Best Film for the Yashica TL

By Nathaniel Stephan
Last Updated: February 24, 2020
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35mm Film To Use

The best film to use in your Yashica TL will be based on the lens, lighting conditions, and type of film you want to use.

To avoid having to lug around a flash and/or tripod, get a 35mm film that has an ISO of 400 or higher.

If you want to shoot photographs inside or anywhere there is low light, ensure you have a fast lens.

These recommendations will also apply to the other TL models:

  • Yashica TL-E
  • Yashica TL Electro
  • Yashica TL Electro-X
  • Yashica TL Electro-X ITS
  • Yashica TL Super

Color Film

Consumer

Consumer 35mm Color Negative Film

Kodak UltraMax 400 - This film handles a multitude of lighting conditions well and is a very good selection for a 35mm color film. Using this film you should be able to handhold the TL in almost all scenarios.

The photographs will have extremely good colors and lean towards the warm side.

Fujifilm Superia X-TRA ISO 400 - A different option than Kodak that could have far better availability based on what country you are in.

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

Lomography 800 - If you want a color 35mm film with an ISO of 800, there are only a few options. This is literally the only 35mm film focused on consumers.

Furthermore, if you own a medium format camera, Lomography 800 is also sold in 120 film format.

Kodak Gold 200 - A staple film emulsion that started production in the mid-1980s. Kodak Gold 200 offers the look of home snapshots from the 80s and 90s. Use a flash to get the "nostalgic" film look.

Over-expose it by 1 or 2-stops to produce the most popular look the film can achieve. This will give you the outstanding colors everyone loves Kodak Gold 200 for.

Professional

Kodak Portra 400 ISO Color Negative 35mm Film

Kodak Portra 400 - By far the most popular color negative film among enthusiasts online. Overexpose it by 1 or 2-stops to get the look the film is well-known for.

There are also ISO 800 and ISO 160 versions of Kodak Portra. 8x10 sheets, 4x5 sheets, and rolls of 120 are also easily found.

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

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

Black and White Film

Consumer

With reasonable costs and very good quite popular to try in the Yashica TL.

The primary attraction for photography students and budget-minded photographers is the low price. Even if you do not put yourself in those groups, it's nice to have relatively cheap rolls of film on hand for trying out recently delivered used gear.

Consumer Black & White 35mm Film

Kentmere 400 - It's made by the parent company of Ilford, Harmon Technology. This is notable because that allows this to be the most commonly sold B&W film out of the 3.

Foma Fomapan 400 Action - It will be less difficult to obtain in Europe as the film is made out of the Czech Republic by Foma Bohemia.

A good quality film to choose for your initial few attempts at developing film at home or analog photography. Also, a good selection if you happen to be attempting to check out a camera to ensure that it's fully operational.

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

They make chemical developer kits for 35mm film, so if you process film at home you could have already interacted with them.

Professional

Kodak Tri-X 400 and Ilford HP-5+ 400 are the 2 most commonly used black & white films. They do have a large amount of traits in common that helps make them popular while maintaining unique rendering.

Both films can be pushed 2 stops and still create solid photos. A roll of film can be used at ISO 400, 800, or 1600, making them remarkably useful.

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

Ilford HP5 Plus 400 - The largest differences are that HP5 Plus has lower levels of contrast and is more affordable when compared to Tri-X. Minimal amounts of contrast can be beneficial due to the fact that contrast can be changed when making a darkroom print or during digital post-processing.

The film still appears good when pushed 2-stops. It is also recognized for having a subtle grain.

Kodak Tri-X 400 35mm Film

Kodak Tri-X 400 - This film emulsion provides a stronger look. To achieve the traditional grain structure, contrast, and look of the film, it will need to be developed in Kodak D-76.

You're going to undoubtedly see greater contrast with Kodak Tri-X 400. That is beneficial if that is the style you need because it involves a smaller amount of work when during digital processing or printmaking.

Transparency Film

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

This is different from the more common negative films that result in pictures that require inverting the colors in order to be viewed.

Slide films have less dynamic range and latitude when compared to negative films and so they are viewed as difficult to work with.

