Cheapest B&W 120 film available in USA?

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by hgernhardt, Feb 2, 2013.

  1. hgernhardt

    hgernhardt Member

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    Folks—

    So far, the least expensive 120 B&W roll film I've been able to find is Ultrafine Plus B&W 100, from Photo Warehouse (USD 2.10/roll when purchased in multiples of 5 rolls as of this posting). I was wondering if anyone knew of a reliable source of anything less expensive? I'm looking for cheap film with which to play. For more serious/specialty shoots I have a short list of go-to films.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Expired film on eBay?
     
  3. destroya

    destroya Subscriber

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    look at the Arista films. Premium which is tri-x and the EDU which I believe is Foma. Now it is about $.70 more per roll, but c'mon. For 2 cents more per frame you can get a better film ( in my mind), and my pix are worth an extra 2 cents to me.
     
  4. rawhead

    rawhead Subscriber

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    I second rich815. I average around $1/roll for expired B&W film I get expired. Unless it's poorly stored film from the 70s, it's gonna develop fine. Craig's List also a good resource for cheap expired film.
     
  5. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    Ebay and craigslist is just not consistent though with film deals, and as of recently there doesnt seem much of a deal to be had. I see lots of expired film sell for the cost of new and fresh film which is crazy. Your best bets are to try the ultrafine films and see how you like it, it looks to be the cheapest fresh source. Arista EDU films are about a dollar more at $3.19 a roll. This is actually higher than the price of fuji acros not too long ago which makes me kinda sad. Acros now is like $3.80 a roll now or so. Another option are the Shanghai films from ebay, they are about the same price of the Arista EDU films, but many have shipping for free while freestyle has a minimum order.
     
  6. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    I have bought off eBay several times, but usually just certain slower films like PanF or something I can't get in my neck of the woods. If I find a real deal on eBay I might try to get it, but then that dang rich815 is always running the bid up. I too, would rather buy from Freestyle and know I'm getting a decent film at a reasonable price. I used to brag up Fuji Acros and really loved the film for the price. Of course Fuji figured that out too and jacked the price up. Maybe that was their plan all along? Sell it for near cost, get folks to fall in love with it and then jack the price up to just below the competition. Right now I'm testing Arista EDU 100 and if it works out I might just be using much more of it. Also, I've heard really good things about the Arista EDU(Foma) 200 film and might look into that also. As for Graig's list? Nothing much at all in my area and the same goes for expired film at camera stores 'cause there is only one of those left. JohnW
     
  7. newcan1

    newcan1 Subscriber

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    The ultrafine film is cheap, but I have found it to be contrasty and grainy for its speed. May be good to play with but if I were trying to make a fine art image, I guess I wouldn't use it for that. But just to play with, it should be fine. What about that Shanghai stuff available on ebay?
     
  8. ME Super

    ME Super Member

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    B&H has Fomapan 400 in 120 for $3.89/roll. You can also get Fuji Acros 100 from them for the same price if you buy it in a 5-pack.

    If you were looking for 35mm, you could get Kentmere 100 in a 24 or 36 exposure roll for $2.95 from them. Kentmere films are made by Ilford.
     
  9. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    I may just not have found the right developer but I find Acros not that impressive, besides the 2 minute reciprocity failure rate, I'm not that impressed, it just seems fuzzy to me, "fine" maybe but such that all the edge just look blurred and not sharp. I'm thinking I just have the wrong developer (have tried Ilfsol 3 and DD-X which the latter should have worked but apparently not). I just pushed PanF to EI 100 in Rodinal and got much better results (price aside).

    Maybe I'll try the edu stuff next for the price.

    Just buy a bunch and try them all, you'll drive yourself nuts trying to figure it out, If you don't care about quality and just want the ability to shoot, get the EDU mentioned above.




    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  10. rbeech

    rbeech Member

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    Freestyle no longer requires a minimum order.
     
  11. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I have no experience with the Ultrafine film, but do think it's important to point out that buying based on price can be a poor economic decision. Considering the amount of time it takes to shoot and process a roll of film, you're savings (assuming your time is worth something) is negligible. If you invest 2 hours into the whole process (an hour to shoot/an hour to set up, develop, and clean up), you're "paying" yourself $1.50/hour over a film that costs $3.00 more per roll. And, if you're not satisfied with the print results, you've wasted a lot of time to save very little.
     
  12. hgernhardt

    hgernhardt Member

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    Thanks, all, for your input. So far, though, it looks like the cheapest is the Ultrafine.

    For the type of shooting I'm doing, that's fine. In point of fact, I rather might enjoy it stylistically.

    Most of the reason I do this is so that I can have some fun playing with some old cameras and souping the resulting films. It's just entirely too much fun. Every so often I come out with an image I truly enjoy. About the only image I've come up with where I didn't like the graininess was a skyline shot on Holga 400:
    [​IMG]
    For future cloudscapes, I'd really like to play with Pan F plus.

