Frugal Photographer logo


Status updates are posted regularly on this weblog:

Please familiarize yourself with our merchandise warranty and our privacy policy.

110 film –  127 film –  APS film –  Bluefire Police film and developer –  Inexpensive 120 film –  126 film –  Flash cubes and bulbs – 
Film processing services and information –  Darkroom chemicals and equipment –  Books about photography – 
Holga/Lomo cameras and supplies –  Sheet and roll films from our Amazon store –  Closeout –  last site update: 2017-03-24
127 film manufacture resumes in mid-April. Sorry for the long delay in production.

120 roll film

A few rolls are once again available.

Shanghai GP3 100 Pan 120 roll film
Sealed in moisture-proof laminate for easy, safe storage in your refrigerator or freezer.




This film is ideal for student work, casual photography, experimental photography, pinhole cameras, and Holga/Lomo-style expressive shooting.

Important! This black and white film should not be processed as a color film. Color processing uses a bleach step which will remove the image. Be sure your local lab develops it in black and white chemistry and does not subject it to a bleach process. Excellent mail-order processing for this film is available from 120PROCESSING.COM and Blue Moon Camera.

UPDATE: although most users express satisfaction with this film, some users report defects, in the form of background mottling, and it seems like many rolls have image artifacts related to the backing paper, which show up under enlargement in the form of faint rings or circles. I suspect these defects, which were not apparent when we first stocked this film, may be related to its age.

This will not be an issue for experimental photographers, or indeed for most students or casual photographers. It will not affect images enlarged to conventional snapshot sizes (for example, 4x6 inches).

However, if you are a serious art photographer, attemptiing to create high-quality, high-enlargement images,  this outdated film will be risky for you.

The information below is left here for historical purposes

This is a good quality, inexpensive black and white roll film made in China by the SMPIC Photosensitive Materials Factory of Shanghai, an industry leader with more than 40 years of experience in making photographic materials. 

The parent company, SMPIC , was founded in 1973 and is currently joint venture partner in China with Polaroid and Fuji Xerox, making cameras and office machines, and is also a major producer of high-quality optical glass.

SMPIC makes their photosensitive films to very high standards of quality, easily the equal of the major international brands. Each boxed roll is heat-sealed in a paper-plastic laminate high-barrier wrap, and can safely be stored in a refrigerator or freezer without worrying about moisture damage.

I have tested several rolls, outdoors and under controlled lighting. My personal experience is that GP3-100 compares favorably with Kodak Plus-X and Ilford FP4-Plus. Anyone who has used Efke PL100 will be equally satisfied with GP3-100, and will appreciate GP3's heat-sealed, moisture-proof packaging, as opposed to the Efke unsealed wrapper.

If you are not trying to use this film for highly-enlargeable, high-quality fine-art photography (see the "Update" above), I have no hesitation in recommending this fine film, despite its low price. David Foy

There are three quirks: 

  • the frame numbers printed on the backing paper are faint and difficult to read through the red window on the back of some of the simpler cameras. Users report that a small flashlight, plus very careful film advancing, helps, but proper framing is still troublesome. This causes no problem in cameras that have automatic film advance, such as the Yashica-Mat, Mamiya MF cameras, or the Kiev SLRs.

  • there are no frame numbers or anything else pre-exposed on the edge of the film. This is not a problem, just a peculiarity.

  • the gummed paper seals at the end of some rolls have too little gum, or none, so you may need to seal exposed rolls with tape or a rubber band. This is not a problem, as long as you are aware of it beforehand.

Process your own 120 film at home. This is the only specialized equipment you need.

Compact Developing tank with two easy-load spiral reels.

Chemical-resistant plastic. Process color or black and white film, 35mm or 126 (one or two rolls at a time), plus 127, 120, 620, and 220 (one roll at a time). 

Includes tank, light-proof lid with "wave motion" manual agitation rod, liquid-tight lid for agitation by shaking or rolling, two rapid-load spiral reels that adjust for 35mm, 126, 127, or 120/620/220, box, and instructions.



We suggest you consider these excellent professional 120 films, available through reputable Amazon resellers.

For student work, casual photography, experimental photography, pinhole cameras, and Holga/Lomo- style expressive shooting, Shanghai GP3 is a reasonable and inexpensive alternative to professional films.

Outdated Shanghai
GP3 100 Pan
120 roll film

product: 120-GP3  

Important: Do not order until you have read the "update" above.

Per roll:

Expose at ISO 100, and process in D76 1:1 for ten to twelve minutes for excellent shadow and highlight detail.

Process this film at home using instant coffee, vitamin C, and a few other common kitchen, laundry, and swimming-pool chemicals. Click here for details.

Processing times recommended by a photographer in China (room temperature, approximately 68-70F):


Time in Mins

Kodak D-76 Developer


D76 1:1




Rodinal 1:50


D72 1:4


Kodak HC110


1 + 15 (A)


1 + 31 (B)



Frugal Photographer logo
Be sure to familiarize yourself with these policies:
The Frugal Photographer merchandise warranty
How to return goods that are unsatisfactory
All prices are in $US. Please be sure to read our privacy policy.
Entire web site protected by copyright. © 2001- 2016, The Frugal Photographer.
All rights reserved. Reproduction of text,photographs, illustrations, and web page design without permission is strictly forbidden.
"Bluefire" is a registered trademark, used with permission.

If you are a camera collector, or are interested in the history of cameras, please visit the McKeown Publishing web site.