Film Photography News — January 2022 Recap

We Are Not Crazy; Also, New Cameras, a FREE Book, and New Reads

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

☞ Get “Community Letters” via email: a monthly overview of the latest news, events, and stories from the film photography community.

What’s new?

Canon, Pentax, Nikon and Leica sales have all skyrocketed over the past two years, with sales increases between 42 and 79 percent… In the last year alone, Etsy saw a 76 percent increase in searches for SLR cameras on its site, compared with the previous year, Dayna Isom Johnson, a trend expert at Etsy, said.

The New York Times.

Film photography has been growing in popularity for years: as a hobby, profession, and a market for businesses of all sizes. There were signs: Kodak’s growing revenue from its photochemical products, Fujifilm bringing back Acros II film, and a constant film deficit — even before the pandemic. But this month, we get to have a closer look at the actual figures that drive this renaissance, courtesy of a short New York Times article.

Meanwhile, NONS teases their new SLR for Instax Square film, and Retro begins preorders for their Ultra Wide & Slim plastic camera.

Below the fold, you will also find this month’s eight new tools, articles, and downloads, as well as a correction for last month’s Community Letter.

Images courtesy of NONS.

NONS SL660: an Instax square SLR body with a passive EF lens mount.

NONS has been selling SLR bodies for Instax film since 2020. Their follow-up to the debut launch of NONS SL42, “The First M42 Mount SLR Instant Camera,” is their Format Extender tube made to fix the vignetting issue on the original model.

NONS’ new product (teased on Twitter and Instagram) seems like an even greater challenge for overcoming vignetting — a much larger format — Instax Square. And it looks like they are succeeding!

NONS cameras aren’t particularly cheap, retailing at about $450 (currently on sale at $400 apiece); the square version could cost even more. But it may be a cheaper alternative to the foldable rangefinder by MiNT for Instax Wide film that costs $899.

The camera’s top shutter speed will be 1/250s, and it’s promised to have a greater viewfinder coverage. On Instagram, NONS also said that it will be possible to mount medium format lenses with an adapter. The Kickstarter launch date will come sometime next month.

Moscow Dayze book page spread with Polaroid SX-70 camera for scale.

A free book for all Analog.Cafe supporters.

If you haven’t heard of Moscow Dayze yet, it is a 76-page premium hand-made, eco-friendly photobook project about my crazy pre-pandemic trip to Moscow, Russia. It is a good book; almost everyone who’s read it has either contacted me personally or posted online about their heartening experience with it.

However, the book is not easy to make as every copy needs to be printed (at home), hand-assembled, and packaged — a task that can take more than an hour per copy. Given the supply chain disruptions we’ve been experiencing in the past few months and the touching support I’ve been receiving for running this photography project, I’ve decided to offer it as a FREE PDF download for the next little while. Just so that whoever wants to read it could.

Here’s how it works:

If you’ve ever contributed anything towards running Analog.Cafe, you can now get your FREE PDF copy of the Moscow Dayze photo book here.

If you haven’t, a contribution of $3 or more will get you there.

When I say this book is free, I mean it. If you can not make the contribution but still want the book, email me by February 14th, 2022 (Valentine’s Day), and I’ll mail you a copy. No questions asked.

The numbers are in: film photography is exploding in popularity.

The above quote from a short, hastily-written New York Times article that’s really about a crossword puzzle dropped a few numbers about film photography. Specifically SLRs.

According to NYT, eBay saw a 42-79% increase in sales of single-lens reflex cameras, and Etsy saw a 76% increase in searchers seeking a film SLR.

These figures suggest that the consumer interest in film photography doubled over the past year alone. Expect your prices on film and cameras to go up. But with that expectation, hope for more choice of film products, new/modern film cameras, and a healthier ecosystem of businesses that this craft depends on.

Ultra Wide & Slim plastic camera.

A revered plastic camera relaunch is about to take place on RETRO’s website. RETRO has opened presales of their Vivitar’s Wide & Slim plastic camera remake that features a single-aperture fixed-focus 𝒇11 22mm wide-angle lens and a single-speed 1/125 shutter that weighs just 68g (2.4oz) without film.

The camera goes for $30; if you’re curious to know what kind of photos it may produce, check out the Flickr group dedicated to the original Vivitar version.

Correction to December 2021 letter.

In the last month’s email, I’ve stated that the “That’s my World” exhibition will take place in Frankfurt between March 22nd and April 23rd, 2022. It will actually take place between March 5th and April 23rd, 2022.

Latest on Analog.Cafe.

Olympus Mju Infinity Stylus Compact Camera Review — these little point-and-shoots are fantastic!

A Film Case Story — this is a short bit about my experience with film holders, a product I was highly skeptical of until trying.

“☀️ Sunny 16 Calculator is a free tool I’ve built to help you calculate your exposures based on a light reading. Set your ISO, choose your exposure value and aperture to get the shutter speed. It also has lots of pretty pictures and clever descriptions to help you start guessing your light without a light meter.

OK, USA is a short photo essay by Peter Reilly about his college days with a film camera, pre-pandemic.

Konica Color 400VX Technical Datasheet — the film is long out of production, but I’ve decided to host the file anyways. If you’re looking to try this film, it has some info about reciprocity failure and other fancy data.

Konica Color VX400 Expired Film Review— here I share my experience with this unusually sharp and very expired C-41 emulsion.

Purma, a Special Camera is an overview of a unique, gravity-controlled camera from the 1930s and 1950s by Justino Lourenço.

Olympus 70mm F/2 F.Zuiko Auto-T Lens Review — who knew an old half-frame camera could have such a great portrait lens? Too bad it’s pretty rare.