I posted a brief note on my follies searching for an 8x10 sheet film that was "cheaper" than my favorites from Kodak. I was testing Efke R100/PL100 due to the fact that I can get it for about half what I pay for Kodak. I started with the 120 R100 and also have a small box of 50 sheets of 4x5 PL100. I was not going to shell out $100 just to test. So here is what I have found.
The Efke 100 is workable but I am not going to use it. I am sticking with Kodak. For the most part because I like the Yellow boxes and I do not want them to go away. Not only do I not want them to go away, I want them to bring back some emulsions in 8x10 that are no longer available. The other reasons are that the Efke has no where near the overall quality of the Kodak. Sure it works. Sure if it were the only thing available I would use it with no real "issues". The 120 film is so cheap an curly I cannot stand it. The paper backing is ill fitting. The PL base is not as bad but it is still more fragile than the Kodak and easier to accidentally destroy if you bump it against anything while processing it.
The reality is that I love the Kodak stuff. I love TRI-X in both the 400 and 320 versions - two completely different and wonderful films. I love PLUS-X in 120. I love TMAX 100 TMX in all it's formats. TMAX 400 TMY 2 in its latest version I am not sure about yet. PLUS-X in sheet film is gone - for a while now. I cannot let that happen to TRI-X TXP through my own purchasing decisions.
I am not saying that Fuji or Ilford film is not any good - it is fantastic and of the same calibre as Kodak. I just like some of the Kodak film better. What I am saying is that if you shoot film I urge you to put your purchasing dollars into one of these top tier companies. The last thing that we film shooters want is for these pillars of film technology and quality manufacturing to cease doing what they are doing. I personally do not want to be in a world without TRI-X, HP 5, FP 4, TMAX 100, PLUS-X, Neopan 400, etc. I do not want to be at the mercy of boutique manufacturers whose products are over priced and/or do not stand up to the standards set by the giants. Nor do I want to be stuck with substandard second tier mass producers that produce okay but not superlative products.
For my upcoming 8x10 film project I am sticking with Kodak. Yea it is going to cost me $5 a sheet but I rather have TRI-X.
Ps. Note that Kodak was the ONLY film vendor at the last PhotoExpo. People tell me that the line at their display was pretty long. I guess that is good.