Best Film for the Yashica TL
The best film to use in your Yashica TL will have to depend on the lens, available light, and type of film you want to shoot.
Buying an ISO 400 35mm or higher speed will help you avoid being weighed down with a tripod and/or flash.
If you need to shoot photos in low light, such as indoors, ensure you are using a fast lens. Check out my article on the 5 Best Lenses for the Yashica TL for lens recommendations.
Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film handles a variety of lighting conditions well and is an excellent pick for a 35mm color film. Using this film you should be able to handhold the TL in lots of situations.
Expect photographs to appear slightly warm with wonderful skin tones.
Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - A different option than Kodak that may have better availability based on what country you are in.
Fuji photos tend to have cooler colors with notable blues and greens, when compared to Kodak.
Lomography 800 - If you want an ISO 800 color film, there aren’t very many choices. For film geared towards consumers, this is the single choice.
Lomography 800 is available in the 120 film format, for use with medium format cameras.
Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film that debuted in the mid-1980s. Kodak Gold 200 provides the look and feel of snapshots from the 80s and 90s. For the authentic experience have a flash.
Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to reveal the best look the film can achieve. This will provide the eye-catching colors people love Kodak Gold for.
Kodak Portra 400 - By far the most popular color negative film among film shooting enthusiasts online. Overexpose it by 1 or 2-stops to get the look and feel the film is highly regarded for.
Additionally, ISO 800 and 160 emulsions of Kodak Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 film are also easily found.
These film emulsions have affordable prices and more than acceptable quality, making them favorable to use in the Yashica TL.
The primary appeal for budget minded photographers and photography students is the low price. Even if you don’t put yourself in those groups, it’s great to have comparatively cheap rolls of 35 film on hand for trying out recently obtained used gear.
Kentmere 400 - It’s produced by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable considering that allows this to be the most widely available B&W film out of the 3.
Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It’s less difficult to obtain in Europe as the film is made by Foma Bohemia in the Czech Republic.
A solid 35mm film to employ for your initial couple of attempts at developing film at home or film photography. Also a good selection if you happen to be trying out a camera to ensure that it is working correctly.
Ultrafine eXtreme 400 - You can get the cheapest price by purchasing it straight from Ultrafine.
They make chemical developer kits for 35mm film, so if you process film at home you might have already done business with them.
The 2 top selling black and white film emulsions are Ilford HP-5 Plus 400 and Kodak Tri-X 400. While they both have unique appearances, they do have several characteristics in common that makes them so well received.
Both film emulsions can be pushed 1 or 2 stops and still create very good images. This makes the film versatile as a roll can be shot at ISO 400, 800, or 1600.
Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - Between the two films, HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is cheaper. Lower levels of contrast can be an advantage because contrast can be adjusted when making a print in the darkroom or through digital processing.
The film emulsion still appears very good when pushed 2-stops. It is also notable for having subdued grain.
Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion features a more distinctive rendering to it. To reveal the traditional grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it needs to be developed in Kodak D-76.
Tri-X 400 undoubtedly has more contrast. That is fantastic if it’s the look you want because it involves much less work when editing digitially or printmaking.
Reversal film, also known as slide or transparency film, generates a positive picture. This allows the slides to be displayed with a projector or light box.
This is distinct from the more often used negative film emulsions that create photographs that require the colors to be inverted for the image to be seen.
Slide films are thought to be difficult to shoot due to the fact slide film has less dynamic range and latitude when compared with negative film.
Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. The colors won’t look oversaturated. Ektachrome is daylight color balanced.
Fujifilm Velvia 50 - Creates distinct looking images that have elevated amounts of contrast and saturation. It is razor-sharp daylight balanced film. It has the top resolving power of any increased elevated.
It is also available in an ISO 100 version.
Fujichrome Provia 100F - Creates natural and vivid colors with moderate color saturation and contrast. It has a daylight color balance and ultra fine grain.
Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black and white transparency film, described by Fomapan as having fine grain, higher levels of contrast, and very good resolving power. It’s also billed as a alternative for the discontinued Agfa Scala.
Professional film stock have a greater dynamic range, are easier to push, and bigger latitude, this is why pro-film costs more.
There is a difference in where film can be purchased. Consumer film emulsions can more often than not still be seen in pharmacies and big-box stores in small amounts. Professional film usually need to be ordered from a online retailer or photography store.
A film’s light sensitivity is represented by the ISO.
The bigger the ISO, the less light is needed to capture a film frame. This comes at the cost of increased film grain.
It may be hard to handhold the TL with ISO 100 or slower films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). The will probably be longer will likely be longer than what you are able to handhold without resulting in motion blur unless you’re working in full sun.
A fast lens, flash, and/or tripod are going to assist you with longer exposure times. Using a fast ISO 400 or ISO 800 film is likely to make the extra gear not needed.
As a quick note, the dial to select film speed is marked as ASA on the Yashica TL. The change to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) came after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).
Latitude is the number of stops film can be overexposed while keeping usable quality. Professional film stocks have a greater latitude along with a somewhat increased cost.
Reversal film has a smaller amount of latitude than negative film. That is one of the reasons it is viewed as challenging to shoot.
Dynamic range is the range between the highlights and shadows parts of a picture that can be recorded. Sections of a picture that are not in this range will appear as white overexposed highlights or totally black underexposed shadows.
When working in a variety or quickly shifting lighting situations, films with a bigger dynamic range are a much better choice.
- Digital cameras 14+ stops
- Negative film up to 13 stops
- Slide film 6-8 stops
The limited dynamic range of slide film is another factor it’s regarded as tough to shoot. Golden hour is the ideal time to shoot reversal.
35mm film that comes in metal canisters is used by the Yashica TL. It is also the best-selling film format and in some instances is called 135 film.
The only other film format you are likely to see is 120 or 220 film that is used by medium format cameras}.
One of the fantastic things about film is that you can swap the film you work with and get a completely different look to your shots.
Virtually all available 35mm film made these days has DX encoding on the canister. This enables cameras to auto detect and set the ISO when the canister is put in the camera.
DX-coding will not change anything for the Yashica TL because ISO must be selected manually.
There are a range of possible choices for where to have film processed. For a more complete discussion of the possibilities look at my guide on Where to Develop Film.
WARNING: Film is no longer developed on site at pharmacies and big box stores. They send the film off-site to be processed by a third party. Because of this, you won’t be given your developed negatives back.
- Develop Film at Home
- Use a Local Photography Lab
- Use a Mail Order Photo Lab
- Pharmacy or Big Box Store
The least difficult option and the method I suggest using if you’re just beginning to shoot film is to mail your film to a photo lab to be processed and scanned. If you regularly shoot film, this could be a downside since it can get pricey.
There are a few actions that can be done to reduce the expenses required to shoot film, if you’re using a moderate to high volume of film.
Certainly one of the best ways to reduce costs on film is to buy a roll of 100 feet of film and manually load it into canisters by hand.
A 100’ roll can fill up typically around 18 rolls of film containing 36 frames each. Expect to save 20-30% depending on the film.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you’re limited to bulk rolls of black and white film. This is due to the fact black and white film is much easier and more affordable to process at home.
Any film can be processed by hand. In fact it’s an excellent method to save money so you can use more film with your Yashica TL.
Black & white film is significantly simpler to develop at home. Developer temperature and time are not as important to do correctly with black & white film as time and temperatures are for color negative or transparency film.