What Film Stocks Sell The Most? | The KEH Tilt-Shift Report

Welcome back to the KEH Tilt-Shift Reportwhere I share exclusive data and unique insights into the latest trends in camera gear buying, trading, and selling.

Previously, I shared what camera gear sells the fastestI looked at what happens to an item’s value with the release of a new versionand I revealed the condition of most used equipment.

Today, let’s take a look at our best-selling film stocks.

The Tilt

It’s no secret that analog photography has made a huge comeback in the last few years. Much like vinyl records or vintage synthesizers, the film renaissance is driven by a new generation of people who crave the sound, feel, and experience of interacting with analog media.

However, this trend comes at a weird time in the photo industry.

Over the last decade, the biggest players in the film game, Fujifilm and Kodakhave been reducing production and discontinuing stocks.

Fujifilm seems to have put all its eggs in the Instax basket, which is still very successful, but they’ve been slowly phasing out legacy 35mm, 120, and large format stocks, citing rising production costs, scarcity of raw materials, and environmental restrictions.

On the other end, Kodak has had some financial issues to wrestle with, and has responded by routinely raising prices on products. And while they’ve managed to reintroduce film stocks like Ektachrome and bringing Kodak Gold to medium format, they’ve generally had trouble keeping up with demand and shipping enough product.

Yet, despite the higher costs and less availability, there’s been no signs of the film renaissance slowing down. KEH film sales reflect this, and are on track for a big increase over last year. So, this got me thinking to dig up some stats on film sales and see what interesting results come up.

The Shift

First, I wanted to see what our top-sellers were over the last three years. Now, keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily a popularity contest—some of these stocks have been in short supply, so that’s a factor as well.

Here’s the top 10 overall:

  1. Kodak Tri-X 400 (135)
  2. Kodak Ektar 100 (135)
  3. Kodak Portra 800 (135)
  4. Ilford HP5 Plus 400 (135)
  5. Fujifilm Fujicolor 200 (135)
  6. Kodak Gold 200 (135)
  7. Ilford HP5 Plus 400 (120)
  8. Kodak T-Max 400 (135)
  9. Ilford FP4 100 (135)
  10. Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H (135)

It worked out as an even split between color negative and black and white. And it’s no surprise that 135 (35mm) is king, holding 9 out of the 10 spots.

The always dependable Tri-X took the top spot, and it wasn’t by a nose—it sold nearly 18% more than Ektar at #2. Ilford HP5 is the only double-spot holder, in both 135 and 120 formats. Pro 400H took the tenth spot even though Fujifilm announced in January of 2021 that they were discontinuing the stock.

Next, I wanted to see the rankings for medium format 120 film. Here’s the top 10:

  1. Ilford HP5 Plus 400
  2. Ilford FP4 100
  3. Kodak Portra 400
  4. Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H
  5. Ilford XP2 400
  6. Ilford Delta 100
  7. Ilford Delta 400
  8. Ilford Delta 3200
  9. Ilford Pan F Plus 50
  10. Kodak Ektar 100

Ilford black-and-white film stocks dominated this category. From this ranking, it seems that medium format shooters really love monochrome. Some fine-grain color films also made the list—fan-favorite Portra 400 topping that category, with Pro 400H and Ektar rounding out.

Let’s take a look at the best-selling large format 4×5 film next:

  1. Ilford HP5 Plus 400
  2. Fujifilm Fujichrome Provia 100F
  3. Kodak T-Max 100
  4. Kodak Ektar 100
  5. Kodak T-Max 400
  6. Kodak Portra 400

We’ve only carried these six stocks for 4×5 over the last three years, so the list ends there, but it’s curious to see that a black-and-white stock tops this list as well. The association between film photography and a monochrome palette must be a strong one.

As far as instant film, we’ve only carried Fujifilm Instax over the last three years, and this is how our best-sellers break down:

  1. Fujifilm Instax Mini
  2. Fujifilm Instax Wide
  3. Fujifilm Instax Square
  4. Fujifilm Instax Mini Monochrome
  5. Fujifilm Instax Mini Contact Sheet

This is where the black-and-white reign stops, with the Mini Monochrome failing to crack the top three.

Okay, we’ve done best-selling. Now, let’s look at our fastest-selling film stocks, starting with 35mm:

  1. Lomography Potsdam Kino 100
  2. Kodak Gold UltraMax 400 (24 exposures)
  3. Ilford HP5 Plus 400
  4. Kodak Portra 400
  5. Lomography Babylon Kino 13
  6. Fujifilm Fujicolor Superia 400
  7. Kodak Portra 160
  8. Kodak Gold UltraMax 400 (36 exposures)
  9. Fujifilm Fujichrome Velvia 50
  10. Fujfilm Fujicolor 200

Lomography makes a splash in this category with two different black-and-white stocks in the top ten. Potsdam Kino sells the fastest, usually going out the door the same day it hits the shelves, albeit, the number of units sold isn’t as large as something like Portra, which sells quickly in high volume.

The fastest-selling medium format stocks are as follows:

  1. Kodak Gold 200
  2. Kodak Portra 400
  3. Fujifilm Fujichrome Velvia 50
  4. Fujifilm Fujicolor Pro 400H
  5. Kodak Ektar 100
  6. Kodak Portra 160
  7. Kodak Tri-X 400
  8. Ilford HP5 Plus 400
  9. Lomography Berlin Kino 400
  10. Lomography Lomochrome Metropolis 100-400

Kodak Gold 200 just hit the scene at 120 earlier this year, but it’s been burning up the charts ever since, in no small part due to the shortage of Portra 400. A lot of these stocks on the list would probably show up on our best -selling list if we could get more in stock, but they’ve been in short supply, with no clear indication if they’ll ever regain regularity.

And now, let’s take a look at the fastest-selling 4×5 film:

  1. Ilford HP5 Plus 400
  2. Fujifilm Fujichrome Provia 100F
  3. Kodak T-Max 100
  4. Kodak T-Max 400
  5. Kodak Ektar 100
  6. Kodak Portra 400

Ilford HP5’s high speed, medium contrast, and fine grain make it perfect for large format, and by the speed which it leaves our shelves, you seem to agree. Fujifilm’s well-balanced Provia makes a good showing here as well.

Finally, here’s the fastest-selling Instax film:

  1. Fujifilm Instax Mini Contact Sheet
  2. Fujifilm Instax Mini
  3. Fujifilm Instax Square
  4. Fujifilm Instax Mini Monochrome
  5. Fujifilm Instax Wide

So, what do you think? See anything on here that jumps out at you at peculiar or curious? As always, let me know in the comments. I’ll see you back here next month for another edition of The KEH Tilt-Shift Report.

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