That final roll of film: What are you saving for?
Expired discontinued film has become a gold mine as evidence of the crazy prices some are commanding on the market. $50 for a roll of Natura 1600(!) The Show Us Your Film series on the site also reveals some folks have a healthy stash of bygone goodies suspended and entropy slowed behind fridge doors. Unless you’re an ancient Egyptian, those canisters ain’t going with you to the great beyond so what’s it take to pop open the lid, load that roll in the chamber and slide the leader across?
Fujifilm Provia 400x
I recently went back to the States for a little road trip and my brother’s wedding and shot that final roll of Provia 400x that I had been saving. Fujifilm Provia 400x was my favorite slide for it’s relative forgivability, color tone, and nice grain. I remember pushing it to iso 1600 for favorable results back in the day. Fujifilm stock tends to be on the cool side but Provia had a little added warm punch that made it great for landscapes. Not the finest grain, being a pushable ISO 400, nevertheless it is eye-pleasing and atmospheric in my opinion. The final box I had expired in 2014 and has been in the fridge ever since so shooting it at box speed was probably a safe bet.
Fujifilm Neopan 1600
Neopan 1600 (a.k.a ‘Super Presto’ in Japan) was definitely my most shot black and white film stock. As such I was quite shaken up when its demise was announced back in 2009. It felt like a death in the family. In 2021 we still have two high-speed black and white films left in Ilford Delta 3200 and Kodak TMAX 3200, however neither possess the tonal quality of Super Presto.
Because of my procrastinating @$$ , I only managed to horde a brick before leftover inventory got out of hand with the gouging of the prices. Over the subsequent years, I’ve exhausted my supply and shot my third final roll a couple years ago at my sister’s wedding. I have only 2 rolls left in the freezer, which I’m saving for hopefully the birth of my future kids.
Yes, Robert Zimmerman is always right when he warbled “the times they are a-changing” and the cherry blossoms annually send a memo about the fleeting trait of existence. I believe photographers are naturally a sentimental bunch and nostalgia is perhaps more amplified in us. How else could you explain this obsession with preserving a sliver of a moment to share whether anyone cares or not. Special moments merit special tools and our beloved final rolls deserve momentous occasions to make them that much more valuable. Got a couple rolls of Agfa Vista 400 and Natura 1600 left for my new niece and future sibling spawns but am undecided on what to do with my last roll of Agfachrome 1000. Would love to hear what occasions or projects y’all saving your precious canisters for.