How to Shoot Film on a Budget

By Emma Lloyd

Film photography is a fun and creative hobby that we believe everyone can enjoy. From going out and shooting with your camera, engaging in the incredible film photography community, nerding out about all the cool gear or even getting involved in the science of developing, there are so many elements of film photography to enjoy. However it is no secret that the price of film has risen in recent years, and while it is a very enjoyable hobby to pursue, it can be expensive too. In this article we will run through all our top suggestions on shooting film on a budget, so that you can continue with the hobby you love!



Is shooting on film expensive?

Shooting on film can be expensive, depending how you go about it, but so can lots of hobbies! There are lots of ways to enjoy film photography on a budget that suits you. At Analogue Wonderland we sell over 200 types of film, and there is a huge price range within that. We can definitely help you to find a film that you love, that won’t break the bank. We also have price filters on our website, so you can shop from Low to High and find a film within your price range. 

 

How to Shoot Film on a Budget| Lady holding a film camera to take a photo


What is average cost per frame when shooting film?

There are many factors that influence the cost per frame when shooting film, such as the film stock, the camera you are shooting with (i.e. half frame vs full frame) and where you get it developed. We have put together a few price comparisons below for you to see.

 

How to shoot film on a budget| 35mm film camera with selection of films and a pin

 

Example: you have a 35mm camera and you want to know how much it costs per photo + your WonderLab developing and scanning (low res scanning - suitable for social media)

FilmCost Per Frame
Kodak Colorplus 36exp£0.35
Ilford HP5 Plus 36exp£0.47
Kodak UltraMax 36exp£0.50
Kodak UltraMax 24exp£0.63
Ilford HP5 Plus 24exp£0.64
Kentmere 400 24exp£0.57
CineStill 800T 36exp£0.65

 

Example: you have a 35mm half frame camera and you want to know how much it costs per photo + your WonderLab developing and scanning (low res scanning - suitable for social media)

FilmCost Per Frame
Kodak Colorplus 36exp
£0.17
Ilford HP5 Plus 36exp
£0.23
Kodak UltraMax 36exp
£0.25
Kodak UltraMax 24exp
£0.25
Ilford HP5 Plus 24exp
£0.33
Kentmere 400 24exp
£0.29
CineStill 800T 36exp
£0.33

  

Example: you have a 35mm camera and you want to develop your black and white photos at home. - you have all the kit you need but you need to consider the cost of development chemistry. This varies depending on what chemistry you use, we have based these calculations on CineStill Df96 B&W Monobath.


FilmCost Per Frame
Ilford HP5 Plus 36exp
£0.24
Ilford HP5 Plus 24exp
£0.24
Kentmere 400 24exp
£0.18

 



Why is film photography so expensive?

Over the last few years, the cost of film has risen. This is normal with inflation, but naturally the internet felt a way about it. There are a few reasons behind the rising price of film. Last year we had Andrew Church from Kodak visit us, in the video below he goes into some of the details as to why Kodak introduced some price increases.



As Andy mentions, the pandemic, shortage of raw materials, shipping difficulties are just some of the reasons that led to the price increases. The good news is that Kodak is investing in film and the future of it. Film is very complex to manufacture and it would be easy to throw the towel in, but with new releases such as Kodak Gold 120 we can say that the future of film is looking positive! Although no one can avoid the difficulty of the cost of living crisis right now, we hope this blog can provide some positive ideas about ways to keep shooting film for a bit less.



Shooting film on a budget

It is important to make time for the things you love, our passions and hobbies are the things that make us happy! At Analogue Wonderland, our cameras are our pride and joy and ‘what film should I buy for my camera?’ is a question we ponder daily. Here are a few film recommendations and some advice on how you can keep the cost of shooting film down so you can continue to enjoy film photography.

Try a Half Frame Camera

Half frame cameras are becoming very popular because they allow you to shoot two frames on one normal frame of 35mm film. By using a half frame camera, you can effectively double the amount of shots you can take on a roll of 35mm film. These are a great way to save money and make the most of your roll of film.

Check out the Kodak Ektar H35 and Diana Mini.

 

Shoot more Black and White Film

There are a lot more options when it comes to choosing black and white film vs colour. This also means there are a lot more budget friendly black and white films too. You can pick up a roll of black and white film for as little as £4.25 a roll.



Black and white film deserves more love! We want to get people excited about shooting black and white film again. When you get to know your film emulsions, you will realise there is a lot of variety in looks and aesthetic between different films. Contrast, grain, tone are all key visual elements to look for in black and white film. Monochromatic films also come in a much wider variety of ISOs and film speeds, from ISO 6 up to ISO 3200, allowing for you to shoot in many different conditions and to experiment more with your photography.



