Film Photography News — November 2023 Recap

Sugar-Lens Gingerbread Instax Square (Edible Film Camera), WTF?!, and More!

7 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?

I built an instant film camera out of gingerbread and candy — sugar lens and all! I’ll be taking pictures with it all month and share photos of eating it in the next email (December 26th).

What The Film?! (or WTF for short), is a game I built for film photographers with film photographers and your help. You can try it today. 🎉

JollyLook had just launched a Kickstarter for their battery-free Instax Mini film development unit, a new modular pinhole camera, and a very expensive Kodak Super 8 film camera.

Also, someone leaked Harman’s (Ilford’s) upcoming launch details. I won’t share them in this article to avoid potentially spoiling the fun but you may learn them for yourself here.

Top row: Sugar-Lens Gingerbread Instax Square (edible film camera). Bottom row: results from the gingerbread camera.

Sugar-Lens Gingerbread Instax Square (edible film camera).

I made something silly in time for the holiday season. It’s a working* instant film camera made from gingerbread, icing, and sugar. And the silliest part of it is the sugar lens.

As you may’ve noticed from the samples, sugar is not an easy or ideal material to make a lens from. These pictures are blurrier than a sloppy pinhole! Still, this camera can be used hand-held and indoors — thanks to its large aperture.

You can learn a bit more about this project on PetaPixel.

Since I spent all my time making this camera and this email is already a day late, I’ll have to tell you what I’ve learned building it and how it works later. Follow me on Mastodon, Bluesky, YouTube, or Instagram for daily-ish updates and stories about Sugar-Lens Gingerbread Instax Square.

I’ll be eating this camera on camera soon — make sure you’re subscribed to the Community Letters to see it happen next month!

A screenshot from the “What The Film?!” photography game, featuring photo by Alex Luyckx.

What The Film?!

What The Film?! is a new (free) web game built for film photographers by film photographers. You can try it today!

The gameplay is simple: try to guess which black and white film a photo was shot on. If you guess correctly, you earn points. There are currently three levels, each more difficult than the first — but also worth more points. And to make things a little more interesting, the top 100 players’ scores will be shown on the game’s home screen.

This game was built in collaboration with Daren and Yvonne who videotaped the three of us playing the game for the first time. Their vlogs are undergoing finishing touches — subscribe to their YouTube channels to watch once they drop.

What The Film?! is not just a game. It’s an experiment and an interactive demonstration of the little difference that a film choice can make in the final results. In the videos that Daren and Yvonne produced, you’ll see us struggle — and that’s despite having decades of experience shooting film between us.

Jollylook Eye: a fully mechanical instant film printer.

The same company that provided me with the means to build the gingerbread Instax film camera had also just launched a Kickstarter campaign for their newest photography accessory: a fully mechanical instant wood-box film printer.

Though printing digital photos onto instant film isn’t new, Jollylook’s approach is undoubtedly novel. There are no electronic components in their design and it’s mostly made of wood.

According to their Kickstarter page, the Eye will work with any bright screen. Technically speaking, you are getting a macro lens instant film camera that’ll work at the distance set by the box when it’s unfolded. That said, you may have to experiment with your screen’s brightness as there’s no auto-exposure — just a set (not yet published) shutter speed and aperture.

Being a mechanical camera, the Eye can also take double exposures for you — all you have to do is delay ejecting the film and take another shot. This is, of course, just one of the experiments that you can try with this camera; I’m sure there are more.

The Kickstarter is set to run for just seven days. As of this writing, the project has been 100% funded with six days remaining to snag this.

Image courtesy of Finite Industries.

FI35 modular pinhole camera.

Nils from Finite Industries (Argyll, Scotland) has recently shared his pinhole camera project, FI35. It’s a product of several prototype iterations guided by the community of artists and photographers and a recipient of the Analogue Wonderland’s Film Photography Community Fund.

Image courtesy of Finite Industries.

Though there are many pinhole camera designs out there — you can even make your own — FI35 is the first one I’ve seen that uses a modular approach:

Modularity means that photographers can experiment with redscale, tilt shift, double exposure and more within one camera” — Nils (emphasis mine).

FI35 will let you swap pinholes, film planes, frames and bodies. The modular camera design was made famous by cameras like the Hasselblad 500CM and Mamiya RZ67.

You can get notified once the camera is ready to ship via the Finite Industries mailing list.

KODAK Super 8 Camera.

When the news of this camera was announced a few days back, the internet let out a loud sigh at the price tag: $5,495. Though I confidently can not afford this, there’s still a good chance it’ll get sold out quickly.

You can buy and process Super 8 film today if you live in the right city or don’t mind shipping your emulsion. And the vintage cameras that use it can be found cheaply. However, they can’t match a live rotating LCD viewfinder and a top grip (excellent for filming skateboarding), extended gate (for higher resolution as the soundtrack will be recorded digitally), and C-Mount for interchangeable lenses.

If I were running a film (motion picture) school, I’d imagine this could be a fantastic tool for the classroom, as it would for commercial and indie producers. Super 8 is making a comeback!

Latest on Analog.Cafe.

What The Film?! — a new (free) web game built for film photographers by film photographers.

Minolta P’s (Riva Panorama) Camera Review — I found this camera very hard to put down.

Mamiya RZ67 Professional II Camera Review — an easy-to-use medium format camera with incredible optics.

Windows to the Soul — a photo essay by shom from his walks around New Orleans.

How to Choose Black and White Film for Photography — black and white film is not just the looks; choosing it is more like choosing your digital camera’s sensor than a preset.

Kodak Gold vs. ColorPlus — don’t believe the reviews! Daren and I compared these films side-by-side in the real world with tons of control over exposure and digitization — we found a lot less difference between these stocks than we’ve been led on.