Cheap Arista Film : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Does anybody have any comments about the Arista sheet film sold cheap (37$/100 4x5) by Freestyle? I am a beginner and so am too clumsy with development and too unpracticed with exposure to make any definitive judgments about it, but I'm on a very limited income and the low price makes it quite attractive to me. On the other hand, I don't want to be pound foolish, either, and chase after problems or unsatisfactory images that are the result of the film and not my own novice mistakes. So far it seems to be working, though.

-- Erik Ryberg (, January 28, 1998


Go with the newer emulsions, Tmax or Ilford stuff. At the very least use HP5+ as the Arista is most likely HP3 or one of Ilfords older films. The newer stuff is better in a great many ways that will show up in your work if your technique is sound. Might as well work with the better stuff to get the most out of your creativity. If you want the older style emulsions, stick with TriX or HP5+ which is similar but a touch nicer(at least for me). But, most of my large format B&W is on TMax 100 due to its very fine grain, great manipulation characteristics and its behavior on exposures longer than 30 seconds or so. Very good stuff. I check it now & then against the others by loading one sheet of each back to back in the holders & then when I print I mask off the film marks(having shot the same scene with each I compare. Then I print without knowing for sure which film I am using & invariably I choose the TMax. I am not a great fan ofthe yellow Peril, but their TMax 100 is excellent. Might as well use what works & for my way of working this film does it. So choose what will work for you & your vision & live with the cost.

-- Dan Smith (, February 11, 1998.

I've used both HP5 & the Arista U.F.O. film in 8 X 10 and have no complaints on either. I have not seen a difference beyond the notch code. Arista paper seems to work well for me. If you look at the published processing times, you'll see they are the same for Hp5 & Arista 400. What is Arista 400? Ilford Hp5 that some how didn't pass quality inspection? Why would Ilford continue to manufacture HP3? Or is it the equivalent of a "short ends" that you can buy in the movie industry, unexposed stock that is left over and sold, sealed or re-sealed and within the expiration date?

Which ever way, the cheap stuff works for me and I greatly appreciate it's low cost. You can buy almost twice as much stock for the same cost.

-- Sean yates (, December 04, 1998.

I thought I better update my answer on this one to reflect some testing I did with the films. View Camera magazine featured a short article one of the films & the conclusion was "it is an Ilford emulsion, in all respects the same as the Ilford named emulsion" when examined closely. After reading this I bought a few boxes of the Arista in both film speeds & compared them directly to Ilford HP5+ and FP4+. I found one difference in the negatives-in the 4x5 sheet film. That difference is not in the grain pattern or how the images look. It is in the thickness of the material the emulsion is coated on. The Arista seems to be a bit thinner, having a tendency to curl a bit where the Ilford named emulsion didn't under the same conditions.

Other than that both films, back to back in the holder, shot of the same subject, processed in the same JOBO tank at the same time, look so close that I can't tell any difference. It looks as if I am one of those who got the info it was an older version. But on testing the stuff I think it has to be the same film, with the thickness of the sheet being the difference. At any rate, both films work fine and the images looked nice. Even with that I will continue shooting Tmax, why change what works?

-- Dan Smith (, February 12, 2000.

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