Best Film for the Pentax P30t

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: March 14, 2020
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35mm Film To Use

The best film to use in the Pentax P30t will be based on the lighting conditions, lens, and type of film you want to use.

Working with an ISO 400 35mm or higher speed will enable you to eliminate being weighed down with a flash or tripod.

If you have a need to shoot photos inside or anywhere there is low light, ensure that you have a fast lens.

Color Film

Consumer

Consumer 35mm Color Negative Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film can be used in a plethora of lighting conditions and is a very good pick for a 35mm color film. Using this film you should be able to handhold the P30t in lots of circumstances.

Expect pictures to appear slightly warm with amazing colors.

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Depending on where you are in the world, this film might be more widely available. It's a top-quality alternative to Kodak film.

Fujifilm photos tend to have cooler colors with notable greens and blues compared to Kodak.

Lomography 800 - If you want a color film with an ISO of 800, there are only a few possible choices. For film focused on consumers, this is the single available option.

In addition, if you own a medium format camera, it's also offered in 120 film format.

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film stock that was launched in the mid-1980s. Kodak Gold 200 has the look and feel of family snapshots from the 80s and 90s. Use an on-camera flash to get the "classic" film look.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to reveal the best the film has to offer. This will provide the great colors everyone loves Gold 200 for.

Professional

Kodak Portra 400 ISO Color Negative 35mm Film

Kodak Portra 400 - Among photography enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is undoubtedly the most frequently used color film emulsion. Overexpose the film by 1 or 2-stops to get the look and feel the film is known for.

Plus, ISO 800 and ISO 160 versions of Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also available.

Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H - The Fujifilm emulsion that is closest to Portra 400, but with "Fuji colors." Expect to see more vibrant greens and blues.

Sheets of 8x10 or 4x5 film are not produced, but 120 film is available.

Black and White Film

Consumer

With reasonable costs and more than acceptable quite popular for use in the Pentax P30t.

The major appeal for budget-minded photographers and photography students is the affordable price. Even if you would not put yourself in those groups, it's great to have relatively cheap rolls of 35 film around for evaluating recently delivered camera gear.

Consumer Black & White 35mm Film

Kentmere 400 - Manufactured by Harmon Technology, which is the owner of Ilford. This is notable due to the fact that makes this the most widely sold 35mm film of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It is less difficult to acquire in Europe as the film is produced out of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

An ideal film stock to choose for your first few attempts at analog photography or developing film at home. Also, a good choice if you're attempting to check out a camera to confirm that it's working properly.

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The cheapest store to get this film is directly from Ultrafine.

They sell developer kits for 35mm film, so if you develop film at home you might have previously interacted with them.

Professional

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

You can enjoy good quality photographs after pushing both film emulsions 2-stops. A roll of film can be used at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them quite versatile.

Box of Ilford HP5 Plus ISO 400 35mm Black & White Film

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two films, HP5 Plus is more affordable and has less contrast. Lower levels of contrast can be a benefit because of the fact that contrast can be added when making a print or through digital processing.

The film emulsion has subdued grain and still appears very good when pushed 2-stops.

Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm Film

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

Tri-X 400 unquestionably has a higher level of contrast. That is excellent if that is the overall look you are after because it means a great deal less work when through digital post-processing or making a print.

Reversal Film

Film stocks that create a positive image are commonly referred to as slide, transparency, or reversal film. That means a projector or lightbox can be used to view the pictures.

This is different from the more often used negative film stocks that result in pictures that require inverting the colors in order to be viewable.

Slide films are perceived as very hard to work with because slide film has substantially less dynamic range and latitude when compared to negative film.

Kodak Ektachrome 100 35mm Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for its great skin tones and fine grain. The colors do not be seen as oversaturated. Ektachrome has been color balanced for daylight.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is an extraordinarily sharp color balanced for daylight slide film with lots of contrast and saturation, giving photographs a special appearance. Velvia has the greatest resolving power of any available transparency film.

An ISO 100 emulsion is also available.

Fujifilm Provia 100F - Creates vivid and realistic colors with moderate contrast and color saturation. It is an ultra-fine grain film balanced for daylight.

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white slide film, reported by Fomapan as having very good resolving power, elevated levels of contrast, and very fine grain. It's also mentioned as a substitute for the long-discontinued Agfa Scala reversal film.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

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

There is a difference in availability. Consumer film emulsions can usually be bought in big-box stores and pharmacies in anemic amounts. Professional film needs to be purchased from an online retailer or specialized photography store.

Film ISO

The ISO refers to the speed of the film, which can also be thought of as the film's light sensitivity.

The higher the ISO of the film, the less light will be required to get an image. This comes at the tradeoff of noticeably increased film grain.

It may be quite challenging to handhold the P30t with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). They will probably take more time will take longer than what you are able to handhold without producing motion blur unless you're working in full sun.

A fast lens, tripod, and/or flash can help you with longer shutter speeds. Using a high-speed ISO 800 or ISO 400 film will help make the additional accessories unnecessary.

The ISO is electronically set by the Pentax P30t. This is a change from previous SLRs that have a physical ISO dial.

Latitude

Film latitude is the number of stops a film can be overexposed while still having acceptable images. Professional film emulsions have a larger latitude paired with a slightly increased price.

Transparency film has less latitude compared to negative film. That is a reason why it's deemed to be challenging to work with.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range is the difference between the darkest and brightest details of a photograph that can be captured. Sections of a photograph that don't fit in this range will be seen as completely white overexposed highlights or solid black underexposed shadows.

When shooting in a variety of quickly shifting lighting conditions, film stocks with a larger dynamic range are a superior choice.

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

Reversal film is viewed as difficult to use due to the small dynamic range. A fantastic time to give it a try is during the golden hour.

Film Type

35mm film that is sold in metal canisters is used by the Pentax P30t. In addition, it’s the most widely used film format and occasionally described as 135 film.

120 or 220 film, used with medium format cameras, is the only other film format you are likely to notice.

Switching the film stock you are working with will transform the look of your images. This is one of the terrific things about film.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

All commercially available 35mm film manufactured at this point has DX encoding. This allows cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO when the film is loaded into the camera.

The Pentax P30t will set the film ISO automatically. This is due to the fact that the camera will electronically read the DX-coding on film canisters.

Pentax P30t Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

You will find just a few possible choices for where to have 35mm film processed. For a more in-depth explanation of the possible choices go look at my article on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Big box stores and pharmacies don't process film locally. They send the film off to be processed by a separate company. As a result, you won't be given your developed 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 least difficult option and what I suggest using if you're just beginning to use film is to mail your film to a photo lab to be developed and scanned. A disadvantage of this is that it can become very expensive if you're consistently using film.

There are a few actions that you are able to do to limit the costs involved in using film, given that you are shooting a medium to high-volume of film.

Bulk Loading Film

Investing in a roll of 100 feet of film and manually loading it into canisters yourself is certainly one of the leading options to get a better price.

Once you have finished, you'll get around 18 canisters of 36 exposures. Expect to see discounts of 20-30% depending on the film.

Be aware that you're limited to 100-foot rolls of black & white film. This is because black & white film is quite a bit easier and less expensive to process at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

All film can be processed by hand. It's an intelligent way to spend less so you can shoot more film with your Pentax P30t.

Black & white film is by far the least difficult to process at home. Developer temperature and time are not as important to do correctly with black & white films as time and temperatures are for transparency or color negative.

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