Returning to film after 20 years
I hope the membership can guide me in the right direction with a couple of questions.
I dabbled in film around 20-odd years ago with a OM-1 which I no longer own, but I am (hopefully) coming into possession of another good working OM-1 soon. Although I like DSLR (own a Canon 350D), I would like to try B&W film photography again, not for any other reason, but for the sheer enjoyment I used to get from it over two decades ago.
My two main questions are:
1. Are there still outlets or stockists of B&W 35mm film. I am in Melbourne.
2. Are there still stockists of dark room supplies (again, preferably in Melbourne). I would love to set up a dark room again, not for economical reasons, but to have a bit of control over my work but more importantly, I am always someone who gives anything a go. I have the space, and time, and a bit of spare funds.
I am also considering looking for a group or club in the north West Melbourne suburbs to hook up with.
Thanks for your time, and I will continue to read the APUG Aussie section.
The short answer is yes and yes. If there are no stores stocking film near you, it is readily available from numerous online suppliers. In 24 or 36 frame rolls, all the ISO you could want to choose from, black and white and colour negative, and also slide. If you have a bulk loader 35mm is also available in bulk rolls so you can load your own cassettes. Chemicals and paper are also available from the same suppliers.
I am sure some of our Australian members will be able to give you more specific answers than mine.
The death of film has been greatly exaggerated!
Welcome to APUG.
Anáil nathrach, ortha bháis is beatha, do chéal déanaimh.
Yep, I agree with Andy. I live near Newcastle, NSW and can pick up pretty much any colour or B&W I want within a 10 minute drive, and chemicals too from the same place - maybe I'm just lucky though.
There are some Vic members here who will be able to share more specific local knowledge, but failing that I'd be happy to recommend Les Porter as a supplier - he does heaps of mail order if I remember correctly.
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If you're in Melbourne, Vanbar are pretty good for both B&W film and darkroom supplies. Their main warehouse is in North Melbourne, and they also have a store in Carlton.
I've ordered some Rodinal and Pan F from Les Porter before, and can recommend him too.
I'm a new member too, live in Melbourne and like you I'm just getting back into film after 10 years of digital.
I've always liked VanBar in cardigan street carlton (a block west of Lygon street)
I went in there for the first time in 10 years last week and they are still a great supplier of film, paper chemicals etc. I dealt with them for years and can recommend them.
Altough I still have all my darkroom equipment i wont have a darkroom for a while yet so in the meantime I've started shooting and getting a lab to develop so at least I'll have negs to print when i get a darkroom. After 10+ years of sitting in front of a computer using photoshop I want to get back to real photography.
Good luck and keep us informed of how things go.
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I can't help on Australian-specific sources, being a US resident; however, you can certainly find most things on the Internet. You'll pay more for shipping if you need to order from overseas, but film is relatively lightweight, so you need to be most concerned about the shipping costs of heavier items (enlargers, bulk photochemicals, etc.). Exchange rates will also be an issue when ordering from overseas, of course. You could watch exchange rates and make big purchases when they're favorable to you. A few specific suggestions:
- Freestyle Photo in California, USA has a very wide selection of B&W films and photochemicals. They ship internationally, although the shipping cost is likely to be high. This might still be worthwhile if you buy a lot of film or if you go in with a group for a big order. I order from Freestyle semi-regularly and they're quite reputable, although of course I can't comment on international issues from personal experience.
- Japan Exposures sells many products that are ordinarily available only in Japan, including some Fuji products that aren't readily available elsewhere, such as Fuji B&W paper. I've never ordered from them since these products don't seem interesting enough to justify the hefty shipping costs, but you might check on the details yourself.
- eBay sellers sometimes have good deals, even with shipping factored in. You'll sometimes find Chinese-made film from Chinese sellers for good prices, for instance. This film is reportedly not as good as Kodak, Ilford, or Fuji film, but it is inexpensive, and depending on your needs, it might be fine. (I've never used any, but on impulse I recently ordered a ten-pack of Shanghai GP3 film. It hasn't arrived yet.) You can buy cameras from all around the world, of course. I've got a number of quirky Soviet cameras shipped from former Soviet countries to the USA.
Hope this helps!
With shipping costs factored in I don't think its very cost effective to buy film, paper or chemicals from overseas. I have purchased larger items from the US, B&H is the only one I would do business with as some of the other larger mail order places I found a bit dodgy (charge your credit card then tell you its backordered)
Originally Posted by srs5694
When I lived in the US I loved using PMK pyro developer and I'm not sure how I'll go getting that here and I doubt the formulary will ship it here so I'll have to get a friend in the US to send it to me.
It is said that we remember the important things, if true, why photograph? I forget, so I photograph.
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Yes, if you must resort to an online source I would second Freestyle. And welcome to APUG.
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Try Photowarehouse in Bentleigh
Vanbar's definitely the way to go. They also have rodinal and B&W paper. Last time I was there (last year) I paid $17 for 500ml of Rodinal, which is quite cheap. Another place is Photo Resource in North Fitzroy. I haven't used them but other members of APUG have and have said they're quite good for B&W products.