Best Film for the Praktica Super TL
The best film to use in the Praktica Super TL is going to be based on the lens, lighting conditions, and if you want to use color or black & white.
Using an ISO 400 35mm or higher speed will allow you to skip being burdened with a flash and/or tripod.
If you want to shoot photographs indoors or anytime there is low light, make sure you have a fast lens. For lens lens recommendations read my blog post on the 5 Best Lenses for the Praktica Super TL.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film handles a plethora of lighting conditions well and is a good selection for a color 35mm film. The film is fast enough so that you should be able to handhold the Super TL in the majority of circumstances.
Expect pictures to appear slightly warm with wonderful skin tones.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - An alternative to Kodak that might have greater availability based on where you are in the world.
Fuji photos tend to have cooler colors with notable greens and blues, when compared to Kodak.
Lomography 800 - If you want a color 35mm film with an ISO of 800, there aren’t many options. This happens to be the only 35mm film emulsion targeted towards consumers.
Lomography 800 is sold in the 120 film format, for use in a medium format camera.
Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film that was launched in the mid-1980s. It offers the look of home snapshots from the 80s and 90s. For the genuine photography experience use an on-camera flash.
To really bring the best look out of the film, you will want to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will ensure that you get the exceptional colors everyone loves Kodak Gold 200 for.
Kodak Portra 400 - Among the film shooting enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is undoubtedly the most widely used color film. Overexpose Portra 400 by 1 or 2-stops to get the overall look the film is known for.
Portra is also for sale in ISO 160 and 800 versions. As well as in rolls of 120 film, 4x5 sheets, and 8x10 sheets.
Black and White Film
With affordable costs and more than acceptable quite popular for use in the Praktica Super TL.
The main appeal for budget minded photographers and photography students is the very affordable cost. Even if you would not put yourself in that group, it’s great to have comparatively cheap rolls of 35 film around for testing recently delivered used cameras.
Kentmere 400 - It is manufactured by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is good because that makes this the most commonly available film of the three.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Will be easier to purchase in Europe as the film is produced in the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.
An appropriate 35mm film to employ for your first few attempts at film photography or home developing. Also a good choice if you are trying out a camera to make sure that it is totally operational.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - The cheapest store to buy this film is directly from Ultrafine.
They have chemical developer kits for 35mm color film, so if you process film at home you may have previously done business with them.
Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400 are the two most commonly used black & white 35mm film stocks. While they both have distinctive styles, they do have quite a few attributes that are similar that makes them popular.
You can enjoy excellent photographs after pushing both film stocks 2-stops. A 35mm roll can be used at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them remarkably flexible.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two films, HP5 Plus is cheaper and has lower levels of contrast. Minimal amounts of contrast can be nice due to the fact contrast can be added when making a darkroom print or editing digitally.
The film emulsion has subtle grain and still appears good when pushed 2-stops.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film possesses a more distinctive style to it. To reveal the legendary grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it should be developed in Kodak D-76.
You’re going to unquestionably see higher levels of contrast with Tri-X 400. That’s fantastic if it happens to be the look and feel you need because it means substantially less work when printmaking or through digital processing.
Transparency film, also known as slide or reversal film, creates a positive image. That means a projector or lightbox can be used to show the photographs.
This is distinct from the more commonplace negative films that make photos that need inverting the colors so that they can be seen.
Slide films are perceived as hard to shoot because slide film has much less dynamic range and latitude than negative film.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. The colors won’t look oversaturated. Ektachrome has been color balanced for daylight.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Produces unique looking images that have noticeably elevated amounts of saturation and contrast. It is sharp with a daylight color balance. Velvia has the greatest resolving power of any available slide film.
There is also another speed with an ISO of 100.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Produces vivid and natural colors with moderate color saturation and contrast. It’s a daylight color balanced film with ultra fine grain.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white transparency film, reported by Fomapan as having excellent resolving power, increased contrast, and very fine grain. It is also billed as a alternative for the long discontinued Agfa Scala Film Stock.
Consumer vs Professional Film
Pro film stock have a greater dynamic range, are easier to push, and bigger latitude, this is why they cost more.
There is a disparity in supply. Consumer film stocks can frequently still be obtained from big-box stores and pharmacies in small amounts. Pro film emulsions has to be purchased from a online or photography store.
The ISO represents the film speed, which may also be regarded as the film’s sensitivity to light.
The less light there’s available to get an image, the higher the film’s ISO will be required. This comes at the expense of increased film grain.
ISO 100 and slower speed films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc) may be quite challenging to shoot handheld in the Super TL. This is because if you don’t have full sun, the exposure times will probably be longer than what you’re able to handhold without creating motion blur.
A tripod, flash, and/or fast lens are going to assist you with longer shutter speeds. The extra accessories might not be needed if you choose to use a faster ISO 800 or ISO 400 film.
As a quick note, the ISO selection knob is listed as ASA on the Praktica Super TL. The move to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Film latitude is the amount of stops film can be overexposed while keeping usable results. Pro film emulsions have a greater latitude to go along with a slightly higher cost.
Negative film has a greater amount of latitude when compared to reversal film. That is a reason why it is considered harder to shoot.
Dynamic range is the range between the brightest and darkest details of a photo that can be recorded. Parts of a photograph that are not in this range will be rendered as completely black underexposed shadows or completely white overexposed highlights.
A larger dynamic range is ideal since a larger range tends to make working in various lighting situations easier.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
Transparency film is viewed as challenging to shoot resulting from the constrained dynamic range. Golden hour is the prime time to shoot reversal.
35mm film that is in metal canisters is used by the Praktica Super TL. It can also be referred to as 135 film, and it’s the most widely used film format.
The only other film format you are probably going to notice is 120 or 220 film that is used in medium format cameras}.
Changing the film emulsion you are working with will change the look of your shots. This is an example of the marvelous things about shooting film.
DX Coded Film
All new 35mm film offered for sale today has a DX code. This makes it possible for electronically controlled cameras to auto detect and set the ISO of the canister loaded.
DX-coding doesn’t change anything for the Praktica Super TL because ISO must be selected manually with the ASA knob.
Praktica Super TL Resources
Where to Get Film Developed?
There are several possible choices for where to have film developed. For a more detailed explanation of the possibilities take a look at my article on Where to Develop Film.
WARNING: Big box stores and pharmacies have ended developing film locally. They send the film off-site to be processed by a 3rd party. This means that, you won’t get your negatives back.
- Develop Film at Home
- Use a Local Photography Lab
- Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
- Pharmacy or Big Box Store
The simplest option and the method I suggest doing if you are just starting to use film is to send off your film to a photo lab to be processed and scanned. A drawback to this is that it can become pricey if you are frequently shooting film.
So long as you are going through a moderate to high volume of film, there are two things that can be done to reduce your costs.
Bulk Loading Film
Among the ideal methods to save some money on film is to buy a roll of 100 feet of film and manually load canisters yourself.
Once you’ve finished, you’ll end up with around 18 canisters of 36 frames. Depending on the film you are likely to save 20%-30%.
Bear in mind that you are going to be limited to 100 foot rolls of black & white film. This is in part because black and white film is a lot easier and more cost-effective to develop yourself.
Home Developing and Scanning
Any film can be developed at home. It is a smart method to lower your costs so that you can use more film with your Praktica Super TL.
Black & white film is by far the least difficult to develop at home. Developer temperature and time are both not as critical to get correct with black & white film as temperatures and time are for color negative or slide film.