Film Photography News — August 2022 Recap
🤖 AI Film Cleaner, Camera Sale, New Film, New Camera, New Lab, and More!10 min read by
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New (green) Polaroid film. New colour film from Washi. New instant film DIY camera from Jollylook. Help train AI to remove dust and scratches from film scans.
Plus: Analogue Wonderland subscriptions, a new lab in Grimsby, Analog News feed, a new venture for Kodak: EV batteries, and a week-long sale on film cameras at the Analog.Cafe shop! 🛍️
New (green) Polaroid film.
The Polaroid brand we know today has seen a few changes — from name to ownership to the product lineup. And in the process of its metamorphosis, we’ve lost a few films, including Spectra and duochrome. But last month, duochrome made its way back in green.
Polaroid isn’t hiding the flaky nature of the new emulsion. The process of creating duochrome film is unexpectedly complex: the dyes interact with the rest of the chemical cocktail in various ways, sometimes creating artifacts in the exposures. This guide explains how to take advantage of the film.
Polaroid sells their Black & Green 600 Film – Duochrome Edition film for $5 less than their Colour 600 film single-pack.
SX-70 users: you may still use this film without any modifications to your camera with MiNT Flash Bar 2 — although I haven’t tried that yet (I did it with the 600 Round Frame film).
🤑 SALE: Books and Film Cameras.
Ends on September 7 at midnight PST.
My busiest months taking photos are now over, which means I’ve got a few cared-for, film-tested cameras looking for a new home, including: Olympus Mju I (review), Minox 35 GT (review), Minolta TC-1 (review), plus a few more.
Two of my photo books are also on sale: Moscow Dayze (digital & print — last copy!) and Monochrome (less than five copies left).
Almost everything at the shop is either 15% or 25% OFF.
This shop is a small venture I’ve been running from my Vancouver apartment since 2019. I specialize in selling used and new stuff that I repair, test, and make in-house. Analog.Cafe shop is an extension of my ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Etsy shop, FilmBase, that lists all the same products and has the same sale pricing.
Shipping and packaging: I use 100% recycled materials with plastic-free wrapping, whereas Etsy offsets carbon emissions. And, of course, I process free returns within 30 days of delivery.
Help train AI to remove dust and scratches from film scans.
Though film is still better than digital in many ways, it can be a real pain when it comes to physical damage. Dust and scratches may be part of the appeal for some, but if you’d rather have a “clean” scan, getting one may be a difficult task:
Some software solutions exist that automatically “paint over” dust and scratch areas after the film is digitized. However, they are far from perfect, often adding an unacceptable amount of distortion or refusing to work at all. On Analog.Cafe, I’ve shared my technique for removing dust and scratches in Photoshop by hand, which gives the best results but takes time and effort.
Lucky for us, an AI-based solution is in the works that promises to clean up all types of scans quickly and accurately. Its main advantage over other AI tools is that it will be trained using actual film scans, which should yield better results.
Daniela Ivanova, a researcher at the University of Glasgow and a film photographer, is working on her Ph.D. with the research topic of using deep learning to remove dust and scratches from film. I’ve spoken to her about this work extensively and contributed some of my images to the project.
The development is still in the early stages as it takes a lot of effort, resources, and ingenuity to teach computers to recognize dust and scratches and paint over them skillfully. However, you can help Daniela by simply guessing which of the photos has “fake” dust and scratches.
Should you like to help train AI to fix scans, your job would be guessing which image shows the real artifacts (over the computer-generated “fake” one). The task takes less than 30 minutes to complete and feels like a game — you even get a score at the end!
I’ve got 47/100 correct. Can you beat that?
To learn more about Daniela’s project, you can check out her research paper and review the open-source code. I’m hoping to publish another article soon that will unravel this further.
New colour film from Washi.
This year’s explosion of new colour films is a lovely demonstration of the entrepreneurial spirit running deep within the film photography community. Whether rebranded, re-invented, or made brand-new, colour film is in great demand following the faltering supplies from the major manufacturers. Film Washi X is no exception, with its first batch selling out within days.
Film Washi’s X is a re-spooled ISO 100 colour emulsion with a punchy contrast and clear base. This remarkable property should let you process your film either as a slide (E6) or colour (C-41) while simplifying scanning. Santa Color 100 has this property too.
X is already available in Europe and should be making its way to the rest of the world’s retailers during the first week of September 2022.
New instant film DIY camera from Jollylook.
