Film Photography News — October 2021 Recap
New/Dead Film, 35mmc Camera Gear, Analogue WonderLab, Books & More15 min read by
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A lot went down this October. Here’s the gist:
Film. Fujifilm discontinues yet another swath of stocks — in large format and in 120 — while simultaneously launching its Instax Wide printer. CineStill takes advantage of their film’s missing anti-halation layer to create a Halloween emulsion of their own. Meanwhile: Film Photography Store stocks its shelves with their now-traditional Monster film series, and Analogue Wonderland launches new lab services.
Books. Let’s Explore Magazine has a new book out; mine gets featured on 35mmc, plus: I review “Working in Black & White” by David Präkel.
Film Cameras. 35mmc launches a new Leica-mount lens, TT Artisan Light Meter looks nice, and Pinsta camera lets you develop and print film on location.
World. The global supply chain disruptions are affecting Kickstarter projects, “Man’s Vintage Camera Mistaken for Bomb, Causes Emergency Landing,” Le Monde Analogue opens up for submissions, and I write about IFE NKILI: an annual Black women’s arts festival.
Analogue WonderLab opens its doors for film processing orders in the UK.
This August, I interviewed Paul and Marina about their new project, a film lab, spun from Analogue Wonderland’s web-based film store. The lab is now open, ready to accept orders for 35mm, 110, 120, and disposable camera film processing in C-41 and monochrome.
✪ Note: Analogue WonderLab is currently experiencing some issues with their equipment, made worse by the global supply chain disruptions. This means up to a week-and-a-half waiting time on your orders as the team works on fixing things during the next little while.
Analogue WonderLab is set to make film photography more accessible for the UK locals while making an investment into a more sustainable practice. For more details on that, check out this post where Marina and Paul explain.
Though I haven’t tried the services yet, I am already tempted (once they open up their doors to international orders).
My local labs, though really, really good, don’t have an easy online interface like that of WonderLab. Getting started at WL is as simple as picking a format, selecting chemistry type — colour or monochrome — and a scan type. All film format scans can be requested to include sprocket holes or borders, for an additional £5-6, available in three sizes: Standard, Standard Premium, and Premium TIFF. With the order, UK customers will get instructions on how to create a free tracking postage label to get their film on its way hassle-free. Easy.
More formats and chemistry types are coming soon, including E-6.
Moscow Dayze “making of” featured on 35mmc.
A few weeks ago, I published my first book. A personal, hands-on project about my trip to Moscow, 20 years after leaving the city, to become a Canadian citizen.
The book has been slowly making the rounds around blogs, with the latest addition being 35mmc, where I talk extensively about the making of.
If you’re interested, a few copies are still available at the shop.
P.S.: You can read the first three chapters of this book for free.
Omnar CN26-6, a 26mm f/6 fixed-aperture rangefinder coupled snapshot lens.
Speaking of 35mmc, the blog’s owner, Hamish, has recently launched a lens product in collaboration with Skyllaney Optomechanics under their new brand, Omnar Lenses.
CN26-6 is designed, manufactured, painted, and assembled in the UK. It’s available on omnarlenses.com, starting at £779. Not cheap, though you do get to customize your optics — including choosing the close-focus option, how the focus ring feels, various finishes, and engraving. Plus, according to the website, the lens has “…extremely precise manufacturing tolerances, the mechanical feel of this lens is on par with the highest build quality lenses on the market.”
Omnar does not hide the fact that the elements within the lens are sourced from an early-2000s point-and-shoot Canon SureShot AF-10. As Hamish points out on his blog, “These cameras are super-basic, and are really just one step up from a disposable camera. But the lens in them is great.” Indeed, those little plastic shooters can be bought on eBay for $20. Though handling them would certainly not feel as posh as with CN26-6 on a Leica.
☝︎Further reading: “Testing the Canon SureShot AF-7 in Chongqing” by Lee Webb.
I think Hamish explains best why he chose to spend the resources required to machine and distribute proper housings for AF-10 lenses on his blog post:
…I discovered just how good this lens is. Yes it has character – it vignettes a bit, can produce some interesting flare, and the sharpness falls off toward the edges of the frame. But actually, it is surprisingly sharp, contrasty and produces really nice colour. It even does pretty decent bokeh… at least as decent as you can get out of a 26mm f/6 lens.
A lens is far more than just the glass elements. Aside from the basic tube that holds them precisely in place, there’s a lot of engineering required to have the glass respond to focus control and to be mountable.
