Shanghai GP3 (120, 100 iso) User-Review


My random dive into shooting 120 film with a box of Shanghai GP3 at my side.

I randomly obtained a Yashica 635 from a lady off Craigslist. I was picking up other cameras from her at the time and spotted the Yashica. Which I ended up buying from her on a whim. I was completely unfamiliar with 120 film and even more so how to shoot it. So just to be safe I picked up the cheapest film available to try it out. Which of course is the Shanghai GP3!

I too read some bad things about it. The way it curls, how it’s easily prone to chipping, how some rolls have more contrast than others. But since this was an experiment anyway I didn’t mind. So I ran a roll through my Yashica and thought that I probably butchered it. I was expecting more than half of my shots to not come out. Then I was gifted a Holga and I did the same thing. I ended up shooting 3 rolls total before even getting them developed to see how it functioned.

Much to my surprise almost every photo came out! Not only that but the grain wasn’t nearly as terrible as what I had read online. To be honest I think I love this film more than anything I’ve ever shot 35mm with. It’s so cheap and dirty and imperfect. I mean some of my negatives were a bit flaky after processing them and I had to patch in some of the tiny bits that fell off. But at the same time it contradicts itself with precise details I haven’t been able to get in any other film. Just make sure you scan it to digitally preserve it. I assume it doesn’t archive well, haha!

I highly recommend anyone to try it who hasn’t already. You may be pleasantly surprised. Also if you’re on a budget it’s even better.

All and all my first step into 120 shooting was a good one. I’ll report back when I try the other shanghai brand film “Lucky”

(Note: the shots w/ vingetting are taken with holga the ones without were taken with the Yashica 635)

written by falsedigital on 2009-09-28 #gear #medium-format #black-and-white #bw #monochrome #review #100-iso #shanghai #shanghai-gp3 #gp3


  1. eva_eva
    eva_eva ·

    nice film!!

  2. stouf
    stouf ·

    Excellent portraits of very good looking models ! Super !

  3. xbalboax
    xbalboax ·

    great work! nice review as well!

  4. jeabzz
    jeabzz ·

    nice review and your portraits are great! well done :)

  5. grenoouille
    grenoouille ·

    Great photos! Your results and conclusions are very interesting.
    Quick question: is it true that no numbers are printed on the back paper of the Shanghai films and that you have to guess on your own by how much you need to advance the film? Just asking because it is for that reason that I never tried this film... and I had the impression that it was only some of the series of the Shanghai films that were "naked"... your input on this point would be really appreciated!!! (as well as on the color of the back paper... black or white??). Thank you!!

  6. comezone
    comezone ·

    great review, great gallery! sure you will use it again. congrats!

  7. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    Thanks guys!

    grenoouille - The rolls I got weren't "naked" at all. They had the numbers printed on the back of them. Some of them are printed lighter than others so it's a bit hard to read unless you're in a well lit area. But it wasn't a much of a problem for me.

    Oh but I must mention that these rolls do not come with seals. So you should carry a tiny roll of tape with you to seal them at the end. Just one of the many ghetto things about it. haha

  8. falsedigital
    falsedigital ·

    Oh also the back paper is black. The printed numbers are either white or sort of grey when they were lighter printed.

  9. seaknight
    seaknight ·

    Fairly random question - What do you use to scan your negatives digitally?

More Interesting Articles