Cameras, Photography

Where to buy film for your camera

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You might have found Grandpa’s old film camera and want to try it. Or you might be an experienced film photographer looking for a reliable, affordable film supply. It’s not like the corner drugstore has a huge display of films anymore. So where, exactly, do you buy film today? Can you still buy film?

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Absolutely. I shoot a lot of film and so I’m always looking for places in the United States where I can buy it for the best price. I buy my favorite film, Fujicolor 200, at Meijer. It’s like a slightly upscale Walmart that you’ll find in several Midwestern states. I get it four for about $10, making it a solid bargain. And it’s pretty good stuff. Check it out:

Pathway

Garden path, Kodak Pony 135 Model C, Fujicolor 200, 2013.

I’ve seen similar film bargains at Walmart. I’ve also sometimes seen film at the chain pharmacies, and the camera store in my city always has film, but it’s pricey. I find better prices online, even when you factor in shipping. I’ve shopped around a lot over the years, but keep coming back to these online stores.

Film Photography Project StoreCheck them out here. I love the FPP for reminding film shooters everywhere to not overthink this hobby, and to have fun experimenting with it. Their store carries many of the fresh films you are looking for from Kodak and Fuji. They also keep some fresh Agfa and Lomography films in stock.

What sets the FPP Store apart is all the audacious extra stuff it carries. Expired and no-longer-manufactured films (often always stored cold). Motion-picture films, surveillance films, low-ISO films (ISO 0.6 anyone?), and infrared films, all hand-rolled into 35mm canisters. Russian films.

The FPP Store also carries fresh 110, APS, sheet, instant, and Super 8 films. They have some leftover fresh Efke 127, and they hand-reroll various fresh 120 films onto 620 spools. You can buy bulk 35mm film from them, too, and roll it yourself.

I got my stash of no-longer-manufactured Kodak Plus-X from the FPP Store. I also just bought a roll of cold-stored Verichrome Pan that they hand re-rolled onto a 620 spool.

Freestyle Photographic SuppliesCheck them out here. This store caters to the educational market, and still features film prominently. They carry fresh films from all the major manufacturers in 35mm, 120, and various sheet sizes. They also carry instant and Super 8 films, as well as bulk 35mm films. You can also buy everything you need to process your own film, and kit out a complete darkroom, from Freestyle.

What I like most about Freestyle is their house brand, Arista, which includes black-and-white films in 35mm and 120 at bargain prices. You’ll find Arista.EDU in ISO 100, 200, and 400; it’s said to be made by Foma in the Czech Republic.

I favor FPP and Freestyle because of price and service, and because I’m buying from smaller companies. But I sometimes buy film from these more obvious outlets:

Adorama and B&H — These are the two big New York City camera stores. Photographers have bought film from them for decades. Except you have to work pretty hard to find film on their Web sites now. It’s there, just well buried. So I’ve made it easy for you: see Adorama’s film stock here, and see B&H’s film stock here.

You can get all the big film brands from them: Kodak, Fuji, Ilford, Agfa, Kentmere, Lomography, and more, in 35mm and 120. They also carry sheet film, movie film, and instant film.

B&H even carries a limited stock of defunct film sizes, hand re-rolled: 620, 127, and 828. They also carry a new, fresh 127 film called ReraPan. But I’m a little squicky about buying from B&H since the news broke about how they might be treating their Hispanic workers.

Amazon.com — You’d think Amazon has amazing selection and prices, right? Wrong. They offer lots of film for Instax cameras and a smattering of other films. What they stock is often eye-popping expensive. Sometimes good deals do pop up. I bought a four-pack of Kodak Gold 200 not long ago for about $10. You have to be there at the right time, and get it while it lasts.

A few films are part of Amazon’s “Add-On Item” program at consistently great prices. For a while now, Kodak Tri-X in 35mm has been $4.95, and Ilford HP5 Plus in 120 has been $4.09, on this program. You have to buy $35 in stuff from them to be able to order these items at all.

Finally, here are a couple stores I would be remiss not to mention, but which I have not yet tried.

Blue Moon Camera and MachineReading their Web site, I think this has got to be the coolest camera store on planet Earth. If ever I’m in Oregon, I’m making a pilgrimage. They carry a selection of the most popular films from Kodak and Fuji, but what really sets them apart is the unusual film brands they carry (Rollei, Bluefire, CineStill) and the defunct film sizes they list. They say they can get 103 film! It was used in swing-lens panoramic cameras from the early 1900s; the film went out of regular production in 1949. They don’t always have every defunct film in stock, but they invite you to inquire, just in case.

Lomography.com Shop — Check them out here. I give them huge props for resurrecting 110 film. Every now and again a 110 camera falls into my hands, and thanks to them, I can shoot it! They offer several films in 110, 120, and 35mm under their own brand, all made by other manufacturers. They also offer films of other brands in 35mm, 120, 110, sheet, and instant. They also carry 16mm movie film!

