Best Film for the Pentacon Super
The best film to use in the Pentacon Super will have to depend on your lens, available light, and type of film you want to use.
To avoid having to lug around a flash or tripod, get a 35mm film that has an ISO of 400 or faster.
If you want to be able to to capture pictures in low light, such as inside, make sure that you are using a fast lens. Check out my post on the 5 Best Lenses for the Pentacon Super for suggestions.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film works well in a plethora of lighting conditions and is a very good choice for a 35mm color film. The film is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the Super in almost all situations.
The images will have wonderful colors and leans towards the warm side.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - A different option than Kodak that could have better availability depending on what country you are in.
In comparison to to Kodak, Fujifilm tends to be a bit cooler with an emphasis on greens and blues.
Lomography 800 - You’re limited to just a few offerings if you want a color ISO 800 film. This happens to be the only film stock targeted towards consumers.
The film can also be found in the 120 film format, to be used with a medium format camera.
Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film stock that started production in the mid-1980s. It provides the look and feel of home snapshots from the 1980s and 90s. Use an on-camera flash to get the “authentic” look.
To really bring the ideal look out of the film, you’ll have to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will provide the beautiful colors people love the film for.
Kodak Portra 400 - Among the photography enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is the most frequently used color film. Overexpose it by 1 or 2-stops to get the color the film is highly regarded for.
Plus, ISO 800 and 160 versions of Kodak Portra. As well as in rolls of 120 film, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.
These film emulsions have reasonable prices and more than acceptable quality, making them very popular to be used in the Pentacon Super.
The biggest draw for photography students and budget minded photographers is the very low cost. Even if you do not put yourself in that group, it is good to have relatively cheap rolls of 35 film available for testing newly delivered used cameras.
Kentmere 400 - It’s made by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is great considering that makes this the most widely sold film of the 3.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Might be less difficult to get in Europe as the film is made by Foma Bohemia inside of the Czech Republic.
An appropriate 35mm film to employ for your initial few attempts at home developing or film photography. Also a good selection if you happen to be attempting to test out a camera to confirm that it is working properly.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the cheapest price on this film by buying it directly from Ultrafine.
If you develop color film at home, you might have done that with chemicals produced by them to develop your film.
Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 are the 2 most commonly used black & white film stocks. While they both do have unique looks, they have a large amount of capabilities that are similar that makes them popular.
Both emulsions can be pushed 1 or 2 stops and while still delivering very good photographs. A roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them remarkably useful.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two film stocks, HP5 Plus is cheaper and has less contrast. Minimal contrast can be an advantage due to the fact contrast can be changed when making a print in the darkroom or during digital processing.
The film emulsion has subdued grain and still looks excellent when pushed 2-stops.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film provides a stronger look to it. To achieve the classic grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be processed in Kodak D-76.
Kodak Tri-X certainly has far more contrast. That’s awesome if that is the look you would like because it results in considerably less work when editing digitially or making a print in the darkroom.
Reversal film, also known as transparency or slide film, provides a positive image. This means the photos can be viewed with a light box or projector.
This is unique from the more widespread negative film emulsions that make photos that need inverting the colors so that they can be viewed.
Slide films are viewed as very difficult to use because slide film has a smaller amount of dynamic range and latitude when compared to negative film.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. There’s virtually no hypersaturation of colors. It’s daylight balanced.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a very sharp daylight color balanced reversal film with high levels of saturation and contrast, giving shots a beautiful appearance. When compared with all the slide films available for purchase, it has the highest resolving power.
There is another version with an ISO of 100.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Offers vivid and realistic colors with moderate color saturation and contrast. It has ultrafine grain with a daylight color balance.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white transparency film, marketed by Fomapan as having very good resolving power, higher contrast, and very fine grain. It’s also regarded as a alternative for the long discontinued Agfa Scala reversal film.
Pro film stock have a greater dynamic range, are easier to push, and increased latitude, that is why pro-film costs more.
There is a difference in availability. Consumer films can quite often be bought in pharmacies and big-box stores in meager amounts. Professional level film needs to be ordered from a online retailer or camera store.
A film’s light sensitivity is represented by the ISO.
The less light available to get an image, the higher the ISO of the film needs to be. Also, expect to see increased film grain.
ISO 100 and slower speed films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc) might be frustrating to shoot handheld with the Super. This is because if you don’t have full sun, the exposure times are going to be longer than what you are able to handhold without creating motion blur.
A fast lens, flash, and/or tripod are going to assist you with longer shutter speeds. Using a high speed ISO 800 or ISO 400 film often makes the extra accessories unnecessary.
As a quick note, the ISO knob is marked as ASA on the Pentacon Super. The switch to using ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Latitude is the range of stops film can be overexposed while still keeping adequate results. Pro film stocks have a larger latitude to go along with a slightly higher cost.
Slide film has a smaller amount of latitude in comparison with negative film. That is a reason it’s regarded as challenging to use.
The range between the darkest and brightest details of a photo is referred to as dynamic range. Areas of a picture that fall out of this range will be seen as white overexposed highlights or solid black underexposed shadows.
When shooting in a variety or quickly changing lighting conditions, films with a larger dynamic range is better.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
Slide film is considered to be a challenge to use due to the small dynamic range. Golden hour is the best time to shoot slide.
35mm film that comes in canisters is used by the Pentacon Super. It is also the most popular type of film and in some instances is described as 135 film.
120 or 220 film, used with medium format cameras, is the only other film format you are going to encounter}.
One of the terrific things about film is that you can switch the film stock you work with and get a new look to your pictures.
Almost all available 35mm film on the market at this time has a DX code. This makes it possible for cameras to auto detect and set the ISO of the film put in the camera.
DX-coding won’t make a difference for the Pentacon Super because ISO has to be manually selected with the ASA knob.
You will find several possible choices for where to get film processed. For a more comprehensive explanation of the possible choices look at my guide on Where to Get Film Developed.
WARNING: Film does not get processed locally at pharmacies and big box stores. They ship the film off to be processed by a 3rd party. As a result, you won’t receive your processed negatives back.
- Develop Film at Home
- Use a Local Photography Lab
- Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
- Pharmacy or Big Box Store
Sending film to a mail-order lab to be developed and scanned is the simplest choice if you’re new to using film. A downside to this is that it can become really expensive if you regularly shoot film.
There are a couple of actions that you are able to do to decrease the costs required to shoot film, on condition that you are going through a medium to high volume of film.
Considered one of the best options to save money on film is to buy a roll of 100’ of film and load canisters yourself.
A 100’ roll of film will fill up around 18 canisters of film containing 36 exposures. Expect to save 20-30% depending on your selection.
Take into account that you’re limited to 100 foot rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black & white film is a lot easier and less expensive to develop yourself.
You have the ability to develop and scan any film at home. In fact it is a great way to cut costs so you can shoot more film with your Pentacon Super.
Black and white film is by far the least complicated to process yourself. Developer temperature and development times are both not as essential to get correct with black & white film as they are for transparency or color negative.