--> Skip to main content

What's the cheapest B&W 120 film available?

Not sure why I'm even looking, I've got plenty. Maybe so I can advise students at my school? In any case, I found myself looking to see what was the cheapest B&W 120 film I could find.

In general, I think there's no such thing as a bad film.There are films that are easier to use and process, there are films with various traits that may not be suited for intended use. But I'm no longer interested in the sharpest finest grain films. I used to shoot Tech Pan and Agfapan 25 in the 1980's. Now I look at the prints and negs and, some are pretty nice. But on the whole they are too contrasty. I switched to ORWO NP20 (and later NP22 in the USA) and much prefer those negs. After ORWO stopped making consumer films, I moved on to Acros. Fuji Acros was a beautiful film, with wonderful tones as well as fine grain and minimal reciprocity failure issues.

So today I'm going to do some searching and put the results up here. Please note, I'm in the US, so it's US suppliers and in USD.

Holga 400
Update 14.05.2020: The link for this photo broke, and I went back to B&H to find that this film is almost $5, no bargain, buy something else!

"Holga" Fomapan 400. Not sure what the Holga means. Foma already makes a 400 with a couple names (Action, and Inaction?)

Update 14.05.2020: I went to fix this link and once again, the price from Samy's is way up too!

Ilford FP4+ is a fine film, with more favorable characteristics than FOMA in many regards. So is it worth the extra $1.41?
Samy's is selling for $4.59, surprisingly about a buck and a half less than B&H.

Update 14.05.2020: Whew, at least some of these listing haven't changed in the last week!

Arista.edu is Freestyle's house brand made by FOMA in Czech(whetever they're calling Czechoslovakia now adays: Czechia, Czechland, blah blah blah.)
Presently all the speeds of Arista.edu are $4.69. Freestyle also charges for shipping, so this isn't a great deal unfortunately. Freestyle used to have fantastic film deals but looks like not so anymore.

Update 14.05.2020:Though the price remains the same as when I put this together a week ago, they have run out of 100iso.

Ultrafine (e)Xtreme is Photo Warehouse's house brand of film. Both those films are quite nice. I believe they are made by Kentmere (who's parent company also owns Ilford.)
Both the 100 and 400 films are $3.79 each. or in quantity 100 for $359. Quite a bargain really. But Photo Warehouse charges alot for shipping, so especially in small quantities this may not be a good deal as most of the other sources offer free shipping.

I'm not sure why, but Amazon is a horrible place to buy film. First off, I put 120 black and white film in the Amazon search box, and ordered results from cheapest to most expensive like I did for all the photo dealers above. What I got was:

First match: a 35mm roll of color film!
2nd match: a 35mm roll of HP5 with no listed price!
3rd match: Color Fujiroids!
4th match: a 35mm roll of color film!
5th match: black and white Fujiroids
6th match: a 35mm roll of color film!
7th match: a 35mm roll of Ilford Delta!
8th match: Color Fujiroids!
9th match: 35mm roll of color film!
10th match: FINALLY a roll of B&W 120 film! But it costs substantially more than all our other vendors!

So, here are a few good options. Did I miss any? Let me know.....


Popular posts from this blog

Linhof Serial Year List - Salomon Says

Recently I've acquired a few Linhof cameras. I got a 5x7 view camera from Oakland Museum's White Elephant Sale. Later I stumbled upon a Color Kardan 90 Jahre Jubalaeum edition on Craigslist. And more recently, I found a "baby Technika" 2x3 (6x9) at Oakland's East Bay Depot for Creative Re-use. Not knowing much about Linhof large format cameras, I tried getting more info online, and came across a strange thread on the Large Format Photography Forum . Basically on this thread various Linhof owners ask a guy named Bob Salomon what year their Linhof was made. And the thread is over 100 pages long! Sifting through that thread is mindnumbing. Why Bob doesn't just publish the list of serial numbers is beyond me. Maybe it's just nice to feel needed. So I started compiling a spreadsheet of the serial numbers and the answer Bob gives. If you don't feel like spending a couple days reading this thread to get a hint as to the age of your Lin

Who Makes Ultrafine Film?

One of these 120 paper backings stands out as being different. Not a big surprise, since one is Kodak, and another is Ilford. But our mystery film Ultrafine has the *exact* same backing paper as seen in this scan. What does this mean? There are a few possibilities that come to mind. It's always possible that the backing paper is made by a third party I suppose. Not likely, as there isn't much of a market for 120 film anymore, and I've never seen another non-Ilford film with the same backing paper. So is this mystery film, Ultrafine actually Ilford then? Another, more likely theory is that it is made by Kentmere. Kentmere and Ilford are both part of the Harman group . In researching this I just read that Harman was the name of the founder of Ilford company in the late 19th century. So how is are the Ultrafine (E)Xtreme films? I bought a bulk roll of the 400 speed. Frankly it's pretty grainy and soft. I don't hate it, and I'm trying to work with the grain.

From the Archive: Obsolete Film Data Sheet Scans - ORWO Information

Here's a sheet I got from writing ORWO Technischer Kundendienst back in the 1980's. It lists development times for all the ORWO Black and White films sold for export at the time (NP15, NP22, NP 27) combined with western developers Microphen, Atomal, Rodinal, Refinal, D-76, & ID-11. A little bit of ORWO history- Germany's big photo film/paper manufacturer up until Germany's losing WWII was AGFA (short for  A ktien G esellschaft F ür A nilinfabrikation - or corporation for some sort of plastic manufacture.) Germany was occupied by the winning powers USSR/USA/GB/FR and the rift between the USSR led to some complications for industries. Depending on your view of history the US and western allies were much friendlier to the land they occupied (remember the USSR lost many millions of their citizens to the NAZIs which made them much less tolerant.) In any case, some factories in the east moved to the west with many key employees. Most photo enthusiasts know of the t