Kodak Ektachrome 100 35mm Film

Kodak Ektachrome 100 - This is a fine grain film known for beautiful skin tones. The colors will not be seen as oversaturated. Ektachrome is daylight-balanced.

Fujifilm Velvia 50 - This is an amazingly sharp color balanced for daylight transparency film with lots of contrast and saturation, giving photographs a special look. Matched against all the slide films available for purchase, it has the top resolving power.

An ISO 100 version is also available for purchase.

Fujifilm Provia 100F - Offers natural and vibrant colors with moderate contrast and color saturation. It has an ultra-fine grain with a daylight color balance.

Foma Fomapan R100 - This is a black & white transparency film, noted by Fomapan as having increased levels of contrast, very good resolving power, and fine grain. It's also billed as an alternative for the long-discontinued Agfa Scala.

Film Basics

Consumer vs Professional Film

Pro film stock are easier to push, have improved latitude, and dynamic range, which is the reason pro-film costs more.

There is a disparity in businesses that sell 35mm rolls of film. Consumer film stocks can more often than not be found in pharmacies and big-box stores in anemic amounts. Professional film emulsions needs to be bought from camera store or online retailer.

Film ISO

A film's sensitivity to light is represented by the ISO.

The less light available to capture an image, the higher the film's ISO will be required. This comes at the expense of larger sized film grain.

It may be tricky to handhold the TL with ISO 100 or slower speed films (ISO 25, ISO 50, etc). They can be longer than what you can handhold without leading to motion blur unless you're shooting in full sun.

A fast lens, tripod, and/or flash can help you with longer exposure times. The additional accessories might not be needed if you choose a higher speed ISO 400 or ISO 800 film.

The ISO knob is marked as ASA on the Yashica TL. The switch to labeling ISO from ASA (American Standards Association) happened after the creation of the International Standards Organization (ISO).

Film Latitude

Film latitude is the amount of stops film can be overexposed while having satisfactory results. Professional film emulsions have a larger latitude to go along with a slightly higher cost.

Negative film has a greater amount of latitude than reversal film. That is one of the reasons why it's thought of as harder to shoot.

Dynamic Range

The range between the brightest and darkest details of a photograph is described as dynamic range. Sections of a photograph that do not fit within this range will appear as white overexposed highlights or totally black underexposed shadows.

A bigger dynamic range is ideal since a bigger range helps make shooting in variable lighting conditions easier.

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

The constrained dynamic range of reversal film is a second reason why it's thought to be difficult to shoot. The perfect time to test it out would be during the golden hour.

Film Type

The Yashica TL uses 35mm film that is sold in canisters. 35mm film can also be referred to as 135 film, and it is the most popular type of film.

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

One of the terrific properties of film is that you can swap the film you work with and get a unique look to your photographs.

DX Coded Film

DX Encoding on a 35mm Film Canister

Most new 35mm film offered these days has DX encoding on the canister. This enables cameras to detect and set the ISO of the film canister loaded.

DX-coding does not change anything for the Yashica TL because ISO has to be set manually with the ASA knob.

Yashica TL Resources

Where to Get 35mm Film Developed?

You will find only a few options for where to have 35mm film processed. For a more complete explanation of the possible choices, 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-site to be processed by a third party. Because of that, you will not be given 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 photo lab to be processed and scanned is the simplest solution if you're just beginning to use film. If you consistently use film, this can be a downside since it can get very expensive.

Assuming that you're shooting a medium to high-volume of film, there are a few things that you can do to help reduce your costs.

Bulk Loading Film

Getting a roll of 100' of film and loading it into canisters by hand is certainly one of the ideal methods to get a better price.

Once you have finished, you will have approximately 18 rolls of 36 exposures each. Look forward to cost savings of 20-30% depending on your selection.

Be aware that you're limited to bulk rolls of black & white film. This is due to black & white film is less difficult and less expensive to develop yourself.

Home Developing and Scanning

It is easy to process and digitize film yourself. It's an excellent method to reduce costs so that you can use more film with your Yashica TL.

Black & white film is by far the least complicated to process. 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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