Shanghai GP3 film in 220 format

Shanghai GP3 film has been around for decades, and had a poor reputation for quality control for much of that time. Whilst it was cheap to buy, I was put off by stories of the numbers on the backing paper of 120 film bleeding through onto the negatives.

In the last couple of years the company producing the film has changed ownership, and now has some kind of a relationship with Orwo, the German manufacturer of cine film.

I took the plunge to buy a couple of rolls when I learnt that Shanghai were now selling the film in 220 format (like 120 but with twice the number of frames), 127 format (ideal for the Baby Rollei that I no longer have) and 620 format (which has a film diameter the same as 120 but narrower spools, used on some older cameras)

Ironically, since 220 format film only has backing paper at either end, I wouldn’t be able to see of the backing paper problem was still present.

I shot the first roll in my Yashicamat 124G, which can take either 120 or 220 film. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the film, with fine grain and good tonal seperation.

The film was developed in HC110, Dilution H.

On the negative side (no pun intended), the film was very curly which made it difficult, but not impossible, to get it into the Betterscan film holder I use with an Epson V700. Once in position, the anti-newton glass held it flat so this wasn’t a critical issue.

When I removed the exposed film from the camera, I found that the sealing tab was broken:

Fortunately I have a few black plastic canisters for roll film handy and popped the film in one of these until I was ready to load the film into the developing tank. To be fair to Shangai, I’ve had similar problems with Fuji 120 film in the past (in that case the stickers were present but wouldn’t stick) which is why I had the canisters.

If I had unloaded the film “in the field” and didn’t have a canister (or an elastic band) handy then there would have been a strong risk of light leaks.

I’m looking forward to shooting the second roll. In the longer term, I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to buy more Shanghai film. The recent changes may have improved quality but it’s no longer the cheapest film available. I can buy Ilford FP4+ for slightly less than Shanghai GP3 (in the UK) and Fomapan 100 quite a but cheaper.


  1. Great post Kevin. I have also been put off in the past by the backing paper issue. I can’t believe they are producing 220! My 220 RB backs are no longer redundant.
    The images look great, contrast looks good.


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