Ultra Large Format Photography
Please note that I am actively developing the content for this page and I will be adding to it frequently. Be sure to keep checking back for additional information. Also, if you have some ULF information that you think would be useful for our community, send it to me and I will add it to this page.
Some of this information only comes up on occasion, so it is easy to lose the information and not be able to find it when you need it.
Also, when I would get questions from other photographers, I would have to go dig up the info for them as well and that can be very time-consuming.
ULTRA LARGE FORMAT FILM OPTIONS
In no specific order, here are the current options that I know about for sourcing ultra large format film.
ILFORD ULF FILM ORDER FOR 2022 IS HERE!!
ILFORD ULF PROGRAM: The annual Ilford ULF program for 2022 is one of the best ways to buy high-quality Ilford film in bulk.
You can order from the list of authorized dealers until August 19, 2022, with expected delivery by the end of the year.
It can feel expensive, but the cost of film only goes up in price every year, so I recommend buying as much as you can and putting it in a freezer.
I shoot 16x20 and that is $30 a sheet now and 8x20 is $15 a sheet. Ouch... Tip, watch my latest YouTube videos for some good options that you can explore other than film if the cost is too high for your budget.
I have a separate deep freeze in the darkroom for my ULF film and paper. Annual orders typically occur in the summer and then you receive the film at the end of the year. The best way to make sure you don't miss the program is to join the ULF Group or subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Here is a document made available by Ilford for their ULF resellers.
Let me know if there are other resources that we need to add here.
SHANGHAI GP3 100
Shanghai GP3 100 Film: This film is made in China and is available to order all year round. Here is a link to their website. They have most sizes available from 4x5 to 20x24. If you don't see what you are looking for, there is a chat option on their website. I am currently in the middle of a large order of 16x20 film, so I will update this section when I know more information and can share my experience. I will note that when I ordered the boxes of 16x20 film and enquired about it, they effectively said they make the film on demand which I find fascinating. I guess that is one way of making sure you have fresh film!
I have found the film to vary in quality from batch to batch. I would absolutely recommend this film as a starter film, but I may be a little hesitant to recommend it for serious projects that involved a lot of travel or expense. It would probably be fine so long as you have a way to develop the film when you are away from home to validate the exposure is acceptable. The most annoying thing that I have found is some sheets don't have a notch on them, but this can easily be overcome by paying attention. The emulsion quality is good and I have never had an issue.
I personally rate this film at EI 50 and develop in HC110 Dilution B for 8 minutes. If you have a proven method other than EI 50 in HC110, send me a note and I will add it here for the community.
ADOX CHS 100
Adox CHS 100: Adox CHS 100 is a high-quality professional film. Depending on the size you need, you may have to check a couple of different vendors. Freestyle Photo Supplies in the USA has limited and varying stock, so you will need to check their website on a frequent basis. They tend to carry the smaller 4x5, 5x7, and 8x10 sheets, but on occasion, they tend to carry 14x17, but none of the other ULF formats. If you shoot 14x17, this can be a good resource for you.
FOTOIMPEX in Europe generally has a very good supply in just about every stand ULF format, but you will need to manage the shipping and importing of the film. I am currently working with them right now on an order and I will update this section when I know more. Customer service emailed me and confirmed they do ship to the USA.
LUPEX SILVER CHLORIDE CONTACT PRINTING PAPER
Adox Lupex is the world's only silver chloride contact printing paper available. With the passing of Michael A. Smith, Paula was unable to continue to manage the Lodima paper which is effectively the same as Lupex. The great news is that Paula is an authorized distributer for Lupex and you can contact her to place your order. There may also be some limited final supply of Lodima paper available via the link below.
LENSBOARD MAKER ON EBAY
Link to "zbima1" the eBay seller that makes custom lensboards for just about any camera.
PADDED/CARRYING CASES FOR ULF
Finding a padded case to transport and store your ULF camera can be a challenge.
I have had really good luck with Gator Cases. They create all sorts of cases for the music industry and it just so happens many of their cases work for ultra large format cameras too. I have found solutions for every large and ultra large format camera I have ever owned with them.
They have a "Custom Case Finder" tool on their website. Select "standard product" and the type of dimensions you want (mm or inches) and then enter your dimensions.
They perform a query and return with case options for you. This is much easier than digging through individual searches and trying to figure out if the case will work for you or not.
I was able to find cases for my 16x20 and 8x20 that allowed me to store film holders in the case with the camera at the same time.
HAULING YOUR ULF CAMERA & GEAR IN THE FIELD
As an ultra large format photographer, hauling your gear around in the field can be a real challenge.
The picture you are looking at to the left is a dog trailer and stroller that is available on Amazon. I purchased this exact trailer/stroller for my 16x20 and 8x20 camera systems and gear.
I previously owned an Allen Sports baby jogger/stroller but it wore out after 12 years of use in the field. I wanted to buy the exact same thing again, but sadly Allen Sports no longer made anything like the unit that I had. They are still in business, but they just don't make anything that I found to be suitable for hauling around ultra large format cameras and gear in the field.
The one criteria that I found to be critical is having large, almost bicycle-sized tires. This is critical to allow for work on challenging terrain as I often find myself. The unit that I purchased is available in three sizes (medium, large, and extra-large). I purchased the extra-large version. It can also be connected to your bicycle which may be a real option for some of you that work in areas and locations where using a bike could make sense. After I get several experiences in the field with this new unit, I will make a video about my thoughts and share it on the YouTube channel.
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