Arista EDU Ultra 400 B&W Film Review by James Baturin

Black and white medium format film image of a landscape on Arista 400 film - Arista EDU Ultra 400 Review by James Baturin on Shoot It With Film
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, Shoot It With Film may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Written by James Baturin

In the never ending pursuit to shoot film on a budget, I decided to give Arista EDU Ultra 400 black and white film a try.

At under $6 a roll in both 35mm and 120 versions, Arista 400 is a full $1.50 cheaper than my beloved Ilford HP5+. And after putting a couple of 120 rolls through my Hasselblad on a trip to the east coast this spring, I am really excited to have Arista 400 as a cheaper 400 speed film option for me in the future.

Find Arista EDU Ultra 400 on Amazon.

Black and white medium format film image of a landscape on Arista 400 film - Arista EDU Ultra 400 Review by James Baturin on Shoot It With Film
Hasselblad 500 C/M with Arista EDU Ultra 400
Black and white medium format film image of a landscape on Arista 400 film - Arista EDU Ultra 400 Review by James Baturin on Shoot It With Film
Hasselblad 500 C/M with Arista EDU Ultra 400

Arista 400’s Versatility

Arista 400 is a traditional panchromatic film, meaning that it is a b&w film sensitive to all wavelengths of visible light.

I generally gravitate toward 400 ISO films for their versatility for a wide variety of subjects and lighting conditions, and Arista 400 definitely checks that box.

It’s advertised as having a wide exposure latitude, and after shooting this film in some pretty harsh lighting conditions, I was really happy with how it retained shadow detail without blowing out the highlights.

I didn’t test it much in situations with less light, but there are options on the Massive Dev Chart app for developing it at 800 and 1600, so you can always push the film if you need to.

Arista EDU Ultra also comes in a 100 speed film, and you can read more about that here.

Black and white medium format film image of a landscape on Arista 400 film - Arista EDU Ultra 400 Review by James Baturin on Shoot It With Film
Hasselblad 500 C/M with Arista EDU Ultra 400
Black and white medium format film image of a landscape on Arista 400 film - Arista EDU Ultra 400 Review by James Baturin on Shoot It With Film
Hasselblad 500 C/M with Arista EDU Ultra 400
Grab your free copy of the Shoot It With Film magazine!

Grain and Contrast

As with most 400 ISO films, the grain is definitely visible on Arista EDU Ultra 400, but it is by no means harsh, and, side by side, looked very similar to Ilford HP5+.

And despite the presence of grain, I found it to be really sharp for a 400 film. In the landscape photos I took, I was really impressed with the details that were visible, even on subjects that were really distant.

In terms of contrast, I found Arista 400 to be closer to Kodak Tri-X 400 than HP5+. I like my images to be contrasty, and I was really happy with the tonal range I got out of the Arista film.

Black and white medium format film image of a landscape on Arista 400 film - Arista EDU Ultra 400 Review by James Baturin on Shoot It With Film
Hasselblad 500 C/M with Arista EDU Ultra 400
Black and white medium format film image of a landscape on Arista 400 film - Arista EDU Ultra 400 Review by James Baturin on Shoot It With Film
Hasselblad 500 C/M with Arista EDU Ultra 400

Developing Arista 400

I developed the rolls of Arista 400 I shot at home in Kodak HC-110 dilution b, which Massive Dev Chart app listed at 7 minutes. This is 2 minutes longer than HP5+ with the same developer, which feels like a long time for my 21st century brain that has trouble waiting for anything. But all in all, it’s not a huge difference.

One thing that surprised me during development is that when I poured out the developer it came out bright green. Apparently this is normal, but it could catch you off guard if you’re not expecting it.

If you are planning on reusing the developer, you may want to pre-rinse the film.

I noticed two things about the physical qualities of the film once the negatives had hung to dry.

One was that the film felt thinner than other 400 stocks I’ve developed. Almost flimsy. The other thing was that the negatives curled A LOT when I went to scan them, which is always annoying when trying to get them to lay flat in the scanner tray. Neither of these things affects the quality of the images. But are things to note anyways.

Black and white medium format film image of a landscape on Arista 400 film - Arista EDU Ultra 400 Review by James Baturin on Shoot It With Film
Hasselblad 500 C/M with Arista EDU Ultra 400
Black and white medium format film image of a landscape on Arista 400 film - Arista EDU Ultra 400 Review by James Baturin on Shoot It With Film
Hasselblad 500 C/M with Arista EDU Ultra 400

Overall, I was really impressed with Arista 400 film. With results so similar to those of more popular film brands, but at a better price, I could honestly see it becoming a new go to film for me.

Give it a try and see if it works for you!

Thank you so much, James! James is a regular contributor here at Shoot It With Film, and you can check out his other articles here, including A Multiple Exposure Experiment: 20+ Exposures in a Single Film Image and Best B&W Films for Landscape Photography.

You can also check out James’s work on Instagram.

Leave your questions about Arista EDU Ultra 400 b&w film below in the comments, and you can pick some up for yourself on Amazon here.

Shoot It With Film Magazine Issue 01 Promo Image

James Baturin

James Baturin is a regular contributor for Shoot It With Film. Find his other articles here, including Hasselblad 500 C/M Film Camera Review and Long Exposure Film Photography Tutorial.

Tags:
Blog Comments

I have been a fan of the film for years!!! You may want to try the 200 speed as well, that’s my go to for street photography!!!

Hi, thanks for testing this Arista material. Inside it’s the Foma 400. That’s it. Good material.
Best regards from Germany Thomas J.

I like the inky contrast and the detail in the water highlights really looks nice .

I like the look of the film but over here in the UK 35mm 24 exp is £23 per roll and a 120 roll is £19!! Probably not going to try it!

Leave a Comment