Film Photography News — May 2023 Recap

7 New Films and a Book for the Summer

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

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What’s new?

Two new colour films from Reto, the return of the Street Candy, Ilford’s Ultra-Large Format program, WonderPAN, dubblefilm’s GLITCH, Foma Ortho 400, film cameras in space (again), new website features, a new camera from Jollylook, and a new book!

Plus: is film getting cheaper?

👋 Hey! Would you like to share your plans for the summer with the community? Or just chat about your favourite film/camera?

Reto Retocolor Aqua 400.

Two new colour films from Reto.

Reto is a Hong Kong-based camera maker that got Kickstarted in 2019 with a new 3D Nishika N8000-like camera, RETO3D. Their latest camera offering is Ultra Wide & Slim.

Reto Retocolor Glow 400.

This month, they’ve added new Reto-branded films to their online store.

There are two: Retocolor Aqua 400 and Retocolor Glow 400. Both are ISO 400 films — with DX code (a feature that makes the film usable in all point-and-shoot cameras that otherwise default to ISO 100 or 25).

The grain and muted colours of Retocolor films remind me of another film I am currently testing: Orwo Wolfen NC 500. However, Reto delivers two emulsion flavours, which I’d be eager to try and compare to NC 500.

Retocolor Glow 400 and Retocolor Aqua 400 retail for $13.99 and pack 27 frames in each can.

These films are the successors of Reto’s Amber series (currently sold out).

I’ve also confirmed with the maker that Retocolor films are not limited-edition films; however, the company has no plans for producing them in medium format.

100 pages of Polaroid art.

Daren Zomerman is a Vancouver photographer and the author of the Learn Film Photography blog. We met last year over our passion for analogue cameras and continue to hang out whenever our busy lives allow.

This month, over our sushi dinner, he showed me his latest project that he and Sara Faridamin had put together after a long time collecting the material and laying out the designs. It was a photo book that features an extensive collection of Polaroid prints across its 100 pages.

The fact that every frame was printed to scale intrigued me: anyone who ever made a book knows how hard this simple task could be. I kept flipping the pages, examining Daren and Sara’s impressive collection of images that touches one of my favourite subjects: flowers.

Flowers sucked me into film photography many years ago when I discovered Chi’s incredible style and, later, her zine. This book brought those feelings back; beyond that, I used it as a guide to my local flora — since every page features a local flower’s name.

Today, I am excited to have this book, Between Blocks, at the store with an exclusive add-on option: 1 of 5 Polaroid prints ever to be made of the Bleeding Heart flower.

Daren and Sara have only printed 500 copies of Between Blocks, out of which I’ve listed 25. Check out my review here if you’d like to learn more about it.

I am not charging anyone for listing or promoting this book; I’m only doing this because I love it and think you would too.

Between Blocks is about $25 ($32.99 CAD) at the store with Free Shipping to Canada or just below $6 to the US.

Analogue Wonderland’s WonderPan by Alex Cole. [Push-processed +2]

WonderPan 400.

To celebrate its fifth anniversary, Analogue Wonderland, “a leading one-stop shop for UK film photography enthusiasts,” is now preparing to launch its first 35mm film offering: WonderPan 400.

✪​ Note: WonderPan 400 is listed on Analogue Wonderland’s website as “out of stock.” In fact, it’s planned to become available in late June 2023. You can use the link to the listing to subscribe to be notified once it’s available at the store. There will be only 1,000 rolls of this stuff ever made; thus, a reminder may be a good idea, as things tend to sell out quickly there.

WonderPan 400. Is there a pun in there somewhere?

WonderPan features graphics based on Chef Ambrosia, “a fictional masterchef who embraces the challenge of taking familiar ingredients to craft something new,” and sports a tagline, “Grain Never Tasted So Good.”

Indeed, Analogue Wonderland notes that some may recognize the rebranded emulsion inside the WonderPan cans — and, yes, it is being made into something new. The film’s original box speed is around ISO 100, which has been altered to suggest ISO 400. This means you’ll need to push this film two stops in development (which AW can take care of), or over-expose it +2 stops (which may blow out the highlights — or not), or simply shoot it at ISO 100.

WonderPan is set to cost “£8 per roll if bought individually, but there will be discounts available at launch, including for Club AW members.” Those who choose to develop their film at Analogue WonderLAB will also get discounts on processing.

dubblefilm’s Glitch film sample.

dubblefilm GLITCH.

dubblefilm made their name by pre-exposing existing emulsions to create colourful light-leak-like effects on existing emulsions. You can think of their works as Instagram filters on film.

