Lowest cost B&W film photography?

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Patm1313, Sep 15, 2008.

  1. Patm1313

    Patm1313 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    Messages:
    192
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Northeast US
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I'm not exactly new to photography, but I am new to film photography. I wanted to have a hand at film. The bad news is, I'm a little bit on the poor side. I would like to know how I can get the highest number of shots for my dollar.

    Can somebody please give me some tips to keeping my film photography costs down? I was thinking things like processing my own negatives and scanning them. Any suggestions?
     
  2. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,487
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Stuck inside of Mobile with the GTFO Blues Again
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    100' bulk rolls, Arista .EDU, processing your own negs, etc.
     
  3. rob91

    rob91 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2007
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Just out of curiosity, how many exposures is 100 feet?

    To the OP if you don't want to roll your own film, I suggest looking at freestylephoto.biz, they carry the cheapest films (arista) and occasionally have deals on expired film, which generally work just fine. Right now they have a pretty good film deal on their front page.

    You can also check out ebay for deals on expired films.
     
  4. reg

    reg TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    May 28, 2008
    Messages:
    1,487
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Stuck inside of Mobile with the GTFO Blues Again
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    750 shots per 100 feet, if my maths is right.

    It's somewhere right around there.
     
  5. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,209
    Likes Received:
    236
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    The newly stocked Arista Premium at freestyle photo is the best of the cheapest... it's repackaged Kodak Tri-X actually. Employees confirmed it to me, in a roundabout kinda way.. without actually saying it...
     
  6. Helen B

    Helen B TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Messages:
    3,296
    Likes Received:
    465
    Location:
    Hell's Kitchen, New York
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    A 36 exposure roll is just over 5 feet long. I find that I get 18 rolls from 100 feet.

    On cost:

    You can get 'short ends' of 35 mm movie film very cheaply (about 14 cents per foot in the USA), but short ends of B&W are fairly rare and in great demand. Colour film is much more readily available, but it needs to be procesed with a variation of C-41. It can be done at home. Anyway, the question is about B&W.

    There is quite a large difference in developer cost from one to another. You can make your own developer from raw chemicals, but some developers, like Pyrocat HD, are very economical even when bought ready made. Diafine is another extremely economical developer, and it is easy to use. Many developers can be made by using cheap household chemicals for some or all of the components.

    The only other chemical you need is fixer. The most economical way to use fixer is to use it as a two-bath process if you are re-using fixer. You can also use plain hypo (sold in bulk for swimming pools etc) but it doesn't keep after mixing, unless you add a preservative. It is still cheap if mixed immediately before use, and then discarded.

    A wetting agent may be used for the final rinse to prevent drying marks, but that is very cheap to use because it is so highly diluted. Some people use washing-up detergent.

    You don't usually need an acid stop bath, because a plain water rinse will work (between developer and fix). Stop is cheap, however, and can be made from vinegar if you wish.

    Good luck,
    Helen
     
  7. elemental

    elemental TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2008
    Messages:
    646
    Likes Received:
    3
    I just set this up for myself on the cheap a few months ago (with much help from Helen and others- thanks!) and here's what you'll need:

    Camera: Ricoh SLRs on eBay are insanely cheap. It's incredible. $20 should get you a good cheap body and lens.

    Film: Freestyle is the best. "The Arista II 400" is really just Agfapan APX 400, and the 20 rolls for $25 is about the best deal going. For only a little more (just under $2 per roll), you can get "Arista Premium" 400 (believed to be Tri-X) or 100 (believed to be Plus-X). I'm working through the Arista II 20 roll pack and it's fantastic.

    Developer: You have lots of options here. I like my Clayton F76+ because it has very standard D76 like tones and grain and is low toxicity and odor (which is not only nice for me, but for my unsuspecting roommates). I would recommend checking the MSDS for any developer you're considering using. HC110's was pretty scary. I also would recommend liquid developers, as they are much easier to mix small quantities of when you need them. There's nothing wrong with powder developers either, they're just a little more of a pain to use. Whatever you choose, make sure there are development times available for the film and developer combo you're choosing. The last thing you want to do is try to figure out development times while you try to figure out what you're doing in the first place.

    Fixer: I use Silvergrain Clearfix, again for toxicity and odor reasons, but you can use more or less anything. Same applies with the liquid vs. powder chemicals, and you won't need hardener unless you're using some very special (and old-school) films (like Efke).

    You will also need a developing tank. This is pretty foolproof, although the plastic ones are easier to load (supposedly).

    In addition, you'll want to pick up things like film clips to hang your negatives to dry and a thermometer to get your chemical temperatures right. I also use a squeegee on my negatives, but that's pretty controversial.

    These are the answers to all of the questions I had and wish I had answers for back then. I hope this helps you.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
arista film developer review
,

arista liquid film developer review

,
arista premium liquid film developer review
,
cheap bw film
,
cost of film photography
,
film developing chart arista liquid developer
,
how good is arist b&w film
,
how many shots on a 100' roll of film
,
how many shots out of 100 foot roll film
,

photo film cost