Film Photography News — April 2024 Recap

Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers 🌳🌳🌳

7 min read by Dmitri.
Published on . Updated on .

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What’s new?

Wild film experiments, CineStill 400D in 4x5, a new app for bulk loading 35mm film, Kodak Professional photo chemicals return, Fujifilm discontinues another colour film stock, and Crown + Flint note-taking app.

GOLD members get full access to the new calculator tool and the premium article about developing film in cannabis. 🌳

Developing film in cannabis (and other things).

It’s been nearly six years since recreational cannabis became legal in Canada.

To celebrate the end of the prohibition (belatedly, but just in time for the “4/20” counterculture holiday), I bought a bunch of flower from a local dispensary and made a black and white film developer out of it.

Read:Developing Film in Cannabis: Test Results and Recipe.” 🌳

Developing the formula and understanding optimal exposures wasn’t simple (this project took over a month to complete), but I managed to do just that with Lily’s help, who posed for over 200 test exposures on 20 short rolls of HP5+, Yvonne’s input, who also arranged the studio time and helped us coordinate the event, and Daren’s guidance, who came up with the idea of testing strange things in the lab.

The result: Sativa Cannanol. This developer takes 420 seconds at 69℉ to develop HP5+ (optimally metered at EI 25).

The findings from this article were featured on PetaPixel and 35mmc. (Daren and Yvonne have also made videos about developing film in pig’s blood, EpiPen, pee, and more!)

☝️ The above article is free to read until June. After that, it’ll be available in the GOLD members’ library. A lot of time went into making it; please consider signing up for the GOLD membership to support this and similar projects — there’s something new every month!

Bulk Roll Calculator.

Bulk film loading can help you save money and fine-tune your 35mm projects. You can have 42, 36, 24, 12, 8 — or any number of frames in your canisters, which is very helpful for tests, experiments (like the one above), and deliberate photoshoots. But knowing how many rolls you can get out of your bulk box and how much you may save as a result is a tricky calculation: you also need to account for the safety and leader length while doing various conversions.

Bulk Roll Calculator is the new tool I built to help with all the math. This tool is built for Analog.Cafe GOLD members but it comes with a free 7-day trial for everyone.

CineStill 400D in 4x5.

CineStill made their new 400D emulsion available in 4x5 for large format film cameras. It’s been a long way coming, but it’s finally here — and it happens to be the cheapest fresh colour film in the format! You can read more about this development and check out additional samples here.

Kodak Professional photo chemicals.

I’ve got emails from Dupli Ltd and CineStill this month announcing the resumption of the Kodak Professional Photo Chemicals series.

XTOL, T-MAX, and D-76 black and white film developers will now be sold by Dupli Ltd in Europe and CineStill in North America.

The fate of these essential chemicals for many film photographers was in peril until very recently. Sino Promise, which manufactured the line exited the market last year. Thankfully, Photo Systems took over the production where Sino Promise had left.

Photo Systems had already been working on Kodak’s C-41 and E-6 formulas since early 2023; this year, they’re taking over the entire line (the colour chemicals should be made available shortly).

Photo Systems have been around since the 1970s, specializing in Unicolor-branded darkroom chemicals and colour film developers. CineStill’s and Dupli’s role in this arrangement is branding and distribution.

Crown + Flint note-taking app.

If you’re the kind of diligent photographer who needs to know what camera settings, film, location, etc., were on when you took each shot, the Crown + Flint iOS and Android app can help.

As you’d imagine, it takes time to note all this information down, which is why Crown + Flint automates parts of the process (like geolocation). There are also some autocomplete functions when you type the camera and film data into the app.

Since its September 2023 launch, the app has seen some updates, the most recent one being a series of bug fixes and enhancements.

Crown + Flint is available for Android here and iOS here. The app is free to try (you can store data for five frames) and $24.99 for unlimited use.

I would be amiss not to mention a free Analog.Cafe app, Film Log — which is a much simpler tool that lets you note the film and the camera. It lives on the web and is accessible from all internet-connected devices. You can learn more about it on 35mmc.

Fujifilm discontinues Superia X-Tra.

This month, Kosmo Foto reported on another Fujifilm discontinuation. This time, it’s Superia X-Tra, an ISO 400 colour 135 film.

Superia X-Tra was long gone from the shelves in the US & Canada (and presumably the EU), yet it was still sold in Japan.

“Fujifilm is famously secretive about its film production lines, at least in the anglophone world (Kosmo Foto’s Stephen Dowling often has to translate Fujifilm’s announcements from Japanese to get the news across). This tight-lipped approach likely gave rise to a conspiracy theory which suggests that Fujifilm stopped making films decades ago, and we’re simply buying frozen stock. (I don’t think it’s true; all evidence points to the contrary).” — as I wrote in the April 12th #editorial when the news was first announced.

Latest on Analog.Cafe.

#editorial: World’s first sugar lens, four months later — an update to the story of an edible instant film camera, just in time for the Worldwide Pinhole Day.

Pentax 6x7 Panoramas of Germany’s Northern Sea — a short read by Stein_macht_fotos about his experience shooting 35mm film inside his medium format Pentax SLR.

Emulsion Lifts With Polaroid Go Instant Film — the world’s newest instant film format happens to work just as well as its older brother when it comes to emulsion lifts. This article covers the process and shows the results.

Developing Film in Cannabis — as advertised, this article goes into the details of developing film with weed (including the additional washing step) with plenty of samples. It includes results from all other developer experiments, compared to the commercial chemistry.

Olympus XA2 Compact 35mm Film Camera Review — this is a divisive little gadget with an excellent lens and ergonomics that drove me crazy (but kept many photographers very happy).

#editorial: Kodak film developers are back! — after a year-long hiatus, the black and white chemicals originally formulated by Kodak are back on the market.

#editorial: Fujifilm discontinues Superia X-Tra — the sad news, reported on the day the happened.

CineStill 400D for 4x5 Large Format Film Cameras — a short overview of the new CineStill film product, its origins, with samples.

Bulk Roll Calculator — a GOLD member-exclusive app for calculating 35mm film lengths when loading from a bulk roll of any length.

#editorial: Will CineStill Ever Recover From This? — a video by Daren that explores last year’s CineStill controversy in the greatest detail possible.