- They offer a wide selection of expired and rare film.
- They often post example photos taken (sometimes by them) with the film they are selling.
- They charge a reasonable price for their film.
- I have purchased film from them on many occasions.
- I have had good results with most of the film I purchased.
To that end, there are only three online stores that make the cut. Over the years, I have purchased many rolls, many times from the resellers below and have had good results with their film most of the time. Despite the solid reputation of these resellers, there are never guarantees when it comes to expired film! Shop and shoot at your own risk.
Located in Portugal, Narc Expired Film offers a large selection of expired film in a variety of formats and can be found on both eBay and Etsy. I have purchased film here on many occasions and while there are never guarantees with expired film, I have found that most of the film I have bought has given me decent results. Film prices and shipping are both reasonable and Narc offers combined shipping when ordering multiple items. I can vouch from experience that Narc’s customer service and communication are excellent. I received an order once that was missing a roll of film. When I contacted Narc, he immediately shipped out the missing roll at his own expense. New film stock is added regularly and you can find example photos that Narc has shot with the film he sells on his Instagram feed. I find Narc Expired Film to be a great place to shop and I have purchased 35 different film stocks from him. Of those 35, I have shot a dozen rolls and photos from eight have been posted on this blog, while the other 23 are sitting in my freezer. These links will take you to the photos I made using his film.
Photos Shot on Film from Narc
Located in Florida, USA, Labeauratoire is Lance Rothstein’s shop. He carries a lot of rare film stocks that you will not find anywhere else. Best of all, Lance shoots this film himself. His site used to feature many example photos, development recommendations, and a short history of each film, but Lance has recently updated his website, so all of this is currently missing. That being said, you can shop here with confidence. Lance is awesome and offers a great film selection at reasonable prices. I have shot 8 out of the 10 film stocks that I have purchased from Labeauratoire. Follow these links to see my photos.
Photos Shot on Film from Labeauratoire
Located in France, Les Ateliers de Marinette’s film selection is always changing with “new” film stocks being added regularly. They also sell fresh film, so you can do all your film shopping in one place. Les Ateliers offers a good selection of film at reasonable prices and shipping from France to Canada is the cheapest I’ve found. I have purchased 15 different film stocks from Les Ateliers de Marinette. While the majority of that film is sitting in my freezer, I have shot and processed three rolls. While this is a great store to buy from, I did have one issue with shipping. It wasn’t exactly their fault, but their customer service could have been better. See “The Woeful Tale of Missing Film” below for details.
Photos Shot on Film from Les Ateliers de Marinette
What to Look For When Buying Expired Film
The only way to avoid buying crappy expired film is to be diligent in your research. Here are a few tips to help you reduce the risk when shopping for expired film.
- Shop at reputable dealers like the ones listed above.
- Always ask how the film has been stored. Film that has been stored in a freezer for a decade will perform better than film stored for a year in a car that’s been baking in the sun. Frozen film loses its sensitivity very slowly and can often be shot at box speed even if it is decades old.
- Look for example photos shot with the film (preferably from rolls with the same lot number).
- If there are example photos, find out how many stops, if any, the film was pushed to compensate for age.
- Be wary of film that the seller found at an estate sale. It’s almost impossible to know for sure how the film was stored and chances are it isn’t any good.
- Avoid one-off deals where the seller only has 1 roll they are selling amongst other non-film listings. Especially when they say “I don’t know if it’s any good” or “sold as is”.
- Choose professional film over consumer film. Chances are that professional film has been better stored over time. Anyone who owned professional film probably knew to store it in the freezer.
- Choose film that the seller has been willing to use themselves.
- Choose lower ISO films. The higher the ISO, the faster the film loses sensitivity. Thus a roll of 50 ISO film will age slower than a 1000 ISO film, and therefore will probably give better results.
- Do NOT buy Kodachrome. This film can no longer be developed.Kelly-Shane Fuller has been experimenting with reviving Kodachrome processing and has had some interesting success. If you really want to try Kodachrome, I’d suggest you reach out to him first. So unless you want a historical souvenir, buying Kodachrome is a waste of money.
|↩1||There are many excellent and reputable online film stores I could recommend, but most of them only sell fresh film.|
|↩2||Kelly-Shane Fuller has been experimenting with reviving Kodachrome processing and has had some interesting success. If you really want to try Kodachrome, I’d suggest you reach out to him first.|