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29 thoughts on “Where to buy film for your camera

  1. Andy Umbo says:

    Plus One for Blue Moon!

    Before I moved to Indianapolis for work, I was planning to join a pal of mine in Portland Oregon to get into the small house building business (long story short, he passed on, so I had to stay employed). I cannot say enough about the Pacific Northwest and classic film photography. You cannot swing a cat in Portland and Seattle and not hit someone shooting film, and even large format 8X10. It is certainly a place of kindred spirits. Blue Moon in Portland is all a part of that. Even photo coalitions in San Francisco like RayKo, with darkrooms for rent, galleries, and stores, are just so much ahead of the game (or should I say behind the game). Last time I was in Portland, I found two different darkroom rental places, so whew…

    What’s interesting is that these areas of the country have enough people with the aesthetic values to keep places like this alive and functioning. After years of working for others, and owning my own businesses, one of the things I realized is that you cannot just go into a place that doesn’t have the service you want, and recreate it hoping others will support it. You have to live where there are other like minded people willing to pay hard cash to keep it alive! It’s one reason I’m not spending my retirement money starting a black & white photolab and film store/gallery where I live now; it’d never be successful. Better to move where they DO exist.

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    • I think that if you want to get into the processing lab business in the Midwest, you really have to do mail order. Because I think you’re right, there just aren’t enough film shooters here to keep the lab alive.

      Sounds like I need to make a pilgrimage to Portland for more than one reason!

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  2. Alex Luyckx says:

    Also for Canadians in southern Ontario there’s Burlington Camera (Burlington, Ontario), Bel Arte and Camtech in Hamilton, Ontario, and Downtown Camera in Toronto, Ontario that all have wonderful film stocks in store and online you can order from Argentix.ca out of Quebec!

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  3. bodegabayf2 says:

    Ditto on all your sources. I also try to buy some film from the Mom & Pop camera shop in my little town. Their prices are higher, but I feel good supporting them. You have to be pretty brave (or nuts) to own a brick and mortar camera shop in 2016. They keep chugging along.

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    • I wonder if today it is a lifestyle business, one that gives you a meager living but is a fun ride. Anyway, the camera store downtown here sells film, but I’m almost never downtown when the joint is open.

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      • bodegabayf2 says:

        The junior college in Santa Rosa has an active photography program, so they keep a pretty decent selection of black and white and color film stocks on hand. This particular store has been in business for many years (pre-digital). Northern California has a pretty active film community. There are decent stores in Sonoma County, Marin County and across the bridge in San Francisco.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great guide Jim, I hope it helps some people! I do try to help out my local camera stores as much as possible, especially if I want to buy just a roll or two of something different to try out. Plus, you’re going to need to get that film developed once you’ve shot it. Though maybe I’m just lucky living in Colorado Springs, having two C-41 labs in town plus easy access to E-6. Reading some of your other comments, I’d say that as far as labs in the Midwest go, some have made it work thankfully. Last time I was back home in Columbus, I took stock of the situation there, at least one C-41 lab was still running, and it looks like another camera store is in the process of opening a public darkroom! I suppose Columbus is a bit too far for Hoosiers to just pop over whenever they feel like, but hey, it’s not insanely far, either. I think these little islands can bolster the community and help it grow, so I’m sure Indiana will get there sooner or later!

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  5. Blue Moon Camera is where my film photography journey began, so they hold a special place in my heart. The owner sold me my first Holga. :) You toootally have to visit that place if you come to Portland. It’s really a remarkable place!

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  6. I find a lot of film going around to garage sales in the summer. Most of the time it works just fine. A couple years ago I got a big stash of film that had been kept cold by the sellers father for just $5. There were even several boxes of 4×5 sheet film. About the only thing I have been disappointed in so far has been when I come across some old Polaroid film.

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  7. George Denzinger says:

    It’s neat to see all those canisters of film. Photography is not my medium, but I have a daughter who has a great eye. (I’m more into oils). Regardless, in my working life I’ve dealt with photographers and labs and etc. Neat to see that some of this stuff is still available. I think so much has been lost by the transition to CCD and digital editing. I’m sure I’m talking to people who know about dodge & burn, but do any of the younger folks know? What’s that funny lollipop thing in Photoshop for, anyway?

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    • While I still really love film, I also I’m glad digital is here. I can’t imagine a time when I would ever have my own darkroom – but I surely have a computer, and can edit my digital photos all night long!

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  8. Dan Cluley says:

    Any suggestions for processing? I think the last film I shot, Meijer was still doing one hour 35mm. I know they still have a place to send it out, but my mom has been getting reprints from negs, and the quality & service has been hit or miss.

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  9. Here in the UK we can buy Fujicolor 200, rebranded as AgfaPhoto Vista Plus 200, for £1 ($1.44) in a discount store called Poundland, although they are usually 24-exposure rolls rather than 36s.

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    • yeah. I keep hearing about this mouthwatering price on this film. Gonna be in Ireland in Sept.; was sad to learn that Poundland doesn’t have any stores there.

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