Best Film for the Pentax P30

The best film to use in your Pentax P30 should be based on the lens, available light, and if you want to use color or black & white.

Using an ISO 400 film or higher speed will let you avoid having to carry around a flash and/or tripod.

Ensure you have a fast lens if you want to take images in low light, conditions that are frequently found indoors. For lens recommendations have a look at my brief article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Pentax P30.

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Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film
Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film can be used in a wide variety of lighting conditions and is a great choice for a color film. The film is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the P30 in just about all circumstances.

Expect photographs to appear a little bit warm with wonderful colors.

Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400
Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Depending on your location, this film can have greater availability. It is a great alternative to Kodak film.

When compared to Kodak, Fuji tends to be a little bit cooler with an emphasis on greens and blues.

Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO
Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - If you want a color 35mm film with an ISO of 800, there aren’t very many possible choices. This happens to be the only 35mm film emulsion focused on consumers.

Furthermore, if you have a medium format camera, it’s also offered in 120 film format.

Kodak Gold 200
Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - An outstanding means to get that mid-80s through 90s feeling. Use an on-camera flash to get the “authentic” look the film is known for.

To bring the ideal look out of this film, over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will help you achieve the fantastic colors everyone loves the film for.

Box of Kodak Portra 400 ISO 35mm film
Kodak Portra 400

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

There are also ISO 800 and ISO 160 versions of Portra. Portra is also offered in rolls of 120 film, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.

With affordable costs and very good very popular to be used in the Pentax P30.

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

Kentmere ISO 400 Film
Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - Produced by Harmon Technology, which is also the parent company of Ilford. This is good since that allows this to be the most commonly available film out of the 3.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action
Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Might be much easier to acquire in Europe as the film is produced by Foma Bohemia inside of the Czech Republic.

A suitable film to choose for your first few attempts at analog photography or home developing. Also a good option if you happen to be trying out a camera to make sure that it’s functioning correctly.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400
Ultrafine eXtreme 400

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The best store to get this film is straight from Ultrafine.

If you process color 35mm film at home, you could have used developer produced by them to process your film.

Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 are the two most widely used black & white films. While they both possess distinctive styles, they possess many characteristics in common that makes them so popular.

You can still get professional results after pushing both film stocks 2-stops. A 35mm roll of film can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them remarkably flexible.

Ilford HP5 Plus 400
Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The fundamental differences are that HP5 Plus is less expensive and has lower levels of contrast compared to Tri-X. Less contrast can be an advantage because of the fact contrast can be changed when making a darkroom print or during digital processing.

The film emulsion has subtle grain and still looks great when pushed 2-stops.

Kodak Tri-X 400
Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film features a stronger style to it. To create the legendary grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be processed in D-76.

You will certainly see greater contrast with Tri-X 400. That’s very good if it is the overall look you would like because it requires not as much work when editing digitially or making a darkroom print.

Film emulsions that make a positive image are often referred to as reversal, slide, or transparency film. This allows the pictures to be viewed with a light box or projector.

Colors do not need to be inverted to be viewed, as opposed to the more readily available negative film emulsions.

Slide films are thought to be tough to work with due to the fact slide film has substantially less latitude and dynamic range when compared to negative film.

Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Slide Film
Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a film known for wonderful skin tones and fine grain. The colors won’t be seen as oversaturated. Ektachrome has been color balanced for daylight.

Fujichrome Velvia 50
Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Creates beautiful looking photographs that have appreciably elevated amounts of contrast and saturation. It is sharp daylight balanced film. It has the top resolving power of any elevated elevated.

An ISO 100 emulsion is also offered.

Fujichrome Provia 100F
Fujichrome Provia 100F

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

Foma Fomapan R100
Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white slide film, marketed by Fomapan as having very good resolving power, elevated levels of contrast, and very fine grain. It’s also regarded as a alternative for the discontinued Agfa Scala slide film.

Pro film stock have better latitude, are easier to push, and increased dynamic range, which is the reason they are more expensive.

There is a big difference in business that sell rolls of film. Consumer films can more often than not still be purchased from pharmacies and big-box stores in small amounts. Professional quality film emulsions will need to be bought from a online or specialized photography store.

The ISO signifies the film speed, that can also be thought of as the film’s light sensitivity.

The higher the film’s ISO, the less light will be needed to capture a film frame. This comes at the expense of more film grain.

It can be a challenge to handhold the P30 with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc). This is because if you don’t have full sun, the shutter speeds might be longer than what you’re able to handhold without causing motion blur.

To avoid this you’ll need to use a fast lens, flash, and/or tripod. The extra equipment might not be needed if you choose a faster ISO 400 or ISO 800 film.

The ISO selection knob is labeled as ASA on the Pentax P30. The shift to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film latitude is the amount of stops film can be overexposed while producing acceptable quality. Pro film stocks have a greater latitude along with a slightly higher price.

Transparency film has less latitude when compared to negative film. That is a reason why it’s regarded as challenging to use.

The difference between the shadows and highlights parts of an image is known as dynamic range. Parts of a picture that fall out of this range will be rendered as solid white overexposed highlights or black underexposed shadows.

A bigger dynamic range is ideal due to the fact that it can make shooting in a variety of lighting situations easier.

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

Slide film is regarded as challenging to shoot as a consequence of the constrained dynamic range. An extremely good time to give it a try would be during the golden hour.

The Pentax P30 takes 35mm film that is sold in metal canisters. The film can also be described as 135 film, and it is the most frequently used type of film.

The only other film format you are going to encounter is 120 or 220 film that is used by medium format cameras}.

Changing the film you are using will change the look of your pictures. This is one of the wonderful things about film.

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister
DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Almost all commercially available 35mm film on the market at this time has a DX code. This allows cameras to detect and set the ISO when the film canister is loaded.

DX-coding is not going to change anything for the Pentax P30 because ISO needs to be manually selected with the ASA knob.

You will find limited possibilities for where to get 35mm film developed. For a more thorough discussion of the possible choices read my guide on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Pharmacies and big box stores have stopped processing film locally. They ship film away to be processed by a third party. As a result, 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

Shipping film to a mail-order photo lab to be processed and scanned is the most convenient solution if you are new to shooting film. If you frequently shoot film, this might be a disadvantage due to the fact that it can get really expensive.

There are a couple of activities that can be done to lower the costs involved in shooting film, provided that you’re shooting a moderate to high volume of film.

Considered one of the most well known options to save some money on film is to buy a roll of 100 feet of film and manually load it into canisters by hand.

A 100 foot bulk roll of film should fill around 18 canisters of film containing 36 frames each. Expect savings of 20-30% depending on your choice.

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

Any film can be processed at home. It’s a very good way to cut costs so you can shoot more film with your Pentax P30.

Black & white film is much simpler to develop. Chemical temperature and time are both not as critical to do correctly with black & white films as temperatures and time are for color negative or transparency film.