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This month’s letter is late. It should’ve come on the last Tuesday of this October, which was the 25th. But I got COVID and could barely move for a while — feeling better now. 😰
Anyways, there are tons of film photography news to cover — all good, all better than my quarantine story:
Two new films — Euphoric 100 by Atlanta Film Co (C-41) and X 320 Pro by CatLABS (monochrome). A new lens by Chroma, a new Instax Mini SLR by NONS, and Lomography’s Lomo Apparat 35 + Fisheye Baby 110 cameras. Also, Leica brings back the M6, NBC shoots a special on film, and analogue resurgence is driving the prices of silver up.
Atlanta Film Co. brought a new cinema emulsion to the world of stills this month. As this post is being written the first batch of the film has been sold out, but you can register to get notified of the upcoming batches on their website.
Euphoric 100 is a colour reversal (slide) film that you can process in E-6 chemicals. Bill Manning, who hand-rolled the film himself, told me that the name is based on the EMMY Award-winning TV series, “Euphoria.” Bill and I have known each other since the first days of Analog.Cafe; when the website was getting started, he interviewed me for his podcast, Studio C-41. You can listen to it here.
The emulsion behind Euphoric 100 is Kodak 5294/7294 which is also sold as Ektachrome 100D. As you may have guessed, it uses a lot of similar technology as the Ektachrome E100 sold for still cameras and has a similar dynamic range; E100 has five, and Euphoric has about 6. The difference may be due to how I interpreted the graphs as the amount of latitude at the toe and shoulder of the graphs can sometimes skew the count.
Bill was gracious enough to send me some sample shots taken on the film; both of the sample images below were cross-processed in ECN-2 and colour-corrected by Atlanta Film Co. You should also know that the promo shot for Euphoric, above, is also shot on the same emulsion.
Analog.Cafe 5th Anniversary Edition Tees! 👚👕
This year, Analog.Cafe turned 5. To celebrate, I’ve made five T-Shirt designs using my trusty Polaroid SX-70 camera, some props, and MiNT Flash Bar II.
Months and hundreds of dollars were spent choosing the shirts’ right materials and design fits. There are two cuts available: modern unisex and fitted junior tees. Available on Cotton Bureau.
More info about the tee design choices, the fit, and the material can be found here. Note that the final design features a slightly smaller print area than above.
X 320 Pro monochrome film by CatLABS.
CatLABS released a new batch of black and white film with a unique homebrew emulsion — not available anywhere else. See the high-res sample below, courtesy of Omer of CatLABS, and on the film sales page at catlabs.info.
Despite the ISO 320 rating, CatLABS recommends exposing X 320 Pro as if it’s an ISO 200 film and develop normally (times found on the film page, linked above — and on Massive Dev Chart).
The company does not reveal many details about the production process for the film, only assuring that this is a unique emulsion exclusively sold by CatLABS only. Molly Kate reports on film on 35mmc in further detail.
Double Glass, a 24mm 𝒇11, M39 mount lens from Chroma Camera.
Chroma Camera recently released a modern lens for M39 mounts: Double Glass. Those familiar with M39 know it as the basis of Soviet rangefinders and a few highly-regarded and good-looking lenses on the cheap, as well as close compatibility with the early Leica cameras.
The lens is surprisingly affordable, $160 CAD (~$116 USD), on par with used, half-a-century-old Soviet relics. Optics-wise, the lens is behind the above-mentioned Ukrainian-built designs — it has a single aperture of 𝒇11 (no aperture ring) and no focus control — the lens renders everything between 1m to ∞ at its sharpest. Nevertheless, Double Glass is wider than most choices in this category, delivering something that’s “super compact, fully corrected… with minimal distortion and no chromatic abberations” (Kosmo Foto).
SL645 — an Interchangeable Lens SLR Instax Mini Camera by NONS.
Instax is the modern, technically superior instant film format. Though Polaroid sells larger (even than Instax Wide) square format film, Fujifilm’s format is faster, sharper, more stable, and less fault-prone. NONS is taking advantage of this fact with their third hardware launch: a modern instant film SLR with a lens mount compatible with EF, M42, Nikon F, PK, and CY lenses.
While this camera isn’t as compact as something like the Instax Mini 90 Neo Classic, it comes with a slew of advanced features not found on Fujifilm’s model. In addition to its true SLR viewfinder and an interchangeable lens mount, SL645 extends full manual control for shutter and aperture with multiple exposure and bulb modes plus a hot shoe encased in a “long-lasting aluminum alloy” — NONS.
