As an exclusively film photographer, one question I get asked a lot is “where do you get the film from these days” and “isn’t it expensive”. So I thought I’d write this to help other UK photographers wishing to obtain good quality, non-expired film.

There are three suppliers I’d like to mention but two of them I have used more exclusively than the remainder.

Firstly, there is Calumet Photographic. Calumet are one of the big guns in professional photography retail, and I’m pleased to see they have remained committed to the supply of film, and they even have some second hand film equipment too (though I always used FFordes – great range of stock, good prices, warranty, and rapid shipment). It is a bit of a surprise to see such a large retailer still stocking films these days and that can only be good for the continued demand from the manufacturers to keep making it.

Calumet (www.calphoto.co.uk) are, in my experience, the most reasonably priced for film overall; at least, for fresh stock it is. It is usually a few quid less than the other large film suppliers and their P&P costs are slightly less too. But, their stock management is not equal to the others. Very often they will have an emulsion listed but when you go to order it, it’s out of stock, or they only have a roll or two left. If you’re like me who tends to stock up on a particular brand exclusively for a particular event (to avoid mismatching different colour palletes in the finished project) you want to be able to order ten boxes of something and have it all arrive a day or two later. Not one or two boxes one day and the rest two weeks later. I recently ordered 5 boxes of 5 x Fuji Pro 400H in 120 format and 8 boxes of 35mm Fuji Pro 400H. Both were out of stock when I ordered but the 120 arrived about a week later. The 35mm did not and when I called to enquire they said they were out of stock with no date as to when more would come in, so I got refunded and went elsewhere.

Calumet Photographic

Calumet Photographic Film Section

Nevertheless, if you have plenty of time, or if you don’t need a massive amount of a film stock that is running low, they are a great option.

Then there is AG-Photographic (www.agphotographic.co.uk). These are more exclusively film based and they know their onions if you ring them up and speak to them. Very friendly, very personable, but best of all, they always seem to have a lot of film stock in ready to ship. Rather than waiting until they have one roll left before ordering more stock, they seem to manage it quite well. I suspect that is because it is the core of their business where as for Calumet, film stock is probably a low percentage of their overall turnover.

AG Photographic Film Supplies

AG Photographic Film Supplies

AG-Photographic’s prices are a touch higher than Calumet, but only by a pound or two generally. Their P&P prices are also slightly higher, but not excessively. So if you wan to be sure of a good stock of a particular film and be sure it will arrive the next day or the day after, AG-Photographic is my suggestion even if it does cost £4 or £5 more than it would have done from Calumet. I bought the rest of my 35mm Fuji Pro 400H from them, as well as several light tight bags for a wedding shoot I am doing soon.

Another good retailer is Silverprint (http://silverprint.co.uk/) though I must confess to not using them, but they have a great reputation. Lots of photographers I know do use them.

So there you have it : Calumet or AG-Photographic are my first choices. That’s where I get my film from almost always.