CN26-6 indeed looks beautiful, and I love its low profile. But are the optics as good as Hamish says? The best way to judge is, of course, to look at the sample images. And so I’ve attached a few selections taken on film that I felt are the most telling of what this lens is capable of:
All Omnar sample photos are courtesy of 35mmc. Colour samples are shot on Portra 400, black and white are shot on Kosmo Foto Mono 100.
Let’s Explore Magazine.
Let’s Explore Magazine, a passion project by Kilian, is launching its new edition: “Empowerment.” The book is a submissions-based project that features 176 pages, furnished with 20 stories. I love that it comes with Euro-style lay-flat binding, which is one of my favourite tactile features of Auslöser magazine.
The book is available for pre-order at letxexploremagazine.com for €25.
Another thing to note about this publication is that every purchase is promised to fund planting a tree (you will receive “a personalized certificate of the donation”). Sounds fair, considering that a portion of another tree must’ve been used to make the print.
“Besides that, this issue will be produced using a 100% climate-neutral production process; certified and traceable through NatureOffice®.” — LEM.
As for the contents, I’ve got the full list of chapters for you below:
1) Authenticity Inc.: thoughts on commodification of history, culture and the indigenous image. 2) Sustainability heroes captured on camera. 3) New York state of mind; prints from a forgotten roll of film. 4) India’s forgotten elders. 5) The dance of self and system. 6) Overcoming fear to find your true self. 7) A master’s grip: Slavery in Mauritania. 8) The power of language, culture, protocol and fight for the Right to Self-Determination. 9) Ocean’s beauty in mythical waves. 10) Empowering change as a vector of love. 11) Death clapped: walking the length of the UK. 12) I am autistic am I. 13) Portraits for Mayan families. 14) 200+ lifeboat stations and their heroes on wet collodion. 15) The only way is through: self-acceptance after trauma. 16) Humanitarian Power Play. 17) Seedlings of power. 18) Travelling heavy; from burden towards communitas. 19) Females kicking ass inside and outside the ring. 20) Turning trust into daily magic.
Pinsta: an all-in-one large format pinhole, paper developer box, and a mini-enlarger.
I love pinhole “lenses” because they open up a world of camera-making possibilities. One of the first things I wrote on this blog was on making one out of a tiny chocolate tin with Instax film.
This low-tech method of focusing light is at the center of a new Kickstarter project (nearly reaching 3x its funding goal as of this writing): Pinsta. It won’t be the first commercially-produced pinhole camera, but it is the first of its kind.
Oliver’s little black box is made to hold a positive 4x5 photographic paper, comes with a built-in shutter, a 0.3mm chemically-etched pinhole, and a few special slots/ports. The instant component of Pinsta is its ability to accept chemicals via syringes to be poured directly into the camera, which makes it a combo product: a camera and a light-tight developing tank. On his Kickstarter page, Oliver demonstrates Pinsta in-action as he takes a photo and develops it immediately — outdoors.
The process isn’t as fast or hands-off as with Polaroid SX-70 and Instax Mini 90 cameras — though the resulting image is quite a bit larger than Polaroid’s 3.108×3.024” and Mini’s 1.81×2.44”.
But that’s not all: Pinsta can also enlarge 3 film formats onto 4x5 paper: 135, 120, and large format onto photographic paper! The process of enlargement looks a little cumbersome but it surely seems compact — plus, there’s no need for a darkroom.
TT Artisan Light Meter.
TT Artisan, a Hong Kong brand known for its affordable manual lenses, has launched its new light meter. The slick little device is housed in aluminum chassis, capable of measuring light at a 45° angle, compatible with shuttler speeds between 1-1/2,000s, apertures of 𝒇1-𝒇22, and film ISOs of 25-3200.
Costing $62, it looks (and probably feels) like the discontinued Cosina Voigtlander VC METER II. The TT Artisan version is also a lot cheaper.
More film photography products.
Two new films were launched this month. CineStill rolled out their limited-edition RedRum and Film Photography Store stocked their shelves with the 35mm, 120, and 4x5 versions of their Monster series, including the new Frankenstein 200.
RedRum is a reversed version of CineStill’s 800T film. What makes it special is, as pointed out by Stephen of Kosmo Foto, how the absence of the anti-halation layer adds an eery glow around bright light sources.
The Monster films are classic monochrome emulsions meant to be reminiscent of old zombie movies. Though marketed as a Halloween special, those rolls (and a sheet) will work just as well any time of the year — these are not special-effect products; just good ol’ black and white chemistry.
