☞ Looking for March ‘20 Community Letter? It’s here.
This month’s letter covers four new Kickstarter projects, including the next-gen Lomography Petzval Art Lens, an SLR with M-42 mount that shoots Instax film, a new JollyLook instant foldable camera, and Film Carrier 120 scanning aid. Then, a new version of FilmLab for Mac and PC. A new format of Lomochrome Purple emulsion and a new Lomography Simple Use Camera. Followed by a dissection of a confusing video message from Film Ferrania, more sad news from Fuji, and a troubling article from Cosmopolitan, describing rampant sexism in fashion photography. Finally, a review of an evident relationship between analogue medium and creative success at the 92nd Academy Awards.
Plus: a simple guide to understanding issues with film negatives and a question for the reader.
✪ Note: You can receive community letters (in full) via email. Make it happen.
↬ Buy Ferrania P30 at Analogue Wonderland — (ad).
Tons of new toys are being made for film shooters this month. This is, product-wise, the busiest community letter so far.
Lomography’s 2020 product launches.
Lomography’s updated Petzval copy, built to be “Compatible with Nikon F & Canon EF (d)SLRs and a wide range of mirrorless cameras,” is a creative device for photographers looking for vintage glass effects, particularly the swirly bokeh.
As of this writing, the Kickstarter page for Petzval Mark II lens has blown past its initial goal four times over with just a few days left ‘till close. The preorder campaign offers a 30% discount on est. retail price.
The lens is an 80mm with an 𝒇1.9, which in itself promises a very shallow depth of field when shot wide-open on full-frame cameras.
The Bokeh Control version has a dedicated ring, dialling which will alter the overall shape of your circles of light. All versions have an extra slot for aperture masks, which can turn your bokeh into heart, star, or diamond -shapes. The lens is compatible with digital video cameras, including the fancy filmmaker’s standards: Black Magic Design and RED. It supports helicoid focusing mechanism integration and comes with a stopless aperture.
This lens is the third venture into Petzval design, adding a ninth category to the lens product line at the Lomography shop. The upgrades for MKII include stopless aperture, ergonomic improvements, and additional finish options.
The Kickstarter page for Lomography Petzval MKII, along with more sample images, can be found here.
Lomochrome Purple saw a tiny new format hit the stores: 110. Though I’ve never owned cameras that shoot film this small, I think it’s good to have a new colour option for an otherwise underserved camera sub-niche.
Purple is an in-demand stock that has seen some changes in the recent past, as well as limited availability while Lomography worked on their supply chain.
Perhaps, now that this film is being sold in more formats, there’s a long row of pallets, somewhere at the Lomo warehouse, for us all to shoot for years to come.
Simple Use Camera with Lomochrome Metropolis is the fourth and final announcement from Lomography this month.
The camera with a 31mm lens and a fixed aperture, 𝒇9, shutter, 1/120, comes with flash and is indeed simple to use. Given the film’s liberal rating of ISO 100-400, best exposures are to be made in the shade.
Interchangeable lens SLR for Instax film.
NONS Studio, a Hong Kong-based company with a sparse online presence, launched “The First M42 Mount SLR Instant Camera” on Kickstarter this month.
NONS SL42 is an SLR body for Instax film with the M42 mount. The only other SLR for instant film is Polaroid SX-70, and its descendants, which have been out of production since 1981. Should comparing this product to a legend of instant cameras not be enough, you can savour on its ability to swap lenses with some incredible options out there.
There is a catch. Because Instax has a larger surface than 35mm film, all photographs will render with extreme vignetting. Even medium format glass is bound to create circled images due to the limiting size of the shuttler. Some backers have suggested creating a “hackable” shutter to possibly fix the vignetting on their own.
For controls, the camera offers a shutter speed selector that can be set for 1 to 1/500th of a second and Bulb, along with the release and film ejection buttons. It consumes two AA batteries and weighs a full pound. It’s hard to say what the build quality will be like, though from the product photos, it’s evident that the exterior is all plastic. To be fair, SX-70 also sports a plastic shell, though it was a much more expensive camera.
