I haven't used it yet, but everyone, except Ilford, says it is Ilford repackaged. The films are the same thing as Pan F+, FP4+, and HP5+. Gordon Hutchings said if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, it is a duck.
As others have said, the Arista 125 acts like FP4. I've shot several boxes in 4x5 and have been very pleased with the tonality and other properties. I'd note that at current prices it's only slightly less expensive than Agfapan 100, and therefore probably not competitive against the Agfa if you can find that locally. Pity they stopped selling their large-format Delta-equivalent just before I was ready to order a box.
I have had wonderful results with the Arista VCRC Premium. Good blacks and whites. But I don't much care for the fiber-based Arista. I prefer Forte Polygrade V or Bergger VCNB glossy papers. I have never used Arista film.
I live near Freestyle and go there all the time. I asked about the Arista/Ilford thing and once got this response:
It IS Ilford, repackaged, the way Whirlpool washers are also Kenmores, and All RCA TV's are really Mitsubishi's or something else. But...
I was told that Arista gets the stuff at such a deep discount because it takes "ends" of rolls of film. Same film, emulsion, etc. Just (supposedly) the first few feet of a huge roll, or the last few feet.
I use their ortho half tone film in making of masks and of enlarged negatives. I have not, however, used it in camera. The film is capable of making a continuous tone negative with highly dilute developers. I have used Dektol at 1-10 to 1-30 dilutions in the production of both unsharp and sharp masks. I have used ABC pyro in 1-1-1-15 dilutions in the production of enlarged negatives. The speed of the film is going to limit it's usage to stationary objects, it would seem. The film is quite a bit thinner then conventional films. I hope this gives you information that is helpful to your considerations. Good luck.
I have loaded holders, one side HP-5 and the other Arista 400. Exposed and processed together. NO difference !! Seems like a no-brainer when you look at the economics. I am now trying the same with FP-4 and Arista 125. Results appear to be the same
Or maybe it's funny about how I might be name brand conscious. But I tend to use Arista when fooling around or testing something. And I tend to use Ilford when it's For All The Marbles, like on a trip or making portraits or something.
I know it's the same stuff. They tell me it's the same stuff. I guess it's just that I wonder why Ilford sells Freestyle the same product for so much less than their own product...like maybe it's not as good or something.