Frugal Film Project

Ever hear “does anyone still shoot film anymore? Just where do you get it developed?” Me too. Then “isn’t it expensive?”

Myth… totally a myth! It doesn’t have to be expensive at all, truth is camera gear that cost thousands a few years ago can be had for a steal now. Consumer and student films? Poor quality right? No… in reality they are pretty good. But how cheaply can you shoot film and still get a good result?


The photo above was shot with a $5 camera and cheap Fuji 100 film. In reality it is shot in an urban part of Arizona… the reason I framed it tight was so little of the buildings and landscaping were visible.

All of this got me thinking… maybe shooting film could be done on a very small budget. That was the beginning of the Frugal Film Project. One where expensive gear is not the focus… because the limit you can spend on your gear is fifty dollars, including shipping! Your film is the cheapest film you can find locally or if you can’t find any locally… online. But wait… there’s more! Lets add more people, because projects are more fun with friends.

One year, twelve rolls of cheap film, a camera that cost less then fifty dollars and over a dozen photographers from around the globe… this is going to be fun! It is a test to see just what a cheap camera and film can do.

This week we have been busy  brainstorming, testing and gathering our gear… because this is actually a collective, there is a lot to talk about. Some of us are slowly shooting our roll, some of us have already shot it and some are testing our cameras.

By the end of January our film must be shot, we have two weeks to process and digitize before the results can be shared. In the next few weeks I will introduce you to the collective and their gear… its going to be so much fun!

15 thoughts on “Frugal Film Project

  1. Looking forward to seeing what you guys create! I definitely agree that film photography can be as frugal as you make it… I managed to get my Nikon FM for an absolute steal (cost me about £40 in the end!) and I just bought 20 rolls of slightly expired Fuji C200 for £1.50 each (+ £7.99 p&p, but that’s why I went ahead and got 20). Of course if you develop your own film it’s even more affordable (I’m planning to learn b&w this year for that reason).

    1. That was a great bargain! C41 is pretty easy to do, you might want to give it a try too!

      I’m following your blog, have been enjoying it.

      1. thanks! Yeah I am thinking of doing C-41 as well, as I shoot a lot of colour, and I have loads of undeveloped rolls that will cost me a fortune to get developed by a lab

      2. Oh you should give it a try, it really is simple. The worst part is the first roll!

  2. You can buy reels of film to load into cassettes, particularly expired b&w, very cheaply, and a loader the same. A multi format tank can be obtained cheap too and b&w developer chemicals are not expensive. 35mm film cameras with very good lenses (which is all that matters) – Olympus, Pentax, etc – can be picked up very cheaply, £10 or less. The only problem with shooting film if you wish to share on internet is that it has to be scanned.

    1. All of us in this project are choosing different gear, films and processes. It will be interesting to see the different results.

      1. It will indeed be interesting.

  3. Very interesting and sounds like loads of fun.I have a 1933ish Rollicord that seems to work and Freestyle Photography has very inexpensive 120 B&W called Arista Ultra for $4.25 per roll.

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