Film Inventory

So the past few weeks for me have been a complete write off with regards to taking photos outdoors.

I had a couple of photo walks planned over the two weekends prior to the one just gone, to different places outside of Brighton, but in the end I had to cancel both due to the terrible rain we’ve been having.

On one of the days that I cancelled, I decided to have a productive morning of doing an inventory of my film instead.

I had began to notice quite a stash building up in my fridge of a mixture of 110, 35mm, 120 and various instant film.

It’s all piled on top of each other which makes it hard to see. By doing an inventory, I felt it would help me when planning future photography projects, since I can just check my list rather than raid through the film in my fridge, making it all untidy again!

The aim of this inventory list is that I actually start using the film I have rather than just keep buying more.

There seems to be so many new films coming out lately, that I get really excited and have to buy them there and then but right now, I do not want to continue adding to my fridge stash (unless it’s something I see when out and about and not something I can easily buy online).

A good example of this was on Sunday when I visited the Photographer’s Gallery in London. They have an amazing selection of film for sale and the couple I purchased, I knew I wouldn’t easily be able to buy online so decided to add them to my current film stash.

I recently stopped my 120 subscription to Cool Film Club as I was finding that it was quite expensive and I wasn’t using the films instantly, since I didn’t have a photo project in mind for them.

Whilst some people may be proud of their film stashes, I actually hate to see my film just sitting there in the fridge doing nothing.

I also have a tendancy with some of the films that I think are ‘quite special’ to keep on saving them for that ‘special photo project’ which quite frankly doesn’t always happen so it continues to sit there.

My aim is to now try and use up as much of my current stash as possible before I purchase anymore (no more photo shops with unusual film visits for me for a while!).

In some ways I know I will struggle with this, since I want to use everyday black and white film (i.e. Ilford) if I’m taking photos locally where I regularly visit.

This is why I’m trying to currently plan more places to visit outside of Brighton that appeal to me for taking photos which will give me the opportunity to actually use the ‘special films’.

However, once I do finally start to get through my film stash, I’ll be able to then treat myself to more film.

I think it’s the colour film I will struggle to use more as I really do like shooting in black and white and I also like the fact that I then have the option to make these photos into prints in the darkroom, if I’m happy with them rather just scan or digitally print like I currently have to do with colour film.

To be honest, I thought I had used up quite a lot of my film stash during my trips to Turkey and Le Havre back in June but it’s surprising what a fridge can hide since doing an inventory!

Does anybody else do an inventory of their film? If so, have they found it helpful in trying to reduce their current stash?

I would love to hear what you all think about doing an inventory of your film and if like me, you have stashes of film too or whether you tend to just buy film as and when you know you are going to use it.

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17 thoughts on “Film Inventory

  1. Great article! I can relate so much to everything that you wrote (to the extent that it is as if I wrote the article myself)! This year, I started shooting film again, and along with cameras (ie bad case of G.A.S…gear-acquisition-syndrome…I have bought at least 40 cameras), I amassed a lot of film. Like you, I was looking to try so many different films and would buy certain ones just to eventually shoot them. But I have found that I just don’t have the time (and I currently have over 20 rolls to develop!). My film purchases have slowed down, and I do need to take an inventory as you suggest. Not only will I save money, but it might just force me to make the time to shoot.

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    • It is amazing that you have so many cameras! I’ve still got 2 analog ones, a Leica M3 and a M6, both still working nicely. Some years ago I saw a R6 at a shop in Berlin, but it was to expensive, about 3000 Euros. I thought that old analog cameras were more affordable…

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      • Well, when you have two Leica’s, I suppose you don’t really need any other film cameras unless you consider getting into medium format photography? I started cheap in my camera journey as I wasn’t sure if I would be into film photography long term but definitely am so am now focusing on better quality cameras (such as my Hasselblad) and I think I may part with some of my lesser quality cameras if I find I begin to no longer use them 👍