    Sadly, good deals on expired film on eBay are getting more rare than good deals on old folding cameras. It seems that the Lomography movement has upped the prices of all sorts of old/expired/nifty things. My Nettar cost me about $70 in today's dollars when I bought it. I could probably fetch twice that on an eBay sale. I can only imagine how much my Box Tengor would go for…

    Again, thanks, folks! I'm trying to keep a lookout for deals (s/^d/st/g) on film and paper, and appreciate any and all leads. Especially if it lands me some Delta 3200.
     
  13. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I like the photo. The sky has a sort of Hubble telescope feel to it.
     
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  15. rawhead

    rawhead Subscriber

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  16. hgernhardt

    hgernhardt Member

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    Thanks!
     
  17. Tebbiebear

    Tebbiebear Member

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    Just to save you some testing, The Holga film is just rebranded Foma, so Arista.EDU, Fomapan and Holga are all the same film. I have shot a bit of the 400 and find that the 100 and 200 are much less grainy. I have a decent stock of 400 for the various shots that I think I would like grainy, but the 100 is my go-to "cheap" film. I use Rodinal for my Foma based films BTW.
     
  18. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    It is surprised to see that B&H listed HP5+ and Acros at low prices comparing to Freestyle, so for few cents i will go with HP5+ and Acros is my top favorite film even if it is expensive.

    Wish if that TMAX 400 was cheaper, it is my most used film so far before Acros 100, good i have loads of it, but i can buy more in the future if i need.
     
  19. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

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    With the price of all the other Kodak films I was shocked at how cheap tmax400 was, it's still expensive compared to what the OP is looking for but amazing its so cheap for the quality.

    I'm amazed with t grain films and DD-X but now that I've had a taste of Rodinal it's hard to decide what to do, it's SO cheap! DD-X seems ridiculous now lol.

    Also OP why shoot 120 if you're penny pinching? Why not shoot 35mm and get a $2 per 36 shot instead of $2 per 10 shot? I understand some grain bothers you but if cost is the ultimate leader, why bother with 120 at all?


    ~Stone

    Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1, 5DmkII / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  20. hgernhardt

    hgernhardt Member

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    Like I said earlier, it's not so much the grain that bothers me. That one cloudscape is the only shot I've taken so far where I've been bothered by it. For the most part, the images I've printed haven't suffered (in my opinion) due to grain.

    My reasons for using 120:
    • Bigger negatives are fun to play with
    • Most of my usable cameras take that format
    • Fewer exposures on a roll make me think more about the shot
    • It fits my definition of “nifty”

    I can understand the conundrum, Stone. When I stop and look at it rationally, it doesn't make sense. I'm at a point where I'm not that terribly worried about it. There's simply something fun about the larger size that I can't get from 35mm, even if I am using a Contax IIIa. Maybe it's that it lets me feel like a kid again. You know, size relationships. 120 film would be about the same size in my adult hands as 35mm would have been when I was about six.

    Ha! There it is! Satisfaction of the inner child! Given my current income stream, I can even see the childish satisfaction of “penny pinching” not for that sake, but for the sake of finding stuff I can play with given my limited “allowance”. :smile:
     
  21. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    I also believe that Tmax 400 tmy-2 is the absolute winner in the 400 speed department. As far as bought developers go? DD-X wins in that department also. Of course that is just my opinion. I don't use much 400 speed film or bought developer, but those two are an excellent pick. I also got a little more life from a bottle of DD-X by running it at 1:7. For right now I'm kind of doing what the OP is asking to do and that is going cheap. I'm doing the Arista EDU 100 route in home-brew soup. I'm going to try some Shanghai stuff too. JohnW
     
  22. John Wiegerink

    John Wiegerink Member

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    Yes, I split orders between B&H, Adorama and Freestyle all the time. I buy my Acros from B&H because it's cheaper than Freestyle. I usually wait until I have more stuff to order so it makes the order worthwhile. JohnW
     
  23. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Isn't this long discontinued in 120?
     
  24. I've had decently sharp results developing Acros in D76.
     
  25. TareqPhoto

    TareqPhoto Member

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    Oh yes, my sharpest neg of 400 ASA/ISO was from tmy-2 [TMAX400], and i am very happy i did buy a lot of this film in the past, i hope Fuji/Neopan can keep that Acros in production whether in 120 or LF, it is really a fun film to use.

    I will keep buying film as long i can use them, and as long they keep them in production.
     
  26. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    It seems that now that Fotokemika has left the market we have:
    Kodak
    Ilford
    Fuji
    Foma

    Other than Rollie Foma makes all of the house brand 120s, I am not sure who makes Rollie, some may be orphaned rolls of Agfa, over the years may have been coated by Fotokemika.

    I have seen any Lucky or other films from China, dont know if China still makes any film.

    Foma house brands seem to be the cheapist. I happen to like Foma 200 and 100 in 120 and 4X5, I also use Foma 400 in 35mm when I want an older looking film, Trx from the 70s.