The global supply chain disruptions.
This is the year when everything’s late. The virus continues to cause all kinds of trouble, disrupting Kickstarter projects. Analogue Wonderland is feeling the effects first-hand as they try to get the right components and chemicals for WonderLab. Kosmo Foto’s new Agent Shadow film is also delayed. These effects aren’t limited to film photography businesses — the troubled supply chain is making deliveries slow everywhere. So if you plan to get something specific for the holiday season — you may want to do it soon.
Yes, again. This time it’s Fujichrome Velvia 50 in 4x5 and 8x10, plus Fujicolor Pro 160NS in 120. Emulsive has the details.
Fujifilm launches Instax Wide printer.
A much-anticipated film printer by the same company that likes to discontinue films has finally dropped this October. Listed at $149.99, this little machine can expose Instax Wide frames by connecting your phone via an app or through Fujifilm’s X-S10 mirrorless camera (phone-free).
I only wish they didn’t lock their gadget up like this and allowed printing directly from a computer.
Le Monde Analogue opens up its call to artists.
An upcoming exhibition in Porto is looking for photographers to submit their work for an event on July 1-22, 2022, at Macaréu – Associação Cultural (an art gallery).
Le Monde Analogue is a community that welcomes analog photography enthusiasts and features high-quality film photography. It is based in Göttingen and was founded and organized by the Croatian photographers Jadranka Kljajic and Anita Krisko. We are dedicated to promoting the medium of film photography and the love for anticipation of the captured moments that arise from a developed photographic film.
The event will consist of the submitted photographs printed and hung. Following the installation, the collaboration will begin as graffiti artists layer their paint on top of the prints, creating a single piece. A video of the 2019 event in action could be seen here, this year’s event video is here.
Submissions (free) are open to entries on the topic of street life in European cities with the deadline of December 15, 2021. You can send the work by tagging your image with #lmaporto on Instagram or via Facebook (on the LMA page). The full list of rules can be found here.
IFE NKILI, an annual Black women’s arts festival.
Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of watching the event premiere on YouTube — and I can’t say enough nice things about it — it was fantastic. The festival featured the group’s stories of identities, life stories, visual poetry, and portrayals of recent events.
My favourite spoken essay was told by Adaeze Ihebom about her parents. Her beautiful black and white photographs and the narration inspired me to think of the harsh reality we all face (our eventual death) in a new way.
With so much uncertainty around the world right now, it felt good to be reminded that the people who are truly close can help us get through the worst. And that the memory of our existence will be carried, if lucky through beautiful art.
Unfortunately, the time did not allow me to notify you of the online event early enough. And thus the best that I can do now is apologize (sorry!) and invite you to follow Chin We (the event organizer) on Twitter and Instagram for better-timed announcements.
In other news.
Backpacks, shoes, and random pieces of belonging — flying. Passengers dropping onto an inflated slippery-slide, jogging away from a small plane after the “suspicious behaviour” reported by a woman, who “spotted a fellow passenger scrolling through videos and photos of vintage cameras” (PetaPixel).
Things get truly heated when “after the [‘suspicious’] man pulled out his own vintage camera and began fiddling with its settings — she [the photographer’s next-seat neighbour] believed that he was setting a timer on a bomb’s detonator.” Within minutes, the terrorist suspect got his face planted firmly onto the tarmac.
The story reminds me of the scene (5 min YouTube clip) from the second Harold and Kumar movie.
Latest on Analog.Cafe.
“Working in Black & White” by David Präkel (2008) is my latest book review. This time, it’s an instructional read I borrowed from my local library.
“Summer With Ana” is a short photo series by Crina from her recent day with a camera in Transylvania.
“Kind of Blue” is a story about the relationship between colour film’s tendency for blue casts when scanned and marina_guarreschi’s moods as she photographs the life around her, “trapped in a world of increasing prices and greater life challenges in the midst of a pandemic.”
“Website Update v2.1.0” — I spent this month working on upgrading the website with what I hope is a better navigation system, better bookmarking, and offline browsing. This article is a short summary of the changes.
“Olympus f/1.8 F.Zuiko Auto-S Lens Review” — a “normal” lens for the Olympus PEN cameras.
“100 Photo Essays About Places and Travel” is a HUGE list of essays — all published on Analog.Cafe — that covers five continents, multi-continental trips, and Oceania.
And that’s all for this month. 😅