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  1. #1

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    CHEAP QUALITY FILM

    I went to buy some rolls of medium format film film today (ilford Hp5+) and was shocked to find it is now £5 per roll. Other than Kodak and ilford, I have never tried other black and white film and wondered whether cheaper options could be recommended. A google search for cheap film brought up FOMA and i wondered whether anyone had tried this and what they thought about it in comparison to the likes of ilford and kodak?

  2. #2
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    hairday, in the USA it's much of the same thing. In fact I wrote a post about the ridiculous price of today's films. And most denied that the present film prices were out of line. Denial gives such personas reprieve I guess. But you, hairday, are more attuned to the real world, don't make 'big bucks' and know how ridiculous these ripoff prices truly are. What to do? Drastic:

    My recommendation: use 35mm and cut if from bulk. Remember this (as most will not): You can get the SAME quality from 35mm as from 120 if you use a film speed that is 2 stops slower in the 35mm. And that is a fair comparison because with 35mm you can get away with using 2 stops larger aperture and get the same depth of field as with medium format because with MF you have '80mm' as normal focal length and with 35mm you have '50mm' as normal focal length. Think about this. Thus, if Plus-X is used in 35mm you would have to use Tri-X to be able to use the same shutter speed because you would have to close down the aperture in medium format two stops to get the same depth of field as with 35mm. If you used Pan F in 35mm you would have to use an ISO 100 film in medium format to get the same results, etc. - David Lyga
    Last edited by David Lyga; 07-20-2011 at 07:52 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3
    michaelbsc's Avatar
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    My experience has been that you get what you pay for, barring the occasional fantastic deal.

    Kodak, Fuji and Ilford are consistently the top shelf stuff.

    The other European film is less expensive, and frankly pretty good but not up to par when compared to the big guys. However I do think both Adox and Foma are excellent value in price/performance.

    The Chinese film I have used is OK, and it is dirt cheap compared to the others.

    I have never tried the film from India (name escapes me now) so I cannot comment.

    What I, personally, am waiting and hoping for is that Adox will truly be able to get a reasonable recreation of APX 400 to work. That feat, to me, should make Ilford sweat.

    MB
    Michael Batchelor
    Industrial Informatics, Inc.
    www.industrialinformatics.com

    The camera catches light. The photographer catches life.

  4. #4

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    Wow, I never realised that David. Your obviously very, very knowledgeable about the technical side of things whereas this is my weakness! The reason I use medium format, is to produce better print enlargements as i focus on the fine art side of things with my photography. I was taught that 35mm was ok to produce up to 10x8 inch prints any larger from this size of negative would show deterioration in the print. To produce larger high quality prints i believed would require the use of 120 upwards in negative size depending on intended output size of the image.

  5. #5
    David Lyga's Avatar
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    No I'm not so smart, hairday, just always learned things the hard way.

    When people claim their superiority with 120 film I have to place things into perspective: usually we start at '35' and 'progress' to larger. With me it was the opposite and I gained, after years and years of doing minor repairs on cameras, an appreciation for the painstaking precision with 35mm. You will achieve no greater quality with 120 unless you put Pan F into the 120 and place the camera upon a tripod. Any other way you always can use a slower film with 35 and literally match the quality of 120. The depth of field advantage with 35mm presents this advantage over 120 cameras. - David Lyga

  6. #6
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    While carefully steering clear of the 135 vs 120 debate, I can add, that Fomapan 100 works very well for me in 120 format. It develops well in both Rodinal and D76. In 400 ISO, and if I need to push beyond that, I stick with HP5+ though.
    Henrik Lauridsen

  7. #7
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    Hairday, you should change shop.

    My usual provider sells HP5 plus 400 for €3.54*.
    http://www.westernphoto.it/prodotti/HP5

    I look on the internet for good prices and buy 10 - 20 rolls (or more) at a time to amortize shipping charges, or I always buy some film if the shop have them, when I buy something else. This keeps costs low. My advice is: shop around. Goods travel freely. Distributors cannot play games with prices any more.

    * That's £3.1125 this moment, according to Yahoo. You save 37.75%. Buy bulk, freeze, and film will be cheap again.
    Last edited by Diapositivo; 07-20-2011 at 08:58 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

  8. #8

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    While I have not used Foma, I have used Arista and Lucky--both are fine, the Lucky has a more fragile emulsion and tends to make crescent moons if not handles very carefully ( and even then...) when wet. And it curls horribly.

    While you can decrease grain by pulling film, to a degree, there's still nothing like increasing area. I have subjects I have shot with panatomic on 35mm, and FP4 on 120 and 4x5 (they were plants, they held still), all on tripod and pretty deep DOF. It's not just grain, there is a huge difference in resolution as well. The 35mm produced a very adequate and gallery-quality print a 11x14, but MF and LF were several levels better--as many people have said, a feeling "you could fall into the print". It all depends on what you want to pursue.

  9. #9
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelbsc View Post
    However I do think both Adox and Foma are excellent value in price/performance.
    Good. I have bought som Adox 100 in 120 rolls but haven't tried it yet.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  10. #10

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    Right now, there is cheap, high quality film - at least here in US.

    - 2 for 1 packs of 35mm HP5+. About $5 at Freestyle (was at Adorama but not longer shown online).
    - Acros 100 120 for 2.69 and Neopan 100 SS (not Acros) 135/36 at Adorama

    May not help you outside of US, but for us a good deal.

    The problem is that you have to be opportunistic, which can be in conflict if you're trying to be consistent.
    "Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer

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