Arista EDU Ultra 100 B&W Film Review by Amy Elizabeth

Medium format black and white image of a lake - Arista EDU Ultra 100 BW Film Review on Shoot It With Film
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Written by Amy Elizabeth

I decided to take the plunge and try some Arista films when Kodak and Ilford prices started creeping north. With Arista EDU Ultra 100 at less than $6 a roll for 35mm or 120, I figured why not at least test it out?

I am so glad I did, because I have quickly fallen in love with this film and will sing its praises, so let me begin.

Find Arista EDU Ultra 100 on Amazon.

Medium format black and white image of a lake - Arista EDU Ultra 100 BW Film Review on Shoot It With Film
Minolta Autocord with Arista EDU Ultra 100 in 120

Arista EDU Ultra 100 is a panchromatic film, meaning it’s sensitive to all wavelengths of visible light, but lacks color.

This film is by all accounts the same as Fomapan black and white film. Just think of it as a generic version. And like all good generics, it’s even slightly cheaper than the brand name. (Which, if you know me, you’ll know generic is my jam.)

Arista 100 is a low ISO film, making it less ideal for wide ranges of lighting situations. It is best used in daylight or if you want to use a slow shutter speed.

But beware, this film is relatively grainy for a low ISO film, which I actually love, because black and white grain is essential.

35mm black and white film portrait of a woman - Arista EDU Ultra 100 BW Film Review on Shoot It With Film
Nikon FE with Arista EDU Ultra 100 in 35mm
35mm black and white film portrait of a woman - Arista EDU Ultra 100 BW Film Review on Shoot It With Film
Nikon FE with Arista EDU Ultra 100 in 35mm
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What I Love About Arista EDU Ultra 100

What do I love about this film? Arista EDU Ultra 100 has high contrast and rich tonality, making it an all around fantastic black and white film.

I am particularly impressed with portraits. I found the skin tones to be so soft and glowy. Albeit, I say this with the caveat that I only photographed my children, and they all have fair skin, so my sample size is very small.

Medium format black and white image of boy's portrait - Arista EDU Ultra 100 BW Film Review on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 645N with Arista EDU Ultra 100 in 120
Medium format black and white image of boy's portrait - Arista EDU Ultra 100 BW Film Review on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 645N with Arista EDU Ultra 100 in 120
Medium format black and white image of a boy's portrait - Arista EDU Ultra 100 BW Film Review on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 645N with Arista EDU Ultra 100 in 120

Arista 100 in 35mm Lacks a DX Code

The 35mm version of Arista 100 film doesn’t have a DX code. The DX code is a marking on the film canister that tells cameras with automatic ISO readings the ISO of your film. This means you’ll have to set the ISO manually.

For most of us, we do this on our cameras anyway or we use handheld light meters, so it doesn’t matter. This often won’t even matter for point and shoot cameras that use a DX code without an option to set the ISO manually, because most of them default to 100 ISO.

The only time this will matter is if you wanted to hack the DX code for your point and shoot to rate it differently than 100 ISO… because there’s nothing to hack.

Medium format black and white image of a lake - Arista EDU Ultra 100 BW Film Review on Shoot It With Film
Minolta Autocord with Arista EDU Ultra 100 in 120
Medium format black and white image of a light post - Arista EDU Ultra 100 BW Film Review on Shoot It With Film
Multiple exposures on the Pentax 645N with Arista EDU Ultra 100 in 120

A Note about Developing with the Massive Dev Chart

I use the Massive Dev Chart app for all my film timing needs and Kodak HC-110b dilution for my developer.

The bummer here is that the Massive Dev Chart only offers a timer for developing the Arista EDU Ultra 100 at 100 ISO. There are no options to push the film.

Under Fomapan 100, there is a timer for pushing 2 stops, so I plan to push 2 in the future, use that timer, and see how it goes.

If you’d like to know more about developing, check out this article I wrote on how to develop your own b&w film at home.

Medium format black and white image of a boy's portrait - Arista EDU Ultra 100 BW Film Review on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 645N with Arista EDU Ultra 100 in 120
Medium format black and white image of leaves - Arista EDU Ultra 100 BW Film Review on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 645N with Arista EDU Ultra 100 in 120
Medium format black and white image of boys sitting on a pier - Arista EDU Ultra 100 BW Film Review on Shoot It With Film
Pentax 645N with Arista EDU Ultra 100 in 120

Final Thoughts

So, do I love Arista EDU Ultra black and white film? Yes.

Am I worried other people will find out about it and prices on it will increase? Yes.

But we film photographers have to stick together, and this is a lesser-known gem I wanted to share with all of you.

When you shoot this film, feel free to tag me on Instagram so I can see the beauty you make! Enjoy!

Medium format black and white image of a steeple - Arista EDU Ultra 100 BW Film Review on Shoot It With Film
Multiple exposures on the Pentax 645N with Arista EDU Ultra 100 in 120
Medium format black and white image of a lake - Arista EDU Ultra 100 BW Film Review on Shoot It With Film
Minolta Autocord with Arista EDU Ultra 100

Thank you so much, Amy! Amy is a regular contributor here at Shoot It With Film, and you can check out her other articles here, including Self-Portraits on Film: Tips to Get You Started and B&W Film Stock Comparisons: Kodak Tri-X vs Ilford HP5 vs Kodak TMax!

To see more of Amy’s work, be sure to visit her on her website and Instagram! Amy also shares tips and tutorials for shooting film over on her IGTV channel. Go check it out!

Leave your questions about Arista EDU Ultra 100 black and white film below in the comments, and you can pick some up for yourself here on Amazon!

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Amy Elizabeth

Amy Elizabeth is a regular contributor for Shoot It With Film. Find her other articles here, such as How To Develop Black and White Film at Home and Scanning Film Negatives with a DSLR.

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Blog Comments

Thanks for the review.
Crazy idea – would it be possible to scratch the coating off a 35mm film can to allow the sensors to sense? You’d need to copy the patterns used commercially, but those are available.

–Rich

Honestly, if more people find out about Foma/Arista, I’d be happy! The company is doing pretty good in its home country and I think the increased interest would help them continue production & development for the future.

Many people are saying that this (these films) film is not that good due to high grain, low range etc. But it’s a cheap film! It’s not trying to be T-max or HP5 or whatever else, so if taken by the label of what it is, I think one can get great results with it (such as the examples in this article!)

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