Grey Market Tri-X : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Film & Processing : One Thread

A friend of mine is interested in the buying grey market Tri-X 400 because of the savings with the large volume of film she will be using soon.

should she have concerns ordering this type of film "grey market". i do not shot B&W so i cannot really comment. any suggestions for sources of this film? i had mentioned



-- john molloy (, January 15, 2002


I have been buying grey market Tri-X from B&H and getting good results. Make certain that you buy from a reputable source and check the dates on the packages.

-- Peter Schauss (, January 15, 2002.

I hate to sound dense,but "grey market film? what does that mean? Re- packaged? I have heard about cameras on the grey market but this is a new one for me. Just curious. thanks,

-- Ann C lancy (, January 15, 2002.

Typically, gray market film is manufactured under liscense in a foreign country for foreign sales. For example, Kodak may liscense a film manufacturer in Mexico to produce Kodak films. These films are not supposed to be sold in the US, but a lot makes its way back as gray market film. The quality of the film just depends on the host country's quality control.

-- ricardo (, January 16, 2002.

And the shipping method to get it back into the US...and the fact that if something is wrong with the film (packaging/manufacturing error--does happen)that the manufacturers will not honor the warranty in this country...I got a roll of Kodak Tri-x a few years ago that the end caps were never put on...came out of the film can with no end caps...they were never even formed. This was replaced free of charge...if it was gray market you'd be out of luck on may get away okay on b&w, but avoid gray market color like the plague...folks will tell you otherwise I'm sure but we buuy big lots of film on bids, and stipulate no gray market...I've seen everything from weirdo film with no english on the package & out of date products, to film that's packaging was literally crushed & split open in transit....Fuji films all have a 74101 barcode for the US...anything else like a 94 or 91 or whatever are gray...with Kodak the box should have just english, maybe spanish on it. They should say"made fresh for USA/ Kodak Pro Products" on them.These things change from time to time, but the companies update this info on their websites and can even track the film back to the vendors if I said, you may be okay, you may sdave money, but if anything is wrong, you'll be out of luck.

-- DK Thompson (, January 16, 2002.

I buy all my film (both color and B&W) from B&H and I always buy "grey" if available. Never had a problem. I wouldn't buy it from a store I didn't know and trust though. Their Tri-X at $1.99/36exp is fine.

-- Bob Atkins (, January 16, 2002.

For every story like Bob's and Peter's there is one that is the exact reverse. Your friend should be aware that each time she buys any "gray market" product she is taking a chance that it is a flawed product. This is reguardless off who she is buying it from.

-- James Megargee (, January 17, 2002.

I think there's a huge difference between buying grey market from B&H and buying grey market from "Joe's discount camera". B&H buys in huge volume from sources they know and they stand behind the things they sell. I would not buy grey from anyone I didn't trust or who only did low volume business (where film could sit on the shelves for years).

Note that buying "USA" film is no guarantee of quality either. Over the years I've had a few defective rolls of film (all color) and they were not "grey" market.

I'd always advise buying in bulk and testing before any important shoot. Usually stores like B&H will ship all film from the same batch, whether selling "grey" or "USA" film. If one roll is good there's a very high probability they are all good.

-- Bob Atkins (, January 18, 2002.

One correction to the above, often (usually) gray market film is not made under license, but by the company itself. E.g. Kodak gray market film is made by Kodak in plants outside of North America. Kodak film sold through proper channels (i.e. not gray market) in the US may well be made abroad in these same plants as well. The distinction is one of marketing (pricing is different in different national markets depending on competition, relative popularity, etc.)

The existence of a gray market (technically known as goods arbitrage) in anything is simply an indication that the company which makes whatever it is charges different prices in different markets.

-- John Lehman (, January 20, 2002.


I heartily second the advice NOT to buy non-offical import film from unknown dealers. There is no way you know that the film has not been kept for months on the docks in Indonesia at 100 Deg F and 99% humdity on the way from Kodak Australia, where it was perfectly good Kodak film.

The cost of film is the smallest investment in a good image. Save a buck on a roll and lose a once in a lifetime shot?: No way.

Buy a year's supply from a reputable dealer, all from the same batch and offend the family with the space you take up in the 'frig.


-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (, February 03, 2002.

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