When I first started shooting film, I tried pretty much any film that I could get my hands on. Kodak. Ilford. Efke. Fomapan. Anything from the Arista line at Freestyle Photo. (Especially Arista Premium.) I found that I was especially partial to the Fuji black and white films, Neopan SS, Neopan 400, and Neopan 1600. It didn’t hurt that these particular films were usually the cheapest as well. If I was ordering a package of fiber paper or a bottle of developer, it never hurt to throw a couple of rolls of Neopan SS in for a couple of bucks each.
I drifted away from film after the photography classes I was taking moved on to digital for color work. It was easier to stick with digital. Faster results. Less mess. But a couple of years ago, after looking at some of the black and white film I’d shot, I decided to take my Canon Rebel T2 for a spin again. It reminded me how much I enjoy shooting film. There’s something kind of fun about shooting a roll of film and developing it yourself. You don’t know what you’ve got on the roll until you unspool it to dry. I kind of love cranking up some music and developing film anyway. (I’m partial to Leon Bridges’ new album as my film developing soundtrack these days. Do check it out if you haven’t yet.) Is it time consuming? Sure. But there’s something kind of soothing about it. To me, at least.
One of the first things I did when I got back into shooting film again was place a new order of film and chemicals. Much to my dismay, many of the films that I once loved shooting don’t exist anymore. Efke? Gone. Even the small bottles of HC-110 developer that I used to buy regularly don’t exist anymore. I was especially sad to find out that all of the Fuji Neopan films that I loved so much were gone.
Last year when I found out that the Arista Premium line was going away, I bought ten rolls. The internet tells me that this film is/was probably Tri-X. Fortunately, Tri-X still exists. For now. I’ve been mainly shooting Ilford FP4+ in 120 with my Kodak Medalist. But last month after obsessing over Leica film bodies, I finally managed to snag a Leica M2 (in pretty decent shape!) along with a Summitar 50mm lens for a fantastic price off of eBay. I’ve since added a Voigtlander Color Skopar 21mm lens. A nifty little lens.
Since I’ve been shooting more 35mm lately, I’ve been missing my old favorite films. Fortunately, I can still get some of them through, you guessed it, good ol’ eBay. I know it’s always a risk buying expired film, especially if you don’t know how it was stored over the years. I’ve definitely shot some expired film and developed it only to find that it likely wasn’t stored in the best of conditions. (But now I can say I’ve shot Verichrome Pan from the 1960s.) I’ve found that black and white film holds up pretty well. Over the last couple of years I’ve been working through a small bag of expired Plus-X that I bought on eBay. When I saw a listing for some Fuji Neopan 400 (my precious!) at a very reasonable price, I couldn’t resist. Once I shot a roll and developed it and scanned the negatives, I remembered why I loved the film so much in the first place. Since then I’ve been trying to talk myself out of buying a huge brick of it (hoarder!). Or perhaps I need a huge brick of Neopan SS instead. Film keeps, right?
On a completely unrelated note (although related to these photos, because he’s the one pitching), how about that Madison Bumgarner?