This month’s letter breaks down eight new photo product launches. Followed by the art project listings, recent photography/science news, and a few helpful reading suggestions.
8 New film photography products for summer 2019. Reviews, announcements, recommendations.
Let me start with a disclaimer. Because many of the products below are not yet available for sale, some of what you are about to read is somewhat speculative.
This is a new film emulsion from a twenty-seven-year-old manufacturer of lenses, toy cameras, and film products. If you are looking for speciality film and like the look of this one, you can pre-order it via Kickstarter. I was lucky enough to interview Birgit Buchart, a rep from Lomography and collected a fair bit of opinions/facts about the film in the linked article.
2. One Instant Packfilm Type 100 P7 Color by Supersense. Packfilm is one of the most requested products for Polaroid Originals, a new company that took over production of classic instant film and cameras. Alas, due to the difficulties associated with its production, it has never happened. New55, a company which made a recent attempt has closed operations in 2017 and is apparently undergoing reorganization. The good news is that Supersense, a store found by Florian Kaps, who also found Polaroid Originals, is now collecting preorders for a simplified one-shot colour version. It’s expensive, handmade, and it’s the only freshly-produced option. I think it’s worth a try if you have a camera to shoot it.
3. Intrepid Enlarger Conversion Kit. For the advanced photographer and an owner of Intrepid large format camera, there’s now a new way to make analogue prints at home. A £180 conversion kit can save space by offering to use the camera to enlarge negatives. Considering the average expenses that large format shooter has to deal with, this isn’t a bad deal.
4. Box Speed. Box Speed is an up-cycling and development service for NOS disposable cameras. The all-in-one service will operate in UK starting around August 31. Box Speed will provide the camera with film and take care of the development. Their aim is to simplify the photography process for beginners and make more use of the plastic bodies — which would otherwise be thrown out. A selection of film, including Kodak, Kosmo Foto, Dubble, Kono!, Lomography, and Fuji will be available as part of the kit or sold separately.
5. Analog Photography: Reference Manual for Shooting Film. I’ve recently reviewed the new US $24.95 publication by Princeton Architectural Press. Full disclosure: I’ve been contacted by the publisher and was allowed to keep the book. I was not promised a free copy ahead of time, neither have I specifically requested a free copy. Anyways, in the review, I conclude that the book is very well worth the price, though it isn’t flawless.
6. Film Carrier MK1: 35mm Roll Film Holder for Camera Scanning. The project has been crowdfunded at over 3x its goal on Kickstarter. MK1 is a $279 35mm film holder for film that you can use with your digital camera. The price is steep enough to draw criticism, however, quality isn’t cheap and isn’t common in today’s new photography-related products. The company promises better build, reliability, speed, and versatility for those who can afford it. As with all projects of the sort, time of completion and delivery are not guaranteed.
7. Kodak’s new Mobile Film Scanner. In the linked review on Digital Trends, Hillary K. Grigonis describes a new foldable cardboard device that can be used with your phone camera. At $40 it’s 7x cheaper than MK1 (above) and does not require a pro digital camera with a macro lens. As expected, the image quality is nowhere close either.
8. I’m Back: low cost medium format digital back. I may never understand why would anyone want to attach a bulky, expensive device to a functioning film camera. Most film can produce better resolution and overall quality than the offered 16mp sensor, which is “about the same size as you’ll find in a GoPro or Google’s Pixel smartphone” — PetaPixel. Despite my reservations, the project is fully funded — see the linked Kickstarter page.
This month I’ve also been contacted by Erica of Meitar and Liz of Gravy Studio with their announcements:
Meitar Award for Excellence in Photography. If you are reading this letter at the time of its publication, you still have about 24 hours to submit. My apologies for the timing! If it does not work out, you can still follow Meitar Award, watch the winners and submit next year. The entry fee is $54 and the deadline is July 31 at 23:59 Israel time. The award is a $2,500 personal grant + $11,500 in paid exhibition expenses. The panel consists of international photographers, historians, art professors, curators, and other people of cultural importance.
Gravy is a photography workspace and gallery, located at 910 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia. Gravy offers exhibitions, events, artist talks, and workshops. Their “[e]xhibits have ranged from traditional matted fine art prints in simple black frames to Xeroxed prints turned into wallpaper,” with participants who often “shoot film, use alternative processes, print on unique substrates, and use projection to transform their images.” — website. Sounds like a place worth visiting whenever in PA.
Fifty years ago this month a monumentous mission to space took place via Apollo 11 spacecraft. A technical and scientific achievement of our species. The photos brought back from the trip have been the centrepiece of my Twitter feed, featuring modified Kodak film and Hasselblad medium format cameras. The film made it home but the cameras are still on the surface, awaiting the next crew.
Optical Aberration and Mathematics. The reason photographic lenses feature a lot of elements with various properties is to correct for a phenomenon called aberration. As the lens bends the light, it affects various wavelengths differently. Red and blue points may become “out of sync” and the picture — blurry. A variety of techniques are employed to counter this phenomenon. This month, I’ve learned of a new discovery that may change how we build optic instruments. The implications are size, weight, and resolution.
July has been a busy month. Aside from the usual stream of weekly articles, which take time to produce, a new version of Analog.Cafe website is in the works. It will feature a few neat design upgrades, faster and more convenient reading, sharing, and contributing experience. If you are interested in a preview before the launch, please get in touch.
Have I missed anything? Questions, comments, feedback? Let me know.