and white 35mm film emulsions. While they both do have distinctive styles, they possess numerous traits that are equivalent that makes them so popular.

You can obtain very good results after pushing both emulsions 2-stops. A 35mm roll can be used at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them quite versatile.

/film/ilford-hp5-plus-400.jpg
Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The largest differences are that HP5 Plus is less expensive and has less contrast in comparison to Tri-X. Minimal amounts of contrast can be good because contrast can be added when making a darkroom print or through digital post processing.

The film emulsion still looks very good when pushed 2-stops. It is also recognized as having subtle grain.

/film/kodak-tri-x-400.jpg
Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion possesses a stronger style to it. To reveal the traditional grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be processed in Kodak D-76.

The film emulsion definitely has more contrast. That’s ideal if it happens to be the look you would prefer because it involves considerably less work when during digital post processing or making a print in the darkroom.

Slide Film

Film stocks that produce a positive image are commonly referred to as slide, transparency, or reversal film. This means the photographs can be showcased with a projector or light box.

The colors are not required to be inverted to be viewed, contrary to the more widespread negative film stocks.

Slide films are viewed as hard to use because slide film has a lot less latitude and dynamic range when compared to negative film.

/film/kodak-ektachrome-e100.jpg
Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

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

/film/fujichrome-velvia-50.jpg
Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Delivers special looking pictures that have elevated levels of contrast and saturation. It is amazingly sharp daylight color balanced film emulsion. Velvia has the greatest resolving power of any increased increased.

An ISO 100 version is also offered.

/film/fujichrome-provia-100f.jpg
Fujichrome Provia 100F

Fujichrome Provia 100F - Offers vivid and realistic colors with medium color saturation and contrast. It has ultrafine grain with a daylight color balance.

/film/foma-fomapan-r100.jpg
Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white reversal film, reported by Fomapan as having higher contrast, excellent resolving power, and fine grain. It’s also mentioned as a replacement for the discontinued Agfa Scala slide film.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Professional film stocks cost more since they have a greater dynamic range, are easier to push, and larger latitude.

There will also be a difference in where film can be purchased. Consumer films can oftentimes be found in pharmacies and big-box stores in small amounts. Professional film should really be bought from a photography store or online retailer.

ISO

A film’s sensitivity to light is represented by the ISO.

The less light available to get an image, the bigger the film’s ISO will have to be. This comes at the expense of larger film grain.

It might be challenging to handhold the OM-2n with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). This is due to the fact that without full sun, the exposure times can take more time than what you could handhold without resulting in motion blur.

To get around this you’ll need to use a tripod, a fast lens, and/or a flash. Using a high speed ISO 400 or ISO 800 film can make the additional gear unnecessary.

As a quick note, the ISO knob is listed as ASA on the Olympus OM-2n. The switch to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Latitude

Latitude is the number of stops a film can be overexposed while having satisfactory photographs. Pro film emulsions have a greater latitude paired with a somewhat higher cost.

Negative film has more latitude compared to reversal film. That is a reason why it is considered difficult to work with.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is the difference between the darkest and brightest parts of an image that can be recorded. Parts of an image that are not in this range will be rendered as white overexposed highlights or completely black underexposed shadows.

When shooting in a wide variety or quickly changing lighting conditions, films with a larger dynamic range are a better choice.

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

Reversal film is viewed as tough to use because of the limited dynamic range. An ideal time to try it is during the golden hour.

Film Type

35mm film that comes in canisters is used by the Olympus OM-2n. It can also be described as 135 film, and it’s the best-selling type of film.

The only other film format you are probably going to notice is 120 or 220 film that is used in medium format cameras}.

Swapping the film stock you are working with will alter the look of your photos. This is one of the fantastic things about shooting film.

DX Coded Film

/film/dx-encoding-35mm-film.jpg
DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

All new 35mm film offered for sale today has DX encoding on the canister. This allows electronically controlled cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO of the canister loaded into the camera.

The ISO (ASA) on the Olympus OM-2n must be set manually. So DX-coding isn’t going to be of any use.

Olympus OM-2n Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

There are a few choices for where to have 35mm film processed. For a more comprehensive explanation of the options look at my article on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Pharmacies and big box stores no longer develop film at the store. They send the film off to be developed 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

The simplest choice and what I suggest doing if you are just getting started shooting film is to send off your film to a photo lab to be processed and scanned. A drawback to this is that it can become expensive if you are frequently using film.

So long as you are shooting a medium to high volume of film, there are a couple of activities that can be done to reduce your expenses.

Bulk Loading Film

Ordering a roll of 100 feet of film and loading in into canisters by hand is one of the best options to lower your expenses.

A 100 foot roll can fill up typically around 18 rolls of film with 36 exposures each. Depending on the film stock you will probably save 20%-30%.

Take into account that you are limited to 100 foot rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black and white film is less difficult and more cost-effective to develop yourself.

Home Developing and Scanning

You can process and scan any film yourself. It’s an intelligence option to cut costs so you can use more film with your Olympus OM-2n.

Black and white film is by far the easiest to process. Temperature and development times are not as vital to get correct with black & white film as they are for color negative or transparency film.