Film Photography News — August 2023 Recap

New Ways to Connect With Film Photographers + 3 Product Updates

10 min read by Dmitri ☕️.

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What’s new?

This August I spent some time in the mountains with my favourite cameras, one of which I reviewed recently.

In my downtime between hikes, I binged on film photo socials, including a few swipes on the newcomer network, Newgrain. I also learned about Ricoh’s updates on their brand-new Pentax film camera plans, saw MiNT Camera’s sample stills from their new premium 35mm film camera project, and got an update from Lomography about their new Color’92 film selling in 110 and 120 formats.

Another thing that happened is a new milestone for this blog: I published its 500th article! And it’s a good one: “A Beginner’s Guide to Shooting Manual Film Cameras.” 🥳

Image courtesy of MiNT Camera/Gary Ho.

Mint_35mm_Prototype_3 film camera.

MiNT is a popular brand name amongst film photographers for their premium Instax cameras and Polaroid SX-70 mods. And for the past several months they’ve been known to be working on a new 35mm point-and-shoot film camera.

Gary Ho’s private blog opened up the project in September 2022 with a screenshot of a 3D rendering for his camera. Nine updates later (which included the stories of his laborious search for an ideal shutter and a Lidar autofocus mechanism), Gary is finally sharing the first images from Prototype_3 and I think they look fantastic.

Image courtesy of MiNT Camera/Gary Ho.

Though the camera is showing light leaks and other rendered imperfections, the lens appears sharp, with a good amount of contrast and a pleasing bokeh. The samples you see here were shot on an ISO 400 film stock.

Gary is the founder and CEO of MiNT and, as he notes in his latest entry “an engineer, not a photographer.” As a business owner, he is determined to remain independent but he’s neither new nor alone on this journey having started selling modified film cameras since 2009.

As he noted in his first post, making a premium 35mm film camera is an “incredibly daunting task” as this type of gadget has been traditionally produced by companies with “decades of experience behind them, not to mention equipment, money, and factories…” Plus, modern attempts at making a 35mm film camera that’s not a disposable/Lomo-type have thus far mostly failed due to manufacturing/supply chain complexities.

While the camera is not yet ready for production, it’s good to see the progress advancing so quickly on a project that has the potential to make film even more accessible for people looking to take full advantage of it without having to rely on a second-hand market.

Updates from Ricoh about their upcoming 35mm film camera (Pentax).

Large companies are also beginning to pay attention to film; one well-known Japanese producer is already working on their own series of new 35mm film cameras.

Ricoh is a huge imaging and electronics company with over 90,000 employees. About 1,600 of them are working at Pentax Ricoh Imaging Company Ltd. which amongst other things makes GRIII, which is “So Popular, Ricoh Can’t Keep It in Stock.”

Eight months ago, we learned that Pentax Ricoh is working on a 35mm film camera as well (not yet an SLR).

Pentax and Ricoh indeed have decades of experience making excellent film cameras, but that knowledge is somewhat ancient as their last analogue bodies were discontinued in the early 2010s. Many of the employees working on those projects must’ve either left or retired; and as Takeo Suzuki explains in this video, having drawings is not enough to understand how to build a camera.

In this month’s article on PetaPixel, David Etchells interviewed Ricoh/Pentax execs about their project where they somewhat cooled the expectations. From what I understood, the project is 100% going ahead, but they are still determining the feasibility of starting a production line dedicated to those cameras. After all, it is an incredibly daunting task.

Newgrain: an iOS social photo app for film shooters.

Newgrain has recently launched an iOS app for film photographers. It feels a lot like Instagram with some differences in design choices and, of course, the intended audience.

As of this writing, Newgrain claims over 4,000 photographers as a part of their online community. While that may not sound like much, everyone gets to interact with each other on the app by default (while you could follow accounts also) and thus it’s a little like following that many people on a typical social network. I made an account and posted a few photos there to try Newgrain, which resulted in moderate engagement — way more than I’d expect elsewhere with a day-old test account.

There are still some bugs in the app that I hope the developers are working on. I also wish that adding film metadata wasn’t mandatory and Instagram wasn’t the only link you could share on your profile. But that’s still an early version, let’s see where the founders take this project in the next six months.

My obsession with film budded with Diana Mini when I began my backpacking journey through Southeast Asia. Though I planned to spend a year abroad, the journey ended up lasting over five years, mostly in Thailand where film is at least as popular as it is in the anglophone world but my language skills were and remain inadequate to have a meaningful conversation in Thai.

Thanks to the #BelieveInFilm hashtag on Twitter and the photographers who conjugate around it, I got to connect with the English-speaking film shooter community on the largest microblogging platform. I met a lot of friends that way, who remain as such today.

But with the change of ownership, Twitter (now, “X”) got more difficult to use, prompting me (and many others) to search for new ways of connecting with people. I considered a few alternatives, some of which I used for over a decade but never took very seriously until recently.