      • Thanks. Well…at the beginning of this year, when the shutter on my old Minolta X-370 didn’t seem to work at first (but did eventually), I decided to buy an Olympus OM-1 to start shooting film again. I wanted to show my four boys what film photography is like. After shooting some rolls with one of my sons, I found that I really enjoyed shooting film again instead of digital. Then it happened…I was struck with G.A.S., and started buying a lot of different vintage cameras…both 35mm and medium format. Given that I only ever shot with 35mm…and only one model of camera, I was intrigued by the variety of cameras that were affordable on the used market. Needless to say, I indulged, and over the course of this year, I have bought a wide range of different cameras…some dating back to 1914. From folding cameras to box cameras, to TLRs and SLRs and rangefinders…I managed to find some excellent deals. All of them are in great condition, and all of them work.

        Of course, the couple of cameras that I still lust after, and haven’t yet bought…are the two that you have! I suppose I could have maybe decided to forego all of the cameras that I bought and instead bought an M3 or M6…but I have no regrets so far. I enjoy shooting with the wide variety that I purchased…especially ones that are over 100 years old. Nonetheless, someday…I’ll save up and splurge…and eventually buy an M3 or M6. 🙂

        If I could buy only one, which would you recommend…the M3 or the M6?

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  2. I did an inventory earlier this year but have barely updated it, mostly because I have not been shooting much, but also because I haven’t bought any new film in MONTHS.

    I completely relate to what you’ve written here; I hate having a huge stash of film that’s just lying around and it was also hard to keep track of what I had, hence why I did the inventory 😊

    Another benefit was that I could easily see which films I had that weren’t my preferred films, and prioritise them for shooting/giving away so that I could finally get rid of them! Now the film I have left is mostly Fomapan 100 and Fuji C200, as those are my stocks of choice for every day shooting. I have barely any 120 film either because I really don’t like shooting 120 that much. The cameras are bigger (unless you shoot a holga, which I have tried many times and I just cannot get into it), and I prefer my Nikon FM’s form factor.

    But I’m going off on a tangent… I need to update my inventory now 😄

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  3. The fridge in the garage, where I kept my film, died in August and we aren’t sure whether we will replace it or not. But I had to evacuate my film. The frozen film is now in the kitchen fridge’s freezer and the rest is in a box under my desk as there wasn’t room in the kitchen fridge for it. I’m shooting through that stuff with some urgency, as I’ve had some of it so long that, even though I bought it fresh, it’s now 2-3 years expired.

    This forced an inventory. I discovered I had a roll of original Fuji Velvia! Not the RVP50 they make today, but the original RVP. I have only a dim memory of how I came to own it. When you can’t remember where you got all of your film it’s time to stop buying more and shoot what you have.

    I think going forward I’ll buy film much closer to point of need. I don’t see an upside to having so much film on ice anymore.

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  4. I don’t do an inventory but I should. I recently dug out a Fujifilm colour which has been put in my bag for Thailand. It’s only when I went to throw the box away I realise it expired last year.

    Like you I’ve been using more black and white than colour and also stockpiled some Kosmo as Analogue Wonderland had it back in stock.

    Maybe I should move it to the fridge…

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  5. I am so happy to learn that many photographers still shoot with film! Currently I’m building a website to sell my own photos and so have been prioritising the digital photography, but I still have my film camera operating nicely. I live in Brazil, where the supply of films has all but vanished. So, during a trip to Canada last year I’ve bought several 35mm films in Toronto, but forgot to keep them in the refrigerator!

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  6. I get the top rack in the fridge door, the rest is for food: helps keep the quantity down. I know what you mean about the shop in the photographers gallery being full of temptation..and then there’s Analogue Wonderland on line…fortunately I’m quite resistant to speculative purchasing disease!

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    • Well done Andy on your resistance! My resistance has certainly improved since doing my inventory. Every time I’m tempted by purchasing a new film online, I think back to and look at my film inventory list which stops me from making the purchase for now until I’ve used up the majority of what I already have. The only film I’m still purchasing on a regular basis is the Fuji mini instax film but that’s because it seems to be the only film I use up all the time so have to keep buying more. I’m actually going to be posting a blog this week regarding that 👍


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