Black and white film can be a great entry way into film photography, particularly if you are interested in home development. Developing your film at home can save you a significant amount of money, and we sell some great home developing kits to get you started. Shooting in black and white forces you to focus more on composition, highlights and shadows- key elements to make a great photograph. By stripping out the colour from a photo you can focus more on the foundations of your photo, and this is a great way to learn about photography before stepping into the world of colour. 


Stick to budget emulsions

There is a huge range of film available, not only when it comes to aesthetics like grain, contrast and saturation- but also price. We stock professional to consumer emulsions, so we can definitely help you to find something in your price range.



Don’t be put off by the terms ‘budget’ or ‘consumer’ although these films may have a cheaper price tag, this doesn’t mean that the quality falters. Some of our more affordable brands, such as Ilford actually have the best reputations in the industry. And you can still get fantastic results from these films.

Stick to cheaper formats

Other budget film tips include sticking to the cheapest and most widely available format- 35mm. Of course there are budget emulsions available in 120 format and even rarer formats like 110 and 620, but if you are wondering what film to get, the most affordable options are definitely 35mm.

Budget 35mm film recommendations

If you are unsure about what film to buy, and are on a tight budget, here are some of our top 35mm recommendations.

 

 FilmLookCost
Kentmere 400The soft backing allows for easy scanning, the images will have medium contrast and fine grain, and its mid-speed rating means it can be used in a variety of lighting situations.£5.00
Kentmere 100Soft backing that allows for easy scanning as the negatives lie flat, and the resulting images will have medium contrast and fine grain.£5.00
Fomapan 100Your photos will have high resolution, fine grain even in 35mm, and the timeless black and white look.£5.00
Adox CMS 20 IIAdox CMS 20 is one of the sharpest black-and-white 35mm films in existence, the fine grain and low light sensitivity means that prints can typically be enlarged to over 2.5m diagonally without loss of resolution or detail!£5.50
Rollei 80SAn interesting black and white film that can be shot down to ISO 32 and up to 100 - so a very interesting emulsion for situations that are guaranteed to be bright (sunlit holiday destinations or extreme studio set-ups).£5.50
Ilford HP5Ilford HP5 Plus is the best-selling black-and-white film in our store, and with very good reason! Beloved by film shooters, this iconic Ilford emulsion has a gorgeous grain structure that will provide the perfect vintage look to your photos.£7.25
Ilford XP2Ilford XP2 Super is a high-speed, fine-grained beauty of a 35mm film - and most importantly it is processed via the normal colour process which is offered as same-day development in many high-street shops!£9.00

  



How can Analogue Wonderland help you shoot film on a Budget?

Save with WonderPoints and join Club AW

We have a great loyalty points scheme at Analogue Wonderland that will allow you to save for future film orders with every purchase. Create an account with us and start earning! Club AW is a welcoming and exciting membership program for our film community! We've designed Club AW as the ultimate rewards scheme for folks who enjoy film photography and are after unique savings, early product releases, and exclusive perks.

For more information on our WonderPoints rewards scheme, check out the link here.

Budget for your films with our WonderBox film subscription

With our WonderBox film subscription, 35mm films are delivered straight to your door. Depending on the subscription you go for, films are either shipped on a monthly or bimonthly basis, meaning you know your film spending is budgeted for that time period.

Try a film bundle

We have put together some incredible film bundles for you. They are not only a great way to get you started on your film photography journey, but they can also help you save money on film. Pick from our beginners bundle, Kodak bundle, beginners bundle with camera or our Ilford bundle and get up to a 16% saving compared to when you purchase the products individually. 

Kodak Film Bundle



We hope this article has given you some ideas on how you can continue to shoot film, without breaking the bank. Film photography is a wonderful hobby that we want you to continue to enjoy. If you ever need advice on what films to choose, or if you have any more tips to share with the community, please get in touch! Happy Shooting! :)

2 Comments

  • Great article and this is useful advice for those starting out.

    We currently have a real profiteering problem in the film space as a result of supply shortfalls causing people to bulk buy remaining stock and sell it on Amazon/Ebay for more. I have local shops to me who tell me that if they sell at the retail price, they will have people come in, buy all the stock and sell it online for 50%-100% more. The way for them to prevent this is for them to market at the Amazon/eBay prices and suddenly we see budget films shooting up in price. For example the price rise on C200 has been mad to see over the last few years. ColourPlus and Ultramax are a similar story. It’s a shame because film was expensive before and the recent price rises are shutting people out at all levels. Hopefully the supply side can bounce back.

    Matt
  • Hi,
    Question, why does it cost more to get B/W film developed when it is a far easier and less complicated than colour.
    Regards
    Geoff.

    Geoff Titman

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