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Best Film for the Praktica LTL

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Best Praktica LTL 35mm Film

´╗┐The best film to use in the Praktica LTL is going to depend on the lighting, lens, and type of film you want to use.

Buying an ISO 400 35mm or faster will enable you to skip needing to lug around a flash or tripod.

If you have a need to take photographs in low light, such as indoors, ensure that you are using a fast lens. Read my brief article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Praktica LTL for ideas.

Color Film

Consumer

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Kodak UltraMax 400 35mm Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - An excellent option for a wide range of lighting conditions. The film is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the LTL in the vast majority of scenarios.

Expect pictures to look a little warm with beautiful colors.

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Fujifilm Superia X-Tra 400

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - An alternative to Kodak that might have far better availability depending on where you are in the world.

Fujifilm pictures appear to have cooler colors with stronger greens and blues, compared to Kodak.

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Lomography Color Negative 800 ISO

Lomography 800 - You’re limited to a small number of options if you want a color ISO 800 film. For film stocks targeted towards consumers, Lomography 800 is the only choice.

Lomography 800 is also for sale in the 120 film format, for use in medium format cameras.

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Kodak Gold 200

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film stock that debuted in the mid-1980s. The film has the look and feel of home snapshots from the 1980s and 90s. Use a flash to get the “authentic” look the film is known for.

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

Professional

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Kodak Portra 400

Kodak Portra 400 - Among photography enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is by far the most frequently used color negative 35mm film. Overexpose the film by 1 or 2-stops to get the look and feel the film is known for.

There’s also ISO 160 and 800 emulsions of Kodak Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also available.

Black and White Film

Consumer

With affordable costs and more than acceptable quite popular for use in the Praktica LTL.

The primary draw for budget minded photographers and photography students is the affordable price. Even if you don’t put yourself in that group, it’s great to have affordable rolls of 35 film available for trying out recently obtained used gear.

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Kentmere 400

Kentmere 400 - Made by Harmon Technology, which is the owner of Ilford. This is excellent considering that allows this to be the most broadly sold 35mm film out of the three.

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Foma Fomapan 400 Action

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Can be easier to buy in Europe as the film is manufactured in the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A great film emulsion to choose for your initial couple of attempts at film photography or home developing. Also a good choice if you are testing out a camera to guarantee that it’s operating correctly.

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Ultrafine eXtreme 400

Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the best price by ordering it straight from Ultrafine.

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

Professional

Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the two best black and white films. They possess many qualities that are comparable that help make them so popular, while preserving different styles.

Both film emulsions can be pushed 2 stops and still produce good results. A roll of film can be used at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them quite flexible.

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Ilford HP5 Plus 400

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The most important differences are that HP5 Plus has less contrast and is less expensive when compared to Tri-X. Low amounts of contrast can be advantageous due to the fact contrast can be adjusted when making a darkroom print or through digital processing.

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

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Kodak Tri-X 400

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock provides a more distinctive style. To reveal the legendary grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it should be processed in D-76.

You’re going to unquestionably see higher levels of contrast with Tri-X 400. That is great if it happens to be the look and feel you would like because it means significantly less work when making a darkroom print or through digital processing.

Transparency Film

Films that create a positive image can be called reversal, transparency, or slide film. This means the photographs can be viewed with a projector or light box.

This is distinct from the more readily available negative films that result in images that need inverting the colors in order to be viewed.

Slide films are thought of hard to shoot because slide film has substantially less dynamic range and latitude when compared with negative film.

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Kodak Ektrachrome E100 Transparency Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for fine grain and stunning skin tones. The colors will not look oversaturated. Ektachrome has been color balanced for daylight.

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Fujichrome Velvia 50

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is a exceptionally sharp daylight color balanced reversal film with lots of saturation and contrast, giving photographs a beautiful rendering. When compared to all the reversal films available to buy, it has the best resolving power.

It is also available in an ISO 100 emulsion.

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Fujichrome Provia 100F

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

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Foma Fomapan R100

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white slide film, described by Fomapan as having excellent resolving power, increased contrast, and very fine grain. It is also billed as a replacement for the long discontinued Agfa Scala film emulsion.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Professional film stocks cost more because they can more easily be pushed, have increased latitude, and dynamic range.

There is a significant difference in business that sell it. Consumer film emulsions can frequently be bought from big-box stores and pharmacies in meager amounts. Professional level film emulsions will need to be bought from a specialized camera store or online retailer.

ISO

The filml speed is represented by ISO, that can also be thought of as the film’s light sensitivity.

The less light there’s available to get an image, the bigger the film’s ISO will need to be. Furthermore, be prepared for larger sized film grain.

ISO 100 and slower speed films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc) can be difficult to shoot handheld in the LTL. This is because if you don’t have full sun, the shutter speeds will most likely take more time than what you are able to handhold without resulting in motion blur.

To get around motion blur you’ll need to use a flash, fast lens, and/or tripod. Using a high speed ISO 800 or ISO 400 film often makes the extra equipment not needed.

As a quick note, the ISO selection knob is marked as ASA on the Praktica LTL. The move to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film Latitude

Latitude is the number of stops a film can be overexposed while keeping tolerable results. Professional film emulsions have a greater latitude to go along with a slightly higher price.

Slide film has a smaller amount of latitude compared to negative film. That is one of the reasons why it is viewed as difficult to use.

Dynamic Range

Dynamic range represents the difference between the shadows and highlights parts of an image that can be captured. Sections of a photo that don’t fit within this range will appear as solid black underexposed shadows or completely white overexposed highlights.

A larger dynamic range is advantageous given that a larger range makes working in a variety of lighting conditions easier.

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

Slide film is considered difficult to shoot due to the limited dynamic range. A fantastic time to give it a try would be during the golden hour.

Film Type

The Praktica LTL uses 35mm film that is sold in canisters. The film can also be referred to as 135 film, and it is the most commonly used film format.

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

One of the excellent things about film is that you can switch the film you use and get a different look to your shots.

DX Coded Film

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DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Most new 35mm film on the market currently has DX encoding. This will allow electronically controlled cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO of the canister loaded.

ISO (ASA) on the Praktica LTL needs to be selected manually. Which means DX-coding is not going to be of any use.

Praktica LTL Resources

Where to Get Film Developed?

There are several possibilities for where to process 35mm film. For a more detailed explanation of the options check my article on Where to Develop Film.

WARNING: Big box stores and pharmacies do not process film locally. They send the film off-site to be processed by a third party. Because of this, you won’t receive 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

Sending your film to a mail-order lab to be processed and scanned is the least difficult option if you are just starting to shoot film. A drawback to this is that it will get pricey if you’re regularly shooting film.

Assuming that you are shooting a medium to high volume of film, there are a couple of actions that you are able to do to decrease your costs.

Bulk Loading Film

Considered one of the best options to get a better price on film is to buy a bulk roll of 100 feet of film and load canisters yourself.

A 100’ bulk roll of film should fill up roughly 18 rolls of film containing 36 exposures each. Count on savings of 20-30% based on the film you pick.

Be aware that you are only going to find bulk rolls of black and white film. This is in part because black & white film is quite a bit easier and more cost-effective to process at home.

Home Developing and Scanning

All film can be developed at home. It’s a very good method to cut costs so you can use more film with your Praktica LTL.

Black & white film is by far the easiest to process yourself. Temperature and development times are not as essential to do correctly with black and white film as time and temperatures are for color negative or transparency film.