I’ve never gotten into and still am not into Reddit, even though they have numerous communities that exchange messages about film regularly, the largest one currently serving over 134,000 members. There are, of course, other forums online, like APUG, which I sometimes come across while doing research — but the interface and the occasional angry ten-paragraph remarks are not something to be excited about. Both of these platforms are most helpful to me when I’m looking for a particular answer and they happened to be the only place that hosts it.

There are, of course, Instagram, Facebook, and Threads, owned by the same company that’s been accused and convicted numerous times of user privacy abuses. And while I can not in good faith recommend giving it any more oxygen, Instagram’s ubiquitous reach is an undeniably powerful way to find virtually anyone.

If you like Discord, there’s a community there called One More Stop that’s very active. I’ve had a great experience traversing its rooms but stopped visiting after a few months as I found it too consuming.

If you’re lucky enough to get an invite code for Bluesky — congrats! You probably know what this is already (another Twitter clone). There aren’t as many film photographers there but it certainly has a potential to grow in the future. You can find me here.

There’s also TikTok. I’m not comfortable using that app due to privacy concerns, but I also can’t deny its frankly genius way to learn, find entertainment, and an audience (if needed).

Flickr has tons of film and camera-related groups; I’ve posted my images there a few times in the 2010s, but never stuck around beyond that other than an occasional visit while researching something.

Tumblr is still around (here’s mine)! I like it but the mobile app shows a lot of ads and there’s too much borderline pornographic content. Did you know that Tumblr, like Twitter, is considered a microblogging platform?

Lomo Homes are similar to Tumblr. I visited them often to check out camera reviews and film samples.

Pinterest is excellent for collecting inspiration, like this board of Aerochrome shots from around the web. However, I couldn’t find a community there that I felt connected to. Just people’s visual ideas.

Analog.Cafe’s Comments is a new Twitter clone for film photographers.

YouTube can be considered a social network, perhaps one of the largest. Photography content is an unlikely star of the network and yet, some of the best advice and film-related entertainment can be found there in video form. I recently started uploading short videos there. You can give me a follow and a few likes if you’d like to help the channel grow.

My favourite social network is Mastodon (a decentralized open-source microblogging platform). It’s free and ad-free. And it’s growing quickly — though still not as populous as the above-mentioned websites.

The #BelieveInFilm hashtag is a great way to find folks there.

There are multiple mobile apps that you can try; none are perfect but all are pretty good. If you’re looking to join, my advice is: don’t get hung up selecting your server; pick the one that’s popular (you can switch later). I’m on because it’s short.

Lastly, there’s Analog.Cafe’s Comments. Being a web developer by trade, I decided to dump a few hours of my time into a custom Twitter clone and hosted it on this website. It’s free, ad-free, and privacy-oriented. The platform isn’t as popular as the ones above, but I’m on it daily, happy to answer your questions and chat about film.

A sample roll of Lomochrome Color’92 that I got to test this passed June.

Lomography Lomochrome Color’92 in 110 and 120 film formats.

This July, I got to try the new colour negative film by Lomography: Lomochrome Color’92. You can read my thoughts about it in the above-linked review of the emulsion.

Image courtecy of Lomography USA.

The sample I got was a 35mm roll that showed noticeable grain but better texture and colours than all non-Kodak, non-Fujifilm new true colour emulsions on the market (namely, ORWO NC 500/400 and Lomochrome Metropolis). While an improvement over the above, the film remains very crunchy in high-contrast, low-exposure areas.

If grain is your thing, you can now take it further with Color’92 in 110 format, which has recently become available on Lomography’s web store.

If you prefer smoother textures in your images, you can explore the possibilities with Color’92 in 120 format.

The price breakdown for the new film (in USD) is as follows: 35mm — $12.90, 120 — $11.90, and 110 — $8.90.

Latest on Analog.Cafe.

Timepeace — a short photo essay by Zeno Gill about his trip to Upstate New York amongst abandoned buildings with his late-1960s Rolleiflex.

Olympus 70mm (100mm) F/2 F.Zuiko Auto-T Lens Review — I re-wrote and re-published this review of one of the best lenses I ever tried on my all-time favourite SLR: Olympus PEN FV.

Between Here and There — my review of a new zine by Steve Rydz. It’s a body of photographic work I connected to deeply without a word read.

Yashica T5/Kyocera T-Proof Camera Review — I took this camera on all my summer trips this year, which was the right choice, considering that I got rained on top of a mountain a few times. The weatherproofing and the unique TLR* scope came in very handy! Plus, the lens is pretty damn good too.

A Beginner’s Guide to Shooting Manual Film Cameras — I’ve been working on this guide since January 2022 and this month was finally the time to publish. It’s a long-form free and ad-free learning piece meant to help beginner and intermediate photographers take advantage of the great wealth of affordable, working, creatively liberating film cameras.