Finding film, especially the particular film you want, is incredibly difficult in Vietnam.
As a developing country, Vietnam’s love of new technology is obvious. Everywhere you go you will see people, young and old, with smartphones, from the newest iPhone (which some people travel to Singapore to buy before anyone else) to cheaper options like my awesome LG Magna (screw ios, Android is king.)
The same is to be said for cameras.
In HCMC the camera store selection is pretty limited, and these places only really deal in digital cameras. Yes one or two will sell lenses for analog cameras, but getting the body itself? Good luck.
And getting film? No chance.
Until now I had been buying film when available from my friends at Saigon Darkroom, who do a great job processing and scanning my rolls for me. But these guys are university students and have other commitments and so it’s not always easy for them to import film.
Getting things delivered to Vietnam can be an interesting experience. Who knows when it will arrive, when it will get through the customs office and just how much they will charge you when it comes to VAT.
After emailing Vish, who runs CFP, he assured me he had shipped to Vietnam plenty of times and never had any issues.
So I took a chance and put in an order for twenty-five rolls of Tri-X, just to see how it went.
Vish emailed me to tell me they were moving offices and shipments were delayed a week but if I really needed the film (which I did) he could make it work. I told him I did and he said it would ship on Tuesday.
Monday afternoon I got an email telling me the shipment had been sent and at 1pm Tuesday afternoon the film was delivered to my door.
From Hong Kong.
Yes it costs me a lot more per roll due to shipping and customs VAT etc, BUT having a reliable, fast way to get the exact film I want, when I need it, is invaluable.
If you are ever on the look out for film and having trouble finding some, Vish is the man to talk to.