Review - Shanghai GP3 120 black and white film
GP3 is the cheapest film you can buy new. It’s 100 ISO, in 120 format, and is B&W.
It's good, especially for the price.
On opening the box, which looks quite cool, the reel is inside a grey plastic wrap. Nowhere as easy to open as the ubiquitous Kodak or Fuji rolls, this takes some tack to split. When its open, you’ll find it has a bit of generic sticky tape stuck haphazardly in an attempt to stop the roll from unraveling, and you’ll need to peel this off before you can load your camera.
Note: there isn’t tape at the other end of the reel, so you somehow need to stop it from unwinding when you’re done shooting. Some people carry around a pack of rubber bands with them for this purpose; however I just stick this tape to the inside of my camera (away from where it will contact the film when the back is closed) and peel it off before using that to seal the roll.
Loading is the usual, however if your camera has a red window thing, be careful of over winding, because some people think the ink is too dark to see the numbers easily this way. After you’re used to it, this ceases to become a problem.
Shooting: I did some tests, and the box speed of 100 ISO is quite accurate. However, I recommend overexposing slightly (to around 80 or 64 ISO) to capture shadow detail. It has quite a high latitude (usable images form within 12 to 800 ISO at least) so no worries if you don’t have a meter on your camera – you’ll get photos.
Results: When I got my first results back, I was heartbroken, for two reasons. The film had so much fog (i.e. what was meant to be white on the negative was grey) in the form of what looked like a dirty surface thing. I tried to clean it off with various solvents, window cleaner, alcohol – nothing worked, except some started to dissolve the plastic base.
The second issue is that on the first roll there were little circles and numbers, on every frame, that had been somehow imprinted on the film from the backing paper. This ruined all my photos, in that it was almost impossible to ignore.
You can see here, compared to the first photo, the differences: circles, and huge grain.
However, then I realized that I could prevent these issues. When I was washing my second roll of this film (the Ilford archival method), the water came out cloudy, each time I replaced the water. When I took the film out of the tank, I saw it was covered in a milky scum; I removed this with a sponge, and that roll of film had no issues with the fog, or with the numbers seeping through. This fog was also quite grainy; and thus this step will effectively reduce the size of the grain on scans!
I predict, then, that the fog-and-numbers problem is that the paper backing leaves a deposit on the film, which, unless sponged off, dries; and interferes with scans of the film, producing bad results. Washing it off eliminates these problems.
There is, however, one other issue with this film. Every now and then, on close inspection of a scan, you may find a tiny black ‘shape’ every now and then. These can easily be removed with photoshop, aperture, elements, etc.
What you’re left with are perfectly acceptable, cheap, fine-grained negatives.
interesting to see how shipping figures in...
for me: Kodak tmy2
$20.45/5 rolls, free shipping.
I love the first photo. Thanks for the review of this film. Where do you buy your shanghai?
Please friends...give me a personal opinion about my question!...thanks
Originally Posted by peters8
I find it not so dissimilar to Plus-X in some cases. I posted some examples above. Here another:
Originally Posted by peters8
Berkeley Marina Ben Rolleiflex 3.5E3 Xenotar ShanghaiGP3 Rodinal 1-50 by rich8155 (Richard Sintchak), on Flickr
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Re: Review - Shanghai GP3 120 black and white film
Kodak and Ilford are A+ film. Every time. Never a miss. Anything wrong is my error.
Originally Posted by peters8
GP3 is sometimes C-, sometimes B. Usually B-.
I have used about 30 rolls of Shanghai. And about 20 sheets of 4x5.
You can graduate with a C. But you won't get a lot of applause. Your mom will love you no less.
I've been shooting "Ultrafine Plus", which seems to be rebranded Shanghai GP3, I get the same problems with numbers, spots and dots. (http://photofying.wordpress.com/2013...ultrafine-plus) I've had 40% of the rolls I've shot already show these problems.
I don't understand quite how you avoided the problem. Did you sponge the film before development? Or did you manage to clean it already in the development tank?
(I have another couple of boxes of this film and would love to be able to shoot it with consistent results.)
I developed the film as usual. Actually, just thinking about it, I let it stand the ilford rapid fixer 1:4 for about 5 minutes without agitation, plus a few more minutes with intermittent agutation afterwards. The I washed it via filling it with water, inverting it a few times, and pouring it out. The water had tiny bits of gunk suspended in it, giving a creamy appearance. I then gave it a quick wipe down with a wet sponge right after getting it out of the tank, which got off the muck. That roll had no spots or numbers.
Originally Posted by wilper
I used to be a big fan of this film, but in recent times I have had the circles and numbers issue with nearly all my film.
Originally Posted by quejai
I have had this issue with different developers and could not solve this problem through different development processes - I think if you avoid this issue for the next 5 or 6 rolls, then maybe your development technique is a good cure (hooray!) - please let us know!
I had the same problem with ultrafine plus... It was my first roll, and I had never seen this issue before. Good to know it can be dealt with. Ultrafine xtreme 400, on the other hand, is really really good and cheap. Never had any problems with that.
Originally Posted by mkillmer
I love GP3 in 4x5. It used to be rated ISO100, but fans of the film found it best to rate it EI50, and I read somewhere that the manufacturer has recently started rating it as such. Extremely fine grained at EI50, beautiful tones, bit of a retro look that I like a lot with my Aero-Ektar/Speed Graphic and human subjects combo. Bob Crowley over at New55Project explained that it is one of the emulsions still left today that closely resembles T55. Works great in Rodinal 1:100 stand dev.
Namiki by Dr. RawheaD, on Flickr