Film Photography News — February 2023 Recap

🍓 Aerochrome Conspiracies

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

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What’s new?

A new Aerocolor IV colour negative film source, Kodak P3200 peering into space, and Aerochrome conspiracies.

This February, I came across fewer product launches and announcements than usual. And so, instead of focusing on cool things made by other people, I’ll reflect a little more on what’s going on with Analog.Cafe and share a few anecdotes on the theme of film photography.

💬 How was your February? Share your thoughts in the comments!

I’ve been reading and writing more lately and have a ton of educational content planned for spring 2023. I’ve also been testing many strange cameras, some of which are starting to make their way to the shop.

15% OFF film cameras.

February is my birthday month. 🥳 To celebrate, I’m having a mini-sale at the shop. There, you’ll find film-tested cameras, five-star buyer reviews, and free worldwide shipping on most items. Including:

Minolta TC-1, Olympus Mju I and Mju II, Ricoh FF-1, Minox 35 GT, and more.

Ends on March 2nd, 2023, at 12:00 AM EST.

Kodak Aerochrome with Hasselbland XPan.

Aerochrome conspiracies.

You must’ve come across colour infrared images at some point. They are the out-worldly, contrasty depictions of the natural world with stark colour palettes. Kodak Aerochrome is the only way to get this effect on film and, being a long-discontinued emulsion, it’s extremely expensive.

Not everyone likes this film. It can look gimmicky or overdone; it can also look bad due to its extreme contrast, sometimes severe grain, and unusual colour palette. But it has its fan club (for reasons), with the “members” sometimes creating amusing conspiracy theories.

The latest one is about one of grainydays’ latest videos that allegedly gave clues about a possible re-release of Aerochrome. Jason Kummerfeldt (grainydays) is a popular YouTube creator with over 200K subscribers who is openly passionate about the discontinued colour infrared film.

Though it’s fun to imagine Kodak bringing back another advanced emulsion to the market, most Reddit thread participants know it isn’t likely. As I said, it’s hard to get good results with this film, and thus Aerochrome may never be the money maker Kodak needs it to be. But if you’ve got a roll or planning to buy some, I’ve got a few good tips on how to make the most of it.

Kodak Aerocolor IV (SantaColor 100) with Hasselbland XPan.

A new Aerocolor IV film source: Luminar 100.

Kodak Aerocolor film is not to be confused with Kodak Aerochrome. Aerocolor is a true colour (no IR) negative emulsion that’s still in production. However, it’s only available in huge, uncut bulk orders.

Aerocolor is also characterized by its clear base that makes scanning tricky with some devices (although easily fixable using this method).

Until recently, Aerocolor was primarily used in areal surveillance, selling in bulk with a price tag of many thousands of dollars per order. But a few film photography businesses, including Camera Rescue (SantaColor), Flic Film (Film Electra 100), Film Washi (Film Washi X), and Popho Camera Company (Luminar 100), managed to acquire large quantities of this film and re-spool for 35mm film camera use. All those films are Aerocolor IV.

Luminar 100 is the latest source of Aerocolor, spooled in Montreal, Canada. The links above should lead you to my review of this film with exposure and scanning tips.

Vitessa L3 with green filter and Kodak T-MAX P3200: shot and developed at EI 1600 in Ilford DDX by The Lab, Vancouver.

ISS Crossing the Moon on Kodak P3200.

PetaPixel shared Jason De Freitas’ latest creative venture: astrophotography with Kodak’s grainiest black and white film. This time, he captured the tiny dot miles up in the sky through his telescope on P3200 at EI 1600. According to Jason, this was one of the most challenging shots of his astrophotographic career.

By the way, Jason also creates stunning landscape images on Aerochrome (see his portfolio here).

Speaking of Kodak P3200, in my recent review of this film, I shared my incredibly-grainy results with it when developed in Caffenol and some “normal” scans from the Ilford DDX process. It is certainly not a film that I’d advise to crop. But combined with the right chemicals, it can still be incredibly detailed, even in 35mm.

Measuring shutter speed accuracy to 1ms in the 1930s.

I found this video just before hitting “publish.” Good thing I do these things last minute. 😅

Destin of SmarterEveryDay visited Camera Rescue’s shop in Finland to see their analogue sub-second shutter speed metering tool. Leica first used it in the 1930s to measure the accuracy of their cameras’ focal-plane shutters.

Latest on Analog.Cafe.

Fujifilm Fujicolor “Industrial” 400 Film Review — though recently discontinued, this film can still be found online — and it may be worth a try, especially if you’re looking for stark Fujifilm red and greens.

Ricoh FF-1s Compact 35mm Film Camera Review — this camera is an ultra-compact 35mm hidden gem; while it isn’t free of flaws, it can still take sharp, beautiful photos.

Developing Colour Film as an Absolute Beginner — I develop my first film in C-41 chemicals and document my experience in this article.

Kodak T-MAX P3200 Black and White Film Review — learn about Kodak’s fastest emulsion, its actual ISO speed, and ways to make it look its best.

Mamiya U — an Ultra-Rare Compact 35mm Film Camera — it took me years to find a flawlessly-working copy of this camera.

Kodak Aerochrome — a Colour IR Film Guide & Review — everything there’s to know about the most expensive film money can buy.