The best film to use in the Praktica Super TL will have to be based on the lens, available light, and type of film you want to use.
To avoid having to lug around a tripod or flash, purchase a 35mm film that has an ISO of 400 or higher.
If you would like to shoot photographs inside or anywhere there is low light, make sure you are using a fast lens.
The same recommendations also apply to the following variations of the camera:
- Praktica Super TL 2
- Praktica Super TL 3
Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film can be used in a large range of lighting conditions and is a terrific option for a color 35mm film. Using this film you should have the ability to handhold the Super TL in the majority of scenarios.
Expect photographs to appear a little bit warm with beautiful skin tones.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - An alternative to Kodak that might have greater availability based on what country you are in.
Fuji photographs tend to have cooler tones with notable blues and greens when compared to Kodak.
Lomography 800 - If you want a color film with an ISO of 800, there are not many choices. For 35mm film geared towards consumers, this is the single available choice.
The film is for sale in the 120 film format, for use in a medium format camera.
Kodak Gold 200 - An excellent means to achieve that mid-1980s through 90s feeling. For the authentic shooting experience have a flash.
To bring the ideal look out of the film, you'll want to over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will provide you with the spectacular colors people love Gold 200 for.
Kodak Portra 400 - Among enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is the most popular color negative film. Overexpose Portra 400 by 1 or 2-stops to get the look the film is highly regarded for.
Kodak Portra is also available for purchase in ISO 800 and 160 versions. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also easily found.
Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H - The Fujifilm counterpart to Portra, but with a distinctive color profile. Expect to see more vibrant blues and greens.
It's offered in rolls of 120, but not in sheets of 8x10 or 4x5.
Black and White Film
With affordable costs and more than acceptable favorable to try in the Praktica Super TL.
The biggest appeal for photography students and budget-minded photographers is the competitive price. Even if you don't put yourself in those groups, it is nice to have inexpensive rolls of 35 film readily available for evaluating newly acquired camera gear.
Kentmere 400 - Produced by Harmon Technology, which is the parent company of Ilford. This is good since that allows this to be the most commonly sold B&W film out of the 3.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - Can be less difficult to get in Europe as the film is produced inside of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.
A very good film stock to try for your initial few attempts at developing film at home or analog photography. Also, a good selection if you're testing out a camera to make sure that it's totally functional.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the cheapest price on this film by ordering it straight from Ultrafine.
They sell chemical developer kits for 35mm color film, so if you process film at home you could have previously done business with them.
Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5+ 400 are the 2 most popular black and white 35mm films. They do have a large amount of qualities that are similar that helps make them so well-liked while maintaining unique styles.
You can create professional photographs after pushing both film stocks 2-stops. A 35mm roll of film can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them remarkably versatile.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The most significant differences are that HP5 Plus has less contrast and is cheaper in comparison to Tri-X. Less contrast can be nice because of the fact that contrast can be changed when making a print or editing digitally.
The film still appears outstanding when pushed 2-stops. It is also notable for having subdued grain.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion has got a more distinctive aesthetic. To bring out the old-school grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it should be processed in Kodak D-76.
You're going to definitely see considerably more contrast with Tri-X 400. That is good if that is the look you would prefer because it involves a smaller amount of work when making a print in the darkroom or during digital processing.
Transparency film, also known as slide film or reversal film, provides a positive picture. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to view the slides.
This is unique from the more often used negative film stocks that result in photos that require inverting the colors so that they can be viewed.
Slide films have far less dynamic range and latitude compared to negative film and so they are perceived as tougher to use.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a film known for fine grain and excellent skin tones. The colors won't show up oversaturated. The film has a daylight color balance.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Offers unique looking pictures that have high levels of contrast and saturation. It is astonishingly sharp with a daylight color balance. Compared to all the transparency films offered, it has the greatest resolving power.
An ISO 100 speed is also out there.
Fujifilm Provia 100F - Delivers vivid and realistic colors with moderate contrast and color saturation. It's an ultra-fine grain film balanced for daylight.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white slide film, marketed by Fomapan as having excellent resolving power, increased levels of contrast, and very fine grain. It is also regarded as an alternative for the long-discontinued Agfa Scala film emulsion.
Consumer vs Professional Film
Professional film stock have greater latitude, are easier to push, and expanded dynamic range, which is the reason pro-film costs more.
You should expect a big difference in where film can be purchased. Consumer film stocks can often still be bought from big-box stores and pharmacies in small amounts. Professional quality film emulsions needs to be purchased from an online or camera store.
A film's sensitivity to light is listed as the ISO.
The less light there is available to expose an image, the bigger the film's ISO will need to be. Also, be prepared for increased film grain.
It might be challenging to handhold the Super TL with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). They will probably take more time than what you can handhold without leading to motion blur unless you are out in full sun.
A fast lens, tripod, and/or flash are going to assist you with longer shutter speeds. The extra gear might not be needed if you choose a faster ISO 800 or ISO 400 film.
The dial to select film speed is listed as ASA on the Praktica Super TL. The transition to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Film latitude is the range of stops a film can be overexposed while having usable photographs. Pro film emulsions have a larger latitude to go along with a somewhat increased cost.
Transparency film has a smaller amount of latitude than negative film. That is a reason it's considered difficult to shoot.
The range between the shadows and highlights parts of an image is described as dynamic range. Sections of a photograph that don't fit within this range will appear as totally white overexposed highlights or totally black underexposed shadows.
When working in a wide variety of quickly shifting lighting situations, films with a bigger dynamic range are a superior choice.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
Slide film is considered a challenge to use as a consequence of the limited dynamic range. The golden hour is the prime time to shoot reversal film.
35mm film that is sold in canisters is used by the Praktica Super TL. It can also be described as 135 film, and it's the most frequently used film format.
120 or 220 film, used with medium format cameras, is the only other film format you are probably going to notice.
Swapping the film you are using will alter the look of your pictures. This is one of the best things about shooting film.
DX Coded Film
All new 35mm film offered for sale at this point has DX encoding. This makes it possible for electronically controlled cameras to automatically detect and set the ISO of the film put in the camera.
DX-coding will not change anything for the Praktica Super TL because ISO is required to be manually set with the ASA knob.
Praktica Super TL Resources
Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?
There are a handful of possible choices for where to have film processed. For a more comprehensive discussion of the possible choices, read my article on Where to Develop Film.
WARNING: Film does not get developed locally at big box stores and pharmacies. They send film off to be processed by a separate company. This means that, you won't be given 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 method and the method I suggest doing if you're just starting to use film is to mail your film to a lab to be processed and scanned. A drawback to this is that it becomes really expensive if you are consistently shooting film.
So long as you're shooting a moderate to high-volume of film, there are a few activities that you are capable of doing to decrease your costs.
Bulk Loading Film
Certainly one of the common options to get a better price on film is to buy a roll of 100' of film and manually load it into canisters yourself.
A 100-foot bulk roll should fill up typically around 18 canisters of film containing 36 exposures each. You should expect to save 20-30% based on your choice.
Keep in mind that you're only going to be able to get bulk rolls of black and white film. This is in part because black and white film is easier and more affordable to process yourself.
Home Developing and Scanning
You can easily process and digitize film yourself. It's a very good option to reduce costs so that you can use more film with your Praktica Super TL.
Black & white film is significantly easier to develop. Chemical temperature and development times are not as important to get correct with black & white film as time and temperatures are for transparency or color negative.