Saturday, March 20, 2010

35mm Film

I've been a film user since I started in 1969, but I've never used a lot of film, partly because there were years when I did very little photography due to graduate school, work or life. When I seriously resumed photography in the 1990's I went through a lot of film, for an amatuer anyway - professionals use 10-20 times what I can even try to use let alone actually use. This means 20-30 rolls on a weekend hike in Mt. Rainier NP or walking around Seattle or other weekend trips.

Anyway on a recent photography forum someone asked what I had on the one shelf in the refrigerator dedicated to film. Well, I took it all out, sorted it, and then put it back while writing a list of the different types of film. And so here's what in my refrigerator, and what in the camera bags. Note that many are in 10 roll blocks.

Agfa color films.

Color Portrait 160 - 1 roll

Agfa black&white films.

Agfapan 25 - 20 rolls
APX 100 - 20 rolls
APX 400 - 14 rolls
Scala 200 - 49 rolls

Fuji color films.

Astia 100 - 13 rolls
Provia 100F - 22 rolls
Provia 400 - 10 rolls
Neopan 1600 - 1 roll

Ilford black&white films.

Delta 400 - 1 roll
PanF 50 - 1 roll
HP4 Plus 125 - 4 rolls
HP5 Plus 400 - 4 rolls

Kodak color films.

Ektachrome 100 - 10 rolls
Ektachrome 100S - 12 rolls
Ektachrome 100SW - 4 rolls
Ektachrome 100 EPN - 5 rolls
Elite II 100 - 4 rolls
Kodachrome 25 - 6 rolls
Kodachrome 200 - 8 rolls
Kodachrome 160T - 4 rolls
Infrared - 2 rolls
Professional Porta 160VC - 2 rolls
Professional Porta 160NC - 2 rolls

Kodak black&white films.

T-Max 100 - 20 rolls
Tri-X 400 - 1 roll

Not a lot when I add it up. And yes, I love Scala film and sadly it's out of production so I stocked up to use until the last two labs stop processing it. I also have three partial 100 foot rolls of film from the 1970's film, from my days working in a photo lab on base. They couldn't pay the people, so they paid us in film.

I have can of Kodak 2475 black and white film (a variable high speed panchromatic high grain recording film), a can of Ektachrome X film (ASA 64) which requires E-3 processing kits, and a can of unidentified film (meaning long forgotten what).

Sadly, shooting 4x5 and digital these days, I don't shoot much35mm film as I did, but I still carry and use a Canon EOS-1N 35mm film camera with my Canon 5D digital camera.


  1. That's pretty interesting! Maybe I haven't paid enough attention but it seems like most of your postings are digital from the 5d. I should have been watching better. :)

    I really like shooting 120 square stuff now that I can afford the cameras. I have a Mamiya c330 with a couple of lenses and a Yashica Mat EM, shooting a mix of Kodak black and white (Tmax 100,400) and Fuji color (Pro 400h).

    I DO still have a 35 mm camera, though - a Canon EOS Elan IIe. Right now, it's loaded with Fuji Press 1600 film - which I need to get sent off pretty soon so I had better finish off the role.

    I have to send everything off to Photoworks SF for development: You just can't get good processing around here. Fred Meyer sucks! Just my opinion, anyway. :)

  2. Almost all of the Mt. Rainer and landscape/nature photos are from film. It's easier to hike with smaller film cameras and lenses with film than today's heavy and bulky digital SLR's and lenses. Processing film is a problem with major labs closing or consolidating, even in major cities. All my film now goes to a LA area lab, who are the closest to do all the types and size of films I use.

    The reality is that labs are profitable, just not sufficiently profitable to offset increasing costs, usually suppies, leases, and environment regulations. And greedy owners or investors. And no one wants to invest in them anyway, partly because the profit margin won't absorb the debt of the capital investment.

    We saw that here with Ivey Imaging who offered both film and digital processing and printing services. The new owner only wanted the digital and printing business, even though the film lab was profitable with a good customer base. They couldn't find anyone to just buy the film lab operations.

    Another lab quit procesing film when the city imposed new regulations on the disposal of chemicals. They couldn't afford the investment when they were forced to move, so they simply shut their doors.

    All the business studies have shown worldwide and even in the US film is still profitable. The corporations just want to get out of the film business as a longterm strategy because it's not as profitable as digital, but now digital is taking big hits in sales and the film side isn't there to offset the loses.

    What they're finding is that the demand for film is leveling off to the longer term customer demand, who will continue to buy and use film, and a new generation of photographers are moving to or adding film because of the advantages over digital in some situations.

    In short, it's not the fault of the users, but the companies wanting to change than support their longterm customers.