The Online Darkroom Store

Wednesday, March 19

Great Stuff from Firstcall Photographic

A very welcome tabloid-sized newsletter popped through my letter box today from the UK photography supplier, Firstcall Photographic. At first, I was disappointed because the first ten of the 28 pages were devoted to digital and video. But then, darkroom and film goodies started to appear and it seems Firstcall and doing a great job on that front.

For a start, they're selling four new enlargers, a 12x16 inch easel, an enlarger timer and a Jobo print and film washer. Now, none of this stuff is particularly cheap but that's just the nature of darkroom stuff these days.

LPL 3301 enlarger

The enlargers are a £268 Japanese-made LPL 3301 condenser model which comes with a 50mm lens and is for 35mm only, a Chinese-made Paterson Universal which handles 35mm and 6x6 and which retails at £200 without lens and a £2500 LPL 7452 which accepts 35mm to 5x4 negs and is also from Japan.

It's interesting to see Firstcall also selling the Enfojer (below), a £130 enlarger which uses your smart phone as a light source and projects phone pics onto normal darkroom paper for development in the time-honoured fashion. It's a great idea and Firstcall says the results are "really impressive" although I haven't seen any yet. It also comes with a 35mm carrier if you want to use film.


Italian company Condor make the two-blade enlarging easel which sells for £97 and also the £65 enlarger timer. Jobo are the sole remaining manufacturer of semi-automatic print and film processors and have sold more than 120 units of their CPP3 model in the last year alone. It can handle sheet film up to 10x8 inches and prints up to 20x24 inches and comes in at a cool £1990.

That's all good stuff but then we get to film in the newsletter and find that Firstcall have been active on that front as well. They're now marketing a new 200 ISO C41 process colour print film called X400 PE1. It can be pushed to 640 ISO if needed. Its key selling points are that it is a maskless colour film which makes it easy to scan and costs a very reasonable £3 a roll.

Then there's the new Chrome 200 PE1 E6 slide film which has the same film speed and retails at the same price. Last month, Firstcall launched CineStill Xpro C-41 process tungsten film and say that they have hardly been able to keep up with demand. It's dearer at £7.50 a 36-exposure roll. All the films are 35mm. The Firstcall films come from Agfa's Belgian plant and CineStill is made in the US by The Brothers Wright.

If anyone is planning on trying the new films, please get in touch with me and let me know what they're like. I never shoot colour but I'm happy to promote it on this website. UPDATE: reader, Nasir Hamid, has been posting some results from CineStill on his excellent blog. Check them out here.

Firstcall are continuing with their own black and white film, 400S, which is Rollei Retro S under another name. At £2.49, it's the cheapest film on the UK market and is good stuff regardless of the price although I'd rate it at 200 ISO and not the claimed 400 ISO. Along with their own full range of great value photo chemicals, it makes film and darkroom work really affordable.

I think there's a tendency for UK-based film photographers to think of AG Photographic and Silverprint - both excellent companies - when it comes to buying their supplies but Firstcall clearly deserve our support as well for making such a great effort to promote darkroom work and keeping the operating costs down to a reasonable price.

You might also like:

Firstcall 400s in Rodinal
Firstcall 400S: In Search Of a Dull Day Film


Jan Moren said...

The 6x6 enlarger is surprisingly affordable. Almost in range of used ones. Now, if it only were 6x7... And I had actual room for it.

Blake said...

Bruce - nice shout out. I've used FirstCall before and have always been more than satisfied. They've got a pretty good range of chems and films available. Really great to see them focusing on darkroom and analog products/equipment. Before you pointed it out I actually perceived them to be analog first, digital second! As if digital was a side line part of their business. Which is always refreshing. Now to get a copy of their catalog...
Another shout out - I can't help but appreciate Imaging Warehouse. I've bought lots of darkroom gear in their Secondhand section and in most cases not only was it great condition, I could hardly tell some of it was used. All the sweeter still that you've paid less and have a clean conscious about reusing instead of buying new.
Fantastic blog by the way, great to see fellow photogs (re)embracing analog and spreading the joy!

Hernan Zenteno said...

I have interest in print washers nowadays, how they look, are there any improvement from archival cascade from the 90's. Who are the manufacturers?
I really would like to know if there are a better and fast and simple way to consume less water and wash fiber prints for archival purposes.
Is very interesting the Enforjer enlarger, I would like to see prints made by it. It have a nice design too. Best regards

mickld said...

Funny to see the Enfojer for sale already! I've 'ordered' one via their Indiegogo campaign. Still waiting, but I'm patient. Bought it because I've tried and failed on many occasions to contact print from my phone or iPad. This looks like it will be lots of fun.

Jez said...

I've used firstcall as well, and have been very happy with them. They carry a lot of products that other shops don't. However, they charge £7.00 on ALL orders which has put me off a little. Say I want to buy some developer or a couple of rolls of film - I'm paying half as much again on postage.

morris1800 said...

I have been a customer of firstcall for some time. I recommend them for service and they produce an excellent catalogue, which introduced me to many products I didn't know existed for the film photographer.

Richard Warom said...

I also have had excellent service from Firstcall and although their carriage cost is high they let you know when its going to arrive which is really helpful.

Antonio Aparicio said...

Another great company is Nova Darkroom or the Imaging Warehouse as they are now called.

I use their Nova washmaster Eco print washers. Very nice indeed. Got the 12x16 and the 16x20.


Antonio Aparicio said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Herman Sheephouse said...

Yep - agree - FirstCall are good, but then I've not really encountered any 'duffer' suppliers of trad products in the UK . . apart from P&P charges, but then that is a game out of their hands.
Looking forward to a certain Mr. Robbins to get moving on that front too.

Nasir said...

The Cinestill film is made by The Brothers Wright in LA, not Agfa. It's Kodak motion picture film that has had the remjet backing removed. I've used it and it's fantastic in tungsten light.

Examples on my blog can be seen here:

I'd also like to say that I've had great service from Firstcall but the £7 delivery charge does put me off from ordering smaller items.

Bruce Robbins said...

Thanks for pointing out my error re the Cinestill film, Nasir. Looks like I misread the Firstcall newsletter. I'll amend my post. Your shots in the tailor's are excellent.

Anonymous said...

Found the Firstcall website but no mention of the Enfojer for sale.

John Robison