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Best Film for the Pentax P30

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Best Pentax P30 35mm Film

´╗┐The best film to use in the Pentax P30 should depend on the lens, available light, and if you want to shoot color or black & white.

Buying an ISO 400 film or faster will let you skip being weighed down with a flash or tripod.

If you would like to capture images in low light, such as inside, ensure you have a fast lens. Have a look at my short article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Pentax P30 for ideas.

Color Film

Consumer

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Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film can be used in a wide variety of lighting conditions and is a good selection for a color film. Using Kodak UltraMax 400 you should be able to handhold the P30 in the majority of situations.

Expect images to appear a bit warm with gorgeous colors.

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Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - A different option than Kodak that may have far better availability based on where you are in the world.

In comparison to Kodak, Fujifilm tends to be a little cooler with notable blues and greens.

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Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - If you want a color film with an ISO of 800, there are only a small number of offerings. For film stocks geared towards consumers, Lomography 800 is the sole choice.

Lomography 800 can also be found in the 120 film format, for use in a medium format camera.

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Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film stock that debuted in the mid-1980s. Gold 200 provides the look of snapshots from the 1980s and 90s. For the authentic shooting experience use a flash.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to produce the best the film has to offer. This will provide the appealing colors everyone loves the film for.

Professional

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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 appearance the film is well known for.

Portra is also available for purchase in ISO 800 and ISO 160 emulsions. As well as in rolls of 120 film, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.

Black and White Film

Consumer

With low costs and very good favorable for use in the Pentax P30.

The primary appeal for photography students and budget minded photographers is the low cost. Even if you do not put yourself in those groups, it’s great to have economical rolls of film around for trying out newly delivered used cameras.

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Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - Manufactured by Harmon Technology, which is the parent company of Ilford. This is notable due to the fact that allows this to be the most commonly available B&W film out of the three.

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Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It will probably much easier to get in Europe as the film is manufactured in the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A good film stock to use for your initial few attempts at film photography or home developing. Also a good choice if you happen to be testing out a camera to guarantee that it is functioning correctly.

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Ultrafine eXtreme 400

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the cheapest price on this film by ordering it directly from Ultrafine.

They produce chemical developer kits for 35mm color film, so if you process film at home you may have previously done business with them.

Professional

Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 are the two most widely used black and white films. While they both possess individual styles, they do have quite a few qualities that are similar that help makes them so popular.

Both film stocks can be pushed 2 stops and while still delivering excellent photographs. A roll of film can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them very versatile.

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Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The main differences are that HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is more affordable compared to Tri-X. Low amounts of contrast can be advantageous because of the fact contrast can be added when making a print or through digital post processing.

The film stock still appears excellent when pushed 2-stops. It is also known for having subdued grain.

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Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion possesses a more distinctive style to it. To bring out the old-school grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be processed in D-76.

Tri-X 400 undoubtedly has greater contrast. That is great if it happens to be the style you would like because it involves less work when editing digitially or making a print in the darkroom.

Slide Film

Transparency film, also known as slide or reversal film, provides a positive picture. This means the slides can be displayed with a light box or projector.

This is different from the more often used negative film stocks that produce photos that need inverting the colors in order to be viewable.

Slide films have substantially less dynamic range and latitude when compared with negative film and so they are considered more difficult to shoot.

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Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a film known for wonderful skin tones and fine grain. There is not any hypersaturation of colors. It’s daylight balanced.

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Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Provides signature looking shots that have considerably increased levels of contrast and saturation. It is razor-sharp with a daylight color balance. Velvia has the greatest resolving power of any increased elevated.

An ISO 100 emulsion is also available for purchase.

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Fujichrome Provia 100F

Fujichrome Provia 100F - Produces vibrant and natural colors with moderate color saturation and contrast. It has a daylight color balance and ultra fine grain.

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Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white slide film, claimed by Fomapan as having high resolving power, fine grain, and higher levels of contrast. It is also mentioned as a substitute for the discontinued Agfa Scala reversal film.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Professional film stock have better dynamic range, latitude, and can more easily be pushed, that is why they cost more.

There will also be a difference in where rolls of film can be purchased. Consumer film stocks can oftentimes be seen in big-box stores and pharmacies in meager quantities. Pro film emulsions should really be purchased from a online retailer or specialized photography store.

ISO

A film’s sensitivity to light is listed as the ISO.

The higher the ISO, the less light will be necessary to expose a frame. This comes at the cost of more film grain.

It might be quite challenging to handhold the P30 with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 50, ISO 25, etc). This is due to the fact that if you don’t have full sun, the shutter speeds will be longer than what you are able to handhold without creating motion blur.

A flash, tripod, and/or fast lens are going to assist you with longer shutter speeds. Using a fast ISO 800 or ISO 400 film probably will make the additional gear not needed.

As a quick note, the ISO knob is listed as ASA on the Pentax P30. The transition to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) happened after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Latitude

Film latitude is the amount of stops film can be overexposed while having tolerable photographs. Pro films have a greater latitude along with a slightly increased cost.

Slide film has less latitude when compared to negative film. That is a reason it’s deemed to be difficult to work with.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is the difference between the darkest and brightest details of an image that can be captured. Areas of a photo that are not in this range will be rendered as white overexposed highlights or completely black underexposed shadows.

When working in a variety or quickly changing lighting conditions, film stocks with a bigger dynamic range are a better choice.

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

Transparency film is considered to be tough to use on account of the small dynamic range. Golden hour is the best time to use slide.

Film Type

35mm film that is in canisters is used by the Pentax P30. It can also be referred to as 135 film, and it’s the most often used film format.

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

One of the fantastic properties of film is that you can switch the film you use and get a fresh look to your shots.

DX Coded Film

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DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Just about all new 35mm film on the market today has DX encoding on the canister. This lets cameras to auto detect and set the ISO when the film is put in the camera.

The ISO (ASA) on the Pentax P30 needs to be manually selected. As a result DX-coding will not be of any use.

Pentax P30 Resources

Where to Get Film Developed?

There are limited possibilities for where to develop film. For a more detailed explanation of the options check my guide on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Film is not developed on site at big box stores and pharmacies. They mail the film off to be developed by a separate company. That is why, you won’t be given your 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 lab to be developed and scanned is the least difficult choice if you’re just beginning to shoot film. If you consistently use film, this may be a drawback since it can get really expensive.

As long as you’re going through a moderate to high volume of film, there are a few actions that can be done to lower your expenses.

Bulk Loading Film

Among the best 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.

Once you are done, you will end up getting roughly 18 rolls of 36 frames. Expect to save 20-30% depending on the film.

Bear in mind that you’re limited to 100 foot rolls of black & white film. This is because black & white film is easier and cheaper to process at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

Any film can be developed by hand. It is an excellent way to reduce costs so you can shoot more film with your Pentax P30.

Black & white film is by far the easiest to develop. Chemical temperature and development times are not as necessary to do correctly with black & white films as they are for slide or color negative.