We haven’t seen any official announcement, which, on the other hand is quite normal for Chinese (AKA from the country without law) enterprises, but we can now surely say that the Shanghai GP3 120 film isn’t being made anymore. For a year and a half prices have been skyrocketing in the evilbay and other gray market sites to insane amounts, and finally, even the most obnoxious offers have ceased. Sold out. Sould out and not made anymore. The auction you see above is from an ebay post. They sold the last three rolls for 111 US dollars. This makes every roll 37 George Washingtons, which is in-fucking-sane. And even more if you take into account that this was notorious for being the cheapest 120 film around, both label and quality wise. And I loved it, GODDAMIT. This is a twilight moment for the Baron. Everything I love goes. Don’t get me to like you: the Cosmos will kill you just to piss me off.
If you’re seriously into medium format, I’m sure you will have, at least heard of the GP3; if not, wow, you must have been living in a cave. No, really: the thing was famous. Famous with an ‘in’. Infamous. If you bought 20 of them from China, the thing sold for less than 2.50$ a roll, which is less than half than a Kodak or Fuji 100 ASA roll. Sounds nice? Well, this is where nice ends for the Shanghai GP3, because cheap had to do for all the rest of features of it, which were abysmal. It isn’t only that it was technically quite weak if we talk latitude, detail, density… it was also prone to reticulation, which can be really bad, but what really ruined all your work was that the markings in the backing paper often got exposed on the negative. Me? Most of the work I do with 120 is shot through plastic cameras and it is intentionally lo-fi, so you could argue that all this just adds to the results. But just imagine that you are Mr. Hassy Afficionado and shoot 10 rolls of Shangai one day at your favorite subject, name it Kinky Model, just to see a number four faintly exposed on her left nipple in one exposure and round dots on her ass in another after developing. You will epically freak out and and Mrs. Model will think you’re a loser, because you screw up things that are so easily done with her iPhone. Had you gone with Kodak, you would have impressed Mrs. Model with your feeble travesty of an artistic soul. But you wanted to save a few bucks. Now you’re not getting laid; think about how much is that. Thanks, Shaghai GP3.
I won’t say this happened to me.
Yes it was bad, but it was the kind of bad that I love to hate. If I just had some rolls! I would… sell them for big bucks in my store, I can’t lie. But it’s gone. Finito. Shangai GP3 caught the last train for the coast and there’s just one less 120 film manufacturer out there. Now, talk about revival. Talking big prices: if you’re smelling the green bill here because you’re one of those who noticed that what Lomography sold as ‘Lomography b&w 100’ was rebadged GP3, I have searched the Internets thoroughly for them and found nothing. And here’s free advice from the Baron: don’t you go and buy the newer version of the Lomography b&w 120 film, badged ‘Earl Grey’, which comes with a similar paper backing, and try to resell it because it’s not the same film and you’ll rightly get your ass sued.
As pessimistic as I may sound about this, I’m quite sure that soon we will see another no-name Chinese film around. I hope.