Film Review: Arista.EDU Ultra 200

Several years ago, Freestyle Photographic Supplies out of Los Angeles sought to counter the trend of rising photo supply costs by introducing the Arista.EDU Ultra line of film and paper. In a time when many industry heavyweights (you know who we’re talkin’ about) exited the traditional film photographic industry, Arista.EDU Ultra stepped in to provide students and educators a reliable supply of high quality yet affordable photographic materials. And thus the Arista brand was born again. This is a Arista.EDU Ultra 200 review.

Remember the old red Arista Boxes from the early 2000’s? Those were widely thought to be repackaged Kodak Tri-X.

Currently repackaged Fomapan 200 made in the Czech Republic, Arista.EDU ULTRA 200 is an ISO 200/24° panchromatic black and white negative film which responds well to push processing, featuring fine-grain, full tonal range, excellent resolution and wide exposure latitude.

Specs

The film is sold in 35mm 36 exposure rolls, 35mm 100ft bulk-loading reels, 120 roll film and sheet formats. 120 and sheet film versions are coated on a polyester base and both 35mm varieties are coated on polyester as well.

It should be noted that the latest 35mm/36 exposure inventory is not DX-coded and 100ft reels do not have frame numbers or edge markings.

NameArista.EDU Ultra 200
VendorFreestyle Photo
TypeBlack and white (negative)
Native ISO200
Format(s)35mm, 120, Sheet
35mm DX CodedNo
Spectral sensitivityPanchromatic
Normal ProcessBW
Cross processBW reversal
Push process
Exposure latitude±2 stops
Verified ManufacturerFoma Bohemia

Arista.EDU Ultra 200 in 120

I really like the design of the rolls themselves. The black backing paper with the white band looks cool and the retro font choice and text layout is cool and well thought out. I also really appreciate the peel away sticker at the end of the roll to secure it once you’re done. While i have nostalgic feelings from licking stamps as a kid, licking is still just kinda gross.

Arista.EDU Ultra 200 Sample Pics (120)

The following images were shot on a Plaubel Makina 67 at box speed and developed with Cinestill df96 at 75°F (24°C) for 4 min with constant agitation for the first minute, then for 10 seconds every minute after that. Scanned on a Canoscan 9000f II.

Arista.EDU Ultra 200 in 135

The following images were shot on a Fuji Natura and Leica CL at box speed and developed with Cinestill df96 at 75°F (24°C) for 4 min with constant agitation for the first minute, then for 10 seconds every minute after that. Scanned on a Plustek Opticfilm 8200i.

Conclusion

Research on the internet reveals that many users of Fomapan 200 agree that it should be shot  at 1/2 box speed and effectively should be an EI 100 film. To review Arista.EDU Ultra 200 I decided to shoot it at box speed to find out for myself. The exposure for the negatives indeed appeared slightly off but I’d rate it probably more like EI 160. As you can see it is quite contrasty but I do love the overall tonality.

With the prices of film soaring in recent years, Arista.EDU Ultra 200 at USD $4.79 per 36 shot roll is a deal. The only other sub-5 dollar black and white film you’ll find is Kentmere 400. Personally I prefer the former to the latter but you can be your own judge for that. If you’re on a budget and want a punchy black and white, just pop in some Arista.EDU Ultra 200, set your ISO to 160 and snap away.

You can pick some up over at Freestyle here

MN