Those familiar with NONS venture into Instax SLRs may remember the vignetting, an optical limitation of the initial incompatibility of the lens mount and Instax’ format size. SL645 solves it to a degree: “The vignetting control of SL645 performs best among our camera products” — as I’ve been told over Instagram and evident from the new product’s rendering attached below.
Another important advance of the second generation Instax Mini body by NONS is shutter delay, an artifact of the electronic circuits which has been upgraded for SL645: “The shutter motion delay after pressing the shutter button is about 0.05 second which is significantly faster than 0.5 second of SL42.” — NONS over Instagram.
As of this writing, the Kickstarter campaign has raised 251% of its goal on Kickstarter with 29 days to go.
Lomography’s Lomo Apparat 35.
As it comes to plastic film cameras, from what I’ve seen from Lomography’s press kit, this is one of the prettiest resin boxes I’ve ever seen. Just look at this thing! 🤩
The shape of this camera is reminiscent of something in between Leica M6 (particularly the black model) and Contax T3 though I am certain that the $89 plastic body & lens is not that kind of a camera. The “totally EXPERIMENTAL, incredibly WIDE and super EASY TO USE 35 mm film camera with a 21 mm wide-angle lens” is Lomography’s brand new plastic fantastic features a built-in flash with colour gels, a 0.2 m close-up and Kaleidoscope+Splitzer lens attachments.
Visually, I see the lens hood and the silver ring around a large bubble of a lens practically irresistible. But of course, this camera comes with its limitations; it’s a fixed-focus, fixed aperture 𝒇10 lens with a single 1/100s shutter speed. In full sun, it’ll work well with ISO 50 and ISO 100 films, according to my handy Sunny 16 calculator. Other than that, you’d be at the grace of your film’s exposure latitude and the camera’s flash. With their press package, Lomography shared a few sample illustrations of how good of a camera Lomo Apparat can be:
Lomography’s Fisheye Baby 110 camera and LomoChrome Turquoise experimental emulsion.
The second and third analogue photo products Lomography pushed this month are their miniature plastic camera that takes 110 film — Fisheye Baby 110 — and the wildly-expressive LomoChrome Turquoise film in 110, 120, and 135 formats.
The sample images taken on Fisheye are blurry and restricted by a small image circle. It’s a toy camera. And it only costs $34.90 — only slightly more than the film and processing for a single cartridge would be.
As always, consider the environment when purchasing plastic products.
As for the film, the Turquoise is an intriguing emulsion. The film inverts yellow and blue colours while keeping the rest of the palette relatively balanced. The result is alien-looking faces and strongly-saturated false-colour orange highlights. The impact and contrast of this film — and, seemingly, the dynamic range — is akin to the highly-regarded Kodak Aerochorme film. However, LomoChrome Turquoise renders the palette from the visible spectrum — thus no IR superpowers — but at a fraction of the price.
The state of the analogue renaissance.
Earlier this year, eBay and Etsy execs reported significant growth in their analogue photography categories. And just a few weeks back, PetaPixel reported a noticeable bump in global silver futures due to the increasing film manufacturing demand. And this month, NBC released their first reportage shot entirely on film in over four decades. You can see their segment on the resurgence of film photography on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Leica resurrected their M6 production line — which was offline since 2002. Though not cheap by any means — over $5,000 for the body only — this launch is a signal of significant investment in the medium from a legendary business in the “super-premium” category. Priced similarly to the earlier iteration, this camera is proof that the 2020 world can still produce high-quality machined metal components, assembled en-masse for the general (high-earning) population.
Latest on Analog.Cafe.
5 Vintage (Film) Camera Gift Ideas — I soured my collector’s coffins and memory bank to find a few of my favourite, relatively affordable cameras that would make a great gift. Quality optics and unique design choices from $100 to $700.
Ilford Delta 400 Film Review — my review of a relatively modern T-grain emulsion with smooth tones, moderate post-production editability, and supreme resolution in medium ISO.
Film Speed — a web app (no need to download anything, just bookmark) for quick DIN to ISO/ASA conversion.
Voigtländer Vitomatic I Camera Review — this month, I got to play with one of the most underrated mid-century film cameras on the secondary market. If you’re looking for a sub-$100 quality lens in a classic metal chassis, this may be it.
Fujifilm Fujichrome Velvia 50 Film Review — this is, perhaps, the best-resolving colour film still in production. It is also the most expensive film in 35mm format — worth the cost in half-frame format.