Availability of materials-Freestyle

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by Ronald Moravec, Apr 12, 2012.

  1. Ronald Moravec

    Ronald Moravec Member

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    For years I thought of Freestyle in California a sort of a an "offbeat" supplier. Yesterday I received a new printed catalogue from them and was very impressed. They seem to be carrying everything you can think of in the way chemicals, not only Kodak but specialty suppliers materials not normally available in the USA like Moresch and replacement product/clones of discontinued Kodak product such as D76R and Microdol X . They have various kinds of black and white paper from small suppliers plus Ilford.

    Judging from the catalogue they are simply making an honest effort to stock to stock everything that is manufactured today for film photography including color film.

    I would really consider doing business there and shifting more to them as the bigger players seem to want to exit the market due to low volume.

    I even got a nice email from them today explaining their business model.

    For the record, I have no business affiliation with Freestyle but present this as a courtesy to those who might be having trouble finding supplies now or in the future. I think these people need to be supported.
     
  2. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

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    You are preaching to the converted here. Many of us are already customers. And they are particularly strong in traditional darkroom supplies.
     
  3. pstake

    pstake Member

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    +1

    Customer service and order accuracy are top notch as well, in my experience.
     
  4. noiretblanc-brian

    noiretblanc-brian Member

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    Not necessarily the cheapest, but I would rather get stuffs from them!
     
  5. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Freestyle. I have nothing but great things to say about them.

    Never have they screwed up an order for me, and when I once had a problem with some photo paper, they fixed it quickly and without much fuss.
    I do try to purchase as much as I can locally, because I like to keep it local. But the stuff I can't get locally, I invariably try Freestyle for first.
     
  6. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I have been a freestyle customer since 1956. At that time, they were mostly a government and Hollywood surplus dealer, but they still carried a great variety of quality products at excellent prices. As time went on, they shifted toward professional and educational products direct from manufacturers. Prices went up, and they are still a bit higher than some other places - but that is what you expect for a store that stocks such a variety. Freestyle remains an outstanding supplier of photographic supplies.
     
  7. LJSLATER

    LJSLATER Member

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    I placed my very first order through Freestyle on Monday and received it yesterday (Wednesday). I used to order all my film and supplies through B&H, but I'm tired of them being closed eight months of the year (possible exaggeration).
     
  8. artonpaper

    artonpaper Subscriber

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    Yeah, B&H closed too often, like now for instance. I need film! Freestyle is terrific.
     
  9. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I love Freestyle. I live in Northern California. When I put in an order, on a Monday, I'll get it by Thursday. I've been using them since the 80's before the internet. I used to buy their expired film all the time. At one time, my favorite BW film was Arista which was Ilford film rebranded. Same with their BW papers too. I visited their store in LA one time and it was a funky in a fun way. One warning, don't bring your credit card. I'm like a junkie in a crack house there.
     
  10. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I've been buying from them for years, always have great service. Their customer service department is second to none, go out of their way to help out.
     
  11. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    I've ordered from them several times and will continue to buy from them. Fast, accurate order fulfillment and a big range of products. What more can you ask?

    Peter Gomena
     
  12. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    Freestyle is the best.

    Great prices, great selection of items and the staff is friendly and knowledgeable. Dealing with the Freestyle staff is like a breath of fresh air after having put up with the other big store in LA for too long, where everyone has a serious attitude problem (and I am not talking about Calumet).

    How can you beat Arista Premium 400? It's Tri-X for half the cost, except it comes in a red box, instead of a yellow one.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2012
  13. zsas

    zsas Member

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    I love their customer service, yesterday I called them to talk about the new Arista Silver Artist Series paper, and the sales rep was extremely knowledgeable of this new product line and walked me through the visual, textural and technical abilities of it. There are not many companies that sell analog photography materials that have staff members who can talk to you about his/her impression of the material since they often have: used, touched, seen and have been trained on it; and can advise you in regards to their understanding of it. Kudos to Freestyle, great service!
     
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  15. schrollphoto

    schrollphoto Subscriber

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    Placed my first order with Freestyle on Monday because B&H was closed. So far all of the communication from them looks great and the order is scheduled to be here tomorrow. Might be the beginning of a long relationship.
     