Jollylook has been building uniquely intimate relationships with Instax film through their rustic camera designs with hand-operated rollers since 2017. This is their third design, characterized by an even stronger camera-user connection and the challenges the team had to overcome to make it this far.
The war had recently forced the entire Jollylook team to move to Slovakia from their hometown of Irpin, Ukraine. But despite the unimaginable ongoing hardships, the new camera is already on its way to becoming a product. Jollylook’s Kickstarter project has blown past its $20K goal three times over.
The DIY kit contains everything you need to build your own foldable, fully-mechanical pinhole camera that shoots Instax film. Made mostly with pre-cut wood and paper components, Jollylook cameras are virtually biodegradable.
For more details about the camera and to get your copy, head over to Kickstarter — you’ve got about a week left to make your pledge.
Analogue Wonderland subscriptions.
If you shop at Analogue Wonderland and often find yourself wondering, “what should I shoot next?” a WonderBox subscription may be worth your consideration.
Analogue Wonderland has been sending monthly curated film packs since 2020 — this is their expansion of the category with three options:
WonderBox — two films every month — £20.
WonderBox Plus — two films every month + develop & scan — £40.
WonderBox Ultimate — six films every other month + film goodies & partner discounts — £60.
A new lab in Grimsby.
East Coast Developing Co. has opened its virtual doors for mail-in film development.
The lab has an approximate turnaround time of one week (or three days if your film arrives by Monday). East Coast uses Noritsu Is-600 for most of their scanning and Epson v800 for 4x5.
More nerdy info I found on their about page:
We use a FC-252 pull through developer, an industry workhorse that can develop up to 30 films an hour, with Champion Mydoneg chemistry to produce the highest quality developing we can offer.
You can even ask the techs to give you a cooler or warmer scan; if you want the sprockets, they can keep them for you.
“We correct [image colours] by eye as we scan which means you always get the best images possible.” — East Coast Developing Co.
Film photography in 2020 is heavily reliant on digital technology. From online shopping to blogs to AI and computer vision, digital tech has been propping up the analogue crafts and fuelling interest since the renaissance began in the late-2010s.
Analog News is a new piece of digital technology meant to make film photography even more engaging. It’s a single page showing a stream of articles from curated blogs like this one, 35mmc, Emulsive, My Favourite Lens, and more.
You can also subscribe to Analog News’ RSS feed with your favourite reader (I use Feedly, where Analog.Cafe also has its feed listed).
A new venture for Kodak: EV batteries.
An interesting news bit from PetaPixel fell into my lap this month about Kodak planning the production of EV batteries in their facilities.
Kodak has been working on diversifying its manufacturing capabilities for decades. Like Fujifilm, Kodak is now manufacturing some pharmaceuticals. The company’s known for making various consumer products — some loosely related to imaging and photography, others not at all. They’ve even invested in crypto.
As someone who enjoys shooting Kodak film, I can’t help but feel somewhat concerned about the future of the beloved Portra, Ektar, and Ektachrome series. I am worried about Kodak becoming more like Fujifilm — increasingly divesting from film to other areas of related expertise. I feel that today because EV batteries seem like the best idea Kodak has tried thus far, and it could potentially pull their resources away from analogue imaging.
Of course, Kodak is not Fujifilm.
Latest on Analog.Cafe.
“Ilford HP5+ Film Review” — an iconic emulsion that’s been powering film cameras since 1931. In this article, I talk about its history and the success of its finely-tuned chemical elixir.
“How to Recycle Used Polaroid Film Cartridges” — Polaroid film cartridges are made of paper, plastic, and metal; they also often include lithium-ion batteries. Most of those things are recyclable.
“Voigtländer Vitessa Camera Repair and Maintenance” — these German cameras have a particularly finicky rangefinder and a few specs that can and should be adjusted at home periodically.
“Voigtländer Vitessa Series Review” — I spent seven years with these cameras as my top rangefinder choice on all trips. This is my rewrite of the earlier article with more useful info and fewer spelling mistakes.
“London in a Fishbowl” — Danilo Leonardi publishes his new photo essay featuring London’s architecture, fine details about his camera of choice, and a healthy dose of photographic philosophy.
“Kodak Pro Image 100 Film Review” — made specifically for Southeast Asia and South America’s warm climates, this unique emulsion is finally available in the US, Canada, and Europe. That is if you can find it.
“The Smallest 35mm Film Camera Ever Made” — did you think it would be Minox 35? Or, Rollei 35? It’s not. According to my measurements, it’s Minolta TC-1.