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Happy Camera Day!
Five new C-41 colour films have been announced this year — I’m sharing the samples for all of them below. Including Adox Color Mission 200, SantaColor 100, ORWO Wolfen NC500, CineStill 400D, and dubblefilm Cinema 800.
Adox Color Mission 200.
I reviewed Adox Color Mission last month, having got my rolls from a kind reader. The results I saw with the film felt good and most needed no editing (I used this method to invert the unaltered negatives from my scanner).
Some have drawn parallels between Color Mission and the discontinued community favourite Agfa Vista films.
Unfortunately, Adox Color Mission is expensive to ship to North America and Agfa Vista packs are all expired. If you’d still like to try your luck with those films, check out the links at the bottom of my film reviews for online retailers that ship them today along with plenty more samples, my impressions, and the histories of both brands.
SantaColor 100 is a new colour film offering. New as in new to the market — what you’re getting is a freshly-produced colour surveillance film stock. I love the transparency Santa Film shows on their crowdfunding campaign page for the emulsion:
This colour film, that we are calling SantaColor 100, while not a new stock, is one that has not been available to the wider, international analogue stills photography market before. It is a well known air surveillance film made by a major manufacturer in the USA. It has been available in small batches from certain labs in certain countries, but is no longer available to the international market as far as we are aware.
☝︎ Further reading: “Rebranded Film: Good or Bad?” — in this post, I discuss 7 kinds of film labels and their role in the analogue photography ecosystem.
As per the description (and the plentiful samples attached below), SantaColor 100 features strong contrast, accurate colour (with a slight bias towards the reds) and responds well to being pushed up to ISO 800. The scans show fine, sharp grain with plenty of details when enlarged.
The samples I got gave me an impression that this film may do well in foggy/rainy weather which is what we usually get on Christmas Day in Vancouver. But it may also have a fairly narrow dynamic range so care will need to be applied when measuring exposures.
SantaColor 100 has no orange mask! Some scanners/scanner software may have an issue with that but if you like to scan your own film, this is good news as you’ll easily get the colours as intended by the manufacturer by just inverting and equalizing your histogram.
With a filter, this film can be printed via RA4. And it should look good when cross-processed in E6 as a slide.
Made with fresh colour surveillance emulsion manufactured in the USA, this film has to be hand-spooled due to its thin base. Team Santa is currently looking to raise €125,000 to get the minimum bulk order and the materials.
You can pre-order your SantaColor 100 roll(s) on IndieGoGo. There are just a few days left for the campaign and it’s close to being funded.
As you would expect, the deliveries for this film are scheduled to ship around December 2020.
ORWO Wolfen NC500.
ORWO’s Wolfen NC500 is a limited edition 500 ASA, 36 exposure, colour photographic film. “Based on the wonderful and legendary Agfa stock last used in the Oscar-winning film ‘Out of Africa’,” this emulsion appears to have similar mildly-saturated colours and grain size as Adox Colour Mission. For me, this is good news as I really enjoy that aesthetic.
This film is being manufactured at the Bitterfeld-Wolfen factory which was started by Agfa in 1910 and became ORWO’s in the 1960s.
The pre-orders for ORWO Wolfed NC500 film open on July 1st, 2020 and the shipping is expected to begin the same month.
I was able to get my pre-order in early — if you hurry, you may too. 🤫
CineStill 400D is a new offering that’s starting to trickle down to the retailers as this story is being written. It’s a fine-grained C-41 film that should be available in a variety of formats — 35mm, medium format, and large format. As they put it, CineStill 400D is not Kodak 250D with its rem-jet backing removed.
From what I’ve seen in use so far, the texture of this film’s grain is really nice and the resolution is very impressive for ISO 400. It has a natural contrast level and high colour accuracy — although you will need to adjust your grey midpoint after scanning (unless you’d prefer to retain the film’s slight tendency for lime-green colour casts).
A full review of this film is coming soon to Analog.Cafe.
dubblefilm’s new Cinema, an ISO 800 colour film.
This month, dubblefilm launched their alternative to CineStill 800T’s ISO 800 colour film that you can process in C-41 chemicals. It has no DX code and retails for €18/£16/$19 directly from their website.
As it’s the first attempt by the company to remove the rem-jet layer you should expect some light leaks and as with all cinema films without one, you may also notice static discharges in your photos. And of course, there will be halos around your highlights.
Whatever your preferences may be, it’s nice to have options, especially when it comes to such a versatile film speed and chemical process. Samples below.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is causing enormous problems for the world and film photography isn’t exempt from that shitstorm. The above-mentioned Santa Film has already discontinued some of its films sourced from Russia and Film Washi ended their “R” and “D” emulsions, according to Kosmo Foto. However, Film Washi plans more new film releases in the coming 1-2 years.
Leica M-A Titan manual film camera.
A news item from PetaPixel flashed briefly on my timeline this month. Leica had a sale on their new limited edition mechanical film camera made with titanium.
Very fancy stuff, unaffordable to most (it retailed for $20,000). Still, it’s a signal of continued demand for quality film cameras, one that Leica is undoubtedly going to take notice of — their M-As sold out within minutes following the announcement.
Perhaps there will be further film camera releases from Leica and others in the coming years. Hopefully, a little bit more affordable than that. I’ve heard about ongoing compact camera projects but nothing concrete to talk about just yet.
If you fancy a film camera today, you can check the Analog.Cafe shop to see if anything suits you.
Latest on Analog.Cafe.
“Konica Big Mini BM-302 Camera Review” — I’ve enjoyed using this camera, particularly its fast ready operation and the close-up lens.
“Agfa Vista 200 Film Review” — this film means a lot for me and many film photographers who started or were still experimenting with the analogue medium back in the late 2010s.
“How to Make Perfect Exposures on Film” — I wrote this guide to help beginner and intermediate photographers understand and get the light just right in the photographs. The advice in this article is applicable to manual cameras and point-and-shoots.
“Konica Big Mini BM-201 Camera Review” — A beautiful camera with a great lens and a few flaws. BM-201 can make a great entry into the world of film photography at a fraction of the price of other “premium” point-and-shoots.