Best Film for the Pentax P30T
The best film to use in your Pentax P30T will be based on the lighting conditions, lens, and if you want to shoot color or black & white.
Getting an ISO 400 35mm or higher speed will let you avoid being weighed down with a tripod or flash.
Make sure that you have a fast lens if you want to shoot photographs in low light, conditions that are frequently encountered indoors. Have a look at my blog post on the 5 Best Lenses for the Pentax P30T for ideas.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film handles a wide variety of lighting conditions well and is a great choice for a 35mm color film. Using this film you should be able to handhold the P30T in the vast majority of scenarios.
Expect pictures to look slightly warm with pleasant skin tones.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - A different option than Kodak that might have far better availability depending on what country you are in.
Fuji images appear to have cooler tones with stronger blues and greens, compared to Kodak.
Lomography 800 - There are a small number of options if you want a color ISO 800 35mm film. For 35mm film targeted towards consumers, this is the single choice.
In addition, if you have a medium format camera, Lomography 800 is also for sale in 120 film format.
Kodak Gold 200 - A surefire means to obtain that mid-1980s through 90s look. For the classic experience have an on-camera flash.
To really bring the ideal look out of the film, make sure to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will provide the outstanding colors people love Gold 200 for.
Kodak Portra 400 - Among the enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is hands down the most frequently used color 35mm film emulsion. Overexpose the film by 1 or 2-stops to get the style the film is well known for.
Additionally, ISO 800 and 160 emulsions of Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 are also available.
Black and White Film
These film emulsions have affordable prices and excellent quality, making them very popular to use in the Pentax P30T.
The largest attraction for photography students and budget minded photographers is the affordable cost. Even if you do not put yourself in those groups, it is nice to have relatively cheap rolls of 35 film readily available for testing newly delivered used gear.
Kentmere 400 - Produced by Harmon Technology, which is also the parent company of Ilford. This is excellent since that makes this the most broadly available 35mm film of the 3.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Is likely to be less difficult to find in Europe as the film is produced inside of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.
A decent film emulsion to try for your first few attempts at home developing or film photography. Also a good selection if you are trying out a camera to guarantee that it is functioning correctly.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the best price by purchasing it directly from Ultrafine.
If you develop 35mm color film at home, you could have used chemicals sold by them to develop your film.
The two most widely used black & white film emulsions are Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5 Plus 400. They have a number of traits in common that help make them a favourite, while maintaining individual styles.
Both film emulsions can be pushed 1 or 2 stops and provide high quality images. A 35mm roll of film can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them very versatile.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two film stocks, HP5 Plus is less expensive and has less contrast. A lack of contrast can be nice because contrast can be increased when making a print or editing digitally.
The film emulsion has subtle grain and still appears very good when pushed 2-stops.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock possesses a more distinctive look to it. To achieve the traditional grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be developed in Kodak D-76.
You are going to unquestionably notice higher levels of contrast with Tri-X 400. That is helpful if it is the overall look you need because it results in less work when making a print in the darkroom or through digital processing.
Transparency film, also known as slide film or reversal film, results in a positive image. This allows the pictures to be showcased with a light box or projector.
The colors are not required to be inverted to be seen, as opposed to the more common negative film emulsions.
Slide films have much less dynamic range and latitude than negative films and so they are viewed as difficult to work with.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for fine grain and beautiful skin tones. The colors won’t appear oversaturated. It is daylight balanced.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a unbelievably sharp color balanced for daylight film with lots of contrast and saturation, giving images a special look. Out of all the reversal films on the market, it has the highest resolving power.
It is also available in an ISO 100 speed.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Creates natural and vivid colors with moderate contrast and color saturation. It has a daylight color balance and ultrafine grain.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white transparency film, noted by Fomapan as having higher contrast, fine grain, and high resolving power. It is also billed as a replacement for the long discontinued Agfa Scala reversal film.
Consumer vs Professional Film
Pro film stock are easier to push, have greater latitude, and dynamic range, this is why pro-film costs more.
You should expect a big difference in where 35mm rolls of film can be purchased. Consumer films can more often than not still be seen in big-box stores and pharmacies in meager amounts. Pro film has to be ordered from a photography store or online retailer.
The filml speed is listed as ISO, which can also be regarded as the film’s sensitivity to light.
The less light there is available to expose an image, the bigger the ISO needs to be. Furthermore, expect to see noticeably increased film grain.
ISO 100 and slower speed films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc) may be problematic to use handheld with the P30T. This is because if you do not have full sun, the exposure times will likely be longer than what you’re able to handhold without causing motion blur.
To stop motion blur you’ll need to use a fast lens, flash, and/or tripod. The additional gear might not be needed if you use a faster ISO 400 or ISO 800 film.
As a quick note, the ISO selection knob is marked as ASA on the Pentax P30T. The move to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Latitude is the amount of stops a film can be overexposed while keeping good images. Professional film stocks have a larger latitude along with a somewhat increased cost.
Negative film has more latitude than transparency film. That is a reason why it’s regarded as challenging to work with.
Dynamic range represents the difference between the highlights and shadows details of a photo that can be recorded. Areas of a photograph that do not fit in this range will appear as white overexposed highlights or totally black underexposed shadows.
A larger dynamic range is ideal due to the fact that it makes working in a wide variety of lighting situations easier.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
Slide film is considered a challenge to use on account of the limited dynamic range. Golden hour is the best time to use slide.
35mm film that is in metal canisters is used by the Pentax P30T. 35mm film can also be called 135 film, and it’s the most widely used film format.
The only other film format you are going to encounter is 120 or 220 film that is used with medium format cameras}.
Switching the film emulsion you are working with will change the look of your shots. This is an example of the terrific things about shooting film.
DX Coded Film
Most available 35mm film sold at this point has a DX code. This enables cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO when the film is put in the camera.
The ASA (ISO) on the Pentax P30T needs to be manually dialed in. Which means DX-coding doesn’t make a difference.
Pentax P30T Resources
Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?
There are a handful of options for where to get film developed. For a more thorough explanation of the choices see my guide on Where to Get Film Developed.
WARNING: Film doesn’t get processed locally at big box stores and pharmacies. They send the film off-site to be processed by a 3rd party. That is why, you won’t receive your negatives back.
- Develop Film at Home
- Use a Local Photography Lab
- Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
- Pharmacy or Big Box Store
The most convenient solution and the method I suggest doing if you are just getting started using film is to mail off your film to a lab to be developed and scanned. If you consistently use film, this can be a downside since it can get expensive.
There are a couple of actions that can be done to help reduce the expenses required to shoot film, on condition that you’re using a medium to high volume of film.
Bulk Loading Film
Among the most common methods to lower your costs on film is to buy a roll of 100’ of film and load canisters yourself.
A 100’ bulk roll of film should fill around 18 rolls of film containing 36 frames each. Expect to see discounts of 20-30% based on your selection.
Take into account that you’re only going to find 100’ rolls of black and white film. This is due to black & white film is much easier and less expensive to process yourself.
Home Developing and Scanning
It is possible to process and digitize any film yourself. It’s an intelligence option to spend less so that you can use more film with your Pentax P30T.
Black and white film is much easier to develop at home. Developer temperature and time are both not as important to do correctly with black & white films as temperatures and time are for slide or color negative.