This type of pre-processing isn’t for everyone, nor can it be appropriate for every occasion. Online, you may find this type of product divisive as some photographers would cringe over the results or criticize how they were named. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that if you want a certain look — which I expect to be difficult or impossible to recreate at home — dubblefilm’s products are the way to get it.

The same goes for Polaroid films like Reclaimed Blue or Green Duochrome and false-colour emulsions like Lomochrome Turquoise.

GLITCH is a monochrome ISO 200 film with random overlayed streaks of lines that dubblefilm named after the artifacts you may see on a VHS tape. They look like waves made of parallel lines, which could be neat for a ghost-themed photoshoot or something even more creative — as long as you commit to having them over all of your 36 35mm frames.

The film sells for $13 for a single roll with slight discounts for larger quantities on

Jollylook Instax Square pinhole camera.

Jollylook Instax Square pinhole camera.

Jollylook, known for their series of wooden foldable instant film camera kits, has just launched their newest project: Jollylook Square on Kickstarter.

You may remember that last year Jollylook team had to overcome incredible odds to move their team from their home in Ukraine to Slovakia. Despite the hardships, the company shows no signs of slowing down: the new camera campaign is set to run for just 10 days, and on the morning of its launch, it already appears to have received over 30% of its goal funding. If you’d like your own, the kits start at $79. The deadline is June 9th, 2023.

This unique project embraces a marriage of classic design and environmentally friendly materials, making the camera a beautiful and sustainable choice for photography lovers. The kit includes a manual development mechanism, bellows, and an exposure calculator, providing all the tools necessary for an immersive DIY photographic journey.

The return of Street Candy, Ilford ULF, and Foma Ortho 400.

If you own an enormous film camera, maybe something larger than 8x10, you have until June 7th to order your equally huge sheets of film from Ilford through their Ultra-Large Format campaign.

Kosmo Foto and 35mmc reported this month on Foma Bohemia’s upcoming medium format-only high-speed orthochromatic film: Foma Ortho 400.

I reported on the end of Street Candy on this blog just over a year ago. The film brand blamed the unreasonable pricing by their distributor, which ultimately closed its doors in 2022. But twelve months since, the company is back, selling film again.

Is film getting cheaper?

This May, I’ve got a few emails from retailers advertising lower film prices and seen dozens of videos and photos of store shelves filling up with Kodak films. From that, it may seem that the cost of shooting film may finally be coming down, or at least levelling off. But there’s no way to say this definitely without doing further research.

During the next few weeks, I’ll be running my semi-annual research sprint, where I’ll be examining the real, customer-facing costs of buying film and reporting my findings on Analog.Cafe. This January, I found that the prices have gone up by 10.39% since July 2022. Perhaps we’ll see an improvement for the summer of 2023?

Subscribe to receive Film Price Reports whenever they get published.

Film cameras in space and new website features.

I built this blog “from scratch” using the latest and greatest web technologies so that it’s faster and easier to read than anything else on WWW. This month, I extended its functionality slightly with a partial Twitter clone interface.

Share brief notes and start film-related conversations on Analog.Cafe.

It works by aggregating all of the comments left on the website (also a new feature) in one place in a sequential stream format. And as you may have guessed, you can add your comment to that stream — without necessarily associating it with any article. You can also reply to and create threads.

The Comments feature is currently in beta — but you’re welcome to visit, ask your questions, and start conversations about film photography today. I now use it to leave timely announcements and observations that aren’t enough for a full article but are interesting and worth noting in their way. An example of such a post is a YouTube announcement about a film photographer who’s about to take her cameras to space very soon.

Latest on Analog.Cafe.

Voigtländer Bessa-L Film Camera Review — my lightest, most bare-bone “pro-grade” LTM rangefinder-type camera experience. Can you shoot a camera without a viewfinder window?

Sea to Sky With Olympus PEN FV & CineStill 400D — a short essay about a trip to British Columbia’s beautiful mountains with a friend.

PolaCon, an Instant Film Photography Convention — this year, the largest Polaroid enthusiasts’ convention landed in NYC.

Kodak Portra 800 Film Review — an incredible film; nothing comes close to Portra 800 in colour accuracy and exposure latitude at this speed.

Miranda Sensomat Japanese Film SLR Review — perhaps the best deal when it comes to quality beautiful Japanese SLRs with a unique and versatile lens mount.

Pentax Espio Mini Camera Review — this is one of the smallest and funnest mid-range point-and-shoot film cameras out there.

Between Blocks — a review of the above-mentioned book of flowers, printed from Polaroids to scale.

Lomochrome Turquoise XR Film Review — this crazy false-colour emulsion flips reds and blues while keeping greens (mostly) intact. Worth a try.

Photography Through the Pandemic — a review of one of the defining photobooks of our age from the perspectives of the film photography community.