  16. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

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    The main advantage of B&H here in the northeast is shipping--cheaper and basically next day delivery. Oddly, I have a Calumet store a few blocks away and hardly ever shop there--half the time they don't have what I want in stock (to be semi-fair, they're planning to move to a larger location soon).
     
  17. Dali

    Dali Subscriber

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    +1 for Freestyle. Great choice, great service.
     
  18. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    I live an hour away and with these gas prices it's cheaper to order by mail but now and then I love to go to the Hollywood store.

    My daughter and I went once and filled the basket with everything to start developing our own film and have been doing so ever since.
     
  19. eggsovereasy

    eggsovereasy Member

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    Yeah I get my order in 2 days with UPS ground from B&H, takes longer to get all the way here from California, but I have ordered from freestyle before and it was a good experience.
     
  20. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Closed eight months of the year? A definite exaggeration LJ. As you no doubt are aware, they are staffed by religious Jewish people who will not work OR fill internet orders when religious obligations intervene. Furthermore, they give plenty of warning when they will be closed so that customers have plenty of time to order what is needed. Finally, customer service is, IMO, on a par with Freestyle.

    Back to the topic: Agree with everything about Freestyle. They are a great outfit who makes customer service a major priority.

    I do indeed wish that they were a bit closer to B&H in cost for items including Ilford film.

    It is encouraging to have at least two sources of supplies for almost everything needed....don't forget to include Formulary, Calumet, and others.... analog photographers can obtain everything they need.
     
  21. Mahler_one

    Mahler_one Member

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    Harry: What an interesting post! Are you inferring that Freestyle is selling TriX that is rebadged?
     
  22. Harry Lime

    Harry Lime Member

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    It's an open secret.

    Arista Premium 400 is made in the USA and Kodak is the only company that still produces film here.

    Once developed you'll see Tri-X 400 printed on the edge. Newer batches say Arista Premium 400.

    It looks, smells and develops just like Tri-X.

    I have about 200 rolls in my fridge and it's the biggest bargain around.

    Freestyle won't or can't admit to this for whatever legal reasons there are, but if you joke about it with them in the store they won't confirm it, but also not deny it.

    PS: Arista Premium 100 is basically Plus-X 125. Or least that is what I have heard.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 12, 2012
  23. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Sadly no longer available. ....such is life
     
  24. madgardener

    madgardener Member

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    I also love Freestyle. When I was looking to get into developing my own film after I finished my photo 1 class 3 years ago, I had a lot of questions. When I called them, they took the time to explain the basic differences between developers, stop bath,fixer, etc. I eventually settled on the Arista brand because it gave me the most bang for the buck. After 2 years of developing my own B&W, I wanted to get into C-41 and again, they took the time to explain the different kits, I settled on the Unicolor kit, when I decided to change to the rollei, and the chemicals went bad way too soon, they took them back without a fuss and after doing this twice, I decided to just stick with the Unicolor kit for now. They have been a great asset and its wonderful to do business with a store that believes in serving the customer. It seems that all the people answering the phones do analogue photography and know the answers to the questions. I love them!
     
  25. cmacd123

    cmacd123 Subscriber

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    Both Freestyle and B&H have good service, ad I have been buying from freestyle since those text filled ads in Popular Photo, featuring outdated Ansco and Dupont film.

    Once a package from freestyle arrived at the local post office after having been "forked" in shipment, before I accepted it I called them and they told me to refuse it and without waiting they reshipped the order. That is going far beyond their policies to make a transaction frictionless.

    B&H is also very good, and the deal that they have with Purolator is a revelation for those of us in eastern Canada. You can fill a cart, and get the exact shipping and sales tax amount before you buy. You get the order 2 or 3 days later. They are quite forward about their store hours which are in line with a major religion so unless you need something "right now" they can be worked around. It is not like they hold you money for the couple of weeks that they are closed..


    In both cases there still is the problem of getting items that are ORM-D shipped, B&H does not ship them anywhere, and Freestyle can't ship them to canada. (B&H has many items on their website that are only sold in person in NYC.)
     
  26. bsdunek

    bsdunek Subscriber

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    Well, you have me beat by a couple of years. I think it was 1958, when I was in college, I started ordering movie film from them. Been a customer ever since.