Sears TLS 500 MX Recommended Beginner Film

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: March 5, 2020
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35mm Film To Use

The best film to use in the Sears TLS 500 MX is going to be based on the lighting conditions, lens, and type of film you want to use.

Choosing an ISO 400 35mm or higher speed will allow you to avoid needing to lug around a flash or tripod.

If you have a need to take photos in low light, such as inside, ensure you are using a fast lens.

Color Film


Consumer 35mm Color Negative Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - The film handles a large range of lighting conditions well and is a very good option for a color 35mm film. Using this film you should have the ability to handhold the TLS 500 MX in the vast majority of scenarios.

The photos will have terrific skin tones and tend to be on the warm side.

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - Based on your location, this film can be more widely available. It is a top-quality alternative to Kodak emulsions.

Compared to Kodak, Fujifilm appears to be a little bit cooler with notable blues and greens.

Lomography 800 - You're limited to only a small number of offerings if you want a color ISO 800 35mm film. This is literally the only 35mm film stock focused on consumers.

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

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film stock that started production in the mid-1980s. Gold 200 provides the look and feel of snapshots from the 80s and 90s. For the genuine photography experience have a flash.

To bring the best out of this film, over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops. This will produce the idyllic colors people love Kodak Gold for.


Kodak Portra 400 ISO Color Negative 35mm Film

Kodak Portra 400 - Among the film shooting enthusiasts online, Portra 400 is definitely the most widely used color negative 35mm film. Overexpose Portra 400 by 1 or 2-stops to get the appearance the film is well-known for.

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

Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H - The Fujifilm equivalent to Portra, but with a distinctive color appearance. Expect to see more vibrant greens and blues.

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

Black and White Film


These film stocks have affordable costs and good quality, making them favorable to try in the Sears TLS 500 MX.

The major attraction for photography students and budget-minded photographers is the very low cost. Even if you wouldn't put yourself in those groups, it's great to have low-cost rolls of 35 film on hand for trying out recently delivered used cameras.

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 - Might be less difficult to buy in Europe as the film is produced by Foma Bohemia inside of the Czech Republic.

A pretty good film stock to employ for your first couple of attempts at analog photography or developing film at home. Additionally, a good selection if you are attempting to try out a camera to ensure that it is fully functional.

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

They produce developer kits for color film, so if you process film at home you might have previously interacted with them.


The 2 best black and white film stocks are Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5+ 400. They possess numerous attributes that are equivalent that helps make them so well received while keeping distinctive rendering.

Both films can be pushed 2 stops and still deliver good photographs. 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 - The major differences are that HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is less expensive when compared to Tri-X. Minimal amounts of contrast can be advantageous due to the fact that contrast can be changed when making a print or through digital post-processing.

The film stock still appears very good when pushed 2-stops. It is also known for having subdued grain.

Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm Film

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film stock features a more distinctive aesthetic. To create the classic grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be processed in Kodak D-76.

You're going to certainly notice considerably more contrast with Kodak Tri-X 400. That's perfect if that is the overall look you need because it requires less work when through digital processing or printmaking.

Reversal Film

Film emulsions that produce a positive image are typically referred to as slide, reversal, or transparency film. That means a lightbox or projector can be used to view the photographs.

The colors are not required to be inverted to be viewed, in contrast to the more prevalent negative film emulsions.

Slide films have far less latitude and dynamic range when compared to negative films and so they are viewed as tougher to use.

Kodak Ektachrome 100 35mm Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a film known for fine grain and great skin tones. The colors don't seem oversaturated. Ektachrome has a daylight color balance.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Delivers beautiful looking photographs that have greatly elevated amounts of contrast and saturation. It is sharp and color balanced for daylight. Compared to all the reversal films available for purchase, it has the greatest resolving power.

An ISO 100 speed is also on the market.

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

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white slide film, noted by Fomapan as having very good resolving power, fine grain, and increased levels of contrast. It is also billed as a substitute for the discontinued Agfa Scala Film Stock.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Pro film stock have greater latitude, are easier to push, and bigger dynamic range, which is the reason they will cost you more.

There might be a difference in supply. Consumer film stocks can usually be obtained from big-box stores and pharmacies in limited quantities. Professional level film should be ordered from an online or camera store.

Film ISO

Film speed is represented by ISO, which may also be regarded as the film's light sensitivity.

The bigger the ISO of the film, the less light is necessary to get a film frame. Additionally, be prepared for larger film grain.

It is often difficult to handhold the TLS 500 MX with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). They will probably take longer than what you are able to handhold without resulting in motion blur unless you're out in full sun.

A tripod, flash, and/or fast lens can assist you with longer exposure times. The additional gear might not be needed if you decide to use a higher speed ISO 800 or ISO 400 film.

As a quick note, the ISO dial is listed as ASA on the Sears TLS 500 MX. The change to using ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) happened after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film Latitude

Film latitude is the number of stops film can be overexposed while still having usable images. Pro films have a greater latitude to go along with a slightly increased cost.

Negative film has more latitude than reversal film. That is a reason why it is deemed to be challenging to shoot.

Dynamic Range

The range between the shadows and highlights details of a photo is known as dynamic range. Areas of a photograph that fall out of this range will appear as white overexposed highlights or black underexposed shadows.

When shooting in a wide variety of quickly changing lighting conditions, film stocks with a bigger dynamic range is better.

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

The limited dynamic range of slide film is an additional factor it's thought to be hard to shoot. A fantastic time to try it would be during the golden hour.

Film Type

35mm film that is sold in canisters is used by the Sears TLS 500 MX. The film can also be described as 135 film, and it's the best-selling film format.

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

Changing the film emulsion you are working with will change the look of your shots. This is one of the excellent things about using film.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Just about all available 35mm film offered at this point has DX encoding on the canister. This lets cameras to auto-detect and set the ISO when the canister is put in the camera.

ISO (ASA) on the Sears TLS 500 MX must be set manually. So DX-coding is not going to do anything.

Sears TLS 500 MX Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

You will find limited possible choices for where to develop 35mm film. For a more in-depth discussion of the options, look at my article on Where to Get Film Developed.

WARNING: Film is no longer processed locally at big box stores and pharmacies. They ship film off-site to be processed by a 3rd party. Because of this, you will not be given 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

Shipping film to a mail-order photo lab to be developed and scanned is the most convenient solution if you are just beginning to use film. A disadvantage to this is that it will become very expensive if you're consistently using film.

As long as you're going through a moderate to high-volume of film, there are a few activities that can be done to cut back on your costs.

Bulk Loading Film

One of the ideal options to reduce costs on film is to buy a roll of 100 feet of film and load canisters yourself.

A 100' roll should fill up roughly 18 rolls of film containing 36 exposures. Look forward to cost savings of 20-30% depending on your pick.

Keep in mind that you are limited to 100-foot rolls of black & white film. This is because black & white film is less difficult and more cost-effective to process yourself.

Home Developing and Scanning

It's possible to process and digitize film at home. It's an intelligent option to lower your costs so that you can shoot more film with your Sears TLS 500 MX.

Black & white film is by far the easiest to develop at home. Chemical temperature and development times are not as imperative to get correct with black & white films as time and temperatures are for color negative or transparency film.

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