ILFORD FP3 film labels

Images made available coutesy of Michael Talbert

Left is a FP3 Series II tin of bulk 35mm film. 35mm was the first FP3 format which became FP3 Series II (in October 1959).

The expiry date stamped on the bottom of the tin is September 1962, so the film must have been manufactured around the end of 1960. It’s got the old ASA number of 64, which was the 1960 (and previous) emulsion speed rating and included a '+1 stop' (halving of film speed) safety factor. This 'safety factor' was removed from all makes of black & white film emulsions after 1960.

The B.J. Almanac for 1960 gave the speed of 64ASA for FP3 Series II in an Ilford advertisement, but this increased to 125ASA in the Ilford advert in the 1961 Almanac i.e. by the latter date the '+1 stop' speed safety factor had been removed. After this, film labels stated “Meter settings for minimum exposure: ASA 125 DIN 22".

The picture below shows various boxes of FP3 5 x 4inch sheet film.

The black and white box dates from 1966 and has the (then new) “sunburst” trade mark in its top left corner.

The red and black box (centre) dates from 1964, when Ilford began to change their FP3 labels from reading 'FP3 Series II' back to reading simply 'FP3'. But this FP3 film was, of course, the 'new' Series II emulsion.
The red and black boxes are thought to have first appeared in 1961.

Prior to the red and black label boxes, sheet film boxes were like the one on the right, dating from 1959 with the emulsion speed still 64ASA i.e. still including the '+1 stop' speed safety margin.

The Ilford Flat Film instruction sheets for 1959 and 1960 list FP3 whereas the instruction sheet for 1962 list FP3 Series II, so FP3 Series II may have arrived 12 months later in sheet film than in 35mm. The instruction sheet for 1964 lists FP3 without stating Series II, so it seems Ilford dropped the Series II 'tag' in 1964.


This page last modified: 8th December 2014