Film Photography News — March 2024 Recap

Fujifilm Sues Kodak, Five New Film Cameras, Film Photography Game, and More

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

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What’s new?

Polaroid launches an update to its Go camera, Fujifilm releases an update to its Instax Mini 90 (the 99) and sues Kodak, Lomography made a new 110 camera but discontinued Diana Mini, and I share updates on the upcoming Pentax and MiNT 35mm film cameras (below).

On Analog.Cafe: new What The Film?! photographers’ game level, tags, and new shop items.

GOLD members get to read a special edition of the Moscow Dayze, an independently published 68-page/35-spread photobook.

⌛😅 Apologies for the late dispatch: Community Letters are typically sent on the last Tuesday of every month. Today is Thursday the 28th; it’s late because I spent some time on Vancouver Island not thinking about work and also got sick. This is also an unusually long update, so I wanted to take extra time to make sure it properly covers all the film photography news for the month of March 2024.

Moscow Dayze, 4th Online Edition. Pages 15 & 16.

Moscow Dayze, 4th Online Edition.

Moscow Dayze was independently published as a hand-made 74-page photobook in 2021. All physical copies are now sold out.

This is a remastered 4th Online Edition of the same book.

The book describes a moment in time in Moscow that transcends time, just before the pandemic and Putin’s cruel invasion of Ukraine. It’s told from my perspective as a first-generation Russian-Canadian immigrant seeing/sleeping in his childhood home for the first time in 20 years.

Moscow Dayze is available exclusively for Analog.Cafe GOLD members. You can read it in full or learn more about it here.

New Polaroid Go camera rendering/Polaroid USA.

New instant film cameras from Polaroid and Fujifilm.

This month, Polaroid updated their “world’s smallest instant camera.”

I’ve heard photographers complain about the exposure accuracy on the first iteration of the Go camera. Looks like Polaroid took note and redesigned its metering system:

Our team redesigned the light sensor’s positioning and field-of-view, so whatever you’re pointing at is exactly what the camera is picking up. And if you’re pointing at a wider scene, your camera’s wider metering coverage will have it literally looking at the bigger picture.

The aperture also got bigger: it’s now 𝒇9-42, over the previous 𝒇12-56, and the top shutter speed increased to 1/300s. The body is now made with 30% recycled materials.

I wrote about Polaroid Go in this #editorial for March 15, 2024.

New Fujifilm Instax Mini 99 camera/Fujifilm.

Yet the most creative film cameras released by a major manufacturer this month was the new Instax Mini 99, released by Fujifilm (documented on the day in this #editorial for March 14, 2024).

Instax Mini 99 is an update to Fujifilm’s earlier success, Instax Mini 90, with some unique features. As the 90, the 99 exposes the film directly through the lens, but in addition to the fully analogue pathway, it implements practical in-camera effects. If you open the film door, you’ll see a series of colour diodes that pre-expose the film to give it a specific look (for example, a light leak effect). And in front of the lens, you’ll find a practical vignette mask — because why not?!

Fujifilm sues Kodak.

On March 20, Fujifilm announced on their website and on Twitter that they’re suing Kodak over their printing technology patents. It’s unclear how the outcome of this lawsuit will affect the only two remaining legacy colour film manufacturers. The printing business is an important part of both companies’ business strategies and not a small part of modern commerce, as we still consume tons of packaging with elaborate graphics. I’ll share more details about this lawsuit and the resulting fallout when I hear more.

Lomomatic 110/Lomography USA.

New 110 film camera from Lomography and the demise of Diana Mini.

Lomography has just released their “Sharpest, Most Creative Pocket-sized Camera on Earth!” with a 23mm coated glass lens for a miniature 110 film format.

The company’s big bet on a miniature format (for which they are the only producer of film) is in a tiny camera with big claims. It appears to be well-made, with a good lens, though some first users report occasional skipped frames. I share more about the camera in the #editorial for March 13, 2024.

