If you shoot film for your photography, you will be aware that film is not particular cheap. It’s actually not that much more expensive than it ever was in real terms believe it or not, even if it feels like it is. But the point remains the same – paying around £50 for 5 rolls of medium format film like Fujichrome Provia 100 seems like a big deal when funds might be tight.
My first point here is that I am not really a believer in buying expired film. There are several reasons for this, and I am not being critical of those who do for the excitement and artistic results. It is just not for me because a) I don’t like my results to be unpredictable, and shooting expired film brings a mark of uncertainty to your results. And b) I don’t think it helps the film manufacturing industry if we all buy film that was actually bought, by someone, maybe 3 or 5 years ago or ten years ago from the company that manufactured it. We are more likely to help film production continue and thrive if we all buy film fresh.
But, like many of you I suspect, sometimes I am short of money! Sometimes, I need some more film but just don’t have £50 laying around to spend it on a box of Fujichrome Provia. So I occasionally visit eBay to see if I can grab some of these batches of expired film that I occasionally see. And by expired, I am talking a few months (not years). However, I am always horrified to see the number of posts on eBay by people who are, quite clearly, trying to rip people off. I have lost count at the number of times I have seen EXPIRED Fujichrome Provia or Kodak Portra or any number of other popular, professional grade, films being sold not only at the going rate but much more than it!
For example, I know 5 rolls of fresh Fujichrome Provia 100 retails from reputable dealers here in the UK, for about £45-£50 at the time of writing. And yet, I have seen, today, several posts listing the same 5 rolls of film, but expired, for £60-£75. That is just crazy. These are obviously posts by people trying exploit the unaware.
So, in the spirit of supporting local small business I list below (in no particular order) the retailers I recommend for film purchase here in the UK (most ship abroad) which I have used more than once and always been satisfied with. All of them sell film to consumers for about the same cost, give or take a couple of quid, and give or take varying P&P costs, and for less than the con-artists on eBay selling film that expired 3 years ago: