Best Film for the Praktica MTL 3

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: February 21, 2020
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35mm Film To Use

The best film to use in the Praktica MTL 3 will be based on the available light, lens, and if you want to use color or black & white.

To avoid having to haul around a tripod or flash, select a film that has an ISO of 400 or higher.

If you intend to capture images inside or anywhere there is low light, make sure that you have a fast lens.

The same recommendations also apply to the following variations of the camera:

  • Praktica MTL 5
  • Praktica MTL 5 B
  • Praktica MTL 50

Color Film

Consumer

Consumer 35mm Color Negative Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film works well in a multitude of lighting conditions and is a fantastic option for a color 35mm film. Kodak UltraMax 400 is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the MTL 3 in the vast majority of scenarios.

The pictures will have wonderful colors and lean towards the warm side.

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

When compared to Kodak, Fujifilm tends to be a bit cooler with notable blues and greens.

Lomography 800 - If you want a color film with an ISO of 800, there are not very many offerings. For 35mm film emulsions geared towards consumers, Lomography 800 is the single available option.

The emulsion is also offered in the 120 film format, to be used in a medium format camera.

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film stock that was released in the mid-1980s. Gold 200 offers the look and feel of snapshots from the 1980s and 90s. Use a flash to get the "classic" film look.

To bring the best look out of this film, you'll need to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will ensure that you get the attractive colors everyone loves the film for.

Professional

Kodak Portra 400 ISO Color Negative 35mm Film

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

Kodak Portra is also offered in ISO 160 and 800 emulsions. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also available to purchase.

Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H - The Fujifilm counterpart to Kodak Portra 400, but with a distinctive color appearance. Expect stronger blues and greens.

8x10 or 4x5 sheets of film aren't produced, but 120 is available.

Black and White Film

Consumer

These film emulsions have reasonable prices and very good quality, making them favorable to use in the Praktica MTL 3.

The primary draw for budget-minded photographers and photography students is the very low price. Even if you wouldn't put yourself in that group, it's good to have low-priced rolls of 35 film on hand for evaluating recently purchased used gear.

Consumer Black & White 35mm Film

Kentmere 400 - It's manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable considering that allows this to be the most commonly sold B&W film out of the three.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It's less difficult to purchase in Europe as the film is manufactured out of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A fine film stock to choose for your first few attempts at developing film at home or analog photography. Additionally, a good selection if you happen to be testing out a camera to make sure that it's totally operational.

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

They have developer kits for 35mm film, so if you process film at home you might have already done business with them.

Professional

Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 are the two most frequently used black & white 35mm films. While they both do have unique rendering, they possess a number of characteristics that are comparable that help makes them so well received.

You can create good quality photos after pushing both film emulsions 2-stops. This makes the film versatile as a roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600.

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

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two film emulsions, HP5 Plus has less contrast and is less expensive. Minimal amounts of contrast can be advantageous because of the fact that contrast can be changed when making a print in the darkroom or editing digitally.

The film stock has subdued grain and still looks outstanding when pushed 2-stops.

Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm Film

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

You're going to undoubtedly see higher levels of contrast with Tri-X. That is great if it happens to be the look and feel you will want because it involves substantially less work when printmaking or through digital post-processing.

Transparency Film

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

The colors do not need to be inverted to be seen, unlike the more often used negative film stocks.

Slide films are believed to be very hard to work with because slide film has much less dynamic range and latitude when compared to negative film.

Kodak Ektachrome 100 35mm Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - The film is known for fine grain and gorgeous skin tones. The colors don't look oversaturated. Ektachrome is daylight-balanced.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Provides distinctive looking shots that have greatly elevated amounts of contrast and saturation. It is sharp and color balanced for daylight. Velvia has the greatest resolving power of any available reversal film emulsion.

There is also another speed that is ISO 100.

Fujifilm Provia 100F - Delivers realistic and vibrant colors with moderate color saturation and contrast. It's a film balanced for daylight with an ultra-fine grain.

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white reversal film, noted by Fomapan as having high resolving power, fine grain, and increased contrast. It's also billed as a substitute for the long-discontinued Agfa Scala Film Stock.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

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

You should expect to see a significant difference in where it can be purchased. Consumer film stocks can commonly be found in big-box stores and pharmacies in small amounts. Pro film emulsions will need to be purchased from an online retailer or specialized photography store.

Film ISO

A film's light sensitivity is listed as the ISO.

The less light available to get an image, the bigger the film's ISO should be. Additionally, be prepared for larger film grain.

It is often difficult to handhold the MTL 3 with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). This is due to the fact that if you do not have full sun, the shutter speeds will most likely take more time than what you could handhold without causing motion blur.

A flash, tripod, and/or fast lens are going to assist you with longer shutter speeds. Using a high-speed ISO 400 or ISO 800 film is likely to make the additional accessories unnecessary.

The ISO selection knob is marked as ASA on the Praktica MTL 3. The move to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film Latitude

Film latitude is the amount of stops a film can be overexposed while keeping satisfactory results. Professional film stocks have a greater latitude along with a somewhat higher cost.

Slide film has a smaller amount of latitude than negative film. That is a reason why it is deemed to be challenging to shoot.

Dynamic Range

The difference between the brightest and darkest parts of an image is referred to as dynamic range. Areas of a photo that do not fit within this range will be rendered as totally white overexposed highlights or solid black underexposed shadows.

A bigger dynamic range is preferable since a bigger range tends to make shooting in variable lighting conditions easier.

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

Transparency film is viewed as hard to shoot resulting from the limited dynamic range. The golden hour is the ideal time to shoot reversal film.

Film Type

35mm film that is in metal canisters is used by the Praktica MTL 3. It’s also the most frequently used film format and sometimes called 135 film.

The only other film format you are going to encounter to come across is 120 or 220 film that is used with medium format cameras.

One of the excellent properties of film is that you can swap the film stock you work with and get a fresh look to your pictures.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

All new 35mm film distributed at this point has a DX code. This lets cameras to detect and set the ISO when the film canister is loaded into the camera.

DX-coding is not going to matter for the Praktica MTL 3 because ISO has to be manually dialed in with the ASA knob.

Praktica MTL 3 Resources

Where to Get Film Developed?

You will find limited possible choices for where to have film processed. For a more thorough discussion of the possibilities, go look at my article on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Film does not get processed locally at big box stores and pharmacies. They ship the film off to be processed by a separate company. As a result, you will not receive 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 lab to be processed and scanned is the simplest solution if you're just starting to use film. A disadvantage to this is that it ends up being very expensive if you're frequently using film.

Assuming that you're going through a medium to high-volume of film, there are a few activities that can be done to minimize your costs.

Bulk Loading Film

Ordering a roll of 100 feet of film and loading it into canisters by hand is considered one of the ideal ways to lower your costs.

All said and done, you will have typically around 18 rolls of 36 exposures. You should expect to save 20-30% based on your selection.

Be aware that you are only going to be able to get 100-foot rolls of black and white film. This is due to the fact black and white film is a lot easier and more affordable to process yourself.

Home Developing and Scanning

Any film can be processed at home. It's an intelligent method to cut costs so you can shoot more film with your Praktica MTL 3.

Black & white film is significantly less complicated to develop. Developer temperature and development times are not as critical to do correctly with black & white films as time and temperatures are for slide or color negative.

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