Unfortunately, Lomography had also discontinued their Diana Mini this month — a plastic toy camera that started my journey into film photography many years ago.

MiNT Camera website.

Pentax and MiNT share more about their upcoming new film camera releases.

Pentax (Ricoh) shared another update for its upcoming film camera project. It’ll be a half-frame format with manual film transport and zone focusing with a lens design based on Pentax Espio Mini cameras.

Meanwhile, MiNT confirmed that their new premium compact 35mm film camera is launching this year as Rollei 35AF. The company also shared a lot of technical information about the camera and a series of photos that appear to have characteristics of a very sharp lens with minimal distortions and pleasing bokeh.

New WTF?! game level!

What The Film?! (or WTF?!, for short) is a game for film photographers to test the skill of identifying black and white film. It’s had many players participate — with the top 100 sharing a spot on the front page. This month, I’ve added another level for the gameplay for a chance to up your rankings.

This game was featured on PetaPixel and 35mmc. It is the basis for a few videos that demonstrate how difficult it may be to identify black and white film, as well as for this article that shares some tips for picking the right monochrome stock (it’s not just the look that matters!)

#tags in Analog.Cafe comments.

You’ve seen me share #editorial tags/links in this Community Letter which are a series of comments that include announcements and short opinion pieces on Analog.Cafe. They aren’t full articles, rather short editor’s notes that are posted in a timely fashion on the blog, the RSS feed, Feedly, and Flipboard.

There are also tags that collect comments and conversations on relevant topics, like #filmdev #filmscan #exposure #repair #gas and #video. You may even create your own! Note that comment tags need to be one word (no dashes and no underscores), and they can not start with a number.

Mamiya U with an intact shutter button. In the past three years, I’ve seen just one.

New shop items.

I’ve added some rare and some not-so-rare (yet still awesome) film cameras to the “FilmBase” Etsy shop.

The most prized camera in this lot is the only Mamiya U (review) I’ve ever seen with a fully intact shutter button. Though you may find this strangely designed ‘80s chic camera elsewhere, it almost never comes with its beautiful yet brittle yellow button.

You can read a bit more about the new items in this #editorial or check them out at the shop directly.

Latest on Analog.Cafe.

My Response to “Photography Isn’t Real” in the Context of “AI” — an #editorial comment about the new take some photographers have been offering in response to the fears over the cheap generated graphics overshadowing art of photography. I say that photography is not at all like the images we get by typing a short prompt in a box and explain exactly why.

How Many Photos Can You Fit on 35mm Film? — not all 35mm film cartridges will give you 36 shots — sometimes you may get more, other times less — and that’s not all up to the manufacturer. An #editorial.

Konica Recorder Half-Frame Point-and-Shoot Review — the only true point-and-shoot half-frame camera with an ultrawide lens. An in-depth review of a cult classic.

Moscow Dayze — a transcendent moment in time/Moscow, just before the pandemic and Putin’s cruel invasion of Ukraine. This is a book written from my perspective as a first-generation Russian-Canadian immigrant seeing/sleeping in his childhood home for the first time in 20 years.

Fujifilm is Back! — lots of news from Fujifilm this month; in this video, Yvonne shares her first-hand account of some of the discontinued film stocks slowly re-appearing on the Japanese store shelves. #video.

Canon FD 28mm 1:3.5 S.C. Lens Review — an affordable wide lens for a very popular SLR system that opened my eyes to close-up photography on 28mm (lens review).

ORWO NP20 for Agfa Rapid/SL Cameras — developing a very expired film in specialty 35mm film canisters.

Pentacon Penti II, a Cheap Golden Half-Frame Camera — a beautiful half-frame film camera that doesn’t cost much and has a great lens. The catch: it uses specialty film canisters (though you can refill them with standard 35mm film).

Analog.Cafe Web App — did you know you can install Analog.Cafe on your mobile device (no account needed, less than 10MB in size)? It’s much easier to launch and gives a larger viewing area than the browser — available for iOS, Android, Windows, Linux, and Mac.