The Kickstarter campaign for NONS SL42 ends on March 10th.
JollyLook, a Ukrainian company that created an instant camera with foldable paper bellows and a hand crank, made its second release on both Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. Combined, they’ve collected USD $227,860, which should hopefully cover their production costs with some room to spare. The team had a tough time getting their first camera manufactured and delivered.
The new JollyLook is a pretty-looking folder made out of laser-cut wood fibreboards with integrated flash, lens accessories, and the signature hand-crank for ejecting Instax frames. It comes with an automatic shutter speed control that sets it anywhere between 1/60th and 1/200th of a second and a manual aperture selector for 𝒇16 — 𝒇64 + pinhole. JollyLook’s integrated battery is rechargeable and should last about 80 exposures.
This time, you get a choice between Instax Square and Instax Mini for your camera size.
I don’t think that including wood products in a design warrants an “eco-friendly” status, as per JollyLook’s Kickstarter campaign. At the price point of just above $100, the camera may reach the end of its service time rather quickly. Still, it’s a beautiful design and may very well be worth your money, which you can spend on this preorder page.
120 Film Carrier, and FilmLab.
Negative Supply reached their funding goals very quickly on Kickstarter for a premium device to hold your film flat as you photograph it with your DSLR/Macro kit. The system is built to be flexible enough to work with anything between 6x4.5 and 6x9 while still leaving space for a thin black border around your exposed image area. That’s nice.
As of this writing, there are still two weeks left to get your 120 Film Carrier for USD $430+, but remember, you’ll need your own light source, camera stand, digital camera and a macro lens.
Develop and Fix, Inc. have just released Film Lab Desktop for Windows and Mac, which complements 120 Film Carrier rather well. You have until March 1st to try it for free. Film Lab is a minimal-feature software designed to convert your RAW negatives into positive JPEGs. Having spent hours in agony fighting expensive and awkward scanning software, a simplified approach is a grand idea.
Some bad news.
After five years in limbo, Film Ferrania has put out a video stating that “the original project... has failed.” According to the original Kickstarter page, it seems evident that the originally-planned rewards will not be delivered, though their value is to be converted to store credit. If you’re a backer, you’ll be able to use your credit for P30 film, which is planned in 120, 4x5, and another speed shortly.
Fujicolor 100, with its simple green type packaging, has recently become popular outside of its intended market with its chunky, organic grain, and the signature colour pop. It will be sad to see it go.
Also, a column in Cosmopolitan has caught my attention this month and had subsequently caused my blood to boil. The shameless waves of sexism this fashion photographer has described is appalling. I hope that you give this read a go: albeit sad, this piece of reporting is an important reminder of the modern challenges our society is yet to overcome.
This year has seen 52% of all movie nominations for Oscars having been shot on film. The medium has been pushed aside over the years by most producers, blamed to be expensive and difficult to work with. Those faults are known to be half-truths at best; the dominance of analogue medium on the most prestigious stage for cinema certainly vindicating.
I won’t go as far as saying that grain makes for better movies; after all, we’re just observing a statistically-dubious causation. Still, it’s good to have a word out: film is not dead.
Analogue Wonderland has recently tweeted out a graphic meant to help troubleshooting issues with film negatives: “Just found this AMAZING simple image that answers ~95% of new-to-film customers' questions when they have problems with their negatives.”
A question for the reader.
In its first three years, Analog.Cafe served over fifty thousand people with free access to essays and articles, which were read a total of 200,000 times. By Internet standards, neither of those numbers are that big, but from a financial perspective, the costs of serving quality content are starting to creep up.
For the reader’s benefit and a personal piece of mind, I am staying away from ad networks, banners, popups, and retargeting pixels. Instead, I’m testing referral campaigns for select small businesses. I am also monthly subscriptions with various levels of rewards, such as printed zines.