Film Photography News — June 2023 Recap

Happy Camera Day! Celebrate W. New Camera, New Film, and New Techniques 🥳

6 min read by Dmitri, with image(s) by Daren.
Published on . Updated on .

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What’s new?

This June, I heard about a new large format camera from ONDU, a modified SX-70 from MiNT that takes iType film, and a new film from CatLABS. Plus, an announcement from Analogue Wonderland.

On the blog: two new advanced photography guides and a film price report for Summer 2023.

But first, let’s talk about this beautiful new camera project:

Image courtecy of ONDU.

A new large format camera from ONDU.

I was expecting good things from a company that’s been making film cameras for the past ten years. But the promo material I saw today was exceptionally impressive. I’ve already shared some of my thoughts on it along with a fitting portrait of the brand’s founder, Elvis Halilović.

Elvis’ camera project has already exceeded the Kickstarter campaign goal many times over, with nearly a month left on the clock. Aside from having an impressive video, ONDU is known for their quality, design, and sustainability principles. They are one of the few camera makers laser-focused on woodworking, and their expertise appears to shine in the video and the promotional materials. Those things look fantastic and seem to be sturdy.

ONDU’s Eikan 4x5” camera is highly modular, with the ability to extend bellows and accept multiple formats, including panoramic film and Lomography LomoGraflok back for instant film.

ONDU Eikan 4x5 can be reserved on Kickstarter today for $700-1,970.

CatLABS X FILM 100. Sample image courtecy of CatLABS.
This is a unique color film emulsion offering superb sharpness, soft tones and a beautiful color palette. CatLABS X FILM 100 Color is characterized by its distinct color coupler structure (grain), contrast and tonal range, not found within other currently available films.



This month, CatLABS brought a new C-41 film to the market: CatLABS X FILM 100. I think it can be made to look fantastic. The sample image above is an excellent example of what it can do.

Being a colour negative film, it is also the easiest kind to find a lab for and also the simplest to develop at home.

I’m not sure if everyone will love the clear base that this film comes with. Kodak Aerocolor has the same property, which caused some labs and folks who scan at home to get unfavourable results with whatever their scanner software was doing. But there’s a way to fix that.

35mmc noted that the film’s description sounds similar to the above-mentioned Kodak film. Based on the samples, I wouldn’t be surprised if the two emulsions are closely related. Still, this is definitely something new for us to try as I haven’t seen any Aerocolor medium format — to say the least.

You can order CatLABS X FILM 100 today on their website. 35mm coming soon.

Film prices up by 3.49% since January.

In my previous Letter, I suggested that film prices may finally be calming down. I’ve heard from retailers like Film Photography Store that this should be happening. (To their credit, FPS has some of the best prices on Kodak film.)

But after spending considerable time researching the prices of 29 popular films across eight reputable shops, it looks like it did not happen. The hard truth is that worldwide inflation is still strong, retailers aren’t incentivized to discount an inventory that sells quickly, and manufacturers may still be navigating a turbulent marketplace while enjoying a film photography renaissance that allows them to charge more as they (hopefully) upgrade their factories.

The good news is that the average price increase is nearly three times smaller than what I observed in January. We’ll see what happens later this year.

You can find my latest insights on film prices and ways to save on film in my Summer 2023 report.

Bleeding Heart, captured with a MiNT SLR670-X camera. Limited Edition copies of this Polaroid are available exclusively on FilmBase.

How to shoot macro photos on an SX-70.

I’ve been shooting and learning about film photography for over a decade, and yet there’s barely a day passes when I don’t discover something new. This month, it was Daren’s insights about the incredible macro photography potential of the SX-70 instant film camera.

Without any add-ons,” says Daren, “the SX-70 camera is able to achieve an approximate 0.7x magnification” — but there’s more: “All you have to do to make it a full, 1:1 macro is add on a simple close-up lens.”

Of course, being a Polaroid film camera, SX-70 needs the know-how to give good results on a difficult medium with a limited dynamic range. Daren’s article, How to Shoot Macro Photos on an SX-70 is a concise and informative guide on how to make perfect exposures with this film at such close distances.

On a related note, I recently watched a video where they shot 4x5 and 35mm film in a variety of Polaroid cameras, including SX-70. SX-70’s lens appeared to produce really good images in large format.

The math behind lux-seconds, stops, and exposure values.

Learning how film and cameras work is my never-ending side-quest to actually taking photos.

There are droves of scientific papers, definitions, and equations that explain every aspect that makes analogue (and digital) imaging possible. The read can be dry, and some stuff found online is plain wrong (gasp!) But the feeling of achieving a complete understanding of how something works is very inspiring.

This month I dove into the rabbit hole of light-measuring units and how they are tied to basic camera controls: shutter speed and aperture. The result is thoroughly-researched definitions and examples with interactive calculators: Lux-Seconds, Stops, and Exposure Values Explained.”

In other news.

Analogue Wonderland has recently announced their acquisition of Silver Pan Film Lab. This is a big step for Paul’s growing business that he found not long after Analog.Cafe went live (Paul McKay is the Founder of Analogue Wonderland).

Congrats, Paul & co!🍻

This must be an exciting moment for the company as they are transitioning from an online-only service to a business with a robust web presence and a prominent location.

LearnFilm.Photography reports that MiNT has just made a modified SX-70 set available that takes ALL Polaroid film — a sure way to ensure your camera’s ability to resist possible film discontinuations.

Latest on Analog.Cafe.

Hydraulic Fracturing — a short photo essay by Peter Reilly with photos taken on his Fujifilm disposable where he explains how those systems and machines work.

The Enduring Allure of Film Photography — in this essay, Michael Elliott talks about things that make film photography special and his approach for merging the analogue craft with modern digital technology.

Kodak ColorPlus 200 Film Review — this is the cheapest colour film on the market; many people love it, some don’t — but the results always speak for themselves.

Kodak UltraMax 400 Film Review — a cheaper ISO 400 colour film from Kodak, rumoured to be the only film in this class.

Konica Big Mini F Camera Review — is the top-tier and the latest film camera in the series of mid-level Japanese point-and-shoots.

ORWO Wolfen NC 500 Film Review — this is the new colour film from a factory that hasn’t produced colour emulsions for still cameras in (probably) decades.