Falling back into film photography again–it seems I go through phases when I stop using it, and then return, as always.
I wish it was cheaper and more convenient, because it’s so much fun to play with!
I was worried about being able to find affordable film here in Spain, because a lot of the sites that I usually prefer to order cheap film from (UltrafineOnline, I’m looking at you) are based in the US. International shipping costs are generally quite high, so I’d figured I might have to kiss my favorite standby films goodbye.
In shops around my city, I’ve occasionally seen some Fujifilm Superia or Kodak Ultramax 400. But despite the fact that they’re reliable films, they’re not my favorites.
Now if I were to see some Ultramax 800, THEN I’d be willing to drop a little more coin… call me unrefined but, my god, I love that film!
I’m going to be honest–when I say I’m looking for cheap films, I mean REALLY CHEAP. If I’m going to be shooting for something important or planned, I don’t mind spending a bit more for a nicer film. But when I’m just experimenting or taking photos of my life? Or using a lomo camera? Cheap as cheap can be, my friends.
Luckily, I recently discovered this Spanish site, Foto R-3, that offers a decent selection of films for not-too-outrageous prices. It even sells my go-to Agfa Vista PLUS, but it’s like 3,95 euros a roll so I’d rather buy that in bulk back home like I usually do (again: I AM CHEAP).
Mostly I’m curious about two very cheap films it sells that I’ve never tried.
One is the Ferrania Solaris 100, which is made in Italy. I’ve researched it a little and checked out some photos people have taken with it… and I like the results. Like, a lot. The film tends towards warm tones, which I prefer.
Apparently the company just started re-making the film in mid-2013, from what I’ve read. In any event, it costs ~$6.99 a roll in the US, but here it’s only 1,95 euros for a 36-exposure roll. I am all over that.
The other film that I’m curious-but-less-curious about is the Tudorcolor XLX 200. I’ve read mostly positive reviews about it, and I’ve seen some nice shots. But I’ve also read that it’s likely just re-branded Superia 200. Which isn’t a bad film, but it’s a film I’ve used before, so it turns down the excitement factor a bit.
In addition to those two films, there’s also this other one that really intrigues me, called I.D.S. “Just Click It” 160. Firstly, I’ve personally never shot 160 ISO and I’m interested in seeing the grain it produces. Secondly, it’s supposedly inspired by Garry Winogrand’s photography, particularly the photos he took in 1964, so I’d really like to check out the film’s color qualities.
There’s not a lot of information that I can find about it, but I would imagine it’s an attempt to recreate the attributes of good ol’ Kodachrome, which has always been one of the most beautiful, classic films. If that’s the case, I VERY MUCH WANT TO USE IT.
Either way, it’s 0,99 euros for a 12-exposure roll, so there’s no reason NOT to try it.
In the end, I ordered 2 rolls of the Ferrania, 2 rolls of the Tudorcolor, 2 rolls of the I.D.S., and threw in a roll of Rollei Redbird for kicks. I spent a grand total of 21,79 euros, shipping included! Now to wait for them to arrive.
I’m sad, though, because apart from my freshly-made pinhole camera, the only other film camera I brought with me to Spain is my lomo juicebox camera. I really wish I would have brought an SLR, but at the time when I was leaving it seemed more practical to leave them at home. They’re pretty heavy to pack, to be honest.
Anyway, every couple of years I start salivating over a different film SLR. First I just HAD to have the Canon AE-1. Then the Olympus OM-1.
Now I really want a Canon A-1. I keep seeing photos I like, and a majority of the time I find out they were taken with the A-1. It’s tough for me to justify purchasing another SLR here, when I’m trying to save money, but it’s also painful to be without one.
But let’s be honest, my heart will be forever and ever held captive by my Minolta XG-1, which I laid to rest on my camera shelf after the light leaks and battery malfunctions rendered it unbearable to use. I should really just pay to have the thing repaired, since no other camera has ever matched up to it in my eyes.
Enjoy some 5+ year-old photos of me when I first got the Minolta, for 5 dollars from my parents’ friends. SIGH, I’ve never found another camera that I’ve loved the functionality and quality of better than this beauty. I’m officially accepting donations to the “get the Minolta fixed” fund, if anyone’s interested.
But in the meantime, lomo cameras are fun, too. So I’ll just take lots of messy, imperfect, soft-focus film photos for the next few months. It’ll be okay.
Anyway, even though I’m separated from my film scanner, I’ll hopefully find a way to show the results of the different films I bought once I use them, and share my thoughts!
What cheap films do you find offer good quality for the price? Have you ever used any of the ones I’m thinking of trying? What’s your favorite film SLR?
I want to know! Comment away, and share your film photo experiences with me!